“A Florentine crafstman who has always had a strong passion for beauty and refinement of custom made sandal.” This is how Mario Doni defines himself.
What are the values behind the brand, the challenges and projects for the future?Tell us about your “online workshop”…
The term “online workshop” fully centes our intention to propose the handcrafted sandals made just like in the ancient Tuscan shops, but sold with modern means.
Our brand is based on craftsmanship, the ability to customize the product, the promotion of local raw materials and the short supply chain.
We have always focused on the quality and value of our products rather than on the speed of processing the order itself. From the beginning it has always been produced only at the customer’s request, so as not to have inventories and not to be forced every year to create new collections, but focusing more on models that are always valid.
This processing choice is now known as “made to order” and promoted as an ethical choice. It has been our working method since the beginning over 15 years ago.
We work like this because we want to guarantee the customer not only a truly unique and personal product, but also a long-lasting one.
Obviously our decisions have led to challenges…choosing a more difficult working method, both from the point of view of time and also of the materials used.
For our sandals we use only natural, unfinished leathers, which we color with a penetrating coloring method, which brings out even more the characteristics of genuine leather.
For some people these characteristics can be defined defects, but for us these are the qualities of the leather that our customers, who are not satisfied with standardized and all the same products, not only understand but love so much.
Finally our projects for the future … first of all the desire to give security and transparency to the consumer, who has the right to have concrete demonstrations of what they’re buying. Labels, certifications and more … some news also on the vegetable tanned product but even more exclusive and particular.
How did you discover vegetable tanned leather in Tuscany? Do you think it is the right combination for the creation of your products?
We were born here, therefore it is a product of our territory that we have always worked with. Yes, surely Vegetable Tanned Leather is the most suitable material and consistent with our idea because it is alive, versatile, healthy, full of characteristics that corroborate the product that is going to be created. It is also durable over time, repairable and outside of fashion, therefore an “evergreen”.
What questions do your customers ask you most often about vegetable tanned leather?
Surely one of the most frequent questions concerns personalization. Customers send us not only measurements, but also drawings and photos of sandals they see on the web and would like to have. They are struck by the fact that they can see their idea realized, as they want. Then another request is undoubtedly about contact allergies, so the search for a sandal that is as natural as possible and does not involve complications for use, so vegetable-tanned leather is the perfect answer.
About sustainability: why do you use leather to be sustainable?
We welcome this question about sustainability because there is still a long way to go to bring consumers to a correct knowledge of this aspect of leather.
It’s sustainable using vegetable tanned leather because is considered one of the leathers with the lowest environmental impact, being a by-product of the food industry then treated with natural substances such as tannins. Furthermore, our method of production does not create inventories to be sold or disposed of, either as an initial purchase or as a finished product, so we consume what is needed for the product which is requested of us.
What could be useful for you, from the Consortium, to help you communicate with your customers and improve their awareness?
Promoting the product but above all the knowledge of the values of the material and its processing to the final consumer. There is not much knowledge of the material among consumers today, especially among the younger ones. Perhaps awareness has been created among designers, but not in the general public who still too often confuses vegetable-tanned leather with vegan or similar films.