This past week Chicago startup I Know Jane began a run on Kickstarter to raise funds for its first line of women’s shoes. Environmentally friendly, globally conscious, comfortable, and portable, I Know Jane’s shoes have been designed to bring together key business and product elements to create a unique women’s shoe.
Co-founders Jared Petravicius and Simon Tumansky came up with the idea for a versatile and fashionable women’s shoe when a female coworker began complaining about the discomfort of her work shoes. The co-founders decided to develop a new women’s footwear brand that focused on comfort as much as style.
While seeking a manufacturer for their new brand, Petravicius and Tumansky were determined to keep the production out of sweatshops, which largely employ and take advantage of young women. To focus on empowering women, the co-founders enlisted a woman-owned factory in Brazil that pays its workers fair, livable wages to handle production. To add a personal touch, each pair of shoes is signed by the worker who made them.
“We believe companies are responsible for who they work with,” said Petravicius. “We’re seeking to raise awareness of the prevalence of sweatshops, and to set an example of what can be possible.”
I Know Jane’s shoes are biodegradable and contain material created from recycled cotton and plastic bottles. The first line to be released by the Chicago company will include slate grey, golden honey, calming sea foam, and classic taupe colors. Currently, the Kickstarter has raised nearly $4,000 of its $35,000 goal with just under a month left to go. Backers who pay $75 or more will receive a pair of the eco-friendly shoes along with a fabric storage bag. According to the Kickstarter page, the company is expecting to ship the first line of shoes in April of next year.
“The perfect shoe made with environmentally friendly materials is a great start to empowering both women who want a better shoe and women who want a better workplace,” said Petravicius.