We chatted with Fran McKirdy, Co-Founder of Bondi Shoe Club about her business:
Tell us about The Bondi Shoe Club
The Bondi Shoe Club (TBSC) is all about fun, colourful and vegan shoes but our higher purpose is to help contribute to the conservation of Australia’s oceans, which we feel really strongly about. The brand, from its name and logo to style of prints encapsulates the beauty of nature, and we have worked hard to ensure the business is environmentally responsible from the get go.
The idea came about as I’ve always loved wearing vibrant, colourful prints but when I arrived in Sydney and wanted some casual shoes that stood out from the sea of black and white sneakers, I couldn’t find a pair anywhere! My fiancé and I decided to create a shoe that embodied our love of colour and nature, while staying true to my values on animal welfare and environmental conservation.
What motivated you to create completely recyclable shoes?
As huge nature and ocean lovers, one of the most important things to us when starting this journey was to make sure we were a responsible company and leave the world in a better place than we found it. We utilised materials that can be recycled, reused and biodegrade, so they don’t contribute to landfill and can continue their circular journey to make awesome new products.
Tell us about how you selected the designs?
Our ‘Tropical Collection’ is just that. Playful and colourful prints that evoke a tropical holiday feeling all year round. We love the flora and fauna of Australia so hibiscus flowers and cockatoos, for example, really inspired the designs. Also, all our shoes are named after Sydney beaches to add a slice of home to each design.
Which is your favourite TBSC style?
The Freshwater Flamingos are my favourites as they go with everything. But The Bondi Palm Trees are also a close contender; they casually stand out and get a lot of compliments!
How have you made your company vegan compliant and environmentally responsible?
I always loved animals as a kid and as soon I connected them with the food on my plate I became vegan, so this was very important to me. To be vegan compliant you have to make sure there are no animal products or derivatives used in any of the fabrics or materials in the manufacturing process. We’re super proud to be the first shoe brand certified by Vegan Australia who rigorously checked all our materials and processes. All of our packaging is also recyclable or biodegradable.
How does your company give back?
We really want to elevate the purpose of the company to improving not just Australia’s, but the world’s oceans, one pair of shoes at a time. We currently work with the Australian Marine Conservation Society and donate 5% of our profits to the ‘Fight for our Reef’ Campaign. We’re a young company so the plan is to increase our involvement as we grow but in the meantime, we like to be hands-on so are always getting stuck into projects where we can roll up our sleeves and get stuck in. We will also be helping out at the Ocean Lovers Festival next year in Bondi Beach which is a fantastic ocean conservation awareness event, so come down to show your support and say hi!
What do you think is a must-have piece in every woman’s wardrobe?
A pair of The Bondi Shoe Clubs shoes of course! And a good hat to keep the sun off your face!
What do you love most about what you do?
The process of watching ideas become a reality has been really exciting for me, having never created a product before.
Who or what inspires you?
The great outdoors! We are at our happiest getting lost up a mountain, swimming in the ocean or exploring a new part of Australia, so we are inspired to be a driving force to protect and conserve the beautiful world we live in.
Do you have any predictions for the vegan fashion industry?
There is a lot of research and development going into alternative fabrics at the moment; for instance, one of the new kids on the block is Cactus leather so we’re excited to experiment with these new materials. Generally, we expect vegan fashion to become more mainstream as the consumer becomes more environmentally conscious but this will take time, hence we decided to take on this challenge now. In the next 5-10 years, the landscape will look different, and we’re excited to see where it goes.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Lots! We plan to explore different types of recycled and sustainable materials so keep your eyes peeled!
About Bondi Shoe Club
All shoes are priced at $89. The Bondi Shoe Club can be purchased online via: www.thebondishoeclub.com