How this brand brings ethical and sustainable values to skate culture
Consumers – and their spending power to support their values – can push companies to be more sustainable and socially responsible. But research has shown that it is a cognitive challenge for consumers to judge objects that embody multiple purposes, and people therefore find it difficult to simultaneously evaluate the social mission of brands and other objectives such as quality or price. As a result, there are not yet many brands that have successfully created a social impact value proposition that affects consumers’ willingness to purchase their product.
A new company trying to overcome these obstacles is cariuma, a skateboarding footwear brand focused on creating positivity in youth culture and the skate scene by leading by example, showing that it’s cool to care about people and our planet and at the same time provide high quality products. In 2021, not only was the company recognized as a B-Corp Best for the World™, making it one of the top 10% certified companies for environmental performance, but their shoes were also worn by skaters at the Games. Tokyo Olympics, demonstrating their performance characteristics. .
David Python, co-founder and CEO of Cariuma, recently told me how the brand focuses on “ethics meets aesthetics” by delivering cool style with a serious heart in a way that has never been before. done before.
Additionally, I learned that one issue the brand is committed to is reforestation. This is a special and very personal project for the company as the co-founders, David and Fernando Porto, were both born and raised in Brazil. Python told me that from their earliest memories – living in and near coastal towns, where the rainforest and the ocean meet – an emotional connection and concern for the natural world was fostered: “Reforestation is the how we translate our mission into action and good memories for the future”. More specifically, the company works closely with CEPAN, a Brazilian NGO specializing in ecological restoration. At each stage of the reforestation process, CEPAN’s expertise and local roots facilitate a collaborative working relationship with indigenous communities.
As part of my goal-oriented business researchI recently chatted with David to better understand why he co-founded the company, the company’s unique vision and what they have in store for us in 2022.
Christopher Marquis: How has your experience in corporate footwear shaped your vision of Cariuma?
David Python: The experience we had helped a lot! We wanted to build something that would kind of be the opposite of what we had seen in the industry so far. It helped me get closer to Fernando, to begin with. We decided to do things in a different way than the industry, and that motivated us because we knew we could do it if we were together. We have over 30 years of combined experience in the footwear industry, so we’ve seen how the industry works from the inside. And we wanted to create a company and a brand that would respect people and the planet
Marquis: I see that a big part of the brand’s mission now is to bring its presence to skate shops internationally – to bring sustainable and ethical values to more skaters across their local communities. Can you tell us a bit more about why this is so important to you?
Python: Skateshops are one of the cornerstones of skate culture. For us, being in skate shops is also a validation of what we stand for, it means for us that our vision of combining sustainability, positivity and skateboarding is more than a possibility, it’s a reality. We have a deep admiration for skate shop owners and their contribution, and every skater not only knows the shop they get their stuff from, but very often the names of all the people who work there. So this connection that stores have with skateboarders and kids is something that we really appreciate, and for us it’s an honor to be chosen to be present on their shelves.
Marquis: Tell us a bit about your skate team and what makes it unique? I understand that you are the first B-Corp to have products worn by Olympic Games medalists!
Python: Our number one value in the business is “we start with who”, it’s not just how we run Cariuma but also how we build our brand. It is fundamental for us to be with people whom we admire and who we share values, this is true from the people we recruit, to the factories we work with, to of course the skate and surf teams we let’s build. We are very happy to see how the team members individually represent what Cariuma represents, in their everyday life, but also when they are together on tour or in competition. The Cariuma skate and surf teams are filled with people who want to make our planet a better place in their own way (and of course, they are amazing skaters and surfers!). Our goal is for all of us to feel challenged to be better and to do good, but also to feel that we are in a safe environment where we can be ourselves. For us, it’s amazing that a company that is B-Corp accredited and adopts the highest sustainability standards can also create products and have incredible people on the team performing at the highest level. in the world. It is possible, and we are here to prove it!
Marquis: The Cariua team has said that becoming a B Corp has been a goal for the brand since day one, can you tell us a bit about your journey here and starting Cariuma and your a-ha moment ?
Python: The story is that Fernando and I chose each other before choosing which business to start or which product to create. Cariuma is the result of the two of us wanting to do something better with our lives. We knew we wanted to become business partners and create a brand that we would both be very proud of.
This came from the pain and disappointments of our previous experiences in the fashion and footwear industry, we had left our management positions and wanted to work in a great company and with great people, so we decided to create one! Our a-ha moment was in the Chilean Andes. We went snowboarding with our wives there and came back and decided to join forces.
From this mindset and personal goals, it becomes clear why achieving B-Corp accreditation was a no-brainer for us from the start. Becoming a Certified B Corp means we adhere to the highest sustainability standards and involves extensive auditing of everything the company does. Every process is checked and audited, from supply chain management to governance, internal policies and people practices. We saw accreditation not only as a way for us to check where we were and improve, but also as a way to provide proof to our community.
Marquis: Cariuma is the very first skate shoe brand to become a B-Corp. Why was getting this certification important to you?
Python: Certification is important to us in many ways, and being the number one skate shoe brand is one of them. Cariuma is about bringing positivity to the world, doing good, and respecting people and the planet – that’s one of our contributions to skateboarding, which is especially dear to Fernando (my co-founder) as skateboarder from an early age. I find it important to show that being a responsible company and adhering to the highest sustainability standards does not mean giving up anything. We show you can earn B-Corp accreditation and have a durable, high-performance skate shoe that’s worn by Olympic skateboarding medalists, many of the top street skaters, and SLS Super Crown World Champions. . We hope to inspire others to launch other new brands, and eventually, inspire larger companies in our industry to make more meaningful changes.
Marquis: What other plans do you have for expansion in 2022?
Python: There are so many exciting things for us for 2022. We just launched our CATIBA Pro (our pro skateboard sneaker) in September 2020 and until then we only have these two styles for skateboarding and a total of five styles in the whole company! While this aligns with our product strategy of only creating durable and timeless styles, there is still plenty to do and some exciting styles to launch that are already in the oven. Also, we are expanding into apparel as we received many requests after our team members started wearing our apparel.
Additionally, there are two very exciting things online for 2022 worth mentioning. First of all we will be at the best skate shops in the world, I just got back from a trip where I visited 11 countries in a month and had the chance to talk to so many shop owners and great business partners in so many places, and I’m very excited about the energy there. Especially in a time when big brands don’t pay much attention to skate and surf shops, we’re proud to say that serving them is at the heart of what we do and the contribution we want to make.
Finally, it is also worth mentioning how much we are expanding our reforestation project. We have a big program in Brazil that involves rebuilding native forests, and it’s a huge effort far beyond just the tree planting site that we communicate directly to customers. We promote biodiversity and expand a program beyond one million trees while connecting and collaborating with Brazil’s indigenous peoples. We are very proud of it and it has a special meaning for me personally, as a direct descendant of natives of Brazil.