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The Story of WAO

The Story of WAO

👏 Crowdfunding

Michele Stignani

Project Manager of Dress to Live

Dress to Live

Sustainable and circular sneakers, made with natural or regenerated materials, that can be disposed at the end of their life cycle.

🇮🇹 Venice, Italy

📅 The company was founded in April 2018 but we start the research for the project at least three years earlier. 

🏆 9 Founders

The Story of Dress to Live and WAO, the Eco Effect Shoes!

Intro

Who are you and what business did you start?

Walk us through the process of creating your product.

Marketing Strategy

How do you acquire customers?

Which Shopify Apps are most important to your business?

Did you do any advertising for your Kickstarter?

Final Thoughts

What are your sources of inspiration?

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs?

How are things today and what are your plans for the future?

Where can we learn more about your business?

Intro

Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Michele Stignani ands I’m the Project Manager of Dress to Live, an Italian start-up company born in April 2018. When we started we were 9 partners, most of us coming from the fashion industry. Knowing its impact on the planet, we decided to do something about it. 

In  October 2018 we launched WAO on a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. WAO the Eco Effect shoes are sustainable sneakers made with natural colors and materials and, above all, degradable. We take care of everything, collecting the shoes and disposing them correctly. 

The company name is Dress to Live, while the shoes’s name is WAO, as for We Are One.  But also because it sounds like WOW, the typical exclamation people tell us after explaining how the shoes are made and disposed! 

We believe in a circular economy, and WAO are the first shoes: 

    • -that can be degraded and ground up into compost 
    • -made with natural or regenerated materials 
    • -with the leftovers of the production we create new products (tactile books for children)

This is what makes our product unique!

Walk us through the process of creating your product.

Two of our partners are fashion designers. They designed and developed the product starting with the choice of the right materials: sustainable, degradable or regenerated. Since the beginning we knew we wanted to create shoes that could be disposed. Then we looked for ethical companies and manufactures here in Italy.

After one year of research, the first prototype was born. in Autumn 2018 we launched the product on Kickstarter, reached the goal, and produced about 400 pairs of shoes. The crowdfunding allowed us to develop a little stock of about 120 pair for our e-commerce, which was launched in May 2019.

Marketing Strategy

How do you acquire customers?

New customers come from the intern traffic but also through word of mouth. 

We took part to some sustainable fairs in Italy and abroad, to show the product directly to the people. There’s the news section on our website to see the events we attend. 

Through newsletters and social media, we keep in touch with our followers and costumers.

Which Shopify Apps are most important to your business?

Langify is very important to us, because in Italy you’re more likely to sell if the website is written in Italian.

Did you do any advertising for your Kickstarter?

A little and we did it ourselves. Principally we used sponsored marketing ads in Facebook and Instagram. We sent press releases to blogs and magazines that are close to the issue (most of them for free). But I think the most effective way was showing continuity from one project to the other. Those who had already bought the shoes knew the quality of WAO. And that’s probably the best advertising. 

For the first Kickstarter campaign, we invested  on Google, Instagram and Facebook for advertising. The project was funded but honestly this was not thanks to advertising. Most of the bakers came from a great network made of friends, family and supporters. 

For the second campaign we decided to invest only on Facebook and Instagram. 

The conversion percentages of the access to the campaign from these sources is 0,5% every 1000 visits. This means that our biggest challenge is visibility.

Final Thoughts

What are your sources of inspiration?

Sustainable fairs because you get to know a lot of interesting people and products, documentaries  like “The True Cost” or “Before the Flood”, but also realities such as Fashion For Good in Amsterdam.

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs?

The advice I’d like to give to other entrepreneurs working in this field is: let’s team up and share our experience! Often, as companies, we work on our own but sharing is the only way ethical companies can change the fashion system.

How are things today and what are your plans for the future?

We have launched a new model called NYLONG made with econyl® regenerated nylon from abandoned fishing nets and other plastic waste. We have just reached the goal on Kickstarter! 

The most popular product is the hemp one, so we are working to re-stock our on-line shop, also to partner with other sustainable clothing e-shops. We are already in touch with some in Italy, UK and the USA. 

The aim is keep going, keep researching  to develop new shoes and products, always looking for the most sustainable materials, always with transparency and care, disposal included.

Where can we learn more about your business?

We are active on Instagram and Facebook. On our website there are updates about fairs we attend, if someone is willing to meet us and the project! 

And if you don’t like social media you can follow our page on kickstarter!

We’re still quite little so we’re not hiring at the moment.