A local Vancouver shoe-maker is taking the sneaker world by storm. Vessi footwear, the brand that brought us the world's first 100 per cent waterproof knit kicks, has exploded with a 20,000-plus waitlist. We chatted with co-founder Mikaella Go for more about her company's incredible story. —Noa Nichol
Hi Mikaella! Tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I went to school to become a teacher because I loved to share my learnings with others and then I was a lifeguard for eight years because I'm a big fan of all things water. I've now combined those experiences to help run Vessi—teaching our team how to help manage a rapidly growing business and keeping the growth and operations in check. I'm still near water but, this time, staying drier.
What is Vessi? How and why did you launch it and what differentiates its products from other sneaker makers?
Vessi started off as an idea, are we able to create one shoe that you could actually wear everyday. Something that not only looked good but also made you feel good. Our patented knit material makes Vessi stand out from the rest. Being completely waterproof, breathable, extremely comfortable and 100 per cent vegan, we were able to create a shoe that we felt proud of. With the textile industry being one of the biggest contributors of wastewater worldwide, we had to take a step back and really look at how we can contribute to a more sustainable product. Vessis are made with our commitment to mindful manufacturing. With this in mind, we were able to cut down our trim waste by over 97 per cent, which means that we use almost all of the materials we produce.
How did it feel when you realized the wait list for the world's first 100 per cent waterproof knit sneakers ad exploded to 20,000-plus names? How did that happen?!
Speechless. Humbled. I remember the first time I saw someone wearing a pair of Vessis, my heart skipped a beat, it almost felt like I was having a panic attack and all these thoughts were running through my mind. But at the end of the day its the continuous support, belief, and patience of all our supporters that made me feel like we have something great here and we need to let the world know. Vessi's success didn't happen overnight; it took late nights, an amazing team and an even more amazing group of supporters to really jumpstart Vessi's success.
What are you planning to do to meet the demand?
We decided to take a brief pause on all new orders, this meant that we can focus on our current customers while allowing us to take a step back and really craft up an experience worth sharing. During this time, we've added three more production lines, tripled our team, conducted hundreds of customer surveys and are so excited to show you what we've been working on.
When we're back, expect an experience catered for you, from the time you land on our site to when your Vessis arrive at your front door. Because at the end of the day, it's you, the people that believe in us, that make Vessi what it is. We're also so excited to share with you a few limited-edition colorways we've been working on! Sign up on our website to find out when we're back!
So ... what's on your feet right now?!
A pair of Vessis! Actually it's one of the pairs we're dropping at the relaunch!