BEYOND WOOL SERIES
Wool is at the center of everything we do.
From this heart of our business radiates a commitment for the actions and decisions we take, to create positive economic, creative, social, and environmental impacts on us and the world around us.
Let us take you #BeyondWool to show you who we are, the stories behind the brand, and the communities that inspire us.
Did you know that sheep have been a part of the landscape of the Iberian Peninsula since the Middle Ages? Well, the wool industry has been here nearly as long.
The Serra da Estrela region was first a cottage industry with weavers working from home. Later, dozen of factories sprung up to meet the local and global demand for this wool.
Use of synthetics decimated this industry during the mid-20th century. But a factory in the small town of Manteigas remained.
There, the wool-working skills were never lost, knowledge and techniques were passed down from generation to generation and are now employed by the dedicated artisans that work here.
Today, this is where Baabuk’s sneakers are crafted from handmade felt. Almost all the work is done by hand, or with equipment and machines that are over 100 years old.
Just as their techniques remain traditional, so does the Merino wool fabric they produce. It is called Burel.
Not far from there are the ateliers where our sneakers are sewn, in the region of Porto, helping keep jobs local and production on a human scale.
This also allows us to have transparency that goes beyond tracing our products to a specific place, but to actual people who imbue their work with pride and care.
In doing so, we’ve created a thread that connects the know-hows of the past to modern needs.
A heritage fiber endures. A historic factory rescued. A traditional process revived. None of this would be possible without the people that make it happen day after day, year after year. These shepherds, entrepreneurs, and artisans understand the importance of treating nature with respect, doing things the right way, and taking care of others so that communities and businesses thrive.
This area was chosen because of the local history and wool-working know-how that goes back centuries — a perfect fit to craft our slippers inspired by the Siberian Valenki, which Asian nomads have been wearing for thousands of years.
Our local team draws on century old techniques passed down from generation to generation. The place has a long history of making beautiful wool textiles used on the Tibetan plateau to protect the Nepalese from the cold and keep them comfortable.
The felt-making process begins with layers of carded wool crisscrossed over one another. Using only warm, soapy water, layer upon layer of wool is intertwined to create the soft, warm felted bodies of the shoes.
Next, the seamless booties are washed, dried and hammered to shrink the fibers and mold them into one cohesive, virtually indestructible shoe—each one unique and traceable to the person who molded it.
All the work is done by hand by all the members of our team, each understanding the intricacies and secrets of working with wool. Drawing upon the ancient craft of felt-making inherited from our Siberian ancestors, we also designed and built our own tools to do the threading work that gives these slippers their simple yet striking structure.
After the slippers are shaped and sized, the finishing touches are added that highlight their perfect combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern styling.
Equal to the skill and attention to detail that goes into each pair of slippers is the amount of love, care and laughter — all of which are representative of amazing community who knows that their ancestral artistry continues to live on in their homeland and is enjoyed by our customers around the world.
Our commitment to making a difference goes beyond production and materials. That's one of the reasons we’ve partnered with Switzerland’s BVA Foundation, a local organization that employs people with mental and physical disabilities.
Working in our logistics center, these BVA employees help with all kinds of jobs—from quality control to product packaging and logistics. Matched to their skill levels and occupational wishes, these roles give the workers a sense of accomplishment and belonging that empowers them.
The employees at BVA contribute daily to Baabuk’s success. Their hard work ensures that the shoes we ship meet our high standards for craftsmanship and arrive on-time.
Through their work ethic, enthusiasm and dedication, they’ve become an important part of our Baabuk family, adding personality, pride and diversity to our office and our lives.
Switzerland is also home to our Miss Baabuka Program — an initiative with Swiss Foundation ProSpecieRara to join their ongoing work to protect six endangered breeds of sheep native to Switzerland.
Miss Baabuka is a sheep living in the Saas Valley of Switzerland. She was selected as the honorary representative of Baabuk’s partnership with ProSpecieRara. A member of the endangered Saas breed, Miss Baabuka’s story is illustrative of the many sheep this program is designed to support. And while she may be the face of the program, the impact reaches far beyond her.
For more information about the Miss Baabuka project, visit our project webpage and ProSpecieRara’s website.
Read more about our responsibility efforts