Picture yourself… anywhere. We at Nomadic State of Mind believe that while it may not always be possible to take your physical body to new and exciting destinations, you certainly can find small doses of time to let your mind wander into un-known territories. Whether you fancy physical travel (time travel or within this dimension), sense expansion (ever tried an unfamiliar cuisine?) or going for a ride with google earth into the depths of the globe to discover a small town in the other hemisphere–-you have tapped into your Nomadic State of Mind… Now, take a peek into ours. Nomadic State of Mind, a grassroots-style handmade sandal and accessories company founded by Chris Anderson, began its voyage in the late 90’s. In the early years we ran the business out of a 1969 VW bus, which also served as Chris’ summer home (what nature loving, outdoor sports enthusiast, raft guide with a music guided-soul didn’t spend some time in a VW bus?). While we have come a long way since the days of Chris in his van, our philosophy has stayed consistent– If it is done right in the beginning, it will last a long time. Today “We” are: Chris, Entropy Engineer; Dave (Chris’ Dad), Shipping Guru and Disciple of the NY Garment Industry; Jeff-fell off the bus at Bonnarro and landed here to be our National Sales Manager; Kelly-your packing master and Chris’ sister; Shea, a budding flower from Azaela Fest, now project manager and make up entrepreneur. Marissa, our fashion model and customer service expert; aAnd most importantly our team of 54 rope artisans, and distributors around the globe. At the turn of the century (the last one), Chris was introduced to a small community in Nicaragua that had been through some tough times and was in need of reliable income. He taught a small group how to make sandals, believing in fair trade, ethical practices, and sticking to our philosophy– Do it right. In the beginning. The road navigating the “Wild West” of Nicaragua was long and bumpy with scattered thunderstorms and occasional rainbows. However with perseverance and inspiration from lots of happy feet wandering the planet, we have found a home there for over a decade. So from a van by the river, to international availability and distribution (we even opened a Nomadic State of Mind store in the country of Cyprus) we have continued to grow and “do it right”. Occasionally we let our imaginations take over which has helped lead to an increased product line with the addition of various forms of rope art using sandal scraps, from handbags to water bottle carriers, to rugs and more.
Our apparel line uses organic cotton and recycled fabrics and the prints are inspired by Chris’ travel and photography over the years. The business is built from the heart and that’s apparent in the structure of the company as well. The company began it’s roots setting up sandal shops at outdoor music festivals throughout the country. Though the team and the company have grown, festivals are still a favorite activity for Chris and the crew and that’s where he can be found through much of the summer. Nomadic State of Mind is a growing team and continues to design and build superb quality, affordably priced, rope art sandals. Made from real hands for real feet. Thanks for your support through the years! Peace, Love, Good Times!!!
Below is the original “about us”-been on the web site for nearly 15 years, since around the turn of the century!
Many a few years ago a group of planet wanderers temporarily(!!) put up their rafts, snowboards, surfboards, cameras and decided to make some permanence. Not necessarily a home of permanence, but a permanent presence. A social work degree backing the idea, a company of sorts began to formulate. A company at the grass roots level. A company of the common folk, not backed by corporate thugs, just your ordinary folks. The money raised to begin this journey of business was done by Chris who spent many summers camped out along the colorado river working as a raft guide and stashing every pay check . The winters were spent snowboarding, strolling through central america, or writing the greatest story Never told. The company began out of a 69 vw office. that van was home, office, and factory. things got crowded, so moved to different locals and bought a bigger van. todays’ world is the “nomadic state of mind”, whether it be walking, driving, surfing the web or interplanetary wandering. “nomadic” stems from the latin word “wanderer”. keep it real- is our pledge to you. We feel in today’s wealth addicted society it is possible to provide consumers with a company whom attempts to function as a business in which all people involved with our company perform an active role and win. our “office”, and shipping is based presently out of North Carolina. Although we still spend alot of our time on the road- someone is always around to take your order, death threat, or question. Find our Nomadic family at live events, on the phone, or packing sandals: Chris, Big Dave, jeff, Shea, kelly,Ryan, Trinlie, Patrick and partners arount the planet
Company Policy and Environmental Concerns
What’s up with Nomadic State of Mind sandals?
– thanks for asking. Currently many our rope sandals are being made in a small out of work coffee farm in Nicaragua (the ones without the soles). In early 2000 Chris taught a small community how to make sandals in hope to produce a job for the community and create a flow of income, and have a lot of fun! Without a lot of fun-who wants a business? All of our artists are paid well, and our hopes are to grow the sandal business offering employment for more of the community. Although the cities are beginning to bustle in often forgot about Nicaragua, many jobs are difficult for people out in the country. Our sandal making process is time consuming, and after extensive training our sandal artists hand craft each sandal to perfection! We have been working with the same group of people since 2000 and have watched the economic improvements in our community. Buying a pair of sandals or any rope art directly affects the betterment of a small out of work community in Nicaragua. Through the years we have seen some big improvements directly effecting the lives of those we work with (at first the difficulty was just making sure there was year round work- which in my opinion is the basis of fair trade and responsible manufacturing) For about 6-8 years I did not take a paycheck and slept on boxes of sandals in the back of the van (and thanks to all the hundreds of friends who either let me park in their driveway or gave me a couch- too many names to mention- but you know who your are.) Every penny went back into the company and paychecks of the artists we had trained to make sandals. We had a difficult time through the winter months where we had no orders for sandals. Out of shear desperation and desire to introduce our sandals to the world two ideals went into play.
1. look for an opposite climate somewhere in the world, this is why we began finding distributors in other countrys- that would help us get through the winter time
2. we had all these little pieces of scraps laying around from cutting sandals. With our permit to work in Nicaragua we had to bring as much rope out of the country as we brought in; or dispose of it. Well, the culture of the the central americas is to burn the scraps- I did not like that idea, so i began to look at what we could do with our scraps, so we did not have to burn them. This would also help us not to have to buy new material in the winter time when cash flow was at a minimum. We started putting the scraps together to make circles which would be connected to make all sorts of things. first we started with rugs and a few bags, to water bottle carriers and picnic baskets. It is a fine art, no two are the same, and they are quite time consuming to make so it keeps everybody busy while sandal making is at a standstill. Fortunately over the past few years as we have opened up more sandals to more people, the rope scrap program has become a small little industry of its own, and we get to use up almost all of our scraps, only the little tiny ones escape (but i do have some ideas for those in the future) We developed the No scraps left behind program to make people aware of the amount of waste that manufacturing can create. Coming from a social work background with a lot of years working with people, and equal amount of years working with the environmental groups and educating and being educated on environmental impacts; i found it necessary to plug these values first into manufacturing. That is why we have been on such a slow growth program for the last two decades. Thinking through each step of the way. Figuring out cash flow, not taking money from anywhere that might force us to over look some things; i found it was perfectly fine to take our time and have a small transparent, sustainable company. When you buy a rope art product, you are supporting the ideal of using up all the materials of manufacturing, which developed into an art form, of some really interesting one of kind items. It was my hopes by marketing it that it would create information and ideas that might get passed on to big cap industry to see that. So maybe someone who works at some big factory somewhere that sees all the waste that is created can find something to do with it- and yes, that is happening now!
Soles. (you can read more about soles on our blog, titled “the road to more sole”
We began using VIBRAM soles for the bottoms of our sandals that we put soles on, we chose Vibram due to they years that Vibram has been soling shoes around the world. Our sandals with soles are made here domestically using vintage sandal making equipment. We cut the vibram soles, glue on using low v.o.c glue, this process is time consuming but we like using the abandoned machinery from companies who moved to the east.. Throughout the last 10 years we have gone through many different soling bottoms and are quite happy to the point where our research has led us, if you want to read about the decisions and headaches of working with soles, deciding on soles, gluing soles, etc- its in our blog. We make almost all of our research and development public, because the sharing of information is a necessity for people to survive in the world, and you never know when someone is going to suggest something that we never thought of, or maybe someone gathers some information from us that helps them out or makes a better place for all of us.
about the rope, we make the rope in north carolina a partly reclaimed polypropylene cord, which we have found to be the best and we can keep the consistency what we need to make quality sandals; with our watchful eye. This rope is colorfast, super durable- basically one of the strongest ropes known to humans. When we look at environmental impact, one of the most important things to look at is durability. That is why we make the best rope and do not cut any corners. Durability is sustainability.
It was our desire to create a product where there was virtually no waste- almost there – about 85% of our waste can be recycled into other products.
Packaging- Excessive packaging is just worthless. When you receive your sandals they are in a usps mail bag and tied together with a string. There is no “shoe box”, which we feel is a waste of both money and cardboard. We have a sizing/info tag attached to the sandal. That’s about it. We do what we have to appease our shipping needs and requirements by shipping agency’s, and nothing more. If you order a bunch of sandals they might come in any kind of box we can find to use, so if it looks like your box has been around the world a few times or home made- it might just be. We all have enough shoe boxes from when we were kids with odds and ends in them, i don’t think we need anymore.
Our future goals and recyclables of used sandals. When our volume reaches an amount where it makes sense to attempt re extrusion project we are on it. We got a long way to go for that.
When we introduce new products, or friends products we attempt to evaluate environmental impact, energy conservation, and fun!
What’s new with Nomadic state of Mind and the organic T-shirts? (side project 1)
WE use domestically grown and sewn certified organic cotton, where we can. As a world, we now know a better way to farm (organic) Organic farming eliminates the use of herbicides, toxic defoliants, and synthetic fertilizers. Organic farming is non toxic way to farm; which in return helps protect our future generations and our planet. This is sustainable farming. Promoting a positive future outlook. Now some of our t shirts use a RPET (recycled plastic bottles) and from time to time we try out other fabrics. the fabric will be listed by each tshirt. Currently we are in love with the rpet/organic cotton mix shirt. super soft and breathes well. When you buy one of our shirts, hopefully you are bringing smiles to people who read the positive messages on the shirt! and also supporting us in raising positive vibes, and creating art from old photography- thankfully those years in the dark room weren’t wasted!
“BE the change you want to see”
The ultimate goal of “sustainable cotton” is to move sustainable production, manufacturing and use practices throughout the cotton value chain in order to create a healthy and profitable industry for growers, their communities, manufacturers, retailers and users of all cotton products.
The conventional cultivation of cotton leads to massive environmental and health problems. Around the world, more toxic insecticides are used on cotton than on any other crop. A sustainable alternative is the certified organic cultivation of the “white gold”. The farmers have only a chance to convert their production into a controlled organic cultivation of cotton if there is sufficient demand for organic cotton. Although laborious in the beginning, the conversion is worthwhile. WE want help be the sufficient demand for organic cotton.
Now we will talk about some side projects. The importance of side projects- it keeps things fresh and creative, as humans most of us have the drive to keep moving forward and to always expand and create consciousness, art, and help and make new friend along the way- but at the same time making sure to not over extend or create complications of your main focus. As we expanded our horizons into what has always been a tropical paradise (florida) and a great place to set up some permanency. once we figured out how to successfully add soles to the rope shoes , we had may people and old time machinery to use. We put our heads together, and with the Nomadic desire to create things that have both been not created or needs to be adjusted, we started playing around with other materials and other types of footwear. A much smaller step, and more for just fun and experiments than anything else, but through some creativity we have come up with some stuff that is pretty cool. available on a slightly smaller scale then our rope shoes that we have been doing for well over a decade, these side projects are fun and handcrafted. They are available at times, and not available at others, and sometimes out of different materials and colors. thanks for supporting our side projects as well, it keeps us mentally stable, or as mentally stable as can be expected…
What is up with ecolyte sandal ? Where did that come from? (this was the first “other type of sandal we made) It looks way different from your other sandals Yes. Way different. Many people like the flip flop style sandal, people asked us for a flip flop style sandal. So, we thought. Why not, Nomadic state of mind needs a new project? We make excellent sandals, we can make a different kind of sandal, and we can make that sandal kick ass; and since after learning vintage sandal making machinery for our rope soles, we had the place and know how. So we interviewed, and tested other “flip flop” sandals out to see what we liked and didn’t like. A fun project, we always need new projects- a curse of sorts. After deciding what we liked about a flop sandal and all of our buddy’s liked about the different ones they had, we went to work with some friends. First the material, ok that was obvious –lets pick out something that is quality (quality always has to come first) and comfortable, and keep in line with a rope technology. Hemp. Finding the most comfortable strap for the top of the foot. Tried a bunch, found one we liked. Then the foot bedding. Tried out many hemp and hemp mix fabrics. We found the 100% hemp canvas works the best. Then for the innards….soft, squishy but firm, arch support. Then the bottom non slick, something that grabs, Vibram… constructed here domestically. So, we have done some variations on the ecolyte now, using some pho furs made out of hemp, some recycled webbing, and old sails from boats traveling around the world!. These have went through some changes and additions over the last few years, and you will start seeing some new materials being used soon, as we look at upcycling some other materials.
The sail flop……here is the essence of this project. Chris and his dads love for sailing come out in this project.
that sailed people around the globe,
So thats an update, to make us current in this nearly 2 decade year old project. we are working on our blog now that we have about caught up with technology and websites, well for this week anyway; so we will begin blogging about all of our company makes and mistakes and what we have done to make a difference in a few peoples lives—-and have A LOT OF FUN doing it– its only a guarantee of today, so have fun whatever you are doing.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know: that is how we keep making and doing what you like- after all you are the consumer- you make the rules
-all 58 of us, and distributors around the globe