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Mohop Shoes: Quality, Comfort and Sustainability for Creative Feet
Written by Carolina Flaminia Perrone - Thursday, 30 January 2014
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When I opened the package I was speechless. The shoes I had ordered from Mohop were not just an ordinary pair of sandals; they were a true work of art. In the carefully put together package I found a handwritten note, a box of lemon drops, a carrying canvas bag, a beautiful sachet containing 6 different types of ribbons, one containing 4 sets of wooden rings, 9 styling cards with visual directions for lacing patterns and then of course, the shoes themselves, beautifully sculpted out of polished walnut wood.

 

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I had the pleasure of discovering Mohop last spring while doing research on high quality sustainable, eco-friendly, vegan shoes made in the U.S. When I landed on the company’s website I was immediately struck by the originality of their designs, the materials they used (sustainably-sourced wood, recycled and/or fair trade materials), the values of their company and its aspirations. I was thrilled to be able to interview Mohop’s founder Annie Mohaupt and was very much inspired by her experience and her story.


Annie’s shoe adventure began in 2005 at a craft fair where she presented simple hand-made wood-soled sandals created by her own hands in the basement of her own living space. The initial response to her shoes was very positive and soon Annie was able to quit her full time architecture job and give herself completely to the refinement of her designs and the actual production of the shoes. Her guiding principles were always comfort, style, durability, sustainability and eco-friendliness.


The journey was not an easy one. Today’s Mohop shoes are the result of a long process of experimentation, research, trial and error, endless amounts of hard work, struggles and a desire to meet the high demand for their sandals without ever compromising on their high standards of quality and sustainability. Throughout it all there were uncertainties, set backs, small and not so small failures. But everything, eventually, led to Mohop’s current business model--a collaboration between artisans and robots--and Mohop’s current designs.


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Based in Chicago and housed in a former dominatrix dungeon, Mohop offers three different collections: the flexible-sole Moped collection, the Japanese-inspired Mokobo collection, and the high-end custom made Bespoke collection. The shoes come in a variety of heights and are all made out of American sustainably-sourced woods such as Linden, Walnut, Cherry and Maple (all for the most part reclaimed from Chicago’s urban forest.)


Unique to all Mohop shoes are the ergonomically carved and padded footbeds and the system of interchangeable ribbon ties, all made by Jhoole, a non-profit social enterprise in India that allows women to earn fair-trade wages. As Mohop explains on their website, “one hundred percent of the purchase price for the saree ties goes to the construction and outfitting of a computer lab, as well as the salary of a lab instructor.”


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This past December Mohop launched a Kickstarter project to fund a new manufacturing facility in Las Vegas. The project just ended on January 25, 2014, with 602 backers and plenty of extra funds that will be used to “support ongoing factory operations and purchase supplies for more fun, inspiring, comfy sandals.” The great success of the Kickstarter campaign speaks of Mohop’s well established reputation and well deserved success.


As I held in my hands my new pair of Mohop shoes I was struck by the attention and care given to every single detail and by the quality of all their different components. As I tied them around my feet I thoroughly enjoyed playing around with all the different designs and all the possible looks. As I wore them I rejoiced in their absolute comfort and as I walked around in them I simply realized that I was standing on so much more than just a pair of shoes. Right there, tied around my feet, I saw dreams, failures, successes, aspirations, environmental concerns, lives of people, human ingenuity, passion and resiliency and I rejoiced in knowing that in my own small, tiny way I too was part of it all.


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*Photos courtesy of Mohop Inc.

To know more about Mohop Inc., see and/or purchase for their shoes visit their website.

To know more about their kickstarter project, the company’s goals, its values and future plans, visit their kickstarter page

To read Annie’s story in Annie’s own word, visit this page.

Follow Mohop on Facebook.


Born in Italy, Carolina Flaminia Perrone considers herself extremely fortunate to have been raised in a busy Roman household, surrounded by music, art, journalism, and fashion. Carolina holds a Master’s degree in music composition and is a certified public school music teacher. She is a mother of three splendid daughters and after having taught music for many years, Carolina is finally able to dedicate herself to some of her most favorite things: yoga, poetry, photography, appreciating life and most of all writing about human beings who never tire to make the world a better place. Carolina has been collaborating with the British online magazine The Upcoming and collects her work and photographs in her blogs: www.smallsosmall.com and www.smallcirclebigcircle.com

 

 

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