We are proud to talk to and welcome one of our newest and eco-conscious fashion brand partners, Koi footwear. An amazing up and coming footwear brand who joined us back in September 2020 to sop climate change. We’ll discuss their culture and history as well as the eco-conscious fashion brand’s projects that they have been involved with. We’ll explain what helped them to decide to partner with us, how the relationship is going and what that eco-conscious project looks like to date.
Eco-conscious fashion brand, Koi Footwear is being anything but coy about the footprints they intend to make in the fashion industry. Youthful, innovative and eco-conscious, Koi Footwear is on a mission to become the coolest vegan brand in the UK. Koi began life over four years ago when CEO and founder Uzair saw a gap in the market. Having worked in women’s fashion since leaving University, he noticed that there was space for a truly eco-conscious brand to operate, and so Koi was born.
Today Koi footwear still stands by those ethics, being 100% vegan, and on a constant mission to achieve a sustainable and generally kinder company, simply because they care. They are ‘PETA-approved’ and like many footwear brands, they don’t own their production facilities. However, their partners have worked with them to ensure vegan-friendly materials are used in all stages of manufacture. The same with the packaging which uses mainly recycled goods, the team hoping to achieve 100% in the near future.
So, so far a fantastic and caring approach by a team that clearly knows the fashion space. The team’s eco-conscious commitment has also been noted in the music industry. Josh Franceschi (‘You Me At Six’) was recently sporting one of the team’s Monarch Men’s Red Split shoes for a new single and video for the band’s song ‘Beautiful Way’. YouTuber-turned-recording artist KSI has also endorsed not one, but two of Koi’s boots. When releasing his new single ‘Really love’ feat. Craig David & Digital Farm animals, his stylist got in touch with Koi directly to plan KSI’s style ahead of the shoot, opting for the team’s Ajax and Cypher Men’s Trail Boots.
Great brand values and celebrity name dropping aside, why are we at One Tribe talking about Koi footwear? Koi Footwear is a new but valued member of the tribe, initiated in September 2020. It all happened quite quickly really. A couple of months before Koi kicked off the partnership with us they had worked with Dean Farm Trust, supporting their sanctuary which is full of rescued animals. A ‘Nettie’ and ‘Bessie’ cow print ‘Mary Janes’ was made available online, the team donating a percentage of all profits made from the printed goods to the farm.
The campaign was a great success. Dean Farm Trust became a happy member of the #koigang and their “12 beautiful boys” were well funded. Koi’s community members were happy to give and be a part of it. However, they wanted to do more with numerous people messaging in ideas. A theme developed around conservation and eco-consciousness with community members wanting something to do with tree planting or schemes protecting large endangered forests. During our initial contact with the Koi team, they distinctly remembered one comment which went a little something like this ‘You guys should plant a tree or something with every order’.
So it was that armed with that feedback and a willingness to act that Koi footwear searched out and found One Tribe. Firstly, they didn’t want to run a one-off fundraising campaign but a long-term partnership where they could do long-term good. They wanted to be able to likewise dedicate a part of the shop and product range to do that good work, a percentage of each product sale going towards the project. And they wanted to see trees in the ground and large areas of forest protected, attributable directly to the funds they had put in. Better yet, they wanted their community members to be a part of any such scheme, understanding what their purchase could achieve.
Within seven days of being inducted into the tribe, Koi launched its climate action campaign. First, they created a specific range of ‘Climate Action’ products named henceforth as – the Planet Protectors range. We then worked with them to pull various content together. One Tribe provided the messaging and KOI vibrant and animated social media posts and stories. We then installed what we call a ‘real-time’ Climate Impact Page supported by a dashboard the team can access. Every targeted product could be tracked, with each sale generating a micro-donation which protects sixty square metres of forest, or fifteen trees.
The dashboard also shows acres protected and what this equates to in terms of CO2 storing. The tracker converts these figures back to the Climate Action page showing a ‘real-time tree counter’ which Koi community members can view at any time. This fulfilled everything that the Koi team needed. They could dedicate parts of the range to the project whilst putting a percentage of each sale generated towards the conservation work. They had traceability in that the page was monitored via the dashboard and now their community could understand and support the cause easily. The fact that they were an established Shopify-based e-commerce partner made the implementation easier, as ‘per transaction’ micro-donations is what the systems have been designed to support.
In just two months, and at the time we wrote this, Koi’s campaign has protected 14,970 trees, equivalent to 59,880 sq. metres, trapping and storing 38.47 tonnes of CO2. We have also worked with them to align their campaign to the UN and its sustainable development goals. Koi’s campaign is actively helping to deal with ‘Goal 1 – Ending poverty in all its forms’, ‘Goal 13 – Taking urgent action to combat climate change’, ‘Goal 15 – Protecting, restoring and promoting sustainability’ and ‘Goal 17 – Participating in the global partnership for sustainable development.’ Koi had already been active with two of these goals, through one of their existing campaigns, ‘Soles-4-Souls’. A partnership with S4S recycling footwear and making it available to those most in need of them.
Aside from doing tangible good and clearly being able to discuss the range and campaign with their customers, the team is pleased with the sales figures of the category. The range is made up of best-sellers and some slow-moving lines, reviewed every few weeks. And those reviews and the overall performance of ‘The Planet Protectors’ range is only set to improve. Neilson reported that 66% of global consumers say they’re willing to pay more for sustainable brands – Up 55% from 2014. 73% of Global Millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings.
We think Koi footwear “are as cool AF” and are immensely proud to be working with them. Following the initial success of the campaign, we are looking forward to working with them long-term. Plyska Genova, the team’s PR and Marketing Manager, and our contact within the team had this to say: “ We created our first climate action campaign with One Tribe in less than a week and our customers love it!
Partnering with Tribe has truly elevated our marketing strategy and aided in incentivizing purchases with new customers. We have had a great response from our customers who are always on the lookout to look good, and do good.” One of Koi footwear’s customers, Nikki, had this to say following a purchase. “I LOVE buying shoes from Koi, they save trees when I order.”
Together we look forward to delivering with Koi the conservation of hundreds of thousands of trees, whilst observing the team’s growth as it pursues its ambition to become the largest and coolest 100% vegan footwear brands in the country. We thank Plyska, and the Koi team for sharing their experience with us, and for being an active member of the tribe. If you wish to read more about how we helped the Koi team check out our Koi Footwear case study.
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