Sourcing an ethical shoe supply chain for Po-Zu

Join the Shoe Revolution

It’s a delight to put your experience to the TEST in a completely new product sector – this time for shoes rather than clothes and organic foods….

In January 2017, I started working as Managing Director with Po-Zu’s wonderful founder Sven Segal.  Before long, I was learning about the basics of shoe making and visiting factories in Portugal, developing the communications and the branding to show people how their shoes are made.

Safia Minney QUOTEBoth the heritage shoe collection and the Star Wars collaboration have had fabulous feedback at various trade shows across Europe, and we’ve found that mixing geeks into the process is really fun and a healthy cross-over: everyone wants ethical shoes with great design and at the right price points.

I started my research through my Fair Trade network and contacts in Asia and found a way of putting together an ethical shoe supply chain that uses Fair Rubber, organic cotton and a factory that is open to committing to producing quality shoes and improving its ethical standards.

We are very excited by the significant growth opportunity the Sri Lanka ethical footwear line brings to the company in terms of cost reduction, improvement in margin, and the impact this will provide to develop a successful wholesale business internationally.

Sri Lanka has recently enjoyed peace after years of internal conflict, and the island is as beautiful as the smiles of the people. I hope that you will help me to share this Crowd Cube link and raise funds to expand our ethical line and help me transform Po-Zu into the go-to Ethical footwear brand.

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Black Friday, or ‘Buy Nothing’ Day

Whilst running  Ethical and Fair Trade businesses over the last two decades, events such as a SALE or BLACK FRIDAY and CYBER MONDAY always fill me with gloom…and if I’m honest, irritation.


Why, you may ask?

Well, this is because the present economic system is utterly dysfunctional, corrupt and largely bankrupt and as a result conventional companies and their customers already enjoy vastly subsidised goods and services – as they are largely made without reflecting the true cost in terms of fair wage for workers and rarely treat the environment as a limited resource.

A post shared by Safia Minney (@slavetofash) on

On the other hand, ethical businesses strive to pay these costs AND compete against sweatshop and highly polluting product – and are then expected to  discount their prices too? They barely manage to make a profit as it is.  This is NOT because they are badly run by ‘do-gooder hippies’ who don’t understand design, finance or the economies of scale; this is because they compete in an un-level playing field and don’t have the budgets of big business to ‘buy cool’ celebrities or bill boards and advertising, because they haven’t amassed huge funds from Modern Slavery and tax havens etc.

That social and ethical businesses have no support in the form of tax incentives, R&D support and with little subsidy to slow capital is shocking and immoral.

Sure, there’s the odd prize and acknowledgment here and there – but it’s not enough to turbo charge the shift to sustainable business practice, education and a sustainable economy.

Resisting the temptation of huge offers on Black Friday is tough. Here’s some options:

You could only buy sustainable, ethical or local products.
You could buy that expensive discounted wallpaper but then send an email to the company asking them about their ethics, why FSC certification is not on their website? for example.
You could Make and Mend in rebellion to the whole thing.
you could BUY NOTHING and invest in sustainable business –
– like Po-Zu. {}

Capital At Risk

Interestingly Patagonia’s ‘DON’T BUY THIS JACKET’ Ad in the New York Times generated huge sales of the same jacket.

Their “All sales today goes to sustainable charities” on Black Friday last year generated $10 million dollars towards sustainability whilst the company continues to improve its manufacture of products in terms of climate, sustainability and a fairer deal for workers..and importantly customer education.  We need large companies to follow their lead; we urgently need to support ethical businesses and we desperately need to exercise our power as citizens on Black Friday.

WATCH: The True Cost Movie
READ: Slave to Fashion
INVEST: In Ethical Businesses