Thursday, 19 May 2022

Agave Is Life: Get to the Root of Life with MIRET’s New Sustainable Sneakers Collection

May 19, 2022 - Agave is Life is Miret's newest sneakers collection, inspired by nature, for nature. 

Are we aware of just how important plants are in the preservation of life on Earth? It is a question woven into each pair of sneakers of the new “Agave is life” collection by the Croatian sustainable sneakers brand MIRET. The name of the campaign revolves around the mighty agave, a plant that meant life for many people throughout history, being their source of food, medication and clothing. The plant known as “desert beauty” has found its way towards Croatia, inhabiting many of the islands surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. On those islands, people share a special connection with the plants. A connection that keeps on inspiring MIRET.

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Biodiversity as the guiding principle
With the new spring-summer 2022 collection, MIRET wants to emphasize the importance of flora in preservation of the biodiversity and maintaining the balance in the eco systems. That’s why FLORA is the name of the new generation of the MIRET high top sneaker with the elevated sole. And the low top variation is called ISOLA (island). Croatia is one of the most biodiverse countries in Europe, and the islands of the Adriatic coast are crucial in the further preservation of the country’s biodiversity.

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A botanist as the face of the campaign
What would we know about the life of plants without the botanists, scientists responsible for the ever-growing knowledge of plants. Inspired by the vast biodiversity of the island of Vis, MIRET chose one of Croatia’s foremost botanists, Sandro Bogdanović, as the face of their
SS22 campaign.

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“The ecosystems of the open sea islands are especially interesting because they are extremely preserved due to the isolation and distance from the mainland. They are not so threatened by pollution, urbanization, or mixing with other mainland species. Our open sea islands are oases of biodiversity and authenticity of species, slowly becoming a rarity in the Mediterranean area. We have to preserve it, without the (bio)diversity ultimately complete destruction will follow.”, says the scientist Sandro Bogdanović.

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Celebrate diversity, celebrate life
Endlessly fascinated by plants and their crucial role in preserving life on our planet, MIRET continues to leverage their brand voice to bring attention to the issues of ecology and to celebrate the people whose efforts are contributing to the preservation of the natural environment. Leading towards the Fascination of plants day 2022, meet MIRET’s ISOLA and FLORA, natural bio-based sneakers that celebrate life in harmony with nature. One step
at a time.

Both ISOLA (139 EUR) and FLORA (159 EUR) are available for purchase at www.miret.co.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

MIRET Launches Crowdinvesting Campaign on Funderbeam

November 24, 2021 - MIRET, a Croatian brand of ecological sneakers, has launched its crowdinvesting campaign on the Funderbeam platform. Funderbeam, a platform for buying/selling shares in private companies, enables the community to become investors and gain a stake in companies such as MIRET.

The MIRET Funderbeam campaign, which lasts from November 23rd to December 21st (or until the full amount is realized), was launched with the aim of raising investment in the amount of EUR 560k.

"First of all, we would like to thank Ivana Gažić from the Zagreb Stock Exchange for recognizing the project and the new head of Funderbeam SEE, Ognjan Despot, who was very passionate and engaged in strengthening Funderbeam in Croatia, and we are extremely looking forward to their future projects," said Domagoj Boljar, co-founder of the project.

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After a successful Kickstarter campaign, MIRET wants to engage the community again. 

In 2020, MIRET launched its Kickstarter campaign that started the project, launched the product on the market, and created a strong community. Even back then, their long-term goal was to launch a Funderbeam campaign in the future.

The decision for this type of financing came from the desire to involve the entire MIRET community, which will participate in the further growth and development of the company. For a symbolic amount of only 250 EUR, each individual has the opportunity to become a shareholder in MIRET.

Increasing production and expanding into new markets

They have confirmed their product-market fit, and with this funding, they plan to multiply their growth. Most of the funds will be invested in financing further production and expansion towards new retail customers through advertising and B2B collaborations with other brands and companies. They plan to invest a small part of the funds in the development of new products and certification of existing and future products according to strict environmental standards in order to officially and scientifically back up their claims about the sustainability of MIRET products.

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Danube Angels - leading investors, have recognized the potential of MIRET 

The leading investor in this project is the association of business angels from Austria, Danube Angels with whom they passed a rigorous selection in 3 stages. They choose MIRET within a large competition, as they finance only 1% of the best projects with which they make the first contact. MIRET is the first project from Croatia that Danube Angels supports.

Their potential was also recognized by the Global Footwear Awards, where they won three awards last year and this year - first place, gold and silver. The awards can be attributed to their thorough approach to choosing partners and the materials that led to their sneakers being made almost entirely of natural materials. Not only do they choose materials that are non-toxic, environmentally friendly and natural, but they also ensure that their supply chain is regional, which proved crucial during the pandemic due to the safety and strength of the supply chain. They also insist that their partners share the same core values that MIRET is led by.  

New materials, new designs, and new products are just some of the plans for 2022.

MIRET intensively prepared for this year, and they are currently working on the development of a completely new design of sneakers and types of footwear.

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“This year, we have been committed to product development, team expansion, defining our impact, measuring our market potential and we are ready to increase production and sales next year. We have a lot of work to do to realize the goals we have set and promised to our investors, and customers can expect new models, new colors, and new products," said Domagoj Boljar, co-founder of Miret.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Vegan Croatian Miret Tennis Shoes Proudly Worn from USA to Japan

August the 15th, 2021 - Croatian Miret tennis shoes, which place the environment first, are gaining in popularity not just here within the country, but as far afield as the United States of America and Japan.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, caring for the environment is the latest big deal for the corporate world, but while for many it is just a good PR story and little else, this philosophy has been well and truly lived and breathed by the Croatian startup Miret since day one. The entrepreneurial project of producing tennis shoes without a negative impact on the environment was conceived by two brothers, Domagoj and Hrvoje Boljar.

“This project is a kind of homage to our father who had the Mr. Joseph shoe factory in the 1990s,'' says Domagoj, a bachelor of business economics. With his brother, an industrial designer, he wanted to continue in the shoe business, but then came the crisis of 2008 and their business, like so many others, simply began to sink.

Meanwhile, their father fell ill and several years encompassed by hard business struggles followed. At that time, they launched the Jots brand, under which they launched ''crossover'' trainers, a combination of classic footwear and sport trainers for the first time on the market.

This put them in the focus of well-known luxury brands such as Krisvanassche, Paco Rabanne, ETQ, Lemaire, for which they designed and developed products and honed their knowledge. After all the ups and downs, the crisis and lack of capital prevailed and the Mr. Joseph shoe factory was sadly forced put the key in the lock.

In parallel with the struggle for the family business to keep its head above water, the idea of ​​Miret was born. ''One day I walked into my brother’s office while reading an interview with French industrial designer Philippe Starck in which he stated that everything he did in his life was rubbish because he contributed to the wave of consumerism with all the negative consequences,'' he recalls.

Back then, much like today in some sectors, not much thought was given to sustainable business, microplastics, ocean and sea pollution, and the footwear industry was completely blind to its huge negative impact on the planet.

"Hrvoje said he wanted to go the other way and that's how the idea of ​​developing trainers that would be compatible with nature came about," he says.

The first nature-neutral trainer was made from hemp back in 2016, serving as a test of whether there might be any interest out on the market for such a product. This was followed by a painstaking search for suppliers of eco-raw materials to replace the standard ones, and today, Miret is cooperating with 16 suppliers from nine EU countries. It offers a high and low trainer made of 97 percent natural materials, mostly made of plants and not leather due to the way Miret tennis shoes are processed.

One model is completely vegan - it includes absolutely nothing of animal origin. For example, the interior is made of hemp because it breathes and is odor resistant. The ergonomic insole is made of bacterial resistant cork, the laces are made of eucalyptus, the reinforcement is made from corn...

"All of the raw materials we use for Miret tennis shoes must meet environmental and technological standards, be sustainable and aesthetically acceptable. Ultimately, ecology is the basis of all decisions for development and production, but the only thing that can bring long-term change to the environment is the market,'' says Domagoj Boljar.

Things changed for the better around 2018; the market had matured a bit by then, there had been talk of sustainable business, problems with plastics, Greta Thurnberg had appeared, and here in the Republic of Croatia, the blossoming startup ecosystem had gained more concrete outlines.

"The first support we received came in the form of 15,000 euros through the Climate-KIC Accelerator, which was implemented by Zagreb's Zicer, and since then our story has been positively rolling along,'' says Domagoj Boljar. Miret then secured a pre-seed investment of 50,000 euros.

After the initial capital role, Miret raised another 70,000 US dollars in their kickstarter campaign, 30,000 euros in the third phase of the Climate-KIC Accelerator, and in September last year, Fil Rouge injected another 250,000 euros.

New markets

The Croatian startup ecosystem has been completed this year, he adds. "The proper preconditions have been created and incredible things have been happening, after Nanobit, Infobip, Infinum and Rimac, it can be said that Croatia had its ''Skype moment'' as Estonia had not long before it. There will be some great acceleration, great opportunities are opening up here,'' points out Boljar, and as one of the most significant of those things, he mentions the change in the mindset which is of paramount importance.

The business philosophy of the Boljar brothers and their Miret tennis shoes includes direct communication with their customers and consumers, without intermediaries and additional margins, and their base is online shopping. Although they have targeted Europe for ease of logistics and returns, environmentally conscious customers in the US, Japan and Australia are walking around with Croatian Miret tennis shoes on their feet.

''We want to be tied to the company in the long run. We have accepted the investment game, we're aware that in the next five years there will probably be an exit of investors. It is important to us that the vision, mission and values ​​of a holistic approach of minimal environmental impact remain cemented,'' Boljar says of the next five years.

As is the case with electric cars, more and more brands from the footwear industry recognise (and respect) environmental issues, and Miret sees them partly as a competition and partly as comrades.

"If we want solutions to become mass solutions, then products must not become a luxury, there must be no green premiums, that's the only way we can change things," says Domagoj Boljar.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

MIRET Eco Sneakers Win First Place, Gold, and Silver at Global Footwear Awards

May 4, 2021 - MIRET eco sneakers have once again proven they are among the world’s best after the recently held Global Footwear Awards! 

The Global Footwear Awards recognises the efforts of talented footwear designers around the world and aims to celebrate their exceptional creations on a global scale while honouring sustainable practices that will inspire the industry as a whole. 

Among the world-class competition, Hrvoje Boljar won 1st place overall in the category of Materials Sourcing for the MIRET project, and Gold in the category of Materials sourcing/Biodegradable materials. For her MIRET Forest Dark collection, Ana Boljar won Silver in the category of Materials sourcing/Biodegradable materials. 

The Global Footwear Awards jury consists of leading industry professionals whose talents and contributions to the footwear community are aspirational. They are professionals coming from different disciplines within the footwear industry including major publications, retailers, and institutions such as Vera Wang, Adidas, Prada, Hugo Boss, Roberto Cavalli, London College of Fashion, Royal College of Art, MIT Institute of Design, British GQ, Vogue Italy, and more. 

Global Footwear Awards is MIRET’s second major recognition, after receiving the IDA International Design Award in 2020

Recognised as a forerunner in sustainable footwear

This award is a great acknowledgment of MIRET’s 6 year-long research and work, but also a great encouragement for future work.

Photo credit: Domagoj Blažević

"This award is great recognition for our hard work and research, and we are very proud and grateful.

We are at the beginning of the era where sustainability comes first. As ecology is our primary goal, through the MIRET project, we try to inform the public and shed light on the urgency of environmental action needed. We are fully aware that everything we humans make hurts the environment, but there are ways of doing things better. This award best shows in which direction we are going and what we are striving for," said the MIRET founders. 

Photo credit: Domagoj Blažević

Domagoj and Hrvoje got involved with the footwear industry when they were very young and saw the industry first-hand from the inside. They realised that the products of the industry are incompatible with nature and that the entire process from raw materials to the end of the product's life-cycle is toxic to the environment. From that moment on, the most important thing was to start doing things in a better way, one material at a time, component by component, step by step.

The primary principle of the award-winning MIRET project is ecology. With so much plastic in the earth, air, and water, with so many huge environmental problems surfacing every day, they have personally developed a sort of a phobia and disgust towards plastics and toxic chemicals. They embarked on a quest for healthier materials and for manufacturing partners willing to listen, willing to acknowledge there was a problem, and brave enough to try to make a change.

Six years later, MIRET sneakers are at 97% bio-based content. The brothers say that MIRET is far from being completely sustainable, and a lot of work needs to be done, but they are on the right path.

Materials as their strength 

They are actively trying to develop new materials and manufacturing techniques that will render their products more eco-friendly. Believing that everything starts with materials, they design their products starting from materials up.

New technology is key to developing future materials, but old unused knowledge must not be disregarded. The world before synthetics and oil was much more in tune with nature. There are more sustainable alternatives already out there, it is just that they were abandoned because they were not able to compete with petroleum-derived plastics, economically wise. One other important thing to note is that our relationship to the environment and nature starts already at home and in educational systems. So what thrills them is a shift in design schools happening all around the world, which is slowly moving the emphasis from designing products, towards material research and development. 

So, what's next?

"Our plans for the future are to develop new generations of our sneakers and work towards more sustainable solutions," concluded the MIRET founders. 

Photo credit: Domagoj Blažević

Learn more about the amazing MIRET project by visiting the official website here, and read more about MIRET’s eco sneakers on TCN HERE

For more news about everything made in Croatia, be sure to follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Supported by Zicer 

Friday, 26 February 2021

Worcon and MIRET among 10 Promising Croatian Startups in 2021

February 26, 2021 - Although Croatia is better known for tourism, the world of Croatian startups is an increasingly fascinating - and successful - place. 

After many years of writing mostly about tourism, the world of Croatian startups is an area that I find not only much more interesting, but also one with infinitely more potential. 

These young entrepreneurs are of the younger generation, less held back by the baggage of the past, and much more focus on business and the future, rather than politics and history. There are, I believe, a fundamental cornerstone in the building of Croatia 2.0.

It has been a pleasure meeting several of them in person, to listen to their youthful drive, ideas and energy, and to watch their progress as they become more internationally recognised. As such, it was great to see two of my favourites feature in an interesting little list by www.eu-startups.com on 10 Promising Startups to Watch in 2021

These two Croatian startups were introduced as follows:

Worcon – Founded in 2017, Worcon is a B2B marketplace, connecting industry buyers with suppliers in manufacturing and CNC machining industry. Their solution is suited for small and large manufacturers, cooperators or large enterprise companies looking for a new market or looking for specific products with certain dimensions and quality. The Varaždin-based team landed around €400K in 2021.

MIRET – This Zagreb-based startup recognises the impact of fast fashion on the planet, and has created a new footwear technology solution using around 97% natural fibres. In 2020, the company closed a crowdfunding round, a convertible note, a grant and a private equity round of around €300K to reach more customers with their sustainable solution.

Both were featured in some depth recently on TCN, after I sat down with Worcon CRO Tin Keskic and MIRET co-founder Domagoj Boljar, whose shoe company recently won Sustainable Fashion Gold at the 14th IDA Design Awards.

You can learn more about MIRET's amazing story in our TCN feature - With 20 BILLION New Shoes a Year, Meet MIRET's 97% Natural Eco Sneakers Collection.

Worcon is also another fantastic success story,  as CEO Tin Keskic explained during our sit-down chat ahead of the launch of his Machine Desk project management software release. Learn more in Worcon, Croatian Innovation & Personality in the Machine Tool Industry.

Two great stories in this fabulous list of ten Croatian startups to watch in 2021. And these are the tip of the iceberg. Follow the TCN Made in Croatia section for the latest new innovations coming out of Croatia. 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

MIRET Eco Sneakers Win Sustainable Fashion Gold at 14th IDA Design Awards

February 2, 2021 - Fantastic recognition for a great Croatian product, as MIRET eco sneakers take sustainable fashion gold at the 2020 International Design Awards.

It is always nice to see a Croatian success story growing stage by stage. 

It is now over two years since I first came across two very cool brothers from Duga Resa, making an even cooler product - innovate eco-sneakers for their MIRET brand. Having been raised in the shoe industry, which produces over 20 billion shoes a year, Hrvoje and Domagoj Boljar wanted to produce a more sustainable product for the industry. 

Progress has been gradual, but as we reported in a feature on the MIRET brothers a few weeks ago, MIRET has recently launched its new range of eco sneakers, 97% of which are made from natural products. Read more in With 20 BILLION New Shoes a Year, Meet MIRET's 97% Natural Eco Sneakers Collection.

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And the word is getting out. I am thrilled for Hrvoje and Domagoj at their latest recognition, as MIRET eco sneakers won the Gold Award in the category of Sustainable Fashion at the 14th International IDA Awards - The International Design Awards 2020.

“This award is a wonderful recognition for the years Hrvoje has spent researching, testing and developing natural materials to create a truly ecological sneaker. We are especially pleased that we received recognition for our work in 2020, in which sustainable fashion is recognized as a global movement."

"Winning the gold award in this category gives us great encouragement to continue on our path and to be the leaders of the sustainability movement.” said Domagoj Boljar, co-founder of MIRET.

About IDA - The International Design Awards:

The IDA International Design Award exists to recognize and promote visionaries in design and discover new talents in the categories of architecture, interior design, product design, graphic design and fashion design.

IDA was founded in 2007 in the USA, and every year it promotes and awards the best designers around the world. IDA aims to promote and reward visionaries in the field of design and discovering new talents in the categories of architecture, interior design, product design, graphic design and fashion design.

More about MIRET from the IDA entry description:

We are MIRET and we have combined the strongest natural fibres to craft sneakers which are kind to your feet as much as they are kind to nature. Not only can they substitute synthetic materials, but in many ways they are far better than plastic. We are using 10 amazing plants: hemp, kenaf, linen, cork tree, wood, corn, jute, eucalyptus, rubber tree and New Zealand wool to craft our 97% ecological MIRET sneakers. We are industry insiders who have used our manufacturing expertise to redesigned sneakers from the bottom up, making them compatible with nature.

For the latest in Croatian excellence and innovation, check out the TCN Made in Croatia section.

 

Saturday, 28 November 2020

With 20 BILLION New Shoes a Year, Meet MIRET's 97% Natural Eco Sneakers Collection

November 28, 2020 - With more than 20 billion shoes produced a year, the footwear industry is having a considerable negative impact on the environment. Two Croatian brothers offer a much more natural and sustainable solution - meet the 97% natural MIRET Forest Dark range of eco sneakers.  

Earlier this year, I was invited to give a TEDX talk in Koprivnica. Among the other speakers were two brothers who I had been planning to catch up with for some time, ever since I had heard them pitch their revolutionary eco-shoe business at a Croatian startup pitch at a diaspora conference last year.  

Croatian speakers can listen to the TEDX presentation of MIRET sneakers by Hrvoje and Domagoj Boljar, a fascinating look - and enterprising solution - at an environmental problem that has been largely overlooked. Shoes. 

Did you know that an astonishing 20 BILLION shoes were produced in 2019? Most are meant to last for a long time. Given that most of the products - oil derivatives, plastic, leather - are hardly biodegradable or good for the environment, the problem is significant. Estimate how many pairs of shoes you have used so far in your life, and there is your 'shoe footprint.'

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It is an issue that particularly bothered the younger brother, Hrvoje Boljar, his older brother explained to me. Hrvoje (left, in the photo above) had been working with his brother in the shoe industry for a number of years after inheriting a shoe factory in financial trouble from their father. The family firm was making luxury shoes for some of the world's best names in shoes, and the Boljars were making ends meet with the business. 

"But we are making garbage," said Hrvoje one day to his brother. "Look at the materials that go into shoes. We need to change this, to come up with something less harmful to the environment." And so began a mission - to create a sneaker that was still fashionable, comfortable and long-lasting, but also one which had minimum impact on the environment. 

And so began a journey - a journey which is very much ongoing - to produce a shoe from 100% natural products. As this had never been done before (the Boljars believe they are the first in the world to come out with eco sneakers (the first product dates back to 2016). With no precedent to fall back on, their research to refer to, the brothers took to the road to find natural solutions to some of the core ingredients of sneakers, in order to produce a revolutionary eco version. 

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I caught up with Domagoj in Cakovec yesterday, keen to learn more not only about the new MIRET Forest Dark range of eco sneakers, which are made from 97% natural products, but also about the process, plans and company philosophy. 

I made sure I was wearing my burgundy MIRET sneakers to show solidarity. VERY comfortable. 

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And so began an education in shoes, which are far more complex things than they appear at first sight. Did I know, for example, that a typical shoe has between 14 and 20 different components, all of which are harmful for the environment? The MIRET plan was to find natural alternatives for as many of these components (ideally all) as possible, and to experiment with them in producing more environmentally-friendly sneakers.

It was a journey completely into the unknown, as this had never been done before. Some experiments worked, others didn't, and there were many other considerations to think about on the road to responsible and sustainable footwear. A fully biodegradable shoe might sound ideal, but it if was to last only a short time and take a lot of resources in production, then that was not the solution. By contrast, shoes currently do last a long time and are as such sustainable on one level. The sweet spot would be somewhere in between - finding natural products with longevity.  

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And what stunning success the Boljar brothers have managed so far, replacing most of the 14 essential materials with natural alternatives. Their first big discovery was hemp, and this is now used in all shoes along with cotton, rubber, eucalyptus, cork, corn, wood cellulose, kenaf, flax, corn, New Zealand wool, and jute. 

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In all, this amounts to 97% of the shoes in the new Dark Forest collection. This has been achieved with no compromise on comfort, style or long-lasting life.  

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For a breakdown in how these materials fit into a standard MIRET sneaker, check out the photo above.  

The journey has been challenging, and while everything is pointing in the right direction, things are not going as quickly as Domagoj would like.  

"Our dream was largely sidelined for some time, as the realities of needing to make a living meant that we could only devote 2-5% of our time to what we loved. Added to that the fact that Croatia is a much harder place to get noticed by investors. I read an article recently about how Croatian companies have found a different model to Silicon Valley. Businesses such as Rimac and Infobip have built up strong businesses and revenue streams and then attracted attention. Actually, they have succeeded in spite of everything, not because of it. With more support and investment, how many more Croatian success stories could we be talking about?"

Rimac came up in one of my questions during the interview, but for a very different reason. The brothers are diversifying from being a sustainable shoe company into a green tech company. Their green tech plans are to share their expertise with other companies, both within and outside the textile industry. They plan to be better known for their know-how, with multiple applications in other industries, while keeping the MIRET shoe brand as a case study and showcase of excellence. 

"A little like Rimac, who has the amazing cars as the showcase, but all the tech and battery stuff as the engine," I concluded aloud to myself. 

"Yes, exactly. And the time for this is now. The landscape is definitely in our favour, with more people looking for greener products. If we were in the States, we could attract major investments, expand and bring down the production prices of the materials, thereby making the products more affordable for all." 

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Whether it wants to or not, the shoe industry is following the trend. Everyone is now talking about sustainability, and while not everyone is sincere about this, the customer is king and is driving it. 

And if the customer is looking for a fashionable, natural and sustainable option, the new MIRET Forest Dark eco sneakers, 97% natural goodness, are enticing indeed. And Domagoj was clearly excited to talk about the new range. 

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Domagoj explained that this is the first collection that they have actually designed - previous ones have been the result of technical demands. The challenge was to preserve their authenticity while trying to convey their key messages of preserving nature, highlighting biodiversity, and minimising the negative impact on the environment. In order to bring that message home, as well as adding a dash of colour, the new collection celebrates five animals at risk of extinction - the green peafowl, the Nicobar pigeon, the Sumatran orangutan, Parson's chameleon, and the snow leopard. 

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A really interesting way to spend an afternoon in Cakovec, and we could certainly have talked for hours had busy schedules not intervened. This is one of the things I love most about my 'job' in Croatia. There are so many fascinating stories to be told, so many enterprising people and ideas, several of which (like this story) should reach a more global market.  

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The Boljar brothers have made an impressive start but are yet to crack the global market. After an hour in Domagoj's inspiring company, I predict that this is only a matter of time, especially given the global trend for more sustainable solutions.  

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In the meantime, I am sure that they will be scouring the globe for solutions to that elusive 3% to make a show from 100% natural products. It is only a matter of time. 

Learn more about the amazing MIRET project, and if you are an investor with a vision, I am sure the brothers would love to hear from you. You can visit the official website here

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Success of Croatian Miret Startup Interesting for Many Reasons

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 7th of March, 2020, the success of the Miret startup via the Kickstarter campaign is significant if one knows that in one single day, it reached the level of turnover serious players and companies in that industry enjoy, with one third of its sales coming from exports.

It is a well known fact that startups in Croatia, as well as their respective successes, are mostly related to technological products, therefore it came as somewhat of a surprise when the Croatian Miret startup did things differently. It was on Kickstarter, the globally dominant crowdfunding platform, that this domestic company closed the largest sale of running shoes ever produced.

In one day, the Miret startup sold shoes in the amount of a quarter of a million kuna. In three days, it is expected that they will sell them for more than 50,000 euros, and the campaign on Kickstarter will last for a whole month.

The success of the Miret startup is interesting for many reasons, and the reasons for the level of interest isn't exclusive solely to startups, but also to much larger companies in Croatia, especially those looking for ways to expand their sales abroad. The first and obvious reason that makes the Miret startup and its campaign interesting is the initial sales volume.

A relatively new brand of Croatian-made trainers, Miret, which lacks the logistics of larger, more experienced players, has managed to reach the daily sales of far larger players in its industry.

 

Another thing that makes the Miret startup interesting is that in one single day, it immediately raised its share of its foreign sales to 30-40 percent. Namely, after Croatia, the next largest number of supporters, and consequently buyers of these Croatian shoes, come from the USA, Slovenia, Germany and Austria.

Supporters from Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Canada are also represented in larger numbers. There are more reasons still. The Miret startup's shoes are not low-priced merchandise. Premium trainer brands in Croatia sell for an average price of 400 to 800 kuna, and often more.

Miret's trainers, which include a Croatian design brand, cost around 570 kuna (85 US dollars), and the Kickstarter campaign just showed that there are people who consider that a very affordable price. Miret produces trainers made from natural materials such as hemp, flax, corn, eucalyptus and wool. In total, they claim that as much as 97 percent of the material in the trainers are natural, making these shoes among the most environmentally friendly in the entire world.

In addition, after three years, the Miret startup's trainers will have almost completely broken down when used for compost. The owners of the Miret startup are brothers Domagoj and Hrvoje Boljar, for whom this is a continuation of the family footwear business, in which they have had their fair share of ups and downs.

Their entry onto the market, and thus the Kickstarter campaign, is in line with the trend of a growing demand for organic products.

The trainer industry is very ''dirty'' when it comes to the environment. The main problem is plastic, both due to the intensive use of petroleum products in the production of the shoes, and due to the fact that they tend to be non-degradable.

As many as sixteen million tonnes of non-degradable footwear end up in the sea annually, and despite the warnings, the problem of waste accumulation in the seas hasn't really been reduced. In 1950, it was estimated that 2 million tonnes of plastic had been dumped in the sea, and today an average of 400 million tonnes per year continues to be thrown into the sea.

Up until now, the level of success we've seen from the Miret startup has generally been experienced solely by technological products on Kickstarter, making what the Miret startup has managed to acheive something special indeed.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

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