Sustainability: the revolution that starts with people

There is a lot of talk about the transformations that are affecting the manufacturing sector and, above all, the fashion sector. Currently, the most important issue in all production sectors is that of sustainability, which has been talked about so much in the last week on the occasion of the Fashion Revolution Week, but which, in general, has been in the spotlight for years now. Let's start with its definition: 

"Condition of a development capable of ensuring the satisfaction of the needs of the present generation without compromising the possibility of future generations to realize their own." 

As you can see, it is a complex concept that relates our business to the ecosystem. A single theme that touches on different topics: the extraction of the raw material, its transformation, the waste that the process produces, how and if we are able to dispose of it and respect for people's labor rights. 

It is therefore a long personal and corporate journey, before awareness and then action. No matter what the starting point is, the important thing is to start and strive to understand how much your action will allow future generations to live in balance with the components of the ecosystem. 

Over the years I have collected - and still continue to do so - small pieces of awareness. I want to start telling you about this path from one of the components of sustainability, that is people. 

Do you want to meet our family?  

Sustainability: our choice

The first step towards sustainability does not come only from companies, but is taken together. The choice of those who buy has the power to change things for the better and immediately. The goal is to restore dignity to every single link in the production chain, to create value at each step. 

On the one hand, therefore, we must all learn, as consumers, that our choice is one of the most important components on a global scale and could make a difference by pointing the way to decision makers.

As producers, however, we must take into account a number of factors that contribute to sustainability, even the less obvious ones. 

Being a company, albeit an artisan, we must take into account the needs of the market and the requests that come from our customers, because they are the expression of a growing common awareness.

I'll give you a concrete example: there are many requests from customers, women and men, who ask me for shoes made with materials of non-animal origin. For years I have been doing research to get the result I hope, but there are many doubts: is it enough not to use leather? Is it fair to provide an alternative that is nothing but plastic? Is it right to use a material that derives from a plant, perhaps, but that has traveled hundreds of kilometers to get to me and is intensively cultivated or obtained by deforesting complex forest ecosystems that generate vital services for humans? 

To answer these questions as precisely as possible we need to trace the entire life cycle of the transformation process of the raw material and we are starting to do it. 

There are therefore many aspects on which I have learned to reflect; every day I add a brick to my awareness, not to build a wall but to create the place where I have always dreamed of working and where I hope that those who work with me are happy. 

Because yes, sustainability also involves those who work with you. The narration of the artisans and their work has always been filled with stereotypes, to make a work that has always been considered "low level" more poetic, like all those where you get your hands dirty. 

Today it is the artisans themselves who pick up their story and decide how to tell each other, to give their customers a more faithful image. 

Sustainability is also choose to work together with local collaborators and suppliers, from the youngest, to give space to anyone who wants to get involved and learn our profession, to the older ones who, in recent decades, have been cut off from the games due to the relocation of the big brands. 

That's why I want to start introducing you to who is behind the Venus Slipper, one person at a time, to show you their faces and tell their value. 

Who makes your shoes?

I am always on the front line, by now you already know me! For 12 years I have created the Venus Slipper together with my brother. I should call myself a designer, but in reality I also do a lot more. I take care of designing the collections, choosing materials and combinations, contacting and following suppliers, managing the administrative part. In short, a creative with her feet on the ground. 

There is next to me Gian Luca, my brother. Unlike me, he loves being behind the scenes: he is the hand that makes my every idea concrete, but also the mind with which I compare myself in all the steps. With his experience and the wisdom of the most skilled artisans he makes the shoes that reach your feet. As a child he loved anything that turned or could be disassembled: for this reason, as a child, to the terror of my parents, he slipped his little hands into any machinery there was in the factory! 

Together with us there is Santa Massi, our father. I can say with certainty that this is one of the most stubborn people I have ever met in my life. In that hard head, however, there is much more: there is a refined intelligence, the real one, that they don't teach you at school; there is a boundless curiosity, which has passed on to me without a doubt. And then one thing that has amazed me since I was a child: her ability to do calculations in her head in a split second. While I was taking the calculator, he had already calculated the yield surface of a leather. 

He has a humble soul, loves details, is attentive to everything, he is able to notice what no one sees. Needless to say, he never left the factory where we still work, indeed, for safety, so as not to have to go too far, he also built a house and a vegetable garden next to it! 

Then, there is Angela, my aunt, who is a second mother to me since I was little. Always an edger, she learned this craft at the age of 12, her greatest satisfaction is seeing the perfect shoe polished and well made. She does not hold back in the face of difficulties, she is determined, meticulous, very happy to be part of our project right inside the walls that she built together with my uncle, my father and my mother. There are some models that stimulate her more than others, the more complicated ones. The Giulia, for example: she knows that it is the most difficult that it will take a couple of hours to sew it but the satisfaction in her eyes once finished will be priceless. 

She is Romina, now part of our family. She was our first hiring in 2018, she had already been an employee of the old family business and we knew how responsible and good she was at her craft. Just think that I was doing math repetition to his son who was 12/13 years old at the time, this also makes me feel old! She takes care of the final stage of processing, she takes care of finishing every detail, polishing the shoe and packaging it. He is a sunny, nice and generous person. Francesca and I always report the compliments you send us by email or messages because it makes her particularly proud and proud .. so never stop doing it!

Finally, the youngest! She is Francesca, who has been with us since Giovanni was in my belly! Spring 2019, on this occasion I decided to hire someone who could replace me at least in part in the many tasks that I normally performed. I still remember when she showed up for the interview: simple, beautiful, kind, polite, I immediately placed the trust I needed in her. Francesca takes care of managing orders, updating our e-commerce, resolving any doubts by replying to messages and e-mails and making sure that each shipment is successful. I am happy that he is on a team with us, especially because it is nice to deal with a person 10 years younger than me and confront his mentality… I feel old!

Over the years I have understood that it is the way we do things that makes them so precious, which is why I think the value of everything we do is contained in these faces, in this family that I hope will continue to grow.