Good guys don’t wear leather
I couldn’t come up with a better title to introduce you to Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather, because it’s the perfect title!
Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather was founded in 2011 in France with one idea in mind: “Design beautiful shoes that are 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free”
As explained by it’s founder Marion Hanania, “Our Materials are innovative, sustainable, durable and imitate the aspect of leather and suede to perfection.”
Beyond working with vegan products, the firm is also committed to crafting shoes by hand in a fair-trade environment in Portugal and Spain, with the materials too sourced in Italy, Portugal and Spain.
As Marion puts it, she’s grateful her customers make “a conscious choice for yourself, for animals and for the future of our planet,” while the company is hell-bent on not compromising on style and quality.
Here’s my chat with Marion.
Who is your more regular customer?
The customer: Our customers are between 18 and 55 years old, mostly Women, I would say 75% Women 25% Men.
Was your business affected by the pandemic? And how did you adapt to this new reality?
We were very lucky because before the pandemic hit the world we were ahead in terms of production and deliveries and samples development. So we paid our suppliers, delivered our resellers and except for a couple of them everyone received their shoes on time and we all felt good about it. Then we’ve been hit like everyone else but doing a lot of our sales online we kept selling shoes the whole time. Of course it was way slower but still we managed to stay afloat and are now picking back up where we left before Covid-19.
How is veganism perceived in 2020 in France?
It’s definitely growing, since 2011 the “Vegan landscape” in France has drastically changed for the best.
We have at least 3 resellers in Paris that are offering 100% Vegan items, from food to clothing to shoes and accessories and it is very very exciting ! We are the first Vegan shoe company from France but glad to see more of them exists now. The mentality and needs of the “consumers” is evolving and more conscious that they have a choice and can make a difference while buying shoes and clothes.
And is local media vegan-friendly? Is it common to find articles about veganism in French media?
We are incredibly lucky and happy to have Emma Watson as a regular ambassador. She wears Good Guys in so many occasion, she always mention the brands she wears and she’s focused on wearing Fair, Sustainable, Cruelty-free brands. We also have Hollywood actors(Brett Gelman, Woody Harrelson), directors (Janicza Bravo), Musicians ( Miley Cyrus, Bryan Adams, Herman Dune, Miranda Lambert…) The press has been covering our brand for a while now, VOGUE, ELLE, Hypebeats, Wallpaper* etc….lots of great press and amazing reviews. We are not complaining 🙂
Well, another lucky break for us is that we never had to hire anyone for marketing,I do it all myself, all our customers came to us organically. A dream really, now that the market is huge and competition is even bigger than it was when we started, we are reevaluating our marketing and social media presence and are trying to make it look like us but more efficient and with more content about Veganism and how it’s spreading in the world right now. I might also step up and be more of the “face” of my own company. I am not a big fan of being in front of the camera but I will overcome my shyness and try to show people that Good Guys is still a small and human company after 10 years and that I built it with love, lots of ideas and hopes.
As a vegan, do you feel you are well served in local supermarkets, for example?
Well, in France they don’t use to have vegan options at all but now they are trying to bring more “durability/sustainability” into their product range and the brands they are introducing to their customers. From Les Galeries Lafayette to Zalando they are focusing on this right now and that’s good.
And how about your own story with veganism? Would you like to share your story?
Hi! I am Marion Hanania, founder and designer of Good Guys. I have been Vegan for 4 years and Vegetarian for 14 years.
My long-time partner has been vegan for 22 years and he was definitely the starting point and inspiration for me when I decided to stop eating meat back in 2005 when we met.
I loved animals, it was just a matter of time before I opened my eyes and see the contradiction in me. As soon as I stopped eating animals there was no going back.
What drove you to open and run your own business dedicated to vegan products?
I was a freelance shoe designer for brands like Isabel Marant, Ventilo, Devastée etc…after working for another french company that was sending me every two month to China to work and design 300 pairs a season in conditions that were not fair for the Chinese workers, nor for us French designers (working on the weekends, 15 days in a row, not contact with the outside world, except for malls and factories) Using the cheapest materials, leather of course, even snake skins and sheep furs.
I decided that I would start my own company and choose to do it differently. I sourced my materials and suppliers in Europe exclusively. I had to work hand in hand with factories to come up with new ways of working with innovative materials (microfibers) instead of leather.
I worked with a simple idea in mind “No animal products”, I found better and cleaner materials over the years to arrive to the ideal cruelty-free collections that we have now.
It’s always a “work in progress” literally because the vegan market for “new innovative materials” keeps progressing and improving.
Is there one item, in particular, from your collection that you wish to highlight?
Our best seller is our Vegan sneakers: SAMO white for men and women
We are approved by PETA.
We are using Apple Leather and corn leather which are beautiful and eco-friendly.
Where can people find and follow your work?
What I, personally love most about the vegan community is our desire to share. What or who would you like to share with our readers?