Baabuk is a responsible fashion brand headquartered in Switzerland redefining the meaning of ethical and sustainable fashion in a unique and compelling way.
Established in 2013 by the visionary couple Dan and Galina Witting, Baabuk’s journey began with a profound respect for tradition and an unwavering commitment to the environment.
Drawing inspiration from the traditional Siberian Valenki boots, the Wittings embarked on a mission to create authentic, responsible, and exceptionally comfortable wool footwear.
In the years that followed, Baabuk’s dedication to its mission manifested through multiple successful crowdfunding campaigns, each introducing innovative collections of footwear crafted from what they call “nature’s magic fiber.”
With over 100,000 pairs sold in more than 60 countries, Baabuk has become a symbol of values and adventurous spirit, earning recognition as an ISPO Gold Winner and achieving B-Corp certification.
Below is an interview with Dan Wittting, Co-Founder of Baabuk.
Q: What was the lightbulb moment and origin story of Baabuk?
Dan: The initial spark was kindled by a charming Siberian Valenki book, which illustrated a product made entirely out of wool and demonstrated a robust, organic connection between craftsmanship and utility.
We realized that the old-world heritage and know-how of wool felting were becoming a forgotten art, submerged under the tide of fast fashion and mass production.
It wasn’t merely about revisiting a nostalgic past but also about reviving and preserving a craft that once seamlessly united communities and sustenance.
Baabuk was envisioned to bring back this fading craftsmanship of felting wool into the modern realm, ensuring that it didn’t merely survive but thrived and evolved in our contemporary narrative.
Creating a slow-made product of high quality became our mantra and underpinning principle. For us, every pair of Baabuk shoes isn’t just a product; it’s a testament to time, patience, and skill, honoring the meticulous effort invested by the hands that shape them.
This was about taking a step back from the relentless hustle and instead, embracing a philosophy that married sustainability with aesthetics and function.
Lastly, it was a pivot from the mundane and conventional. Steering away from a life chained to a computer, big multi national companies, we wanted to do something more meaningful in live. This is how Baabuk started…..
Q: What is the mission and vision of Baabuk?
Dan: Baabuk is here to do things a bit differently. We’re making cool stuff in a better, kinder way by using friendly materials like wool.
Our goal is to offer you choices that are good for you and good for our planet.
We see our company like an apple tree. An apple tree takes its time – it blossoms, grows apples, and then takes a nice long rest in the winter.
It doesn’t rush, and it only grows as many apples as it can handle. That’s how we see our work at Baabuk.
We create what we can, take care not to waste, and always make sure we’re looking after our team and our earth before starting all over again next year.
Q: How does Baabuk impact lives and/or the environment in a positive way?
Dan: At Baabuk, we’re all about making a positive mark on the world.
Here’s how we do it:
Supporting Communities: We work closely with minority groups in Nepal and are proud that our team mainly consists of women. We believe in empowering those who are often overlooked, ensuring they have good work and can support their families.
Inclusive Employment: Our warehouse isn’t just a storage space; it’s a place of inclusivity. Managed by disabled individuals, we ensure our company is a space where everyone can contribute and feel valued.
Mindful Material Use: We’re big fans of renewable materials like wool and natural latex. Yes, we use some leather and synthetic rubber too, but here’s the thing – our products are built to last.
We believe that a product which uses a mix of materials but lasts longer is better for our planet than something you have to replace every few months.
In a nutshell, Baabuk is about sturdy, long-lasting products, empowering communities, and making sure everyone has a fair chance to work and be valued.
We’re crafting not just comfy, durable products but also a kinder way of doing business.
Q: How have you funded the company thus far?
Dan: Baabuk is built on the savings and hard work of myself and my wife Galina – no outside investors involved. It’s just been us, putting in our own money and time.
Finding investors who think the same way we do about our work and values has been a real challenge.
We did a few crowd-funding campaigns in the beginning to launch new products.
But it’s not just us – our team is a big part of this.
Their hard work and belief in what we do are priceless.
We really believe that their dedication is worth more than any amount of money an investor might bring to the table. It’s us and our team, working together, that’s made Baabuk what it is today.
Q: What tools do you and the team use to run the company?
Dan: At Babuuk, we use a number of tools to streamline operations, organize projects and communicate effectively.
We are always looking to try new tools and experiment.