GOOD TO KNOW: You may choose between ordering a pair of Palmetti Classic or Palmetti Thong Sandal. After receiving your order we will contact you to get all the details including straps colour and size. More information below under: Incentives.
Palmetti is a biodegradable sandal made with love in India from natural Palmleather. Through our project we're turning waste into value; providing a sustainable replacement for the wasteful plastic hotel or beach slipper; and helping empower craftspeople to become self-reliant entrepreneurs.
With our campaign, we’re asking for your contribution to build a second artisanal production unit in India, maintaining the same firm commitment to the environment and the community with which we started working in that country. We believe a system free of sweatshops and greed is the right way to do business but we need your help to make this happen. In return for your collaboration you’ll be the first to receive a pair of Palmettis, a tablet sleeve or a personalized Palmleather bag made especially for this campaign. Thanks for helping the humble sandal make a difference!
Palmetti developed from a crazy material research and design project into a positive social initiative.
My Palmetti adventure began with the discovery of a new material. To cut a long story short, when the brittle shed bark of the Areca Palm is soaked in a natural oil solution, the result is soft, flexible, and surprisingly leather-like material, hence the name. We did more tests to stabilize the material, ordered more boxes of bark from south India (they were probably wondering: what is this guy doing with this useless bark?!), created samples and designed products with them including bags, covers and sandals. The story doesn’t end…with the end products.
The material is an abundant natural wonder and we were curious to see if plant waste like this could be upgraded on a large scale. So I booked a ticket to tropical south India (where the tree is native) to find out more.
Here, we found plentiful amounts of beautiful bark that is normally left to decay, burned for firewood or sometimes used to make disposable plates. Meanwhile, seeing the cheap plastic flip-flops everywhere in India, we wondered if our sandals could provide a biodegradable alternative? To make a bigger impact, we realized that the biodegradable nature of our sandals potentially made them a serious replacement also for the disposable plastic white hotel sandals. (Did you know that every year, 50 million are produced, worn once and then discarded in hotels all around the world?)
We proposed Palmettis to hotels, resorts, cruise ships and took samples to fairs, exhibitions and conferences: the response has been overwhelmingly positive so far! So with our own money, we decided to set up a production unit in South India – close to the material source – in collaboration with the craftspeople to produce the Palmleather and Palmetti sandals.
We began totally from scratch and set up the production unit right from the start in a socially responsible way. We believe in a production culture free of sweatshops, greed and inhumane working conditions. Together with the craftspeople and our local Indian partners we set up a small producer-owned production unit in Gadag, Karnataka in South West India.
Sadsukhibai carefully selecting the best leaves for Palmetti
This is not a standard outsourcing factory operation in India. Making the cheapest product possible at the expense of the environment and people is simply not an option. With our unit, we provide training and employment for 30 local craftspeople, mostly women, who receive fair pay and work in comfortable conditions. It is set up in a socially cohesive way and together the craftspeople collaborate into making this product a success: eventually they will become owners of the unit. Empowerment means the people receive training to become not just craft persons but also self-reliant small-scale entrepreneurs in their local communities. We are convinced that this is the right way to do business and with your help, we can keep growing in this direction.
We refined the design together with the craftspeople who possess incredible craft and material knowhow. Our sandals are composed of layers of Palmleather stitched together to maximize strength and flexibility. The strap in our classic model is connected with textiles made next door which makes it fold flat for easy packaging. Our more recent thong sandal has straps made from 100% organic cotton and allows the customer to choose from six different colour options. For customization, a pattern or image – for example a resort logo – can be simply burned onto the sandal. By infusing craft with design, we want to help keep the tradition of the handmade and craftsmanship alive while making a product with design AND craft value.
Why do we want to grow?
We are absolutely thrilled that people all around the world are so enthusiastic about the Palmettis and want to buy them. To be able to meet these orders, we need to produce more and this means expanding our operation. We want to do this without cramming more people into the unit, increasing work hours or reducing pay.
Our plan is to build a second unit modeled on our current set up, and to make this happen, we’d like to ask for your help. To build a genuinely social project, we want to invite genuine social funders to participate and that’s why we chose to go with crowdfunding. If we can raise enough funds to start our new unit, we can make many more feet happy with our product while ensuring that the livelihoods of our crafts people - who are crucial to the success of the brand - are sustained.
Through our pledge system (perks) you can contribute to the construction of and equipment of our new production unit.
Every contributor will have his or her name written on the wall of the new unit as a constant reminder of our wonderful supporters. In addition they will receive a beautiful picture postcard, with love from India, sent from our production unit.
Browse through our perks and be the first to get a pair of Palmettis, our new Palmleather tablet sleeve or a personalized Palmleather bag created especially for this campaign. Our Palmetti Classic sandals come in three sizes: small (fits up to 37 euro size), medium (fits up to 41 euro size) or large (fits up to 45 euro size). Palmetti thong sandals are available in most common sizes and come with custom-made straps. We have six colours of organic cotton available so that you can select up to three different ones for your product. The choice is completely yours. Personalize your very own thong sandal!
In each of the packs offered as perks you may choose for Palmetti Classic or Palmetti Thong Sandal
The bigger picture
Palmetti is part of a bigger story in thinking about the replacement of leather and plastic, both known for their high environmental impact, while stimulating the change for ethical working conditions. For me, Palmetti is not only about solving problems: it is equally about visualizing where you want to go, and what kind of world you want to live in. I believe we need thoughtfully designed products, not imitations of bad ones. Why not take an activist approach and fast forward the positive change? Only this way, can we begin to change our vision on the future. Thanks for your time!
UPDATE: Two new other ways to contribute to our campaign!
If you encounter trouble paying with your credit card, we have now two more options for contributing!
FIRST METHOD: iDeal
- Open a Paypal account, just with your email and a password, you don’t need to enter any payment information (skip linking to a bank account or credit card).
- Confirm your email address by clicking on the link in the email you received.That activates your Paypal account. You will be asked again to link a credit card or bank account again but you can skip this step.
- Go to www.money2.nl and use iDeal to transfer money to your new Paypal account.
- Now you have credit in your your Paypal account and you can use your Paypal username and password on Indiegogo to pay for your selected perk!
SECOND METHOD: Bank transfer
Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven
Triodos Bank – 198416830
IBAN – NL65 TRIO 0198 4168 30
BIC – TRIONL2U
Please don’t forget to include your email in the transaction description so we can contact you to coordinate delivery.
For Frequently Asked Questions about our campaign, please click on the logo.
Who are we?
We are a dutch studio run by a product designer with 10 years of experience in the field. We are passionate about (natural) materials and processes, constantly rethinking ways to design and create sustainable alternatives to harmful or unnecessarily wasteful products. We work primarily with natural fibres, looking to replace synthetic raw materials with biodegradable raw materials. Moreover, we are passionate design thinkers, which means that in our everyday work, our starting point is a solution instead of a problem. Come visit our design studio in Groningen if you are ever in the area!
Palmetti and Palmleather are supported by:
Palmleather has been featured in the following publications: