We see this comment from time to time on social media and yes, we know our shoes are more expensive than a lot of kids’ shoes out there.
This is always a difficult subject - but we’ll do our best to explain why!
First of all, we aim high, but we’re also open about not being perfect; we’re on a constant journey to improve every aspect of our business; from the designs and colours, to sustainable materials, construction, durability, repairability, messaging and marketing, supply chain speed and customer service. We have continuous improvement programs to bring you a consistent and delightful supply of the most barefoot, healthy kids shoes for your small people, and the planet. When it comes to prices:
We are (still!) a small independent, family-owned business and our current volume of sales do not allow us to reach economies of scale that allow for cheaper prices. Some companies, funded by private equity and the like, lower prices to gain market share; but we cannot afford to do this and we’re happy to grow Vivo organically, re-investing profits into the growth of the brand.
Kids’ shoes are not much less expensive to make than adults’ shoes, so the costs remain disproportionately high compared to the final selling price – making it, even at our prices today, by far the lowest margin area of the business.
Because of these tighter margins, we try to avoid discounting kids’ shoes: we just can’t afford to create excessive stock to then discount it. Every season we increase our orders, but demand has recently started to really take off – we are working hard to make supply meet demand.
We make our shoes with no (or as little as we can) compromise on quality, ethics or sustainability, and we constantly invest back into these areas.
We source our materials from suppliers who share our philosophy. Take the Wild Hide leather we use, for example, from Pittards, our UK tanning partner. The leather is naturally scarred because the animals have lived a full life out in the wild, feeling the sun on their backs and romping around in the bushes… without a cage in sight.
We invest in research into new, sustainable materials to reduce our landfill footprint. By 2020, we aim to use 90% sustainable materials across our whole product range, focusing on natural, recycled and bio-based materials. For example, the Primus BIO uses plant-based TPU instead of petro-chemical materials and the average pair of Primus Trail Swimrun rescues approximately 17 PET bottles from landfill.
VivoKids shoes are ultra-thin, with as bendy soles as possible. Thin and soft is much harder to manufacture and make durable than bulky and stiff – so we are proud, with the puncture-resistant layer and foot-shaped, non-scuff shapes our shoes often outlive little foot growth!
Ultimately, we aim to provide the very best value to ‘you’ (our customers) creating a premium healthy and sustainable product; good for your kids and the planet. And when we do occasionally fall short, we do all we can to rectify a mistake as soon as possible.
And finally, when making choices about what shoes to buy for you and your family please consider:
Cost-per-wear always makes investing in quality over quantity worthwhile!
Foot health should be a priority, not a compromise – we only get one pair of these beauties!
At Vivobarefoot we are working to expand our current repair service to apply to all shoes, including our kids’ range, as well as launching a circular platform to take back worn out shoes – hopefully for 2019!
Normal, stiff, narrow (and yes, possibly cheaper) shoes ‘mould’ a child’s foot to be shoe-shaped while the shoe itself is scuffed and bulged around that particular child’s foot; VivoKids let feet remain foot-shaped; so our shoes can be handed down without compromising form or function.
We think it’s also worth noting we don’t fall into the marketing gimmick of producing shoes for girls and shoes for boys enticing parents to buy twice – we make shoes for wild, adventurous KIDS!
We believe in swapping with friends, buying second-hand, vintage and from ethical brands, and looking after those hand-me-downs! And please do stay in touch; we love seeing photos of VivoKids shoes still getting great wear from new generations of kids!