And POLOLO – this is who we are:
POLOLO is Verena Carney (shoe designer), Franziska Kuntze (business manager) and our teams in Berlin and Oberreichenbach. The idea to have our own shoe company came about after our own fruitless search for pretty toddler shoes for our own children. We began to design our own shoes. After a positive start in 2003 - initially at the Christmas market in Zehlendorf in Berlin - our little company from Berlin has grown continually and successfully.
We now sell to more than 800 specialist retailers, catalogues, mail-order companies, etc. across Europe, Asia and America. Our network of retailers is increasing year by year and demand is growing. The POLOLO SOFT range is produced by our team of stitchers and press workers to the designs of Verena Carney (Manager of Production and Design). Our factory is in Oberreichenbach in Bavaria (near Herzogenaurach) on a former site of the company Puma. Children's outdoor shoes are produced by a skilled partner in Spain to our specifications and standards. Sales and management are controlled from Berlin by Franziska Kuntze (Manager of Marketing and Sales) and our office team there. The ecological standards of POLOLO extend far beyond legally stipulated requirements. In 2010, POLOLO received the Gründerpreis (Founder Prize) (download [PDF]) of Kfw Bank and the magazine "Super Illu". The POLOLO style "Moby the Whale" was honoured by Greenpeace in 2004. In 2012, POLOLO was awarded the ECARF Seal of Quality (download [PDF]) for hypoallergenic products and the IVN Natural Leather Certificate (download [PDF]).
We love continually thinking up new styles for our little customers. But we also have popular children's characters, which accompanied us through our childhood, such as our styles Shaun the Sheep, Sendung mit der Maus and Sandmännchen - popular figures from British and German children's programs of the same name. To support ecological and social projects and to raise awareness of them, we have designed a style in "Susi the Bee" that is intended to raise awareness of colony collapse disorder and provide help (download [PDF]). Through the special "Welcome!" style, we want to show our esteem for midwives and the midwifery profession and support projects to this end. 10 % of the sale proceeds will be given to midwifery associations or institutions, as the situation for midwives has become extremely difficult in recent years, and as we think that a good midwife is important and wonderful for the start in life for the child, mother and father and entire family, we want to provide our support. (download [PDF])
Because of a sense of responsibility for the environment and for future generations, POLOLO works to the highest ecological standards throughout the entire production chain. POLOLO only uses high-quality nappa leather and sheepskin, vegetable-tanned without the use of chromium. Compared to common chromium tanning, this type of tanning has both health and ecological benefits: It protects the environment during the tanning process, waste-water treatment and disposal of old leather.
POLOLO does not use unnecessary packaging material. POLOLO slippers can even be composted - once the rubber strap has first been removed! Franziska Kuntze is moving her ecological convictions into a political sphere: As a member of the board of the "International Association of the Natural Textile Industry": abbreviation "IVN" (co-owner of the "GOTS" international ecological seal of quality and the "IVN Best" seal), she is fighting for the implementation of IVN directives for natural leather and shoes, as well as for ecologically harmless natural leather.
All POLOLO styles carry the ECARF Seal for hypoallergenic products. Under the slogan "quality of life in spite of allergies", the seal identifies everyday products that improve and make easier the life of allergy sufferers. Allergic diseases are on the increase. One third of the European population now suffers from an allergy. This is why the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation has been awarding this seal since the end of 2006. Verena Carney spoke about this success: "We are very pleased about this honour, and we ourselves think that it is very important to specially identify products that are hypoallergenic and free from harmful substances, because we have allergy sufferers in our own families. Far too many children's shoes are still heavily contaminated. This reputable seal very clearly identifies for the consumer which products are hypoallergenic!"
IVN Natural Leather certified
In March 2012, our SOFT POLOLO line was certified to "IVN Natural Leather" – the first in the world for a shoe manufacturer! "IVN Natural Leather" is currently a unique, and probably also the highest, ecological standard for leather and leather products.
At POLOLO, all of the production stages and materials used were tested throughout the process chain for the IVN label. This includes the ecologically most significant component, the leather, but also the transport (short transport routes), social criteria = working conditions, the use of additives such as adhesives and trimmings, down to the packaging and recyclability of the shoes - all of these are regularly queried and inspected by an independent certifier. At the forefront in certification are the saving of resources, protection of the environment and health during production, low contaminant limits in the product, and user friendliness. For this reason, the POLOLO styles were also analysed for contaminants in an independent laboratory to IVN directives and received a positive evaluation. For the production of leather shoes, they should preferably be vegetable tanned to IVN directives – chromium tanned leather is not allowed for the production of shoes by the "IVN Natural Leather" seal of quality but other heavy-metal tanning such as using zirconium, aluminium or titanium is allowed for part of the tanning process.
If you want to know more about our leather, our production and our standards, send us an e-mail or call us – we look forward to receiving your questions!
Kind regards from your POLOLO team
PS: Pololo is a Chilean word that means "my firm friend".