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New Generation: meet Humbs

Feb 12, 2021 Portugal
New Generation: meet Humbs
Two friends. Hugo Stevens and Miguel Tavares. One with a background in Marketing, the other with a background in Mechanical Engineering. A street market gave them the motivation and HUMBS was born

Background

It is curious to notice that neither Hugo nor Miguel had previous experience in the footwear world. Hugo Stevens has a master’s degree in Management, from Universidade Católica Portuguesa and professional experience in Marketing, at Fujitsu, Central de Cervejas, and Bacardi. Miguel Tavares has a Mechanical Engineering integrated MSc, from Instituto Superior Técnico and professional experience as Equipment Safety Engineer at Efacec and SAP Functional Consultant at Accenture.

How did this project emerge?
We met through friends and, over time, we also became good friends. One day, we got the opportunity of going together to a street market, the LX Market, to sell wallets for men. We made as much money that day as we did on a month’s work at our companies. Naturally, we kept going to the market regularly, until the day came when we considered creating our own brand. One day, we decided to get together to think about it and when we greeted each other, we complimented one another’s shoes. That compliment developed into a conversation about market opportunities, potential partners, innovative features, design, sustainability, and social responsibility. That is how we casually came up with the idea that was adapted throughout time.

Was the footwear sector a natural choice?
At first, we did not imagine ourselves working in this sector, as none of us had previous experiences in the footwear sector. However, when reflecting on the main reasons that motivated us and people we knew in the sector, we got to the conclusion that the focus on footwear was not random. Our ambition and goal of creating our own brand was the only motivation we actually needed for us to, gradually, end up thinking and talking about the footwear sector. I suppose we could say it was meant to be.

What were the main challenges?

Launching a new brand is always challenging, especially in the fashion world. That was the main challenge for us. Make people immediately associate HUMBS with quality products with high added value. Also, the current pandemic context resulted in a saturated market, promotionally and, mainly, digitally. The decrease in sales and the closure of stores resulted in excess stocks, which lead to outlet prices, with mainly online purchases. That’s why the brand’s strategy is based on a premium service, which detaches us from the competition only based on the price, as we focus more on the brand and product’s value, and in exclusively having our shoes available at our online store for now.

How does HUMBS distinguish itself?

HUMBS distinguishes itself by combining modern design with innovative features in each launch, always with a social component of supporting the community, to pass on trust and comfort in each step. In short, HUMBS is a brand of slip-on shoes, exclusively produced in Portugal with premium 100% vegan materials. Each sold shoe results in a donation of two meals, one for Souma, which supports disadvantaged people, and the other for Animalife, which takes care of abandoned animals. The first model, HUMBS One, is a casual sports model in a derby format, made with vegan microfiber characterized by its resistance and comfort, insole and lining made from recycled corn, elastic laces, and resistant sole in expanded TR for additional lightness.

What are the future plans for the brand? What can we expect?

We aim to launch a crowdfunding campaign soon, so we can leverage the brand’s visibility abroad. Besides, this year you can expect the second model, HUMBS Two, with a modern unisex design, focused on comfort and lightness, as espadrilles for the summer and slippers for the winter.

What piece of advice would you give to a youngster who is entering the industry?

The main advice we can give is to build a great team. A business is made of challenges and victories and, as we are only two, we are always encouraging one another, so we can get more things done and overcame the challenges.

For more information about HUMBS check the brand's website.

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