Mary in Wonderland. A garden at the edge of the forest, surrounded by vines as far as the eye can see: here in this green Girondin setting, in the old family house, surrounded by animals (3 cats, 3 dogs and 3 horses) , which Marie Viard -Klein works with, with 2 of her colleagues, is almost cut off from the world. There are no neighbors in the universe: only the songs of birds can illuminate our ears.
The love for nature that drives the creator to Minuit sur Terre is more than felt. It was here that he found part of the inspiration for making his drawings. “It can start with a gem, a detail, a pattern or even a piece of furniture… Every year, there are trends that emerge. You have to always look for ideas, innovate yourself and most of all don’t stop drawing because recovery is always hard ”he said.
A young woman wearing sneakers
At 29, the one who took from the Disney universe the main idea of baptizing his company was living a fairy tale. “Midnight on Earth is a reference to Cinderella. This story is proof that a pair of shoes can change a life! And that’s what I want to do “he said smiling.
Initially, this Bordeaux woman had no predestined entrepreneurship. “I didn’t know what to do and mom told me to do Science Po. After three years, I did a gap year to do an internship in fashion marketing. I love it so much! During my last year, at 22, I had the idea to launch my brand. Well, because I haven’t found the vegan, ethical and cheap shoes I want. I told myself I had something to do. I tried, told myself I had nothing to lose! I also started because I had Cinnamon. Maybe I’m a little lost, but I want to work while I’m by his side, he’s always with me “. Because yes, we can’t talk about Minuit sur Terre without mentioning the designer’s loyal and obedient four-legged friend, who was adopted from a shelter. A sweet name reminiscent of the color of her hair. A dog he considered “his son “.
Photographs and drawings adorning the walls and furniture illustrate this unconditional love for her dog. In addition, Cinnamon is the mascot of the brand. One of the pairs of sneakers even showed his little face. But the domestic cats are not neglected: they also have a model in their effigy!
Six years after its creation, the small company has not experienced a crisis. Eco-responsible approach combined with elegance works. But Marie reassured him: he was lucky to have found the right people from the beginning. “I found a production agent, a woman based in Portugal who had a very good network and really understood what I wanted ”. Today, in addition to the main sneaker models, there are bags, hand-woven sandals for summer, boots, sweaters, hats and scarves for winter. Soon, a perfecto and waders will also be available, making Minuit sur Terre a complete brand of leather goods and ready to wear.
The defense of animals, his creed
Launching a vegan brand was his first wish for this animal lover. Hummingbirds, red pandas, dolphins, polar bears, fox… each sneaker collection has a favorite animal. And every year, Marie Viard-Klein partners with an association for the protection of animals. After PETA this summer 2022 and the rabbits embroidered with tennis shoes, it will be L214 in the fall. “Each time, we try to find the reference animal, and this is the culmination of the start of the school year ”.
Another important element to be consistent with its values: reduce the impact of carbon on its production. Everything is done in Europe, especially in Portugal where the workshop is located. In 2021, the brand released the first range of sweaters made in France, held in a workshop located near Nantes. And as the brand prohibits the use of plastic in packaging, it is packaged in biodegradable packaging. The scarves and hats, made in Portugal, have 60% recycled cotton and 40% classic cotton.
As for sneakers, their carbon impact is 3 to 10 times lower than a classic pair. “It is the Carbonfact platform that allows this measurement ”. A success due in part to the materials used, especially from Italy.
Noble and durable materials
“Many materials are already being used as alternatives to skin of animal origin such as pineapple skin, cactus skin … but the carbon effect is extremely important ”, said Marie Viard-Klein. His choice: to restore Italian grape skins from wine waste, combined with vegetable oils. Another main material in Minuit sur Terre: apple skins made from fruit skins. “Cereals are also used. Again, this is the only grain husk, which is not intended for consumption and which is usually discarded, that we use. “. They are mainly used to make the outer material and inner lining of shoes, thus forming a comfortable anti-bacterial, anti-perspirant and anti-odor viscose for shoes. A recipe that worked!
In addition to using green raw materials made by our transalpine neighbors, Minuit sur Terre uses waste from the sea.We add recycled synthetic materials like polyester from the Mediterranean to our creations. It is used especially for the soles of sneakers, which also contain grape pomace. This product is from the distillery next door, it’s very local ”, explains the founder. “When harvested to make wine, what is left of the grapes is moist pomace which still contains alcohol. This element goes to the distillery where the alcohol residues are removed leaving only the dry mark. It is usually scheduled to be discarded. Real waste recovery. We were the first to use this material in France “he was delighted.
But the brand doesn’t stop there. “We also recycle old pairs of Minuit sur Terre and pairs of vegan shoes of all brands to make recycled soles. These are the products that customers ship. The only requirement: these products must be made in Europe to comply with regulations and the list of authorized products “. Once ground, the shoes are mixed with the material of the soles.
Second hand and first prices
Products that are shot or have minor defects that do not pass quality control: for Marie Viard-Klein, throwing away part of her production, no matter how small, is unthinkable. He had the idea to create a second-hand platform that offered a lower price. Called Aurore (Sleeping Beauty’s name), this service is run from her home, and not from a warehouse in Portugal. “Everything is done at home! “ You can also find a second pair of shoes on this platform. “We just took the models in good condition. Customers send an email and photo of their pair, we set a redemption price and then we offer a voucher valid on the Aurore and Minuit sur Terre sites.according to the designer.
In addition to second-hand, the brand offers sales but only on models from older collections. “We choose to make 4 collections per year instead of 2 but in a reasonable amount ”, justifies the builder. The goal is not to fall into overproduction while offering seasonal novelties, along with timeless ones. “We also offer limited editions with scraps of materials “, he continued.
Midnight on Earth to conquer the World!
“Today, our market is essentially French speaking ”, said Marie Viard-Klein. Now that he has conquered France, the maker of Minuit sur Terre has seen more and aspires to expand his universe on an international scale. After a solo debut, sometimes surrounded by trainees, he hired one of them in 2019.For a year, we were alone “. In 2021, everything is fast and many recruits will come to consolidate the pair. “Now we are 9, including 3 at home “. All these beautiful people will soon move to new areas of Bordeaux. Of course, the designer provides a measure of the real estate agent who manages to find him in this office: a place to be located near the gardens for Cannelle to thrive. Eden the little dog spotted, the founder is excited to join his great team to continue to grow his brand by raising consumer awareness. “You should know that 15% of buyers are never involved in protecting animals or the environment. I don’t want to create a niche brand but talk to as many people as possible and reach out to people who have nothing to do with these ethical issues in the first place. By discovering the brand, it can be the first step towards this reflection… ” A reflection that he also regularly shares on his podcast Daring manners, dissecting the challenges of sustainable fashion. Whether it’s her creatures or her voice in the airwaves, Marie stays straight in her boots! His next dream: to open a physical store in Paris.