An online shop selling shoes made from sustainable or recycled materials finds its audience within and outside Spain
Raquel Jimenez is a physiotherapist who, after working in hospitals and clinics, decided to change her career and become an entrepreneur. She had problems finding comfortable and environmentally friendly shoes, which led her to take the reins of a business to bridge this gap. Thus, in March 2007 she set up Ecozap, a shoe store catering to “vegetarians, vegans, or fans of recycling”, made with sustainable materials and production methods. “One day I walked into a store and saw ecologically sensible shoes that were beautiful,” says Jimenez. From there she decided to combine both trends fashion and sustainability, in a store that had three phases. At first, “she sold by catalog,” Jimenez says, “and although a lot of people were calling me, the truth is that everyone wanted to try on the shoes.”
The store opened in Madrid’s Chueca district and remained active for three years. In 2009 she decided to close the physical store and transfer the business to ecozap.es, the online version of the store. “It allows you to better adapt to the needs of the customers. For example, if you want high heels, we make heels. Before, with the physical store, customers were those who had to adapt to the store,” says Jimenez. Now Ecozap sells to both private buyers and shops interested in having a few pairs of shoes available.
Made in Spain
“We make sure everything is as sustainable, ecological and local as possible. Most of what we sell is made in Spain, and when we sell products from outside of Spain, for example, a Brazilian brand which we work with, we try to be fair trade, “says the entrepreneur. Another feature of Internet commerce is that it offers free shipping and a free return policy. “People think a lot about it before they buy something. They want footwear to be suitable for work, but also for walking “. In addition, Ecozap not only distributes but also sells its own brand.
“We sell sandals and flat shoes using materials such as linen, cotton and esparto, the Ecozap brand does not use glue, as we strive not to use the contaminant.