- Title: Lebanese sandals startup exceeds investment with high demand
- Date: 6th November 2016
- Summary: BEIRUT, LEBANON (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SCREEN SHOWING THE KICKSTARTER PAGE OF MAKU
- Embargoed: 21st November 2016 11:35
- Keywords: Startup kickstarter sandals orders Lebanon design running Maku
- Location: QORNET SHEHWAN, BEIRUT AND UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, LEBANON
- City: QORNET SHEHWAN, BEIRUT AND UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA00457B2DLH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:An innovative startup born out of a desire to resolve knee pain has blown the owners away with its popularity and soaring demand.
The Maku sandals - brainchild of co-founders William Choukeir, creative Hanane Kai and David el Achkar, have been designed to provide comfort across all surfaces - providing agility while running and even in water.
Choukeir said the idea came to him after reading Christopher Mcdougall's book entitled 'Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen'.
"The story began in 2009, I had knee pain when I used to run, then came out a book called 'Born to Run' that talks about a tribe that run approximately about two marathons per day, just because the nature of the land where they lived forced them to do so. They run only with sandals, the book received a lot of praise, and people started throwing out their running shoes and wearing sandals instead to run. I said to myself maybe if I made a sandal to run in, my knee pain would get better, and in fact it did get better, but the pain didn't go altogether," said the co-founder and CEO of the brand.
With a background in architecture, Choukeir had no ambition of turning a solution to his own problem into a business idea.
"So our friends starting begging us to do sandals for them, I wasn't planning to make a company or make sandals and sell them, but we got to a point where they (our friends) kept insisting to a point where we couldn't say no to them anymore, so I said to myself ok maybe if I charged them money, they wouldn't accept, we started with 70 U.S. dollars, 80 U.S. dollars after that 90 U.S. dollars and everyone was paying and buying them without any problem. Here Hanane said to me, ok it seems people really want this sandal, let's think about transforming this into a business," he added.
Graphic designer Hanane Kai manages the branding and online presence of Maku.
"We felt that at least people surrounding us really loved the sandal that we were wearing and wanted one, that is why we decided to take it to the next level, so we went to Kick-starter, our goal was 20,000 U.S. dollars, the great surprise was that on Kick-starter results were way better than expected that meant that not only close people and Lebanese people liked the sandals but also people from all over the world, countries that never crossed our minds," said Kai.
The founders say they practise what they preach and only wear their own sandals in the summer.
"It is great to work on a product that we are in love with and worked on every aspect of it," added Kai.
Choukeir said they reached their goal of securing 20,000 U.S. dollars in the first five hours of the campaign launch and had collected double the amount by the end of the first day.
Almost a month later, the campaign had raised around 90,000 U.S. dollars at its end.
Maku has received over a thousand orders that they will go into production shortly.
The sandals are available to pre-order from the website for approximately 80 U.S. dollars.
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