March’s – ‘The Sustainability Issue’ – Download Now

Marta Llaquet, Elizabeth Sabin and Damian Augustyniak are the co-founders of SAYE. We find out what it takes to deliver a new sneaker brand successfully to market and to power change in terms of ecological footprint and production.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

ML: My day begins with mindfulness meditation practices to let go of any negativity and begin the day on a positive note. I then prepare a cup of coffee and begin delving into the tasks that lay ahead for the day.

SAYE footwear

What was the inspiration for launching SAYE and how did it culminate that you all came together?

ML: We aimed to launch a sneaker that gave back to the planet. That’s why we plant two trees for each sale, and we use vegan, recycled and bio-based materials to ensure that the environment is protected during the production process.

Saye founders

Can you explain what a biodegradability sneaker is and how the production differs from usual?

ML: SAYE sneakers are made from bio-based materials such as corn, rice, mango, cactus and bamboo. These types of materials come from natural resources and focus on the concept of “Made Responsibly”. Each pair is designed with sustainable and left-over materials that focus on the concept of upcycled sneakers.

Design and sustainability are both key elements for SAYE – was this conscious form the outset?

ML: Yes, from the beginning we have tried to create a brand that empowers sustainable values. The brand plants two trees for every pair of sneakers, thereby giving back to the environment, to ensure our carbon footprint is minimized.

Have you always planned to be a part of the fight against deforestation?

ML: Yes, we’ve always planted two trees for each sale. Currently, SAYE has planted more than 200,000 trees worldwide.

Saye founders

You use ecological yarns and natural dyes. How hard was it to implement this in the creative process?

ML: Using ecological yarns and natural dyes is frankly one of the biggest challenges we’ve had. Suppliers that use this production technique are very scarce and since the dye is made without chemicals, the color palette is limited.

You use unique materials such as vegan cactus and mango. How was this a challenge to incorporate in the design?

ML: These are very innovative materials, and their performance has not been tested as long as traditional materials have been used. Especially in the footwear industry, it becomes a challenge to incorporate such elements into the design process.

The packaging for SAYE is also sustainable – how challenging was it to get this right?

ML: Yes, we use a plastic-free and fully biodegradable bag. It wouldn’t be coherent to use the plastic bag that the courier provides.

You have global clients – do you see trends in buying patterns as a brand?

ML: Yes, from the beginning our main markets have been located in Central Europe. This target market specifically focuses on the use of sustainable and high-quality products, making it the region with our top sales.

At SAYE you promote an ethical work environment- tell us more?

ML: We produce in European certified factories that respect workers’ rights, shifts and protect them. At the SAYE office, out of the 20 team members, 70 percent are women.

This is ‘The Sustainability Issue’ – how are you personally and professionally contributing to a more sustainable way of living?

ML: Apart from offering vegan and sustainable sneakers as a brand, we try to transmit this value to the team members. On the one hand, we try to be eco-friendly at the office, and on the other hand we organize team building activities that revolve around this value, for instance, a plastic collection at the Barcelona beach.

March’s – ‘The Sustainability Issue’ – Download Now

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