An Australian designer has launched a range of vegan shoes, perfect for corporate women on the go.
Nadhisha Lu, the creator of Huntd, spoke exclusively with VeganNews.com.au about the release of her latest shoe line and her future business goals:
“I’ve always had a love for shoes, and had a huge collection growing up. In high school I always used to say my dream job was a designing shoes!”
After struggling to source ethical fashion goods for years, Nadhisha quit her full-time corporate role in 2015 to design, create and market designer vegan shoes.
Though there was a long road ahead, Nadhisha says her professional background in design and visual communications helped guide her success.
“I used my graphic design skills to draw the shoes on a design program,” Nadhisha said. “I then took a small online course in shoe manufacturing which helped me get to know all the steps in manufacturing shoes – from design to shipment.”
Finding the right factory and materials was no easy feat:
Though Nadhisha brought a strong design eye to Huntd, it wasn’t easy to find the right factory for her ethical and sustainable brand.
“It took me about 2 years to actually source an appropriate factory – I tried and failed so many times, until I started working with a company who managed the process for me.”
After a detailed search and countless audits, Nadhisha found a small factory in Chengdu Province in China where her shoes are now manufactured.
“Before I went ahead with this factory, we organised an external audit to check that they complied with ethical practices in terms of wage, health and safety procedures.”
“Trying to source environmentally friendly materials was a huge challenge. Although they do exist, recycled materials are not frequently used in overseas manufacturing.
“My factory did however source a material developed using techniques from Germany, called waterborne polyurethane, which is much more environmentally sustainable.”
The ‘Core’ collection by Huntd was born:
With the challenge of sourcing ethical materials and manufacturers behind her, Nadhisha has now launched her first Huntd collection.
“For the first collection, which I have named ‘Core,’ I have stuck with the basics that every girl needs in her wardrobe. Think classic points, open-toe strappy shoes and eventually a boot.”
Just like any designer brand, Huntd also has it’s own symbol and a touch of added elegance – the gold ‘v’ on the back of every heel.
Nadhisha created this signature look as a shout-out to veganism, to help distinguish her brand from others.
“I knew I wanted Huntd shoes to have a distinctive feature like the Christian Louboutin red bottoms and the Valentino studs, so I designed the V to represent the word ‘vegan’. All my shoes will have this little detail.”
The Huntd shopper:
Nadhisha describes the Huntd brand as appealing to women who love fashion and playing with current trends – but also appreciate classic, timeless wardrobe pieces.
“[The Huntd shopper] loves treating themselves to a standout piece from time to time, and they care a lot about animals and then environment.”
While she is a vegan herself, Nadhisha says that Huntd is for anyone who values quality and design.
“Not all my ideal customers will be vegan, our shoppers will also include women who have an appreciation for well-designed, quality pieces.”
Huntd shoes are not only well designed and ethically produced, they are also described as being luxuriously comfortable.
“The biggest feedback [from customers] is about how comfortable the shoes are! This is something I am so proud of, because I myself can’t stand in a pair of heels for too long anymore.”
The future of Huntd:
The brand may have only just launched, but Nadhisha already has her eye on the future, including the possibility of bricks and mortar stores.
“My future plans are to release more styles into the core collection, as well as more affordably priced shoes and lower heels.
“After the Core collection is established I would love to design a wedding shoe collection as I found it difficult to find unique, wedding shoes that were also vegan when I got married 3 years ago.”
Words of wisdom for fellow vegan entrepreneurs:
Nadhisha says that fellow vegan entrepreneurs should follow their gut and trust their core values, especially during their initial business setup phase.
“Pick one or two aspects which are important to you (I picked veganism, environment and ethics) and stick to them.
“Don’t try to take on everything at once, and when you feel overwhelmed, just think back to your core values and why you started your business.
Most importantly, Nadhisha says to never give up!
“It took me 3 years to launch after many failed attempts, so don’t be discouraged if things don’t take off right away. Everything works out in the end, it just takes a little time!’