It can be so hard to find good vegan shoes, right? That’s the problem we had. That’s also what inspired us to solve that problem and enable people to find the shoes to fit their lifestyle – from the fashion-conscious vegan student, to the keen hiker who needs shoes that support both her feet and sustainable economy.
The founders, Thomas and Dirk, are in some ways very typical businesspeople: they saw a niche, and they moved to fill it. In other ways, though, they’re completely different.
Right from the start, Thomas and Dirk decided they did not want to profit from suffering of any kind. They decided they would rather create a business with the purpose of generating income to support themselves, their families and of course their employees, while simultaneously promoting positive change and providing people with the options they need to make more ethical, comfortable choices.
They wanted to do well, while also doing good.
And so far, so good.
After we decided this is what we wanted to do, we set about founding avesu as an online shop in July 2010. It started off as an online shop, run from a single-room in a shared apartment in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg. We initially stocked only 15 models, and each and every package had to be brought individually to the post office.
From those humble beginnings, things progressed very well and we soon decided it was time to open our first bricks-and-mortar shop, in Berlin, of course.
We opened our first store in Berlin, Schivelbeiner Straße, next door to Veganz, in October 2011, expanding it in 2012. That went well, so we then opened our second Berlin store in Warschauer Straße, in August 2013, and our third store overall in Hamburg-Altona in October 2013. And we’re still expanding! Watch this space!
We created avesu because it is something we believe wholeheartedly in.
Thomas Reichel is a vegan veteran: he has been vegan for over 20 years, and avesu is not even his first vegan enterprise. Thomas’s first vegan business was a vegan market stall, which he co-founded in 1999 and which then evolved into Yellow Sunshine, Germany’s first organic and vegetarian-vegan fast-food restaurant.
avesu’s co-founder Dirk Zimmermann was working as an independent programmer, but wanted to branch out and be part of a business that was truly sustainable – in every sense of the word. Naturally, the idea of avesu appealed to him, even though he was not vegan or vegetarian himself by that time. As part of the lead-up to founding avesu, Dirk gradually became more knowledgeable about the principles which inspired the idea, and began to understand why these issues are so important. Dirk went vegetarian in 2009 and has never once looked back.
We are often mentioned in correlation with the vegan supermarket chain Veganz. We are two seperate businesses, Veganz is a strong partner to us we share many ideas with.
We have tended to work together when deciding on locations for our stores because of the natural synergy effect of having two great vegan businesses in one spot. It means people can pick up a vegan snack after buying some vegan shoes, or browse vegan shoes on their way back from buying some vegan supplies. It’s easier for everyone if things are in the same place.
Vegan, ethical businesses are a great thing, so we are keen to support each other. We are also in regular contact with our neighbours in Berlin at Schivelbeiner Straße, Dear Goods, as well as a great number of other vegan and ethical businesses.
We’re expanding! From our humble beginnings as an online store in a one-room apartment in Berlin, we have now expanded both physically and online.
In response to incredible demand, we are now distributing across the EU and many other countries worldwide via our online stores. We are also planning to open stores in various cities in the near future.
Ultimately, we want to be able to take over the world with this vegan, ethical shoe revolution – enabling ethical shoppers to order great vegan shoes the world over. Come join us!