As everyone knows, it's no easy feat launching a business, let alone doing so straight out of university, but that's exactly what Aurélie Gisclon did. What started as a university project received so much positive feedback that Aurélie and her boyfriend, Nicolas Raudrant, decided to just go for it and launch their brand, Wibes.
Aurélie and Nicolas met while studying at North Carolina State University. While Nicolas was born and raised in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire and Aurélie, in Nice, France, Aurélie grew up with her own memories of West Africa, where her father worked for over twenty years. Their common history with Côte d'Ivoire brought them together and has become part of the very DNA of Wibes, which reflects both their cultures and identities.
Together with Nicolas' childhood friend Julian Magne, who is now the brand's Creative Director, the trio designs eye-catching trainers with wax print details and bold colour combinations that are inspired by their personal backgrounds and experiences. Wibes trainers tell the story of multiculturalism and ethical commitments, which couldn't be more relevant in this day and age. Not only are the trainers eco-friendly and handmade, Wibes supports a day of school for a girl in need with every pair sold, through their nonprofit partner, the International Association of Women in Côte d'Ivoire.
While the learning curve of creating their own brand has been steep for Aurélie and the Wibes team, other brands can take a cue from the example they're setting with designs that are cultural celebrations, environmentally-friendly and socially responsible.
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