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New Generation: Pedro and Daniel from Wayz

Pedro has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the Faculty of Economics in Porto. Daniel has a bachelor’s degree in Product Design from ESAD. They met at a Footwear Design course and quickly realized they’re equally passionate about sneakers. In 2018, they created Wayz, a brand with strong environmental concerns.

www.wayzforlife.com

How did this project emerge?
Me and Daniel met in 2017, on a Footwear Design course at Lisbon School of Design here in Porto. We realized we had the passion for sneakers in common and that we shared the same dream of creating a Portuguese sneakers brand. That’s when we started working on it. We did research for a year, looking for materials, working on the brands’ identity and concept, and designing our first collection, which has four models. By the end of 2018, we had our prototypes ready.
From the beginning, our idea was to launch the brand through a crowdfunding campaign. Thus, in May 2019, we launched our campaign on Indiegogo, where we sold approximately 200 pairs per month. By the end of 2019, we launched our online store and also started to sell at stores in Porto and Lisbon.

How does Wayz distinguish itself?
Our differentiation is on our mission: make sneakers that are ethically produced, with timeless design, durable and with a fair price.
Our products have a high value/price (production quality and eco-friendly materials) ratio when compared to our competitors. Therefore, we believe we established a fair price.
Other differentiation aspect is our ethical production, which nowadays is extremely important, with the consumers being increasingly aware of the products they buy (what are the materials, where was it made, how, and by whom, etc.). To us, being ethical means working with Environmental Responsibility (local production, high quality and eco-friendly products), Transparency (we show our whole production process, the cost of our products and our growth strategy) and Social Responsibility (being able to give back to society, in our case, we decided to support the homeless in Porto, by giving 1% of our sales to SAOM, a solidarity institution that works with disadvantaged groups).
And last but not least, our timeless, versatile, genderless and seasonless design, which allows the use of Wayz all year round and in different situation (formal and informal). We also don’t have collections; we have four models that serve as a base and, then, we propose small production batches throughout the years in different colors.

What have been the main challenges in this process?
When we started, in 2018, our main challenge was the difficulty in finding eco-friendly materials (recycled and biodegradable) at accessible prices and that we could order in small amounts. At that time, the industry looked differently at these materials. However, in 2019, that changed and the use of these materials became increasingly normal. This is great for both manufacturers and customers, as it’s possible to find more alternatives at more accessible prices. Sustainability isn’t just a fashionable topic anymore, it’s something that is here to stay.

In your opinion, what does the new generation of entrepreneurs has to offer to the sector?
I believe it’s important for the footwear sector to renew. Renew the people that come from the sector and continue the family businesses, but also those who come from outside the sector, that have other knowledge and experiences that equally important. This new generation is creating new brands and that’s essential. We have to promote an image of “great footwear manufacturers” to the brand and products creators and adapt ourselves to the current customers’ demands in order to reach international markets. Only that way we’ll bring more added value to the sector’s companies, which will be crucial for its growth and modernization. Although it’s not an easy and quick process, I believe we’re in the right path.

What piece of advice would you give to a youngster who is entering the industry?
Without a doubt, surround yourself with the right people and find good partners (factories and suppliers), in order to build the project in a sustainable way.
Besides that, have patience and resilience. The path to success is made step by step and is not, at all, a straight line.


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