SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Allbirds, the San Francisco-based sustainable footwear and apparel brand, is thrilled to announce their expansion into Korea. Korean customers will now be able to get their hands on the minimalist shoes made from premium natural materials that are adored by the likes of Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Emma Watson and Jessica Alba. Founded by ex-soccer player Tim Brown and renewables expert Joey Zwillinger in 2016, Allbirds has quickly grown from an online-only retailer into a global brand serving 35 countries, with 21 brick-and-mortar stores worldwide.
Famous for their sleek, logo-free sneakers, Allbirds crafts their products from a suite of regenerative natural materials including ZQ-certified New Zealand Merino wool, FSC-certified Eucalyptus Tree fiber and SweetFoam™, a proprietary innovation made with sugarcane and a revolutionary alternative to the petroleum-based foam traditionally used in footwear. Developed by Allbirds in partnership with Braskem, a publicly-traded green energy company in Brazil, the innovation has been open-sourced to the entire industry and beyond. To date, more than 100 companies have inquired about incorporating the material in their supply chains.
Apart from their dedication to simple design and unbeatable comfort, Allbirds is driven by a passionate commitment to tread lightly on the planet and has treated sustainability as a non-negotiable right from the start, incorporating the business as a Public Benefit Corporation and B Corp. The manufacturing process behind Allbirds’s Wool shoes consumes 60% less energy than typical sneakers, and the brand’s Tree uses 95% less water and has half of the carbon impact compared to traditional footwear. In addition, Allbirds’s shoe laces are made from recycled plastic bottles and the insoles derived from castor bean oil.
The company, which sold only one silhouette at launch, the Wool Runner, has gradually expanded their product offering to include water-repellent sneakers and running shoes. Last year the company announced it was releasing a sock collection, made from Trino™, a super yarn derived from a blend of the brand’s hero materials: Merino wool and Tree.
Co-CEO and co-founder Joey Zwillinger says, “The response we’ve received thus far has been beyond what we could’ve ever imagined when we first started this. Our customers understand this is about something bigger – doing our part as a private company to address the problem of our generation. We believe that our mission works better at scale and we are thrilled to launch Allbirds in Korea, bringing sustainability to more wardrobes around the world.”
The brand, which has identified Carbon as a universal scorecard to measure climate change, is on a journey to reduce their carbon footprint and overall impact on the planet. In 2019, Allbirds announced they will be 100% carbon neutral through the Allbirds Carbon Fund, a self-imposed carbon tax which invests in emissions reductions projects such as regenerative agriculture, wind farms and landfill gas destruction. In April 2020, Allbirds became the first fashion brand to label all of their products with a Carbon Footprint score, a pioneering initiative designed to inform customers of the carbon impact of all Allbirds products. The hope is that other businesses will follow suit and that carbon footprint labels will one day be as ubiquitous as nutrition labels on food packaging.
From the early days of our international expansion, our sights have been set on the Korean market, particularly given our heritage ties to Busan where we make our iconic Wool Runner. Thanks to its leading global position in style and aesthetic, we consider the Korean market an essential gateway for us in building long term success throughout Asia. Leading Allbirds’s growth in international markets is Sandeep Verma, Head of International. After launching and building Allbirds’s European operations in 2018, Sandeep has successfully led a team of 40 in opening four brick-and-mortar stores in London, Berlin and Amsterdam and has expanded the e-commerce business to include 28 European countries in just 18 months. As Head of International, Sandeep sees Korea playing a crucial role in Allbirds’s global growth.
“As we continue to expand our international footprint, we’re excited to finally enter the Korean market and connect with our existing community here, further establishing Allbirds as an important sustainable fashion player in Asia,” Verma states. “Allbirds’s mission to tread lighter on the planet has resonated with people far and wide, from Berlin to New York, to LA and Shanghai, and we’re delighted to share our purpose-led products and world-class level of care with our Korean customers.”