Got a hot sec for some stylish sandals that are also eco-friendly and locally produced? Introducing Sundals, an online store that ticks off all the requirements of the ultimate summer shoe. They'll win you over with their cute pairs that don't just care for the environment but also promote local craftsmanship.
Below, we got to chat with Sundals' co-founder Evan Marie. Read on as she shares with us their brand's two-pronged vision of producing environment-friendly footwear and promoting Filipino-made products—one cute shoe at a time!
What is the concept behind Sundals? Where did the name come from?
"Sundals is the result of our collaboration with local craftsmen all over the Philippines. We aim to promote locally handcrafted footwear mostly made of indigenous and eco-friendly materials.
"Sundals is literally sandals made for the tropical weather like what we have in the Philippines. It’s pretty simple and a no-brainer. We want our clients to easily identify us by just reading our brand name."
Rio sandals, P499
How did you start your business? Could you tell us something about yourselves?
"We are officemates turned couple and business partners. As we plan our future together, we realized we had to prepare for it by investing in a business. We thought of several business ideas and finally pursued social entrepreneurship.
"Sundals is actually a thesis project turned into reality. We decided to pursue this vision to produce locally handcrafted footwear by collaborating with different communities, cooperatives, and micro entrepreneurs around the country and making it available online."
Sol slip-on sandals, P649
Who designs your pieces? Please describe your overall aesthetic.
"Our designs are a collaborative effort between us and our suppliers. Our suppliers have their own patterns and we customize them according to our branding and other specifications such as the use of eco-friendly materials. Overall, we want our products to be simple and stylish but also very comfortable and affordable."
Raya abaca sandals, P699
What kind of materials do you use in producing your items? Where and how do you manufacture the shoes?
"As much as possible, we try to source eco-friendly raw materials that are available in the Philippines. Our first collection was made of abaca. The second one is made of recycled sako. We have different partner communities from the south such as Laguna, Bicol, and Cebu, where we connect with micro enterprise or cooperatives to develop a product line with them."
What made you decide to pursue these materials and production route?
"Producing locally handcrafted products is actually more challenging and costly compared to just importing products. The raw materials are very hard to find. Most of our suppliers cannot be found online since some of them are even in the outskirts of Metro Manila and some are at the foot of the mountain. However, this makes the products more unique and very rich with our culture. This also helps in keeping local craftsmen and their families with decent and stable employment."
Sasa espadrilles, P699
Who do you have in mind wearing your pieces? Describe the ideal Sundals girl.
"We [call] our ideal Sundal girls our Sun Dolls. We imagine [them] to be an island or tropical girl enjoying nature and the time of her life. Stylish, but at the same time wants to be that lazy girl wearing a very comfy pair of shoes."
Sari sandals, P699
What are your brand's greatest strengths? What sets you apart from other stores?
"We don’t just focus on style but we also give importance to the comfort of every pair we make. It has been our pride to be receiving feedback from our clients who really enjoyed their Sundals especially on long walks. Most importantly, our price points are very competitive. They are very affordable and won't break the bank.
"Lastly, our terms are very customer-friendly, we have multiple payment channels including COD (via Lazada) and our returns and exchange are actually done in no time. As long as we receive the item back in perfect condition, we won’t have any problems with the transaction."
Mahalia platform wedges, P749
What about its weaknesses? How are you able to overcome these?
"Since our products are all handcrafted, there would always be inconsistencies with the pattern but all products pass through [quality assessment] to ensure that all products meet a certain standard. However, this actually makes it more special knowing that every pair we produce is a local craftsman’s masterpiece."
Sur sandals, P499
Where do you see your brand in the coming years? What should we expect from Sundals in the future?
"Sundals continues to advocate the love for local products by expanding its product lines to bags and accessories. We continue to discover new communities with unique product offerings to offer to our local market. As social entrepreneurs, our goal is not only to gain more market share but also for these communities to grow with us. After all, we will not exist if not for them."