Hawthorne, CA– While the World Cup is drawing attention to Brazil from millions of soccer fans around the globe, Cynthia Tello, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur, is thinking about Brazil in another light.
Tello is thinking about long-term environmental impacts.
She is working with Brazilian manufacturers to develop the world’s first line of sustainable footwear. Called Joya da Terra, this handmade sandal is made of all-natural materials and the production process focuses on zero waste, recycling and sustainable manufacturing.
Tello goes on to say, “not only do we have our unique handmade sandals (aka ‘flip-flops’), but we also have ‘our take on the TOMS shoe.’ All these styles are unisex!”
The coconut fiber insole (“foot mattress”) has natural anti-bacterial agents, which are coated with a layer of natural latex that molds to the feet as the shoe is worn.
All textiles are made from recycled plastic and the production process uses 100 percent water-based adhesives to protect the health of employees while also minimizing the carbon footprint.
“The mainstream footwear industry predominantly uses petroleum-based products that are cheap to manufacture but are often unsustainable,” explained Tello.
In addition, Tello pointed out that this type of business model can be duplicated in many other countries that harvest coconuts, like the Philippines, India and Indonesia.
Since each piece of footwear is handmade and this concept is somewhat revolutionary, the initial start-up costs are steep. Tello estimates that she’ll need $50,000 to get the product line up and running.
“Although Brazil is realizing tremendous income from World Cup soccer, the country is at a very delicate stage from an ecological standpoint,” said Tello. “Millions of tourists are visiting the country and leaving their environmental ‘footprints.’ Many of the hosting cities have no recycling and poor sanitation capabilities.
“By giving a new value to these so-called ‘waste’ materials, we are introducing a new business model that would create safe, toxic-free jobs and encourage local governments to promote recycling.”