Here at FK, we’re big fans of women-led, fashion-forward and environmentally-focused businesses, just like us! We’re stoked to share this Creative Catch Up with TWOOBS founders Jess and Stef Dadon in the lead-up to their Finders Keepers Market Debut. We loved getting to know their brand story and learning what we can expect from their stall this Spring. Spoiler – They are bringing along lots of NEWNESS!
TWOOBS is an ethical shoe brand creating comfy sandals from recycled plastics and yarn. Look familiar? That’s because our fabulous fashionable community are often spotted rocking a pair at the markets (sometimes with socks – we totally approve!). We can’t wait to see all the TWOOBS strutting around the Royal Exhibition Building when we return on the 14th-16th of October!
What was the inspiration behind starting your business?
When we launched TWOOBS, we were fashion bloggers, where we got to travel around the world to attend fashion weeks and events. We had so much fun, but we always ended up with horrible blisters from the shoes we were wearing, and one time Jess even fell flat on her face in front of the flashing camera of Bill Cunningham (the godfather of street style photography!) We decided that the world desperately needed cool shoes that are also super comfortable, so in 2016 – TWOOBS was born!
How has your business evolved over the last couple of years?
Values have always been a really big part of our business, and when we first launched TWOOBS, the sandals were vegan and made from totally animal-friendly materials. But a couple of years ago, we felt like the business was no longer in line with our personal values and the way we lived, so we decided to pivot to be environmentally focused. The shoes are now made out of better materials like sugarcane and recycled plastics; we’re carbon neutral and have a recycling program. And now we get to feel really awesome about what we do every day!
What got you through the last two years as a small business?
We’re not going to lie it was a really tough couple of years for us. People often say, “oh great, you’re an online business, so you would’ve done great through lockdowns”, but people were definitely not buying sandals while they were at home all day every day. Our sales took a big hit, and for a while there, it was pretty tough. But it actually ended up being a massive gift because it gave us the space to reassess why we’re doing this and prompted us to completely change the way we operate. And it’s so awesome to be seeing the benefits of this now, as people post-pandemic really want to support brands who are creating change in the world, and we love that we get to be part of that change.
What’s something people might not know about you?
We try not to tell people why the brand is called TWOOBS because it’s kind of a fail. When we were trying to think of a name, we wanted it to have the word “two” in it because our blog was called How Two Live. We liked the sound of Two Shoes, but Stef’s partner (and our trusty lawyer) told us it would be hard to trademark and to make up a word instead. After literally making every sound with our mouths that start with “two”, we came up with TWOOBS, and we were like, oh genius, they can come in tubes instead of shoe boxes! That lasted for all of one season as the tubes we put them in were constantly breaking. So season 2, we switched to regular old shoe boxes, but the name stuck.
It is your first Finders Keepers, what are you most excited about?
We’re excited to be doing something in person again! We used to love doing pop-up stores, but this will be our first in-person experience since the pandemic, and we love getting to watch people try on their TWOOBS in realtime and enjoy all the “oooooh”s and “ahhhhh”s and “these are so comfortable!” Also, snacks, we’re excited about the snacks.
What can we expect from your stall at this event? Let us know if you’re bringing anything new!
We just launched some new colours that people have been going totally crazy for, like Lavender Cox and Emmarald Watson, so we’ll absolutely have those with us. We also launched TWOOBS LTLS, our kid’s range, and this will be our first in-person event where kiddies can try them on, so we’re super excited to see them on some little feet and hear what people think. We’ll also just launch our new Slidekicks, which are our take on a slide, so this will be the first place you can get them.