VEJA. The Brand YOU NEED To Know About.
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She is VEJA, VEJA, VEJA 🎶
Why is this sustainable brand so interesting?
Let me tell why this brand is so interesting, this brand started in 2003 when the founders of Veja where working on an audit for a factory that was making garments for a French brand. At that time, Veja didn’t exist. But the founders of VEJA spent some time with the garment workers. While spending time with them, the working conditions seemed great, except the only thing that drew their attention was that the workers looked very tired and pale.
That was when they asked the factory to show them the section where the workers lived.
Why does workers live there?
In countries like China and India, they have to leave their villas so they can go to the big cities and find work. It’s not like our cities or a bigger city where people go to work and head back home after their work shift.
It’s completely different, because distances are very long. That’s why some factories provide a place to stay and sleep for their workers. But sadly, in many factories around the world, the working and living conditions are quite bad! For example, in this situation. It was like 25 square meters for 35 people. 35 people that where literally living on top of each other in bunk beds and there was a hole which served as the bathroom and the shower.
This is where VEJA founders found out that globalization was going the wrong way. People who are making our clothes where living under inhumane conditions.
Sustainable Talks Since 2003
Since 2003, many brands where starting to talk about sustainability and all of this, but in reality, it was more noise that actions. Like greenwashing, which I explain in this video, (I’ll leave the link here)
After all this, the founders of Veja started working with ALTHER ECO which was the first FAIR TRADE brand who sold orange juice, tea, coffee and rice. They audited the cooperatives with whom they worked. They realized how fair business makes a difference because; it IMPROVES THE ECONOMY, and everything is more balanced. This is when they went back to Paris and instead of searching online for sustainable brands they decided to create one. A brand that basically would create one of the most used pieces of our generation. Tennis shoes, because we wear them with dresses, suits and of course to work out.
This is Where Veja Was Born
When they saw that this way of doing business was possible, they created VEJA. A brand where they could create one of the most representative products of our decade. Sneakers!!! but at the same time sneakers are one the most interesting products at an economic level. Because, 70% of this type of shoe cost usually go to promotion and marketing and the other 30% go to raw materials, production and labor.
This is where VEJA founders decided to eliminate the cost of promotion and marketing so they could use the 70% for production and labor.
They created a sneaker that would respect a fair economy and the ecosystem by simply removing that % .This is where this brand started making a change. A positive change in the environment…
This is when they traveled to Brazil. Why Brazil? Well, Brazil is well known for their manufacturing industry and labor. At the same time, they have the resources to develop raw materials. Those factories also protect workers rights and are environmentally conscious.
While in Brazil, they were headed for the Amazon rainforest (specifically in the seringueiros,) where people live in and from the jungle. Instead of destroying it and cutting down trees, they live in harmony with it. They harvest rubber from the rubber tree, which basically becomes the cornerstone for their shoes. This is 40% of the shoe sole.
Then they traveled to the northeast of Brazil in a super arid zone, where it’s quite hard to grow something. But in this area is where organic cotton is harvested. Veja founders arrived with a cooperative of 35 local producers which produce organic cotton which doesn’t use pesticides or chemicals.
More than an organic cotton, this is an agro-ecological cotton. The difference between conventional agriculture is the use of chemicals that tend to damage the soil. But in brazil, the principles behind agro-ecology is that it tends to improve and enrich the soil after the harvest instead of damaging it.
This is when they decided that this material would become the top of their tennis shoes. They bought this cotton with an agreement of fair trade principles. They paid for the cotton crop at a price set for a three-year contract. Basically, the people who grow the cotton seed already know how much they’re going to sell the kilo for.
Fair Trade Principles
Personally, I find that very interesting because I think that the most vulnerable parts or the people at the beginning in the supply chain are always most affected for various reasons. Either the crop did not come in, or the buyer hasn’t paid them, they take longer to pay and sometimes don’t get paid at all. I find it super interesting and great that the main parts of the production are protected in this way.
Then they went to PORTO ALEGRE, where the shoe factories are located & where 82% of workers are part of a union. If you haven’t read that article about “sustainable development goals” I’ll leave the link HERE which is basically one of the established goals for 2030.
By that time, they already had the suppliers of raw materials, rubber for the sole of the shoe, organic cotton for the upper part of the shoe.
Back in Paris
They went back to Paris and met with a social integration organization which later became logistics providers. They take care of receiving materials & run the website to send shoes around the world.
A few years later they launched leather shoes, but it’s not traditional leather. This leather is treated with a vegan process and another material called B-mesh. It’s basically a material made out of plastic bottles. These bottles are shredded & a fiber is created in order to create the fabric.
Main Purpose of VEJA
The main purpose of VEJA is to connect great projects with each other. Besides the fact that they sell all over the world, it’s a brand that is so involved in fashion, agriculture, fair trade, design among others. But one of the most important things is transparency. You may already know, but I’ve been talking about this for years now. I’ll leave the link HERE, so you can know more about it.
Another interesting thing about this brand, is the meaning of the name “VEJA” which is a Portuguese word meaning “see” . But through the eyes of the founders, it means seeing through your shoes. Knowing what is behind the process of these shoes. –Honestly aligns very much with my values ❤️read HERE why —
Obviously, like all brands, no one is perfect. No one is perfect and as I mentioned earlier, sustainability is a highly progressive process and it’s difficult to find a brand that is 100% sustainable.Simply knowing that a brand is making an effort to make a positive impact on society and the environment is very recognizable.
That’s why in 2009 they also started to publish the errors and limitations they had as any other business. This was to recognize their mistakes and to have a bigger push & to improve their transparency. It costs 5 to 7 times more to make a VEJA shoe since the raw material for this product is more expensive, more environmentally friendly and is ultimately a raw material that is paid under the fair trade regime.
In conclusion, for me VEJA is a brand that is making a positive change within the fashion industry and society. It helps people to reintegrate socially, it helps people who work in agriculture, people who work in manufacturing & is helping to create consumer awareness.
Would I Recommend Veja?
I’ll tell you… totally!!! In addition to everything I already mentioned. They are super comfortable, stylish and timeless. I bought these white ones, because it goes with absolutely everything!
I also bought a pair for Ricardo. Just so you know!!!! Ricardo is the hardest person to buy things for, because he doesn’t care about any of that, but he’s happy with his white sneakers.And I also feel happy to know I’m making better purchasing decisions 🤗
Anyway, this all for today. Thank you for being here with me for a few minutes. If you find this brand and all of this information interesting, please share so more people can know about it. I’d love to hear your comments bellow ❤️
Source of Information VEJA site. You can visit their website HERE