Q & A: Raphael from the Feelgrounds Team
Updated: Mar 7
Hi there! My name is Raphael (Pictured in the middle), and I'm working at Feelgrounds as Head of Marketing at Feelgrounds. We develop barefoot shoes that are both functional and stylish, that's why our slogan is "Let's make barefoot shoes cool!". Thanks to the 2,000 backers of our crowdfunding campaign in April 2019, we managed to fund our first production. Since then, we've been working continuously to offer more and better products. If you want to learn more, check out our shoes at feelgrounds.com and give us a follow @feelgrounds on Instagram for daily updates.
**Feelgrounds currently have 10% off all footwear as of 4am Melbourne time, ongoing for the next 7 days - until 22/1. Click the affiliate link above to access the website - No code necessary!**
Hi Raphael, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about yourself and one of our favorite barefoot shoe companies, Feelgounds. How's your week been?
This week was just as busy as the previous ones, but it's worth it, seeing the positivity and drive I encounter every day with our community and team. You guys have been doing a tremendous job showing your audience what you think about the barefoot shoes you review. The fact that you, as the barefoot shoe experts, like our shoes, makes me happy, so it's my pleasure to give you some answers ;)
Please tell us a bit about how you got involved with Johannes and Feelgrounds?
In 2018, I worked as an E-Commerce consultant with my own company and helped small digital ventures kick off with a ground-up digital strategy. The same year, I got to meet Johannes (Pictured, Above-Right). As I was not happy with the barefoot shoe options on the market either, I was thrilled to join Johannes on his mission of making stylish barefoot shoes. We got the crowdfunding campaign ready together.
The Feelgrounds team seems like a family. Were you all on the same page with the company's direction, and did you face any challenges or concerns?
Making barefoot shoes available and appealing to more people has been our mission from the beginning. Everyone at Feelgrounds is on the same page on this. And don't get me wrong, we do discuss many things passionately, as we're all different and have distinct perspectives. This way, we collectively find the best way to go about things. Nonetheless, we're working on the same goal.
Did you or Johannes have any previous experience with barefoot shoes? Is that all you wear now, and what do you think of the philosophy?
Johannes had been struggling with severe knee problems for a long time. Transitioning to minimal footwear enabled him to address his knee problems successfully. As for myself, I have been wearing barefoot shoes exclusively for years now. Quite some time ago, I attempted to wear my old pair of dress shoes. After two minutes, I took them off and quickly got back into my Feelgrounds. After being used to what it's like to wear functional footwear, I just couldn't stand wearing uncomfortable shoes anymore. I can only imagine the impact that wearing such shoes for hours almost every day can have on your feet. However, we don't see ourselves in the position to tell people what shoes to wear. We try to share our positive experience with functional footwear and thereby hope to encourage people to reflect and be conscious of the footwear they use every day. By offering barefoot shoes that are also visually appealing, we hope to encourage all those people who haven't yet switched to functional footwear because of their look. That's the idea behind Feelgrounds: Barefoot shoes that are both functional and stylish.
We've been extremely impressed with the launch of Feelgrounds, and they've proved to be an instant success story. I love the Original Knit myself, whilst Jade loves the Original Mesh herself. They're both some of our favourites, and we're excited for the release of the Patrol model. Whats your favorite pair of Feelgrounds?
We've been impressed, too! We got the word out and worked tirelessly on our shoes for months before our crowdfunding campaign started. But Yet, at that time, we didn't know how people would respond and whether they would back our crowdfunding project. In the end, our efforts turned out to be a success. We were funded within 48 hours and are very grateful and proud of how far Feelgrounds has come.. As for my personal favorite, I must say, I love wearing my Feelgrounds Highrise Knit in Cloud Grey. However, with the weather in Europe getting a lot cooler during the past weeks, my new favorite pair is Patrol - our new, fully waterproof barefoot winter boots. I'm sure you guys will enjoy them, too.
As a part of the barefoot community, I notice how certain brands perform as a whole. I'm impressed by your social media management/engagement, and I think the success of Feelgrounds can be somewhat attributed to that. Can you describe some of the challenges when managing social media and some of the rewards?
That's amazing to hear! We try to connect with our community as much as we can. Every message and feedback we receive makes us happy and reminds us that people care about our brand. Sometimes it seems hard to find valuable content and things worth communicating on social media. That may be a challenge, but I keep challenging myself to find the right balance between product-related, educational, and fun content. Getting enthusiastic responses from our audience makes it worth it.
We're grateful to be there for the launch of Feelgrounds (it almost seems so long ago…). What plans do you guys have for the future?
Let me tell you; it seems like we started a decade ago, even if we've just been around for two years. Looking back on getting Feelgrounds up and running and what we achieved so far makes me confident that there will be more exciting things to come. We'll continue to work on new models while continuously improving our products, service, and customer experience. We're thrilled to do this together with our fabulous community, with their fantastic feedback and continuous support!
Once again, we appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. All the best for 2021!
It's been fun! Thanks for the opportunity to give some insights on what's going on at Feelgrounds. I wish you guys and everyone reading a happy 2021.