About this project
We are a 10 year old, self-funded, indie, UK vegan footwear label dedicated to designing cruelty-free, luxury shoes for stylish, discerning ladies.
We have created this Kickstarter project as we hope to be able to put into production an exciting new diffusion line of comfy, wearable yet stylish ladies vegan shoes to sit alongside our current luxury 'boutique' collection.
This exciting new range will launch with 10 styles, which have been designed for everyday wear at a more affordable price-point without sacrificing our signature, vintage inspired aesthetic and will with your help ☺ be exclusively available at our online store www.beyondskin.co.uk.
Our journey although mostly fun and exhilarating has not been all roses along the way! Like many small brands we have had our fair share of challenges from the turbulent economic climate to manufacturing mishaps combined with the impact of our strict policy of sourcing ethically within the EU.
This has all contributed to a rather slow growth process but we have (thanks to our incredibly loyal customers who have nurtured our existence) managed to survive these hurdles.
At present, we produce one collection per season; our luxury 'boutique' range of non-leather, cruelty-free footwear made in Spain. This line is available for wholesale to small independent boutiques, which we mostly find from attending National and International tradeshows plus, we also sell this line through our own online store. This ‘boutique’ line retails between £120 and £250.
We are now at a crucial point within our business that in order for us to move forward and flourish, we need to reach a much wider audience and cast our vegan net further afield.
One of our most recent challenges was the sad misfortune of our main factory closing down taking with it the vast majority of our Spring ’13 luxury ‘boutique’ line. This has frustratingly left us considerably short of the funding we needed to implement our new diffusion line and we really need your help and support to raise the funds to put this range in to production.
The debut collection launches with 10 styles, which have already been designed and we will be ready to place this first order as soon as we reach our minimum target of £20,000. Any other funds we raise will develop the range further.
We would be deeply grateful if you could support us in any way to create this new, diffusion line of 'essentials' footwear which will be available at a more accessible price-point so we can reach more discerning ladies around the globe, appeal to the masses and grow. In return we are offering you some gorgeous styles from our Fall '13 line along with some other exciting treats.
We passionately want to continue contributing to the busting of all preconceptions of how our earnest demographic is usually portrayed and demonstrate that vegan labels can be stylish, high quality and gorgeous.
Our website has just been recently re-launched and is supported by one of the industry’s leading e-commerce experts. We feel very privileged to have this expertise and experience channeled in to our online store. However, along with the growth and expansion of our site, this new collection will be instrumental in keeping our growing audience’s shoe appetite satiated!
This collection will be available on our online store alongside our ‘boutique’ collection of footwear, for you ladies who are seeking a high-quality, stylish yet affordable non-leather shoe.
With your pledge, you will not only support us in our growth but also assist us in gradually transforming the way that an entire industry sources and implements its materials and working practices.
Help us spread the word...
Thanks heaps for reading about our project. We really hope we have tempted you to join us on our journey. We have some gorgeous things that we hope will entice you in to making a pledge. If you could please spread the word about our Kickstarter project to your shoe wearing/animal loving friends, we would be incredibly grateful.
In a nutshell...
- We would like to produce a diffusion line of more affordable, wearable yet stylish daywear of ladies vegan shoes
- That are all lovingly made in Spain
- Produced with high quality Italian leather alternatives
- Will retail from £69-£100 and boots £95-£175
- Will be available exclusively at www.beyondskin.co.uk
Many of the rewards are shoes from our Autumn Winter ’13 ‘boutique’ line which will be ordered after this project is over so we can ensure that we have all of your sizes.
All of our shoes come in a beautiful pink box with a branded fairtrade shopper bag.
Pledge £10 or more - Beyond Skin branded fairtrade shopper bag
Pledge £15 or more - Gold Beyond Skin charm
Pledge £25 or more - BOTH a branded fairtrade shopper bag and key charm.
Pledge £55 or more - This pledge gives you a choice of any style currently available on our site www.beyondskin.co.uk until 5th August ’13. Whatever you fall in love with now please check we have your size first then email us to reserve it until the Kickstarter campaign has ended. This will be on a first come first serve basis as these styles are all from previous lines. (Please note that this excludes the Lupo style which is new in.)
Pledge £69 or more - Cute Scarlett soft pointed flat or Bessie round toe flat court shoe in black faux suede from our new diffusion line (Retail £79) plus our branded fairtrade shopper bag.
Pledge £85 or more - Stylish, wearable Frankie mid heels ideal for the office, in black faux leather from our new diffusion line (Retail £95) along with our branded fairtrade shopper bag.
Pledge £100 or more - Choose from our flats; Mylo, Mona, Sissy, Evie or Clem courts or our vintage inspired high heeled Kat court shoe from our Autumn/Winter '13 boutique collection (Retail £118-£130) plus receive our branded fairtrade shopper bag.
Pledge £110 or more - Choose from the flat Albi brogued lace-up, our mid-heeled Bertie or Frances or the cute Dannie high heel Chelsea boot from our Autumn/Winter '13 boutique collection (Retail £130) plus receive our branded fairtrade shopper bag.
Pledge £115 or more - Fluffy lined Misty snow boots from our new diffusion line (Retail £135) in black or camel faux suede plus receive our branded fairtrade shopper bag.
Pledge £120 or more - Choose from a pair of our gorgeous high heel Adriana, Tulip, Rosa or Kitty heels from our Autumn/Winter '13 boutique collection (Retail £140-£148) plus receive our branded fairtrade shopper bag.
Pledge £140 or more - Choose from a pair of our Autumn high heel platform with vintage inspired detailing or our stylish Manny stiletto ankle boots, also available in black faux suede (Retail £169-£179) plus receive our branded fairtrade shopper bag.
Pledge £150 or more - Immortalise yourself and have a shoe named after you or a loved one! Choose anything you like (within reason!) from our new diffusion line and then own a pair. Pretty cool hey?
Pledge £160 or more - Own a pair of Lydia knee high black faux leather boots. (Retail £175).Will be featuring in our new Diffusion line.
Pledge £500 or more - Make a huge saving and own 5 pairs of Beyond Skin shoes in any styles of your choice from either our new diffusion line or our Autumn/Winter '13 boutique collection.
Pledge £750 or more - Own 5 pairs of Beyond Skin shoes in any styles from either our diffusion line or our Autumn/Winter '13 boutique collection plus visit Brighton and have supper with the co-founders. We'd be honoured to take you and a guest out for a meal and share with you some of the crazy antics that have happened upon us over the years, how we came about and where we are off too! (Transport not included :)). Huge thank you for your support!
Pledge £1,000 or more - Make an even huger saving and own 10 pairs of Beyond Skin shoes in any styles of your choice from either our new diffusion line or our Autumn/Winter '13 boutique collection.
Pledge £2,500 or more - Remember that pair of shoes that you once owned and loved and could never find again?.... Make your dreams come true and design your own personal pair of vegan shoes that you can own in 5 colours of your choosing (and you can continue to buy repeat orders on forever!!!!) xx
Why vegan shoes?
It is no secret that leather from animals is neither compassionate, environmentally sound or sustainable. As our population continues to rise most of us are already aware that very soon we will all be pressed into making some significant changes to our lifestyles, our consumption and how we produce many of our everyday purchases.
Beyond Skin was created to prove that quality, stylish, luxurious, compassionate alternatives are possible and to show this we have tried our utmost to make ourselves a fashion brand first.
Wherever we can we have endeavored to position ourselves alongside other non-vegan footwear brands showing that fashion and ethics are not mutually exclusive, but more importantly to place vegan products in the mainstream which is where they need to be in order for long-term change to take place and to fundamentally make a difference.
For us this softer approach and way of being fits our brands philosophy and ethos. We aspire to demonstrate that a vegan label can be as successful as any other footwear brand, thus contributing and affecting the decisions other brands make about their use of leather and exotic skins.
Who We Are…
Skin was created in 2001 because at the time, it seemed impossible to be both
stylish and cruelty-free. There
were simply no gorgeous, vegan shoes to be found - anywhere!
We set out on a mission to bring about style and quality to those that cared. We were keen to make our shoes as close to home as possible so embarked on a quest to find some of the last footwear factories in existence in England. This was not an easy task and it took us almost 2 years to find a UK factory that could make beautiful, non-leather footwear in small quantities.
We were perhaps a little before our time so our beginnings were humble and our customer base tiny albeit supportive and loyal. Based out of our flat in Camden we started out making our first shoe samples in a small factory in East London but just as we were about to start production it sadly closed down! Slightly demoralised but eager to see our vision become a reality we eventually found another small factory on London's Holloway Road and from here, finally, in 2003 we began to sell our first line of simple but stylish, handmade-to-order cruelty-free footwear.
From here the collections grew and grew but sadly our little factory in Camden
also met its' demise.
Totally disheartened but not ready to surrender, we struggled on to find one of the last remaining factories in East London to take over our production. This little family-run factory handmade all of our lovely shoes for the next few years.
We were very, very lucky around this time to be discovered by the lovely Natalie Portman who incredibly donned our shoes at The Golden Globes, Oscars, and even in one of her movies, ‘V for Vendetta’. Natalie has been a wonderful ambassador for Beyond Skin, greatly helping us gain momentum and recognition with the media, which led to heaps of fabulous features in fashion mags such as Vogue, Elle and Grazia. We went on to win many awards, including Drapers Footwear, Grazia, RSPCA, PETA Proggy, Footwear Friends & Vegan Society, which were all a great honour to receive.
As awareness of our brand increased, more and more boutiques began to ask us if they could carry our line but unfortunately we were unable to offer the Beyond Skin line to them wholesale due to the high cost of UK manufacturing. Plus, manufacturing in England was becoming increasingly tricky due to diminishing footwear suppliers. We knew in order to be able to offer Beyond Skin wholesale we had to reduce our costs.
Luck was on our side as we were very fortunate to get introduced to an amazing woman who worked with lots of factories in Alicante, Spain and she helped us to find some lovely factories to work with to support our growing brand.
We are now based in the lovely Brighton, (Hove actually), England and all of our shoes are now made in sunny Alicante, Spain. Everything happens from our little seaside hub. Here we design our collections, send out our orders and generally tinker away to improve our systems and discover as many cool new fabrics as we can to create the finest vegan footwear possible.
Our adventures continue, and we hope that with our new, more affordable diffusion line of essential styles along with our current ‘boutique’ line we will further introduce Beyond Skin to the world. We have big idea for the future - to eventually enter the realm of accessories, purses and handbags and due to frequent email requests, we have started to plan our menswear range. We have many exciting plans in our vegan pipeline, so please watch this space!
Stuff you should know in case you don’t already…
We recently discovered an amazing new eco-fabric; the wonderful 'Dinamica' faux suede. Dinamica is made from 100% recycled PET plastics. It is insanely durable & better still it doesn't water mark! We are proudly, currently the only footwear label to be using this material that is also used by Jaguar & Mercedes-Benz for their high-end car interiors.
Our satins are always made from polyesters rather than viscose as viscose has a
far greater impact on the environment as it's processed with huge amounts of
acid chemicals. Sadly because most viscose comes from developing countries,
much of the waste from production is dumped into rivers, which often severely
damages entire ecosystems. Plus, no silk is found in our satins either so no
worms are boiled alive!
Our synthetic leathers are made from cotton-backed polyurethane (PU) and are sourced from Italy. PU looks a lot like PVC leatherette, but unlike PVC it's much kinder to the environment. PVC contains chlorine, a toxic chemical that produces dioxin during its manufacturing process and has been linked in numerous studies to estrogen-mimicking chemicals and nasties that cause asthma. PU provides all of the glamour of PVC but without being so harmful to our environment.
Although PU (polyeurothane) is made from petrochemicals, turning animal hides into leather is a much more energy intensive, horrid and polluting practice. When you take into account how much energy it takes to bring up a cow, never mind the messy business of tanning its skin, the environmental benefits of leather are pretty low. Although not an ideal alternative environmentally, we feel PU is clearly the lesser of two evils.
Did you also know...?
Leather production is an inefficient use of water; a cow can drink up to 127
litres a day. Leather production uses large volumes of water in raising and
slaughtering the animal and then during the tanning process. Water scarcity
effects 4 out of 10 people on our planet, but developing countries suffer the
most. As leather tanning is mostly out sourced to developing countries the
limited water they have access to is being used industrially instead; plus it
puts people at risk of contaminated water due to unsafe disposal of effluent.
On average, one cowhide will provide 18 pairs of leather shoes and each pair of shoes is accountable for the use of over 1.4 million litres of water! This figure includes the water used to rear and slaughter the cow and to process the hide in to leather.
Put simply, each time you purchase a new pair of leather shoes you are responsible for using as much water as having a bath everyday for over 40 years!
If this wasn’t harsh enough a whopping 25% of land surface is used for grazing livestock. We feel this land would be much better used to grow trees for timber, fuel, fruit and vegetables as a third of our land suffers desertification through the clearing of forests for grazing. Farm animals produce huge amounts of waste, which seeps into the ground and surface water. This pollutes wells and rivers and is a huge contributor to global warming.
All of our shoes have insoles made from approx. 70% post-consumer cardboard (but this is pretty standard throughout most of the shoe industry). Our heels and top pieces are made from PU plastic that are injection moulded. We have been unable to source 100% recycled resin soles that give the same quality hard resin finish, but we are on the case. We have been told that due to the nature of resin it needs to have an element of fresh material added in order to bind the recycled resin together. If anyone has come across something more sustainable without compromising quality please do let us know as we are always on the hunt for more eco-friendly materials. All these components are sourced from Spain and locally to our Spanish factories thus reducing our carbon footprint.
Our lining, in addition to being vegan, is also antibacterial, absorbent, and breathable, unlike many of the faux leather shoes found on the high street. All our faux leathers are PU (polyurethane) and are sourced from Italy, along with our trademark bold printed fabrics, which are also made-to-order in Italy.
We work closely with our factories in Spain, so we are confident that nobody is exploited in the creation of your lovely shoes.
Fret not! No humans, animals or small children were harmed in the making of our shoes.
We are a vegan footwear label, passionately doing what we can to trade in a manner that is kind to our fellow humans, animals and wherever possible our precious planet. This way of working makes perfect sense to us because we are committed to making a difference whilst staying true to our philosophy; that of creating gorgeous, empowering footwear for discerning, style-led ladies.
Video shot and directed by Andy Evans firstname.lastname@example.org
Risks and challenges
We have relatively small production minimums, but still need to meet these to produce this capsule collection.
We are working with a very reliable, trustworthy manufacturer in Spain who we have used for projects in the past so we are confident that the quality will be of a high standard.
The materials for this project are of high grade quality, sourced from Spain and Italy and are some of the best synthetic material suppliers in the world.
We have just had a whole new website built for us, by one of the UK's leading e-commerce experts, so we are confident that combined with this new SEO & online marketing magic we will have the increased traffic to secure higher conversion rates & more sales!
We have researched and concluded that this new product range will be well received on our website and this collection is what many of our existing customers have been asking for (can you believe that not everyone wants to wear 4 inch heels everyday?!).
Any support you can offer demonstrates to the world the demand for more vegan fashion. The more people that support vegan, ethical fashion, the more retail stores and design houses will take notice and adopt more ethical products and practices into their own lines. This is a growing industry, with ethical fashion slowly but surely being placed firmly on the agenda. But, for its continued growth and survival it needs all of our support.
Mahatma Ghandi phrased it beautifully, encouraging us to become the change we wish to see in the world. We agree this is the most profound approach possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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Thank you for your support
Heather & Natalie
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