Shoes from passion
Tribu itself is a big shoe company, working for the commercial market. But they decided to give back to society by creating ecological shoes, from old tires.
I started Tribu with 10$ in my pocket. – says Jason Afable Luengo, founder of Tribu - I came from the South, it took me 3 nights and 4 days by boat to reach Manila. I had no relatives here. And I decided to open a shoe company. To make my first sandals I used tires. I was just thinking how to get materials and this seemed a good idea. But it was too hard to work with, so that time I had to give up with it. But now, when Tribu is a successful company, it comes to me again. We have machines, we know how to do it, we can start again. That’s how Ligid shoes, shoes from tires, were created.
Nowadays the biggest challenge is not technical, nor it is money, but to find a distributor.
We want to create shoe trucks: mobile factories which we can move to the places where people really need a job, for example squatters in Metro Manila. We could already sponsor one of them, this is not a problem, but before we need to be sure we have a distributor who will buy the output. I could do it myself, but I don’t want to and this is connected with my other, personal challenge. Two years ago we had 400 employees working for Tribu. For almost 15 years I was doing that and I got tired already. I don’t want to handle so many people. So we changed the business model. I gave my factories to my parents, my brother, and some of the employees. The same with warehouse and distribution. I kept only 15 people in my design team, all the rest I gave to others. And I don’t want to come back to the previous stage. If I distribute Ligid shoes, it will conflict with what I want from my life. I need to have balance now, I need to follow my passions, hobbies like climbing, kiting, travelling.
Passion seems to be a key word for Jason and his story.
Whatever you do, you need passion. At the beginning of Tribu I didn’t have capital but I had that burning passion. If you are passionate about mountains, you can climb for 8 hours, it’s demanding, but you don’t feel tired, you just want to do it. But if I put there somebody who doesn’t want to do it, after one hour he says: I come back. If you like something, it’s not tiring. It’s true for everything in life.
More about Tribu: tribunation.com