27 Nov Impact Story – KIBO: From Edible to Wearable – Apple Kicks
“KIBO” – instilling new life & hope
KIBO was born with a mission to give waste new hope and life second chances. KIBO, means ‘hope’ in Japanese, and brings a new promise to create a pair of sneakers that are ‘Kind to the planet & kind to your feet.’ The brand uses repurposed materials such as leather trimmings from factories, recycled post-consumer plastic waste that were destined for the landfills, and most recently, faux leather derived from apple waste.
Apple Kicks: The Mika
The Apple Kicks collection, features apple “leather”, which is a sustainable material made from apple pomace; a plant-based and renewable resource that comes from the apple-waste produced by the juicing industry. KIBO is renowned for its product comfort and quality, and the Apple Kicks collection takes it to a new level. The shoe is crafted meticulously, combining supple apple “leather” with recycled mesh made from plastic bottles for extra breathability, a thicker lightweight outsole for added comfort and durability, and of course it comes with the iconic orthopedic footbed for ultimate support.
Custom Kicks & Omnichanneling
KIBO is the first in the market to offer customization services where customers can truly create their unique pair of “Guilt Free Kicks”. As a part of the brands’ DNA, KIBO infuses art into their shoes by collaborating with artists around the globe to create “Sustainable Wearable Art”. They strive to bring out innovations through all dimensions, from renewable materials to partnerships, all from a pair of simple white kicks.
KIBO x Grace Ciao Limited Edition
Through an omnichannel strategy, KIBO expanded from a D2C brand to partnering with fashion boutiques and popup stores to reach their fashion-forward audience.
KIBO’s Pop Up Store – Popcorn at Tseung Kwan O
Light Treads: the first ESG-centric industrial work-shoes
Through KIBO’s expansion, they have recently launched a new product line, Light Treads, designed for frontline workers who are on their feet for prolong hours. Positioned as a part of the staff’s uniform, the shoes have global certifications on slip & oil resistance to protect workers from injuries. They launched this with 5-star hotel groups, and have aggressive plans to expand sectors such as retail and healthcare.
Light Treads workwear
In addition to eco-friendly materials, the company have also embraced the “social” aspects to enhance employees’ health and wellbeing; the first player to combine Sustainability, safety and style here in Asia.
They take, they give back
Growing up in Australia, Natalie has always had a deep respect for the nature and believes we all have a responsibility to preserve for our next generation.
“Hong Kong, sadly, encourages instant gratifications; quick, easy, convenient, without giving much thought about the consequences” – says Natalie. As a mother of two, she truly believes being a global citizen should stem from education and eventually evolving into a lifestyle. She would often bring her boys to connect with the nature, and allow them to appreciate and respect what mother earth has given us.
Bridging the gender gap – female sneakerhead
Natalie Chow, sneaker inspection at the factory
Whilst almost all sneaker brands were founded by men, KIBO is founded, led and designed by women. The sneaker industry have been dominated by men, with predominantly male-skewed styles and silhouettes. KIBO, on the other hand, designed with a strong sense of equality in mind, which no wonder is supported by a strong female community.
In addition to using sustainable materials, Natalie is also an advocate for equality and transparency. KIBO sold supports an NGO, Compassion First, that fights against human-trafficking. A portion of all proceeds of the company is donated to this meaningful cause, where she believes that every customer should take part of the journey together.
"Never underestimate the power of small acts of kindness." Although KIBO shoes are lightweight, each pair carries immense hope and values the importance of life. Every small act of kindness accumulates strength and embellishes the colors of the future.
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