Let’s you have a comfortable job that has a good benefits package with a manufacturing company in Los Angeles. Would you give it all up to move to Brazil to start your own company making sustainable footware from coconut trees? That’s what Cynthia Tello did three years ago. Today, her company — Joya da Terra — has a full line of sustainable footwear made from coconut fiber and other all natural materials.
In Portuguese, joya means “jewel” and terra means “earth.” That means Tello’s shoes are jewels of the earth. The coconut fiber foot mattress contains anti-bacterial agents. They are coated with a layer of natural latex that molds to your feet and stimulates the nerve endings while promoting good posture. The soles of the Joya Da Terra shoes are also made of natural latex — a renewable material collected in the Amazon forest. Locals can earn much needed income from harvesting the latex without damaging or cutting down any trees.
All the fabrics used to manufacture Tello’s shoes are made from reprocessed PET plastic bottles. The company’s Brazilian eco-leather facility contains its own water treatment plant to keep waste water out of the environment.
The traditional footwear industry relies heavily on petroleum-based products. While they are cheap to manufacture, they do not contribute to sustainability. Many traditional products contain known carcinogenic chemicals and the leather they use is dyed with chemicals that pollute the environment.
Tello doesn’t just make footwear. She also wants to show others how to create a sustainable business model that can be applied to other countries where coconut trees are grown. It takes a lot of courage to quit one’s job and start a new business. Not everyone would be comfortable doing so. But for Cynthia Tello, it was the “natural” thing to do.
Source: Inhabitat Photo credits: Joya Da Terra