After brainstorming and many exercises using MURAL and continued desk research, I interviewed 9 of my key users. I was able to really understand the users and sense what I need to research further about my topic. I was surprised that there were gaps between my research and users’ beliefs, thoughts, and behaviours in real-life. Therefore, some questions were needed to be changed and added to be more flexible and tolerant about the subject, and I had to blur out the boundary line of my narrowed topic to hear broader aspects and information. Also, I learned a lot about consumer behaviour that would be applied to not only in sneakers but also in general shopping.

Then, I analyzed the users’ answers and found a few important insights. At first, I think I was too narrow-sighted and I focused on the literal answers of the users, which led myself straightly to trying to make a solution to each problem. It made me stuck at one point because I couldn’t think creative. I couldn’t move forward, so eventually, I spent more time on re-analyzing and coming up with insights in a different way. I tried stepping back out of all the data I have collected to look from the top, and reconnected important ideas from quotes. I still want to simplify the words and make into data chart later. (Working on an empathy map!)

Interview Questions:

1. Are you a millennial, aged between 20s-late 30s?

 

2. What do you do when you want to buy a pair of sneakers or shoes? Do you search it up on the internet? Use mobile apps? Browse the most famous brand? Browse a favorite ‘go-to’ brand? Get suggestions from acquaintances? See advertisements on social media? Please explain.

 

3.What aspects are important to you when buying sneakers or shoes? (such as its popularity, recommendations from acquaintances or influencers on social media, reviews, functions, aesthetics….etc) And Why?

 

4.As I mentioned in my introduction before the interview, the fashion industry definitely including sneaker brands try to have innovative movements due to ‘sustainability’, ‘ethics’, ‘transparency’ issues. 

 

5.When you are browsing to buy shoes or sneakers (or other fashion related products), does sustainability, ethics, and transparency affect your consumption? As an example, do you care about what material is used, where and how the product is made, who made it, and/or if it is environmentally friendly? Why or why not (Motivations, consuming behaviour)?

 

6. If affects your consuming choices:

  • Do you have some experiences? What are they? Please describe.
  • Could you describe the process of your purchase like a journey or storyline?
  • How did you get exposed to the products? How did you get to know the brand? Online/ visited stores offline? Did you use apps, website? Why chose that brand?
  • How did you feel?
  • Did your consuming behaviour change afterwards? How?
  • Were there parts you experienced inconvenience or complex difficulties? What are they?
  • How do you think it should be improved?

7. IF THE INTERVIEWEE SAID THEY CARE ABOUT THE 3 ISSUES BUT NO EXPERIENCE OF PURCHASE: Why do you think it is hard to act upon your belief when consuming? (why gap between belief & behaviour)

 

8. If you were to get a pair of sustainable brand sneakers, why would it be? How would you feel? What would be the good and bad parts about consuming it?

 

9. Are you willing to buy sustainable and ethical clothings or sneakers if a service is given to you to use? A service that gives transparent information about the product, and solves the inconveniences you have experienced?

 

10. What information do you think you would need from the service? How much information do you think is enough transparency to make a purchase decision?

Interview Analysis & Insights

1. Prices are high but they understand: worthy of quality | being able to contribute | proper treatment to workers

“I think it as a payment to the environment” -osee

“Their high prices are obvious” -dabin

“I spend more money on sneakers because I wear them a lot and for a long time” -osee

“I buy products with brand values because of its guaranteed quality & design” -Jessie

 

2. Being able to compare between products by being visually provided with clear knowledge of its production & impact and wide design options leads to a purchase desire.

“The information is already transparent. But I need more information. If I have clear knowledge of where it is made, what material, how it will be recycled, what impact is made by choosing this product, I would have more ups to these products” – Dabin

“The designs of a start-up sustainable fashion brand I keep looking into are not attractive. I need more choices” – Yunna

“I don’t read all the text about the product’s info. It has to be visual and not too time-consuming.” – Jessie

 

3. Online shopping or mobile platforms are a good shopping medium to stimulate or motivate customers. Most interviewees browse online first to search for various many designs they might like or to eye-shop trending designs, then they go to stores to try on & buy. They use mobile phones because they usually eye-shop on break times, commuting times, or when resting @home. They are exposed through social platforms such as ads and streamings on instagram or youtube, celebrities/influencers they follow/subscribe, instagram hashtags, and some have mobile applications of their ‘go-to’ brands downloaded or trend collection apps like Ssense. (While some also like to browse by walking through many stores and trying them on to see if it suits them well.)
4. Offering new kinds of sneakers isn’t easy when people already have familiar brands that suits them the best. Familiar brands are preferred because these brands are easily accessible to stores & products. Eg. Nike

“I am a fan of Nike because familiar, easier to get, convenient” -Yunna

“We humans I believe tend to go with familiar instincts. If we are satisfied we go again..and again.” – Sarah

“Sustainable sneakers are hard to get because they are not advertised, not mass produced” -osee

“Many sustainable sneaker brands I found were online stores. For Everlane, inability to try on sizes didn’t lead to a final decision.” – Dabin

 

5. They want to easily compare for the best choice before purchasing.

“I want to compare between brands in a glance, compare easier & faster” -Dabin

“I have bought Veja shoes. The price was higher than Converse that time, but they looked more durable, high quality, and eco-friendly.

“ It (Product info) has to be visual and not too time-consuming.” – Jessie

6. The design of the shoes and the convenience of purchase comes before the desire to contribute to sustainable fashion
  • Design:

Sarah randomly ran into the store because she liked the simple and classic design of clothes on mannequins, and realized that it was a sustainable brand after talking to the staff/ seeing ads on walls. (Frank & Oak, Patagonia)

7 interviewees of 9 feel the design options are too narrow for sustainable brands. When they find a design that they like, it stimulates a desire to purchase.

  • Convenience:

“If I find the design I like, I go to the store to try out & buy” -Dabin

They like easily accessible brands, products that are easy to get. 

“Although I want to buy, I eventually don’t buy it because it is online, I can’t try it on”- dabin

“I have to go to stores to try out because I have to return it back if it doesn’t fit” -Jessie

  • Design & Convenience: “I buy it if I like it (design), but I never buy online because of the size” -Siwoo

 

7.  Shopping seemed to be one of the joys to my interviewees, and they seemed to have lost interest in shopping after having browsed sustainable fashion brands. They seemed disappointed when they had looked into sustainable fashion brands due to the lack of variousness of design, inconvenience of access. I hope to arouse interest in sustainable sneakers by providing a service (?)for them about how these products also can have diverse designs and more designs are coming up, and how shopping for sustainable sneakers is also eye pleasing and fun.
 8. Other people’s reviews are reliable. A customer can be influenced by someone and can become an influencer of sustainability.

Sarah was following a local magazine account and they posted about their local artisans so she was able to know local artisans within her neighborhood and know more about their sustainable practices of their product. She started working at a sustainable company; She says, “I always admire their belief and values, system of how they treat and how theta are attached to their farmers. I’m very happy and proud to give out my company products to my friends and family, and to tell them, you are not just pleased with having the product, you are doing a lot to the farmers, farmers have work, being paid properly, their kids are educated, kids get water.” She became an influencer around her people.

“I see recommendations and reviews from watching videos/streaming lives on Youtube/Instagram.” -Bichae