Update May 2, 2017:
You can choose from Grey and Olive as well as Red and Blue for all rewards!
Update May 6, 2017
We have released Big Sizes 45-48 ahead of schedule!
Chenna Baree are flexible, fun, earth conscious shoes, made to be worn at work, at home and at play. They are evolved from Kung Fu training shoes worn by Shaolin monks. They are super fun, super flexible, super practical, ethically made and and earth friendly.
I am an orthopedic shoemaker. I've spent my life hand making shoes and helping people with serious foot and ankle conditions. One thing I have learned is that part of the recipe for great foot health is getting out there and moving. I designed Chenna Baree shoes with this aim in mind.
*Note cotton duck is a type of canvas, not an animal product. These shoes are vegan.
I've been practicing Tai Chi since I was 14 years old. No other shoe has met my criteria for flexibility and connection to the ground as well as these shoes. The feedback from others has been enthusiastic. On top of that, the use of sustainable, biodegradable materials matters to me.
Chenna Baree has no gimmicks. It is an honest simple shoe improving upon traditional farming and Kung Fu shoes that have been made for over 80 years without changes. It's a testimony to the idea that foot freedom is part of good foot health. That is why I believe we can build a brand which has the potential to withstand the test of time.
I spent two years studying Chinese in order to make this possible. I knew that in order to find an authentic factory I would have to go to China and where I was going would be off the beaten path. This project would not have been possible without the help of my language partner and good friend Jun Jun and her husband Qin Feng. With their very kind support I was driven into rural China where you don't see foreigners. I visited two factories that make the old style shoes that inspired Chenna Baree. The factory that I have chosen to work with touched me very deeply. It forms a community of about sixty people, most of whom live in the nearby village. My two main contacts there, Nan Nan and Echo, both speak passable English. Working with them, as well as with the factory owner Eric has been a wonderful and unique human experience. I am the first Canadian to ever visit their factory, my two sisters and I got a very warm welcome indeed. There were lots of smiles and laughs. Most people have no idea what this might be like. For those of you who are interested, here are a few impressions for you.
There is only one way to know if you have a winner. That's to put it to the test. We produced an initial order of Chenna Baree in Purple. Why purple? I was as perplexed as other people, but purple won by a popular public pole.
Thanks to so many friends and so many other people I don't even know, we have the feedback we need. Everyone wants more colors. That's the verdict.
I am so glad we did this test run, because our finals have some important changes and quality improvements. It turns out that the linen canvas being very coarse improves with a second saturation of latex in the foxing area. We replaced insole fiber with canvas belting, and we replaced a glued in insole with a removable one. So that is why I refer to the purple shoes as Prototypes, because there are changes and quality improvements made to the final production specs. And that's what testing is all about.
We appreciate you sharing this project with your friends. It's this spirit that makes Kickstarter such a wonderful way for startup companies to connect with a market. Thank you so much.
We want to build an ethical earth conscious brand of footwear for active living. By doing so we not only provide great employment, but we reduce vast quantities of synthetics from entering the landfill.
Chenna Baree is about the marriage of beauty, function and sustainability. We want to deliver to you a unique, highly functional shoe which will be made for many years to come. That means, you will always want to have a pair in your active collection.
Becoming part of our support network is a choice that you will feel great about.
By popular demand, this campaign is starting with the Red and Blue Classics. We want to keep our goals achievable, so this is where we start. But hold on! We also want to bring in the full line of colors. So we have included stretch goals to allow that to happen. We're keeping it simple so there are no surprises.
Make these timeless classics part of your collection. We're pretty sure you will become so addicted that you will be ordering more. So we have prepared everything from conservative to wild!
UPDATE! We have unlocked Grey and Olive prior to meeting our stretch goal.. This means you can now choose from four colors.
Quiet, Conservative and Comfortable. These shoes can truly be worn anywhere.
If you love these shoes as much as I do, I think you will want to have some fun colors in your collection. A great option for studios and groups that want to stand out.
We had to limit our size runs to the most popular sizes. Each size requires investment in metal shoe lasts and minimum runs. I have some great friends (not just big) who really want some Chenna Baree shoes. So here is the entry point. Help us meet the goal and as we exceed, we can add colors!
Chenna Baree are designed to fit close. They should have less toe room than in shoes with toe boxes and stiffeners. They also mold quite quickly for width. Shoes are generally standardized, but not well enough to ensure accurate fit based on what you usually wear. Getting the wrong size is a bummer. So we have taken the trouble to create a mathematical and repeatable way to ensure the correct Chenna Baree size. Take the time and do it right.
To measure your foot
Take any tape measure or ruler and place the end against the wall. Step on the measure with your bare feet keeping your heel against the wall. Take the longest measure from both feet. Then use the chart below to find the closest match. If it's in the middle somewhere, go with the larger option.
Our funding goal is based on the minimum amount required to get these shoes to you. Funds from this campaign will go towards operating expenses directly related to production and fulfillment of the orders. Our biggest expenses following actual production costs are shipping. In order that we can deliver on our rewards at the soonest possible time, we are shipping directly from China and absorbing a significant portion of the shipping costs. As with every project, there are fees associated with Kickstarter and payment processing agents. Our stretch goals are there to ensure that funds in excess of our goal get used to deliver value to you, our backers.
In the process of creating this Kickstarter I did a lot of reading about other shoe projects. I would like to express my admiration for a few of them.
1. Thursday boot company. I love them because they are a couple of entrepreneurs who seem to have an eye for quality. I have made a ton of work boots for injured workers. I know the Horween leather they use and it's awesome, in fact I use an 8oz Horween in my boots. Also Goodyear welting is definitely the way to go for leather boots. So I feel they are honest and know what they are talking about.
2. Patara. I am crazy about hand made stuff, so I am proud of these guys for creating a market for such beautiful fabric. I like the fact that the shoes are very simple and don't boast of fadish features.
3 Urban Wooler. I like the idea of using wool. The shoes are nice and simple and I love how this company started. Wool is a remarkable, beautiful earth conscious fiber which is still processed in some very old factories here where I live. I would like to make a woolen line using Canadian wool from my province in the future.
Risks and challenges
We have gone to great lengths to realize this project. Learning Chinese has not been the least of it. We are excited and ready for production.
Our great relationship with the factory has helped us make special arrangements which will minimize delays and shipping. For this campaign we will be shipping directly from China. This has eliminated weeks of sea freight time. We are confident that we can make deliveries by August 2017 or sooner. We are also absorbing a significant portion of the shipping costs so that there is only upside for our backers.
It is only fair to say that unforeseen situations may arise. There may be delays either in production or shipping due to such circumstances. If there is a problem, we will be up front and communicative with our supporters.
Linen fabric is a specialized material. We source it directly from the manufacturer, and we have visited them in person. Until our production hits a high level, we rely on warehouse supply. The best information we have is that there will be no problem with the supply. Should there be a shortage in one or more colors, there may be delays for those colors. If this were to happen we will refund or exchange the order.
Sizing is potentially a problem for some customers. We have provided the best information we can to help you choose the right size. If there is a problem, contact us and we will provide you with options.
There have been cases where Kickstarters have met with great difficulty when they have received many more backers than expected. We are prepared to meet 3 times our stretch goals without anticipated delay. Beyond that, we anticipate that shipping would be delayed for an estimated 8 weeks to schedule additional production.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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