The World's Most Eco-Friendly Shoe by UnitedbyBlue x SOLE - Feedback Giveaway (Valid till March 4th, 2019)

In depth articles on specific projects, detailed feedback from backers, interviews and "ask me anything" sessions with creators, and product reviews.

My quick opinion (select all that apply):

Poll ended at Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:14 pm

Count me in for the giveaway! I'll post a reply and leave my detailed feedback.
This looks like a good campaign. I'll probably back it.
Price seems low.
Price seems fair.
Price seems a little high.
I understand why I'd want this shoe.
I don't understand why I'd want this shoe.
I. Love. These. Shoes!!
Total votes: 111
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:01 am

Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:17 am

Why is there a need for anti-odour coating if merino wool is naturally non-odour-absorbing? Also, how long would the coating last?
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:25 pm

Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:50 am

Great looking campaign page. Consistent with other campaign pages providing a good balance of text and images. Enough detail to keep the reader engaged through to the end of the page.

The photos are great and there is a good mix of functionality and information. I really like the drawings in there to keep it fresh and the gifs/moving images are both practical and effective. There's a good balance of detail about the materials without going over the top and it is provided in a way that entices you to read about it and learn too.

I'm not entirely sure that the Eco angle is a massive draw card for a shoe buyer. That said, if there were 2 almost identical pairs of shoes and one was better for our planet than the other then sure, I'd go for that. Might be an angle worth considering.

"New shoes whilst saving the planet! Why not?"

The feeling I'm getting from these is kind of like the Sanuk footwear. Which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. They've really nailed the surfer/free spirit kind of feel and I can see these slotting in there nicely. Maybe the Eco aspect of this product will make these a point of difference in a busy Market.

I'd imagine these are lightweight and could be a good option for weekend or short term travel. Just about formal enough to wear with a pair of chinos but would also be great with a pair of jeans or casual pants or shorts for the down time. Maybe something about how easy they are to pack in to a small bag or how little space they take up...assuming that is the case if course.

I was super pleased to see a detailed sizing chart on your page. Being 6'4", 115KGs and having size 13 feet I'm always nervous about backing a campaign, or in fact doing any online shopping without this sort of detail. Maybe an indication of width could also be handy or as a comparison to a sports shoe.

With regard to the success of a campaign on Kickstarter, I find a key issue to be the shipping cost. If that is fair then I think people buy in. Cheap is even better. If there's even the slightest hint that the campaign is profiting from the shipping cost then I'm out.

Something that I think could help with the shipping cost by reducing the volumetric measurements could be the packaging. This could also be an opportunity to funk up the product by adding something a little different to it. How about packaging them in an eco friendly material bag or something, with maybe some sort of insert in the shoe to help retain its shape? These could then be retained for when people pack them for travel. I think that some upcycling of materials could fit in well with the overall feel of what you are trying to achieve if you asked me.

All in all, a great looking campaign page. I applaud you for reaching out for feedback. I hope that you find a good balance of tinkering a little whilst staying true to what you set out to do.

The very best of luck, and I shall be keeping a keen eye on the progress of your campaign. Shipping costs pending I might even back it 😜
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:38 am

Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:19 am

Initial Impressions?
It didn't hook me to start with, but the further I read the more interested I became. Many people won't scroll down from the first screen's worth, and for me this lacked impact. The depth of field in the photo meant that the furthest pair of shoes looked blurry. I felt it needed more focus on the shoes, and less on the legs. I liked the look of the footwear. Stylish, but not screaming 'out of fashion almost as soon as you wear them'.

I think the project title lacks 'snap'. 'Eco Chukka' worked better for me, when I came to it.

Early on I found myself asking things like 'What's Bison Insulation? What's SOLE X USB? What are RSL substances?' OK, pretty much all of them became clear as I read on, but It doesn't take much for a possible backer to lose interest and move on.

As I said earlier, it got better as it went on, but by then you may have lost people. I liked the snappy later text - 'Bark to Bottle to Boot', 'Field to Footwear', 'Tree to Tread' etc.

I liked the detailed information on materials, but found myself wondering about Post Consumer Recyled materials including polyester, PET and silver coins. Silver Coins? After all the impeccable eco-credibility of the other materials, I started asking where this other stuff was used. How much of it? What was the cork binding agent, and how eco-friendly was that? If you are selling the product on its environmental credentials, you have to expect people to really dig into this stuff, and your credibility will be as strong as the least environmentally friendly material or process in your product.

By this time, I was working my way down to the nitty gritty of sizing. I don't have to tell you guys how important that is in footwear. Again, first impression was that the table didn't correspond to my experience. I take a UK size 7, but normally look for a metric 42. Your table didn't correspond to this, which would probably have meant that I wouldn't take the chance of them not fitting, certainly not at nearly $100. (Again, I know there is a good clear section later on how to decide what size you should order, but by that time I had already got the impression that they wouldn't fit. First impressions are seldom reversed.) Could I return them if they didn't fit? All of this to the background of shipping charges to the UK, and then the application of 20% VAT and a flat rate £8 collection charge by the post office. At this point, the value proposition is weakening fast. Then the kicker: Oh. Don't they ship to the UK? I know, it says in the Rewards box 'Only ships to certain countries', but is that the first thing you want people to look at? I got all interested, and then found out I couldn't have them even if I wanted them.

Overall, I think your biggest issue is deciding what you are selling, and who to. Are you selling on style or recyclability? When I first looked at the dummy project page, I liked the look of the shoes. For a lot of backers, that immediate, gut feeling, made in a split second, is likely to determine whether they back the project or not. On the other hand, if the USP is their environmentally friendly materials, I was impressed by the innovative materials (I've already backed Huskee Cup on Kickstarter, which is a travel mug made from coffee husk waste) but found myself asking about the product end of life. This really was the elephant in the corner. The problem with the fashion footwear market, especially for trainers, is that the materials are unsustainable, the product is difficult to de-manufacture, and much of it is dumped as non-biodegradable landfill waste. Your project is great for the front end, but says nothing about end of life. Again, I found myself asking 'Are they biodegradable, or do they need recycling? If so, how widespread are suitable facilities?' With the whole concept of the circular economy gaining currency, I think this needs addressing in the campaign material.

I think this project could succeed, but that at the moment you are more likely to get the essential early traction and backer numbers from people who see the shoes and like the look of them. What I think of as 'retail backers'. In my experience of backing projects, mainly on Kickstarter, a lot of backers never read the Comments section before they back, and some projects that I have pulled out of because of concerns about things like reselling existing products have gone on to massively exceed their target funding. (These are also the sort of backers that can end up trolling the Comments section because their rewards haven't arrived exactly on time.) I end up backing more projects, a LOT more, on Kickstarter because that is where backers get involved in helping to bring innovative products to market. I find Indiegogo is more retail focussed, about neat products that you might not have been aware of, and couldn't buy through normal retail channels. Going back to my earlier point; I think you are trying to sell to two different markets at the moment, and need to ask yourselves why people would back this campaign. Is it because they are interested in helping to develop a more sustainable model for the footwear industry worldwide, and like the shoes, or because they like the shoes, fancy getting them at a discount on the hypothetical retail price, and don't mind easing their eco-conscience at the same time.

Hope all that helps. I didn't spot any glaring errors in the text, but if you want it properly copy edited I can quote my rates. :D Good luck with the project, which I will watch with interest.

Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:16 am

Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:45 am

A very detailed and nice campaign which is easy enough to read through.

My suggestions are given below:

As there is alot of information, it might turn off some people from going through all of it. I would suggest that instead of keeping the benefits of each material one below the other, keep 2 benefits side by as there is not alot of information. They should fit easily and save some space as well.

Secondly, include different colours for the laces. I'm not sure if the laces are also made of eco-frendly materials but if they are, you can mention that as well. perhaps add a second lace to the box for all backers. People always love extra laces.

Thirdly, keep a few stretch goals. It could be new colours or extra laces or maybe a material upgrade for a specific part if possible.
Stretch goal keep the backers engaged with the project and getting input from their side (maybe on choosing the stretch-goal, etc.) gives the feeling of backers making the project with the creators.

Lastly, be quick to respond to any queries from the backers throughout the campaign as late or no responses send a very bad message to any backers.

Wish you guys all the best!

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:57 am

Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:53 am

My initial impression is good, and I would have kept reading, mainly because it has a distinctive look, and I'm probably part of the target segment - I love wool everything! Also, I'm in Philly and so I'm familiar with UBB - definitely work on seeding the campaign in Philly, BC, and among past backers.

I would emphasize that distinctive look as much as possible up front. The hanging over the rail has a nice feel, but doesn't feature the product front and center. Some people will love it right away if they get a good look. Someone who doesn't like the look will figure that out no matter how much they're into sustainability, so no loss there - they might still tell a friend.

The materials overview is good, and gets the sustainability benefits across quickly. I agree with the advice to preview the end-user benefits up top as well, since even the most eco-conscious consumer cares about both (currently only get generic "performance" until the "Results" part).

The target is outdoorsy types who care about the environment and love their gear, and want to see high performance features in their casualwear. They also look really comfy - Glerups, but respectable enough to wear out!

Realistically, this is more "around town" than "on the trails." I've worn a lot of wool, and it'll keep you warm if it gets unexpectedly wet, but nobody's going to go out of their way to choose a wool upper for heavy snow or rain.

It's also more 3-season, since I have a hard time believing I'm going to want bison hard insulation in the summer. The baffled look emphasizes this - even if it's breathable, it still looks too warm.

Minimalists will want to know the degree of heel drop, and whether it wears well without the insoles (even though I guess Sole is known for these). It's obviously not for barefoot purists, but there's a spectrum out there (e.g. look at the popularity of Altra running shoes, that have significant cushioning).

I wouldn't remove it, but the endorsements aren't that compelling - maybe move them down.
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:47 am

Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:57 am

In theory I love these shoes. Chukkas with a cork mid-sole? Yes, please.

But, I have two major concerns:

As someone else stated, what's the realistic temperature range for these shoes? I live in a moderately warm climate, I'd want to be able to wear them for more than the 6 weeks of "winter" we get here.

I'm concerned about the durability of the shoes, with so much of the cork exposed on the bottom of the sole. How difficult is it to reseal the exposed cork with all those fiddly little holes?
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:49 am

Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:01 pm

I found the campaign information easy to read. These days sustainibility is the goal that everyone wants to achieve to help the environment and your campaign gives much information on how your product fits into this hot topic.
One thought kept popping (good thing I proof read this as I originally typed pooping 😆) into my mind as I read. With all the info on insulation, I kept thinking, these must be for winter wear. But it wasn’t until halfway through that it stated they were for year round wear. For me this was important information and should not have been mentioned once halfway through the printed info (realistically many people will not read carefully through the entire printed campaign material). This is important info and also shows the flexibility in wear of your product and should be highlighted much earlier in the the information. Year round wear opens your product to a much larger purchasing audience and it is only to your advantage to state it’s importance.
The other thing I noticed was the rice rubber soles. At one point you state that the shoes keep your feet warm even when the shoes are wet. As I looked at the soles, all I could think of was mud, dirt or snow getting trapped in the grid pattern and wondering to myself how this was going to affect the shoe. I also wondered how hard it would be to keep the grid pattern clean or how hard and dirty (or wet and cold in the case of snow) it would be to clean all the grid holes. I also wondered about the shoe’s ability to have traction or if they would be slippery on wet surfaces. The last thing I considered about the rice rubber soles was durability. Would the rice rubber stay adhered to the cork or would it end up losing adhesion and flopping around or need to be replaced because it was loose or fell off, or even worse now becoming useless to wear. A statement of some sorts identifying the strength in the adhesion of the rice rubber to the cork (if this is indeed the case) would br beneficial.
Good luck with your campaign, they do look like a good product that would be comfortable to wear!
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:19 am

Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:22 pm

Thank you all so much for your feedback!

I just had an email with Ethan, one of the creators at United by Blue and he told me, "we've actually already had a meeting about this feedback (it's really, really helpful) and plan to implement a handful of stuff. These members know their stuff!" (he may have used more colorful language there :lol: )

Thanks again everyone!
Steven F.
Team BackerClub
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:41 pm

Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:04 pm

-After doing a quick 30 second scroll through, it definitely caught my attention enough that I’d want to read it. The graphics pop out at me and although I probably read around 10 words of the campaign I feel I have a general idea of your mission and a little bit about the shoes. Initially, it feels a little lengthy to me, but there’s a good chance that length is necessary for the campaign. --- After reading through the campaign, it didn't seem too long and everything seemed necessary.

- I really like the image of the shoes with the bottle corks, I hadn’t noticed previously but I immediately realized with this picture that the shoes were made with cork.

- Not sure if anyone else would care but I’d prefer to know if the bison hair comes from live bison or dead bison. I originally thought it was live, but the pictures confused me. It’s probably a good thing to specify. Personally, with the rest of the shoe considering every detail being great for the earth, I wouldn’t like it being made with dead bison but that may be just me.

- I really like all of the graphics. It’s a lot of information that could easily turn people away if it was plain text but the graphics make it very readable and help convey ideas so it’s easier to understand them quicker.

- Is shipping free? If not I’d definitely add it to any graphics that mention price. It’ll be easy to see the shipping price after you start pledging, but there’s something that always makes me feel more comfortable to know ahead of time. There’s always something jolting to me when I see a price and decide I’m going to back something for a specific price and then see another $10 or $20 tacked on. Often if I had been thinking about that price from the start I would’ve backed it, but sending me into another full cycle of is this worth it often results in me not backing the project. If shipping is different different places make a pricing chart and put “+ Shipping (See Pricing Chart)” with the price in graphics. If shipping is free mention it in the graphics too because everyone loves free shipping and it will make people happy to see it in writing even if they would’ve had it anyway.

- Make a way for super early/early bird backers to add extra shoes for the sale early bird price or make a super early/early bird tier for 2/3 shoes. It’s not for sure but I’d say it’s more likely than not you’ll get questions from super early/early bird backers asking if they can get multiple pairs for the discounted price.

- I’d put something similar to between the “The Result” and the Sustainability Report graphic near the top. Something I and I’m sure other backers do it just look at the top of the project and if I like that part read the rest, so getting this good description of the shoe near the top could help draw some more people to back. I’d put it right above the Materials Review, but you could put it even higher.
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:35 am

Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:29 am

Hi, my first impression is that the main focus is on sustainable materials. I am an environmentally conscious person, so this type of campaign immediately attracts my attention. The information provided on the page is definitely extensive and sufficient to answer any questions I may have. It's also good to see the focus on the science and technology behind the product rather than just on marketing gimmicks, which I personally prefer to see when choosing a product. The photos of the shoes are also more than adequate as they show the different colours offered and give shots from every angle, so I can know exactly what they'll look like.

As an English teacher I didn't notice any grammatical mistakes or typing errors. Everything is well written and easy to follow and understand.

I can see your target is for the environmentally conscious consumer, however I would say the target market is anyone male or female from kids up to any age. You can focus on the environmentally conscious, however it's really also open to anyone who is fashion conscious and likes the look of the shoes, and who appreciates a quality made shoe.

I don't think there's anything you need to add as the page is very detailed with every piece of information we as consumers would need. Of course you'll get questions in the comments section, but you can never cover everything that someone might ask. The important thing is that you've given all the important information about your product. You explain the functions of the each material, why they were chosen and their benefits, you've given a sustainability report, an international sizing chart, production timeline, background info about the team and risks and challenges, so that ticks all the boxes I can think of.

I also don't think there's anything you need to remove either as each piece of information is displayed quite succinctly with the aid of pictures. Nothing is too over the top. It looks like just the right amount as I scroll through.

From reading through your page I think this will be a popular campaign and you'll have no trouble reaching your target.

All the best with the campaign,
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