Saint John, Canada
School of Unusual Arts
Saint John, Canada
I am a 57 year old serial entrepreneur and father of three. My newest venture is a Canadian registered non profit called The School of Unusual Arts. The School is designed to be an incubator for interesting projects and events that in some way relate to the idea of “enhancing the cross cultural understanding of the meaning of life”. My philosophy of life is about being someone who appreciates the beauty of the world, and strives to express that through created works of both craft and art.
Chenna Baree are flexible, fun, earth conscious shoes, made to be worn at work, at home and at play. They are evolved from Kung Fu training shoes worn by Shaolin monks. They are super fun, super flexible, super practical, ethically made and and earth friendly.
Chenna Baree was successfully funded on Kickstarter in June of 2017. Since then we have been receiving great feedback!
I am an orthopedic shoemaker. I’ve spent my life hand making shoes and helping people with serious foot and ankle conditions. One thing I have learned is that part of the recipe for great foot health is getting out there and moving. I designed Chenna Baree shoes with this aim in mind.
I’ve been practicing Tai Chi since I was 14 years old. No other shoe has met my criteria for flexibility and connection to the ground as well as these shoes. The feedback from others has been enthusiastic. On top of that, the use of sustainable, biodegradable materials matters to me.
Chenna Baree has no gimmicks. It is an honest simple shoe improving upon traditional farming and Kung Fu shoes that have been made for over 80 years without changes. It’s a testimony to the idea that foot freedom is part of good foot health. That is why I believe we can build a brand which has the potential to withstand the test of time.
*Note cotton duck is a type of canvas, not an animal product. These shoes are vegan.
I spent two years studying Chinese in order to make this possible. I knew that in order to find an authentic factory I would have to go to China and where I was going would be off the beaten path. This project would not have been possible without the help of my language partner and good friend Jun Jun and her husband Qin Feng. With their very kind support I was driven into rural China where you don’t see foreigners. I visited two factories that make the old style shoes that inspired Chenna Baree. The factory that I have chosen to work with forms a community of about sixty people, most of whom live in the nearby village. It forms a community of about sixty people, most of whom live in the nearby village. My two main contacts there, Nan Nan and Echo, both speak passable English. Working with them, as well as with the factory owner Eric has been a wonderful and unique human experience. I am the first Canadian to ever visit their factory, my two sisters and I got a very warm welcome indeed. There were lots of smiles and laughs. Most people have no idea what this might be like. For those of you who are interested, here are a few impressions for you.
There is only one way to know if you have a winner. That’s to put it to the test. We produced an initial order of Chenna Baree in Purple. Why purple? I was as perplexed as other people, but purple won by a popular public poll. I am so glad we did this test run, because Version 2 has some important changes and quality improvements. And that’s what testing is all about.
Beautiful, classic red linen canvas.
Another classic. Beautiful blue linen canvas
Olive Green Slightly conservative but where can you find this shoe?
Grey. All round conservative gorgeous linen canvas
Chenna Baree’s flagship- the now famous Purple Shoe!
We hope to bring in more colors. Register here if you are interested, and we’ll let you know when we are ready to go to production.
We want to build an ethical earth conscious brand of footwear for active living. By doing so we not only provide great employment, but we reduce vast quantities of synthetics from entering the landfill.
Chenna Baree is about the marriage of beauty, function and sustainability. We want to deliver to you a unique, highly functional shoe which will be made for many years to come. That means, you will always want to have a pair in your active collection.
Become part of our community and we’ll keep you up to date.