Hemp Shoes Are Part Of A More Sustainable Future, With 8000Kicks

Hemp Shoes Are Part Of A More Sustainable Future, With 8000Kicks
Ministry of Hemp Podcast

Today, we’re talking about hemp shoes, and how they can be part of a more sustainable way of life.

Shoes. We all wear them, some even collect hundreds of pairs. But did you know up to 300 million pairs of shoes make their way to landfills every year. According to thechicecologist.com shoes make up a massive portion of waste in landfills and some elements of athletic shoes can take up to 1000 years to decompose.

In this episode of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, Matt sits down with Bernardo Carreira, CEO of 8000Kicks, to discuss their new line of hemp fabric-based shoes with bio-plastic soles. They talk about the impact an ecologically friendly shoe can have on the environment, the difficulties of running a start-up with a mission, and the ways hemp and bioplastic continue to prove to be sustainable replacements for oil-based plastics and fibers.

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Send us your hemp questions and you might hear them answered on one of our Hemp Q&A episodes. Send your written questions to us on Twitter, Facebook, [email protected], or call us and leave a message at 402-819-6417. Keep in mind, this phone number is for hemp questions only and any other inquiries for the Ministry of Hemp should be sent to [email protected]

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Bernardo Carreira (insert photo) joined the Ministry of Hemp podcast to introduce 8000Kicks, his hemp-based sneakers, and discuss how hemp shoes could be part of a more sustainable future.

Sustainable hemp shoes: Complete episode transcript

Below you’ll find the complete transcript of episode 58 of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, “Hemp Shoes Are Part Of A More Sustainable Future”:

Matt Baum:
I’m Matt Baum. And, this is the Ministry of Hemp Podcast, brought to you by ministryofhemp.com, America’s leading advocate for hemp and hemp education. Welcome back to the Ministry of Hemp Podcast. My name is Matt Baum. And, today on the show, we are going to talk about shoes, specifically shoes made of hemp. But before we get into that, let’s talk about shoes for a minute. I love shoes. I’m a huge shoe guy. I’m not like walk-in closet full of shoes, kind of guy; but I do love shoes, Adidas, Nike, Vans. I’m a huge fan. I hold on to them. I keep them clean. I like them to look good, but eventually they do get old. And then, I get rid of them. Oftentimes, I’ll take them to a secondhand clothing store. I try not to just throw them away. I’ll donate them. But, until I started working on this episode, I honestly didn’t even think about how much plastic goes into shoes, and how long they stick around.

Matt Baum:
According to thechicecologist.com, it’s estimated that 20 billion pairs of shoes are produced annually, with roughly 300 million pairs ending up in landfills, after they’ve been worn. The ethylene vinyl acetate, which usually makes up the mid-sole of most running shoes can last for as long as a thousand years in a landfill, a thousand years. And, that is absolutely insane. The good news is, there’s people out there that are worried about this, and thinking about it, and have even started making a more ecologically responsible shoe. Today on the show, my conversation is with Bernardo Carreira. He’s a CEO of 8000Kicks, and 8000Kicks are making an all-purpose athletic shoe, if you will, out of hemp and algae-based plastic, and they’re pretty fricken amazing. 8000Kicks is a startup, and Bernardo is super pumped about what’s in store for the future. I’m really excited for you to hear this interview. Here’s my conversation with Barnardo Carreira, CEO of 8000Kicks.

Meet Bernardo Carreira

Bernardo Carreira:
Okay. That’s a good question, and I’m currently stuck in Portugal because of COVID Portugal.

Matt Baum:
You’re stuck in Portugal. So, where would you be normally without this COVID business? Where would you be?

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah, actually I’m Portuguese. I’m here because my family is here.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Bernardo Carreira:
Otherwise, I would be in the U.S. We have currently, doing some hemp production in China, so I will be in the U.S. or China. But now, I cannot go to either one’s. [crosstalk 00:00:02:55].

Matt Baum:
Got to love it, right. Which makes business really easy, I’m sure.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah, of course. It’s much easier.

Matt Baum:
Tell me about, 8000Kicks. What do you guys do there? We know that you make a hemp shoe. I have some on the way, and I’m super excited. But, tell me about 8000Kicks. What goes on there?

Bernardo Carreira:
Okay. It’s a [inaudible 00:03:17] because a lot of things go in there. But, let me describe a little bit of what we do. What is the shoe that we do? It started out as an idea, how can we make a super shoe that is eco-friendly, and meets all the needs of active person, a millennial that wants to go to work; and then, go to go for a hike in the mountain.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Bernardo Carreira:
And, a shoe for traveling, a shoe for a business, a shoe that I can wear, whatever. And, I don’t when I wear like 10 pairs of sneakers or 10 different flip-flops, every time I want to go to a different place.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Bernardo Carreira:
So, that’s the need that we faced. And, we wanted something sustainable. Because, guess what? We are millennials and we care about… We want to do things properly.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. That’s our cross to bear. We were actually care about this stuff, right?

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. Not just millennials, but it’s super awesome to see that everyone nowadays cares about this. And, our team is young and we’re like, “Let’s do things the way we want the world to be.” And, that’s how it all started. And, it all started with a stupid brainstorming session when someone had the idea of…. We’re all smoking…. Yeah, we’re a bit high there, right. Then someone came up with the idea.

Matt Baum:
That happens. I get it.

Bernardo Carreira:
Let’s make a smokable shoe, the kind of ideas that you would have when you high.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

The creation of 8000Kicks hemp shoes

Bernardo Carreira:
And, that’s how we kind of joined cannabis to the equation. Back then, we didn’t really know what we wanted to do exactly. But, we just had a stupid idea of make it, hemp. And certainly, we realized that hemp is not only eco-friendly, but it’s also super strong, super durable, and it’s also cool.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. Its very cool.

Bernardo Carreira:
Right. So, we’re like, “Okay, this is us.” “This is what we need.” And, certainly the products are changing. And okay, we need to add more. Let’s make it waterproof, because personally I lived two years in London. And, hey man, London has a big problem, which is, it rains all the time.

Matt Baum:
It rains all the time. Yeah.

Bernardo Carreira:
Day one, day two, day three, like 365 days a year.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. Its also sunny everyday, too. It’s weird, because the day starts up beautiful, then it rains. Then it’s beautiful, then it rains again. It’s so weird.

Bernardo Carreira:
Exactly. How can you have like a pair of canvas shoes? I don’t know, like a pair of All Stars. The moment you step outside, you’re soaked wet, and it’s super annoying. And, at the same time, you want to do different stuff, but after you’re wearing an All Stars for a long time, your feet kind of feel a little bit sore. So, you want to have more than that, in terms of comfort. And, we started like innovating, okay, “Let’s make something better.” Then, okay, we decide make it waterproof, but what’s next? What can we make it? And then, we decided to initially we were working with a recycled rubber sole, but now we did a crazy upgrade, where we use algae. We literally collect seaweed…

Matt Baum:
Algae, like seaweed?

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah, exactly.

Matt Baum:
Oh my God. I didn’t know this part.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. That was a crazy innovation. You were like, “We need to stand out even more.” So, we partner with this company called Bloom, and they collect algae from algal blooms.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Bernardo Carreira:
Why are we doing this? Because algae, first it destroys the entire ecosystem if it grows exponentially, in algal blooms. And at the same time, it has some interesting properties that we can use to make it super light. And, that’s exactly what we’ve done. We decided to incorporate some of these algae, to make what we call, bloom foam. This is the name of our project.

Matt Baum:
That’s great.

Bernardo Carreira:
And so, it’s really light. Once you receive it, you will see the shoe is like a feather. It’s really interesting.

Making eco-friendly hemp shoes

Matt Baum:
So, lets talk about that for a second. Let’s talk about everything that goes into it. First of all, you just decide, we want to make an eco-friendly shoe, but it needs to be waterproof, it needs to do everything. This isn’t just a running shoe. This is a all around shoe. And then you decide, we want to go with hemp. And you said, “You’re dealing with hemp growers in China.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
How do you hook up with hemp growers in China? How does that work? Dude, [crosstalk 00:00:08:13]…

Bernardo Carreira:
[crosstalk 00:08:15] figuring it out, because I wish I knew, but it’s just knocking doors.

Matt Baum:
Just find [crosstalk 00:08:22] the right company.

Bernardo Carreira:
This was the number one struggle we had with our project. From the moment we had the idea of making a smokable shoe, until the moment that we actually had a prototype, that was like six months.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Bernardo Carreira:
So, it’s hard.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Bernardo Carreira:
I mean, you can Google and you will find a lot of hemp manufacturers. The real problem is to understand the ones that actually make it good. The ones that make, what do you need, what we need. And then, you have to also understand the one that has, I mean, the good quality. And, there is the process that takes time. And then, you also have another problem, which is once you find the right one, and the one that does it well, water-proofs with the technology that you want, and you can develop the fabric the way you want; then you realize, “Okay, but we need a huge minimum order for you. And, if that was like, [crosstalk 00:09:22] really, really, really complicated.

Matt Baum:
It’s got to makes sense money-wise, too. You can’t charge $5,000 for a pair of shoes. You’ve got to figure out how to bring the price down, so.

Bernardo Carreira:
Exactly. And, the thing is they don’t let you order 10 meters. You need to order 1000 meters at once. And, that is minimum order quantities. And, that was a big struggle for us. Because, for us to achieve that quality, we had to develop from scratch. To develop from scratch, you need big quantities.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Bernardo Carreira:
So, it was tough, very tough. But now, we get the ball rolling, so we can now focus on bringing more innovation, and bringing more products, and continue this iteration process, and improve every step of the way.

Sneakers with bioplastic soles

Matt Baum:
Tell me about the algae bloom plastic. How did you find that? Initially, did you think, maybe we can do it with hemp foam, or hemp rubber, or something?

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. We had a lot of ideas. It’s kind of, we brainstorm a lot. And then, kind of saw this company doing this interesting stuff, and they were exploring like…. It was kind of random, I will honestly tell you. It’s like, you literally see something, okay, this is interesting, “I’m going to dig into that.”

Bernardo Carreira:
And, I sent them a few emails, and they replied, “Oh, this is interesting too.” So, we start developing it. And, this was exactly one year ago.

Matt Baum:
And, where are they out of?

Bernardo Carreira:
They’re based in the U.S.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Bernardo Carreira:
And, they collect algae from like this algae blooms, all over the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Matt Baum:
Oh, wow.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. We saw that they were doing some interesting stuff working with surfboards. Okay, we want to develop the same thing for our shoes. And, they were like, “Ah, this is interesting.” [crosstalk 00:11:28] Yeah. And, we eventually developing… Okay, we need more of this, more of that. And then, one year later, we launching this shoes with this technology.

Matt Baum:
It seems like a lot of this innovation comes from people like you who are just like, “Hey, can we do that?” “Is that something we should try?” And someone else was like, “Yeah, that’s weird, let’s try it.”

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. It’s a bit like that. But guess what, if you don’t try it, you don’t make it.

Matt Baum:
Exactly. So, you’ve got your prototype. You started producing shoes. Where are they going to go? Where can I buy 8000Kicks? What’s the challenge of getting these, into markets. Where’s it going to be be?

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. So, this is something that you’re trying to be very careful with. And, the thing here is, we want to control every single step of production, to delivery, and to the customer. And, the reason we do this, is because if problems happen, then… To be honest, we found problems where we did not really expect, and this allows us to… Look, I’m the CEO here, and I answer customer’s emails every day, which is not normal in a company. In most companies [crosstalk 00:12:46]…

Matt Baum:
Typically, not. [crosstalk 00:12:49] Every time I contact Apple, I certainly don’t get, Tim and the boys.

Bernardo Carreira:
Exactly. But, the reason I do that is, because it’s crazy, amount of problems you face from production to customer. And, we’re still trying to fix every single one of them, and make sure that they are properly sold, before we expand and start selling. So right now, only on our websites, and that’s because we control it. Customers have a experience that we can control, they can communicate directly with us.

Matt Baum:
Cool.

Bernardo Carreira:
We basically guarantee that they are a 100 percent happy with the product. We know [inaudible 00:13:31] they are using it, except if something goes wrong with the product, because sometimes it does; we are there to replace it, or change it, or whatever needs to be done. So, that’s how we want to make sure we grow, and we make sure we do it properly.

The challenges of making hemp shoes

Matt Baum:
So, you said there were problems you ran into that you couldn’t even foreseen. What was some of those issues? What were the biggest issues that you ran into?

Bernardo Carreira:
All right. That’s a big question. So, I’m going to tell you a funny story. [crosstalk 00:14:02] When we were shooting [crosstalk 00:14:04]…

Matt Baum:
Because success is fun, we love about success. But, the mistakes and the problem, that’s where the real story is. Right? That’s where the fun is.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah, exactly. I will tell you a funny one. So, one of the big problems we had was, we were shipping everything out of the UK. Because it’s like, okay, this seems like a no brainer. UK is competitive worldwide prices. Let’s ship the shoes from the UK to the U.S. And, knowing freight time is kind of fast. Let’s do it. Suddenly we realized, that customer’s got the shoes in the U.S. And, imagine you buy a shoe, we ship it from the UK, and it’s the wrong size.

Matt Baum:
Oh yeah, because UK sizing and U.S. sizing is different.

Bernardo Carreira:
No, not really actually. We have the shoes in U.S. sizes.

Matt Baum:
Oh, gotcha. But, I got my shoes.

Bernardo Carreira:
Sometimes, people order the wrong size.

Matt Baum:
Okay. Gotcha.

Bernardo Carreira:
So we just say, “Hey, you can ship the shoes back to us, we don’t have a return…” “Right now, we’re working and we going to launch a free return service.” But imagine that, for exchanges, we were like, “Okay, just send us a shoe back, we’re going to exchange it. And then, some customers were like, “Oh, this is impossible, “I’m paying like…”

Matt Baum:
Yeah. It’s like 20 bucks, 30 bucks to send it back to UK.

Bernardo Carreira:
And, we were like, “Oh, really?” We were like, “We’re not expecting this.” We thought it was like… Okay, we thought was kind of cheap.

Matt Baum:
Cheap for you, because you’re sending so many. But, when it’s one person sending one box, that’s a whole different story, so.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. So we were like, this is a problem because we cannot allow our customers to pay this [inaudible 00:15:49] for an exchange. I mean, if I was a customer, I’ll be a bit annoyed.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Bernardo Carreira:
This is a really funny story. I was looking for a student in the U.S., and I hired him. And I said, “Bro, I’m going to pay you to receive our shoes.” “I’m going to send you spare boxes, and I’m going to send you a cleaning kit.” “You’re going to receive the shoes, you’re going to exchange them; and you’re going to send [inaudible 00:16:21] shoe to the right customers.” And, basically we had a student working in the U.S., helping do all the exchanges for us.

Matt Baum:
It’s like own little private, like UPS hub, basically. And, it’s just like one dude, cleaning shoes, and mailing them out.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. I mean, this guy saved our life. I mean, customers were like, “Man, this is impossible.” “We cannot ship the shoes back to the UK.” And, they like [inaudible 00:16:48]. And then, we found this solution. It was really funny. You had a fulfillment center in Florida from the student, which is kind of funny.

Matt Baum:
That’s awesome. Is he still with the company, or has he graduated and moved on?

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah, he graduated.

Matt Baum:
Ah, that’s too bad. It’s hard to find good help. You know? So, have you heard…

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. We still get in touch with him, and eventually got some spare shoes. Some shoes never got used, never got shipped, so he got pretty happy with two or three pairs of shoes for himself.

Competing with other shoes

Matt Baum:
Hey, that’s not bad. Have you heard that from any of the big boys yet? Have you heard from like Adidas, or Nike, or anything? Have they been poking around, see what you’re doing? Is anyone else doing stuff like this, right now, with shoes?

Bernardo Carreira:
I mean, with hemp, there are a few companies. We already got some copycats.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, of course.

Bernardo Carreira:
Which to be honest, if it were like… I mean, it’s always like mixed feelings, right. You get a copycat, you feel like, “Oh, these guys here…”

Matt Baum:
It’s a compliment. But it’s a compliment, right? I mean, they’re saying like, “Hey, these guys have a good idea.”

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah, we see it as a complement.

Matt Baum:
“Let’s do what they’re doing.”

Bernardo Carreira:
Exactly. And to be honest, more than a compliment we see it as like these guys if they’re doing it right, and by using hemp itself, it’s just already amazing. Okay, perfect. We want to make hemp great again. If other shoe companies use hemp as well, that will be awesome. That means, we are achieving our vision of making hemp great again. And also, it’s a compliment for our business as well. And I mean, it’s a little bit like, you always feel very low, these guys are…

Matt Baum:
Right.

Bernardo Carreira:
But in the end, I think you need to take like… You cannot be selfish, and you need to be a little bit more altruistic towards what’s happening overall, rather than you.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Bernardo Carreira:
I mean, you have to understand that, it’s bigger than you, it’s bigger than you selling shoes. It’s, you’re creating something for the planet, not just for you.

Matt Baum:
If, everybody started copying you, the world would be a better place. And sure, you’ve got a lot of competition, but hey, we’ve changed the world at that point, so.

Bernardo Carreira:
Exactly.

Matt Baum:
That’s not something to you know… So, have any of the big guys… Have you heard from anyone, like any major shoe producers that are looking into doing something like this?

Bernardo Carreira:
We got a few [inaudible 00:19:29]… And, to be honest, I look at it the same way. I doubt that they will make a lot of hemp shoes. But, if they start making hemp shoes, I will take it as a compliment. But, I saw some big companies buying our shoes already.

Matt Baum:
Oh, yeah.

Bernardo Carreira:
Because…

Matt Baum:
They want to check them out.

Bernardo Carreira:
Because, they buy the shoes with business email.

Matt Baum:
Oh. Come on, guys. They’re like ship to… We like Rick Shipment from [email protected] [inaudible 00:20:06].

Bernardo Carreira:
Exactly.

Matt Baum:
Come on man, you got to be smarter than that.

Bernardo Carreira:
To be honest, I see it. And to be honest, it’s a compliment. I showed the team and say, “Hey guys, competition is buying our shoes.” But in the same way, we’re like, “It’s not really competition for me.” We’re doing something unique. We are doing something that we identify ourselves with. And to be honest, if everyone’s starts making hemp shoes, and they’re good for the environment, then we just…

Matt Baum:
Again.

Bernardo Carreira:
We’re moving to making more eco-friendly stuff, so that they can copy this again.

Matt Baum:
Mark that a win. Definitely. How many people out there right now are wearing your shoes? How many have you shipped so far? Roughly, you don’t have to give me a give me an exact number, but like roughly.

Bernardo Carreira:
Okay. A few thousand, cannot say for sure. Four, or 5,000.

Matt Baum:
So, this is still very new. This is like a small club of people around the world, that are checking these out [crosstalk 00:21:05].

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. Exactly.

Matt Baum:
But, what are they saying? Those who have bought them, like what’s the response to them?

Bernardo Carreira:
I don’t want to sound biased, because I will obviously say that they love them.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Bernardo Carreira:
I mean…

Matt Baum:
I didn’t think you [inaudible 00:21:20], they hate him. Oh God, it’s been a failure.

Bernardo Carreira:
Well, you can always check our reviews on the Trustpilot. Those, we cannot control.

Matt Baum:
Trustpilot, really good, definitely.

Bernardo Carreira:
People go there, and they post the reviews. And [inaudible 00:21:36] go back, I completely like [inaudible 00:21:39]. Yeah. But, so some reviews and some feedback from people that… Mostly, they all like the shoes. Some of them gave comments like, “Oh, I wish my shoe was lighter.” “Oh, I wish my shoe was…” And, this is something that we take really serious. And, that’s why we improve to, bring this new algae sole. This new [inaudible 00:22:03] is super light. Because okay, this guy is right, and he gave the… Like a few people said, “I wish the shoe was a bit lighter. And we’re Like, “They are right, we need to improve it.” And then, we make it super light.

Matt Baum:
That’s where the new soles came in. Yeah.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah.

The future of 8000Kicks shoes

Matt Baum:
So, [crosstalk 00:22:19] what was the first soul made of? Was that the recycled plastic, or recycled rubber, you said?

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. Recycled rubber. So, we changed the entire structure. And basically, we use the algae, which makes it super light. And, that was a big innovation for us, but that’s basically what happened. People complaining that it was, “Okay, this shoes could be lighter.” And we’re like, “Okay, how can we do this?” We had this company that does algae bloom foam. Then we decided, “Let’s do it.” And, that’s how it started.

Matt Baum:
So, what’s the plan?

Bernardo Carreira:
The other things, were the small things, people said that, “The cork rubber was very good, very interesting, but they wish it was a little bit more cushioning.” Which to be honest, I did not really expect. But, after reasoning with the customers, I understood that it didn’t have the feel that they wanted. So, we were like, “How can we improve this?” So, I mean, there’s no such thing as a perfect shoe. There’s always stuff to improve.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. And, that’s how we can improve the shoe to be a super shoe. We always like, this small detail, this small detail. And, that’s how it goes.

Matt Baum:
And, you answering the emails, you’re on the front line; so you are carrying this stuff direct. It’s not like someone is coming to you with a marker [inaudible 00:00:23:46], “Sir, 14.2 percent of the respondents said, that the shoe needs to be a little bit lighter.”

Matt Baum:
You’re just getting emails directly from customers like, “Hey man, I wish the shoe was a little lighter.” And, that kicks in a new idea to have like, “All right, how do we do that? And, it [inaudible 00:24:00]. I got to check out this algae foam. That sounds amazing. What’s next for you?

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah, you getting them shipped to your place right now.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, I know. I’m super excited. So, what’s next for you guys? Post COVID, you’re coming back to the States, and then you take over the U.S. Is that the plan? We’re all wearing hemp shoes.

Bernardo Carreira:
[inaudible 00:24:18] COVID, we’re going to make a mandatory for every farmer.

Matt Baum:
I love it.

Bernardo Carreira:
No. So, we’re still really small, right. So the idea is, we making sure that we’re bringing new colors, making sure that people like what we doing. Growing, [inaudible 00:24:40] very strong foundation. And, we have a lot of attention already, but we don’t want to outgrow what is sustainable.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Bernardo Carreira:
We want to make sure, that we have full control of what we make. And for that reason, the idea is to go to the U.S., so that we can follow up a little bit more on this process, be there with our customers, do a few more events, where we actually are in-person with the customers. Which is kind of complicated right now, because of the COVID. But, we wish we would be doing that right now.

Bernardo Carreira:
And, bring new colors. What colors do customers want? How do they feel about walking with this shoes. Do they want more like summer stuff, more like winter stuff. Of course now, it’s winter, and then summer coming, but that’s easy to say. But, what exactly is that you want for summer. But, we don’t want to make just another summer shoe, or another winter shoe; it has to be amazing. Right. Otherwise, we just making another pair of, I don’t know, sandals, or another pair of boots. I mean, [crosstalk 00:25:57].

Matt Baum:
But, these are blue. And, these are pink.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. Exactly. It has to be really high quality. Our idea is like, small amount of products, but amazing. Amazing ones. [crosstalk 00:26:15] I’m really excited for you to try them, because really, you’ve [crosstalk 00:26:17] for a long time.

Matt Baum:
I’m super excited. So, the idea is to scale up responsibly, basically. And, not outgrow the quality that you’re trying to maintain now, while also pushing the product forward.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah, exactly.

8000Kicks = 8000 B.C.

Matt Baum:
That’s amazing, man. So 8000Kicks, where’s the name come from?

Bernardo Carreira:
Okay. That’s a good question. A lot of people ask that. It actually comes from 8000 BC. That’s when hemp originated in Asia, in Taiwan, in China. Basically, hemp started back then. And we said, “Let’s honor the past, and let’s use a funky number, 8000 Kicks.”

Matt Baum:
That’s great.

Bernardo Carreira:
That’s how we came up with it.

Matt Baum:
I love it. Bernardo, can’t wait for you to get back to the States. I mean, I’m sorry you’re trapped there, but I got to get one of those hats too. I’m going to get on your site, and go order one of those hats. I’m guessing, that’s all hemp as well.

Bernardo Carreira:
The hats. Oh, these hats.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. The hat you’re wearing, yes.

Bernardo Carreira:
These ones are not for sale yet. We are developing them, but not for sale yet. And actually, we have a few ideas, funky ideas, that we want to launch. But, the hats are one of them.

Matt Baum:
Cool.

Bernardo Carreira:
But, not yet. Not yet.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough.

Bernardo Carreira:
Not right now, only the masks.

Matt Baum:
So, final question. If I’m Adidas or I’m Nike, and I come to you tomorrow; and I go, “Bernardo, this is an idea, man, how much you want?” “I’ll write you a cheque right now.” Are you selling, or are you holding onto it?

Bernardo Carreira:
To be honest, not really selling. I think if it was for the money, there will be easier ways to make money.

Matt Baum:
Absolutely.

Bernardo Carreira:
I will go to investment banking, or something like that.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Bernardo Carreira:
But, there’s something that the big brands have, that I don’t have, and that is the access to a lot of resources, and the access to a lot of big networks. And so, although we were really committed to do amazing stuff, and we have a lot of energy and motivation; a lot of times it takes us a lot of effort to get… So, we mentioned like, these guys have big Ferrari’s, then they can have really big machines. Then basically, we don’t have big machines, so we have to run all night to catch up with it.

Matt Baum:
Right, exactly.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. So the thing is, we are really committed to quality, and by teaming up with people that have a lot of experience, that would be very good for us. So, we want to scale up the team to bring more quality. But, these big companies have a lot of resources, that can help us drive our mission. So it really, it shouldn’t be a question of money. It should be a question of, what do they bring to the table that can help us bring this project further.

Matt Baum:
That’s awesome. That’s completely awesome. So for now, if I want to buy a pair of shoes, I have to go to 8000kicks.com.

Bernardo Carreira:
Exactly.

Matt Baum:
Awesome. Thanks so much.

Bernardo Carreira:
And, you buy one each color.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, I buy one each color. Deal.

Bernardo Carreira:
We’re coming up with new color’s. And, if you want to suggest any new color, feel free to reach out on Instagram, or Facebook, or just via email. Because, many times I’m there with my colleagues answering the emails.

Matt Baum:
Cool.

Bernardo Carreira:
So, you’ll probably get a message directly from me, asking you more questions, “Hey, what color?”

Matt Baum:
It sounds like you’ve got a great product, and it sounds like people are excited. I’m super excited for this. Shoes are one of those things, that I don’t think we think about enough, when we buy them. Because, they do have so much plastic, and there’s a bunch of cloth on them. And, when you get done with those shoes, they just get thrown away into a landfill. Yours, since they’re hemp and this algae plastic, do they break down better eventually, when I’m done with them? And, I’ve worn them for five or 10 years, when I’m done with them. Will they be around, as long as my Nike shoes?

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah, definitely not. They are not. However, I have to be a 100 percent transparent. The shoes are not a 100 percent natural. This is a fact, they are like 95 percent natural. Then we had to add, for instance, our membrane, it’s synthetic, so this is how we guarantee that it’s waterproof. But to be honest, we don’t mind adding that five percent extra of synthetic material to improve the features, and to make sure the product is extra good.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Bernardo Carreira:
And also, in many cases that also helps us reduce the CO2 footprint, which for us, is a big number.

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Bernardo Carreira:
That’s one of our biggest KPIs. And right now, we have 4.1 kilo of CO2, kilo per shoe. And, I mean, that is a really low number. Most shoes consume 30 kilos of CO2 per production. By adding this small synthetic, we reduce a lot, the CO2 that goes out; and we increase a lot, the features of the shoes. And basically, what that does is, instead of the shoes lasting six months, they last one year, two years. So, it’s the five percent that we will rather not replace by natural materials, that do not perform as well.

Matt Baum:
But, the point being like 95 percent natural, is 95 percent more than just about every other shoe on the market. So, I’m not [crosstalk 00:32:24]…

Bernardo Carreira:
Exactly.

Matt Baum:
Like, that sounds pretty good to me, so.

Bernardo Carreira:
Yeah. I mean, full transparency on our side.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. No, and that’s awesome. I mean, a lot of people wouldn’t even bring that up. I’m glad you did. But, I think it’s amazing. I’m excited to get these. I think you guys have, what looks like a really cool product. And as I know, there’s others on the market, but you’ve already sent some to some people at Ministry of Hemp, and they’re like, “I love them, I think they’re amazing.” So, I’m super excited, man. And, I look forward to…

Final thoughts from Matt

Matt Baum:
I finally got my pair of, black with black sole 8000Kick hemp shoes this week, which is cool. Because, I can wear them with all my metal T-shirts, and stuff. And I got to say, I love them. They’re lightweight. They’re super comfortable. They’re a fantastic shoe. And, I feel good owning them, too. If you want to check out 8000Kicks, I will have a link to their website in the notes, for this episode.

Matt Baum:
Thanks for joining me, again for another episode of the Ministry of Hemp Podcast. Next time on the show, I’m going to be talking to some local guys right here in Nebraska, where I’m from Ministry of Hemp is technically out of Austin, Texas, where Kit our editor in chief, and Drew, our brand managers live. But right here in Nebraska, there are some people doing some really cool stuff with hemp. So, I’m excited to talk to them. If you need more Ministry of Hemp in your life before that, head over to our site, ministryofhemp.com, and check out some really good articles we have up right now. We have an update on the side effects of CBD oil, and it talks all about whether or not CBD is safe. We also have a really interesting article about, can you overdose on CBD, if you take too much? Spoiler alert, No. But, it’s a good read. And if anybody could, it would be me, because I have a ton of it, and I’m always trying different CBD stuff for this show.

Matt Baum:
Speaking of the show, if you like what you hear, give us a rating, give us a review. It really does help, for us to get this information to people that are looking for it. And, it raises us in the search algorithms as well. And, if you really want to help us out, head to Patreon/ministryofhemp, and become a Ministry of Hemp insider. We just put up a podcast extra, today; me talking to Evan Nison from NORML. You may remember him, from last week’s episode. We talk about his San Francisco based cannabis tour guide company, that takes people on tours of local cannabis dispensaries, and farms. It’s a really cool little discussion.

Matt Baum:
And it’s our way of saying, thank you to you guys for supporting us on Patreon. You can find a link to our Patreon, in our show notes. And, speaking of the show notes, here at the Ministry of Hemp, we believe that a more accessible world is better for everyone. So, we include a full written transcript of this episode in the show notes, over at ministryofhemp.com. All right, that’s it. I got to get out of here. Thank you so much for joining me, again. And, I like to end the show the same way, every time. Remember to take of yourself. Remember to take care of others. And, make good decisions, will you? This is Matt Baum, with the Ministry of Hemp. Signing off.

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