GUIDING OUR APPROACH
In everyday life we like to laugh, lots and lots of laughs, but when it comes to Nomasei's core values, our lightness gives way to the seriousness required to make a positive impact.
In creating Nomasei, we took the risk of abandoning our secure careers in large luxury houses in order to commit ourselves to bringing meaning back to our business by offering a responsible and sustainable alternative, as well as responding to our generation's need for meaning and change .
As proof of this, we present here, in complete transparency, the values, objectives andcommitments that guide our approach on a daily basis.
To build this new ecosystem, we rely on 5 pillars.
Paule and Marine
PILLAR I - a luxury and responsible product
Our raison d'être is to offer a quality product, at a fair price, sustainable, with a controlled environmental and human impact. To give ourselves the means to achieve our ambition, we have given shares of Nomasei to our manufacturer in order to include its know-how in our value chain. This means that we control what we produce and how we produce it.
We work with restraint, quality and simplicity, and our products must necessarily meet two principles: a sense of responsibility and sustainability. Design and commitment now go hand in hand.
In the fashion industry, the garment part is often the most opaque element and the one that raises the most questions about its integrity. Our manufacturer not only shares our values of human and environmental respect, but also has a great deal of expertise.
Located in the village of Montopoli in Tuscany, founded about twenty years ago by two friends and today managed by the 3 sons of the founders, the factory has about forty employees.
Its approach is already exemplary thanks to various elements such as :
The questioning of processes to be ever more virtuous. The use of clean materials such as solvent-free glue. The relationships of trust, fairness and respect they maintain with their employees The network of small family businesses they have built and with which they share the same values.
Work to be completed by the end of 2021 will make production even more sustainable and further improve working conditions.
These new facilities are based on, for example, :
1 / Water regulation by means of a rainwater recovery system and the installation of a water cooling system in the production and handling area. This last element considerably improves the working conditions of the workers thanks to a climatic comfort reduced by 8°C in the production area.
2 / The installation of installations in order to reduce energy consumption notably through the self-production of electricity (45Kw) equal to about 45% of the total need, thanks to the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof (100% of the surface used).
3/ The use of recycled and ecologically efficient materials: the frames of the outdoor structures will be made of fully recycled aluminium, and the artificial lights in the production area will be LED systems with minimal impact on energy consumption.
In order to meet our criteria of transparency, fair prices and respect for our customers, we do not outsource any operation carried out on our shoes: everything - from cutting the leather to assembling the shoe - is done in Tuscany at a maximum distance of 55km from the factory. As a result, we create a virtuous, resilient, fairer and more sustainable ecosystem. This proximity also allows us to make these partners aware of their environmental and human impact by fully integrating them into the project.
Our packaging, like each of the components of our products, has been selected according to strict rules:
-The manufacturer is located 40km from our factory. It's an old family business that makes each box by hand.
-It does not contain any plastic components.
-Our pouches are made of GOTS certified organic cotton.
-Each box is made of recycled cardboard made from cardboard cup waste.
-They contain very few glues and inks, which makes them easy to recycle.
COTTON : Our cotton is organic and GOTS certified.
LEATHER: We choose our leathers initially for their aesthetic qualities and comfort but also and above all because they meet ethical and sustainable imperatives.
In our approach to offer a product that lasts, our leathers are of very high quality and come from tanneries that we know personally after thirty years of cumulative experience.
Thus, we know where the animals raised to produce these hides came from, what processes were used in the tannery, and under what conditions these tanneries are managed.
All our leathers are Reach certified. Some tanneries that are large structures, hold certifications (Eco-leather certification, leather traceability certification...) or are part of the Leather Working Group; others, too small to afford the certifications, meet a series of criteria provided to us by experts:
-Do they know the country of origin of the skin? Can they prove it?
-Do they have a chemical management system? Do they audit and test the chemicals they buy?
-Do they provide workers with proper training on how to use chemicals safely?
Only if their answers are satisfactory do we agree to work with them.
vegetable leather, metal free leather
Much is said about "ethical" leathers and in particular many claim vegetable-tanned leather to be the most ethical because its tanning process is made from vegetable tannins from plants.
It is true that vegetable-tanned leather can be a more virtuous option, but it is not the only one, and above all it is not suitable for all products and especially for footwear because it is drier, thicker and rougher.
We therefore prefer the alternative of leather called "Metal Free". This means that no metal is used for tanning. No chromium 3, no chromium 6 or any other metal or chemical process, but a synthetic process. The disadvantage of this type of tanning, as with vegetable-tanned leather, is that it uses more water. However, since this water is much less polluted than with traditional tanning, tanneries are now able to reuse it, thus creating a closed circuit.
That is why this is the best option for us to date, both from an ecological point of view and for the flexibility, colour depth and roundness of the hand that it provides.
why not make vegan leather?
Many people have asked us why we don't use Vegan leather when we claim to be a sustainable brand.
The answer revolves around 3 points:
1/ Vegan leather is not a long term sustainable alternative. Firstly because in 90% of cases it is made from materials derived from plastic and petrol, which makes it a synthetic material that does not age well over time.
Even leathers made from pineapple or apple fibres contain plastic in the form of micro-particles.
Replacing leather with petroleum-based materials does not seem to us to be an ecological solution.
2/ We are well aware that leather is not perfect, but there is also a reason why this material has been used for thousands of years to make durable quality products. Today, it is still the most suitable material, at least for shoes, because beautiful leather, if well maintained, improves over time and can last for decades.
3/ Vegan leather is not suitable for footwear. A shoe needs to breathe because feet tend to sweat during the day. However, because vegan leather is chemical and plastic-based, it is waterproof and the foot does not breathe normally, sweats and ends up hurting. This is why leather, a natural material, remains the most suitable.
Against the frenetic pace of fashion to which even the big houses have now submitted, we choose a slower pace that respects the constraints of our product.
This allows us to give each piece the attention and care it deserves.
Our creative process works organically, but above all it is based on several fundamental elements.
1/ we work hand in hand with the manufacturer from the first drafts to understand the technical feasibility and thus optimize our time and means.
2/ our product must have a usefulness, a function and be aesthetically and qualitatively durable to be timeless.
3/ we don't choose between design and commitment. Design is the most important element because our primary role is to make something beautiful, but above all we must do it well and respect our ethical commitments. If they cannot be respected, then the project is abandoned or postponed until we find the right way to do it.
We also ask ourselves several questions such as: do I really need this model? Why should I develop this subject rather than another? Doing less to do better and wasting less is the principle that guides us every day.
4/ we take all the time we need and don't rush anything. A shoe requires on average 80 operations, from the carved wooden last to the boxing. We take much more time to design our shoes than other major brands. The attention we pay to each step of the manufacturing process is extreme and uncompromising.
5/ We are our first customers and consumers and probably the most demanding. As long as the product does not fully satisfy us, we continue to refine it.
PILLAR II - Transparency
Committing to a sustainable and responsible project that reshapes the industry means being anchored in reality, knowing its weaknesses and strengths, and taking responsibility for them in order to correct them. To be in a perpetual state of self-questioning, to take responsibility and assume it, in all transparency.
All our decisions, doubts and progress are shared with our internal collaborators and our customers. And as much as possible, we rely on tangible figures and data to meet this commitment.
Reducing and controlling carbon emissions is THE main challenge in the face of global warming, and is therefore part of our approach. But we strongly believe that offsetting is only relevant if the business model is already virtuous and minimizes its impact. Offsetting at all costs while remaining within a productivist model of expansion makes no sense to us.
Today : we can claim to be a Low Carbon company because we minimize our emissions as much as possible:
By producing locally: all our components are produced about 40km around the factory and 90% of our raw materials come from Europe (Italy, France, Holland).
We're being frugal. We only develop what we absolutely believe in. And we have a development philosophy of only creating products that we know will last a long time.
We recycle our waste, minimize our transportation. We are in an economy of means all along the chain. "Less is more.
Tomorrow : We are a low carbon company but we produce in Italy and ship worldwide, living in an open economy. So our carbon footprint is very real and we will strive to offset it.
Naively, we thought that in 6 months we would succeed. But the importance of the subject is such that we cannot simply put a "carbon neutral" label on our shoes until we have found the most optimal solution for this compensation.
our limits and search for improvement
LIFE CYCLE: our ultimate project beyond offsetting is to be able to fully control the life cycle of our products.
The recycling of our shoes is not yet implemented, but we are actively looking for solutions in collaboration with our manufacturer and a research laboratory to achieve this and achieve 100% recycling.
One of our obsessions is to eradicate the use of plastic or, when unavoidable, to use recycled material.
The first season, the sole of our Hotel de la Plage model was made of plastic. After several researches, we changed the sole of this model for a bio-plastic sole. This new material is composed of 50% "bio-based" plastic (from renewable biomass sources such as corn starch, sugar cane, beet, cellulose and vegetable oils) and 50% plastic. This is a clear improvement even though we are aware that we still need to find other solutions.
As far as neoprene is concerned, starting next season we will be using neoprene from recycled sources.
Until April 2020, our zippers were made of plastic, but we have found a new zipper that is made from recycled materials (post-consumer polyester and plastic bottles) through a chemical process that makes it easier to recycle them in a second step and ad infinitum.
This zip, developed in Japan, is now made in Italy, which allowed us to apply it to our shoes. For us, this represents a real step forward in controlling the life cycle of our shoes.
The heels are always made of ABS which is a particularly strong and malleable plastic resin but difficult to recycle. We have just found its equivalent but with a manufacturing process that uses 65% less electricity, has a 90% lower carbon footprint, and uses 99% less water.
PILLAR III - reinventing the company
We are building Nomasei on a new philosophy of growth. We are a company, so it is natural to seek profitability, but expansion at all costs is not one of our values. We give priority to quality over quantity, and more than anything else, we want to remain free in our choices.
A reasonable model
Sustainability and responsible practices have become marketing assets for many companies. But applying these terms to the existing model makes no sense. It is the business model that needs to be changed.
This is why we have based our partnership pact on the values of sustainability, ethical and social commitment. None of the partners can deviate from these values.
Nomasei has been built differently since its genesis. We are committed to our independence and to remaining a human-sized company. Small size makes our brand more agile and free to respond with commitment to each of the challenges we face.
Our desire is to grow enough to preserve know-how and territories, to encourage initiatives with a positive social impact and to participate in making the world a healthier place.
Luxury fashion has never cost so much and yet the products have never been so low quality. There was a time when buying a luxury or premium product meant that you would keep it for a long time, but this is no longer necessarily the case and we lack qualitative alternatives.
To put an end to this harmful system, we have an obsession: the fairest possible price so that as many people as possible can access our offer.
For this reason we focus our spending on what we consider to be the most important element: the product. We are uncompromising, especially on the quality of our materials.
Where our competitors are multiplying their cost prices exponentially and charging unreasonable margins, we have decided to control our own. Notably because only 15% of our budget is dedicated to communication while our competitors spend 80%. Our more agile online distribution model, with no middlemen from our factories to your locker room, allows us to offer you the best value for money.
This is also the reason why we cannot have a policy of balances. Our low prices and margins do not allow us to do so.
Above all, we want to establish transparency as a supreme value by ensuring that you understand what you are paying for when you buy a luxury product. This seems fair and honest to us, to you, our customers, but also to our suppliers.
These multiple commitments shape a value system that is for us both a standard to be met and a goal to be achieved, day after day. This is how we believe that balance, responsibility and humility are very sustainable behaviours.
PILLAR IV - compensate
We are aware that we are participating at our own small level in the problem, producing goods that we do not necessarily need. This is why the slightest impact must be compensated positively by collaborating with militant associations and/or by donating a percentage of our profits to associations working to protect the environment. To this end, we plan to work with the 1% for the Planet organization, to which we donate 1% of our turnover.
If you're going to generate an impact, it has to be positive.
It is with this in mind that we have decided to work with the 1% for the Planetgroup.
This NGO created by Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) aims to develop a network of companies participating in this donation. By donating 1% of our annual turnover to this association, we participate in financing concrete projects in the field.
Associations are selected according to 6 criteria: climate, food, natural landscapes (such as national parks), water, wildlife and pollution.
They must meet one of these criteria, but they must also be NGOs, with sound finances and governance.
This collaboration also allows us to be part of a network of entrepreneurs who share the same values and thus create virtuous and resilient ecosystems. And to show that it is possible to be a successful business while being a philanthropist.
TOWARDS A POSITIVE IMPACT
PILLAR V - the human at the centre
There is no environmental well-being without human well-being. The collective and the sense of sharing are at the heart of our concerns and are reflected in the very essence of the Nomasei project. We do nothing alone and the work of each individual is valued as essential to the success of this project.
Our work must contribute to the preservation of territories, communities and know-how. Entire regions depend on the manufacture of luxury footwear, such as Tuscany in Italy. We are committed not to relocate our development and production so as not to impoverish and empty these regions of their work.
Nomasei, in Italian vernacular, means "Six Hands". This name evokes the collective work and consideration of every human being who participates in the making of a pair of shoes.
It means that each creation is the fruit of collaboration between several hands and several skills, united around an idea that becomes a creation.
We met in 2016 when we were both working at Chloe's company. Our first day of work took place in a factory in Italy and we realized that we shared the same passion for the product and hand work. That's what made us want to reinvent our profession - being ourselves victims of the frantic pace of the collections - to give it a new meaning.
We share the same values and commitments in our personal lives, so it was natural to build Nomasei on these pillars.
The fashion industry tends to star in the person of the art director; Nomasei's philosophy is built in total opposition to this. On the contrary, we favour a sense of sharing and collective work, because it is from collaboration and exchange that the most beautiful ideas emanate.
The plant, which is our privileged partner, has about forty employees, all proud of their job and the know-how they preserve : Massimo, Francesco, Davide, Silvia, Laura, Andrea, Cinzia, Manola, Siliana, Monica, Lucia, Alessandro, Omar, Rosaria, Simone, Ivan, Sauro, Alessandro, Michele, Cornelia Iuliana, Simonetta, Monica, Francesco, Barbara, Lucia, Ornella, Alessandro, Massimo, Fiorella, Gina, Martina, Paola, Rita, Marco, Francesca, Gessica, Luciano.
our external collaborators
Product expertise is guaranteed by the founding team as well as the factory, but for all other issues, we build an ecosystem of experts that informs us and allows us to make the best possible decisions. This means listening to each stakeholder and offering an inclusive and free expression framework where everyone's creativity and vision find their place. Because a happy and fulfilled team will invest more in the change process we want to implement.