Angilina: Founder of We Are 5028

If you’re in the market for a sustainable and stunning pair of shoes, look no further. 5028 makes small batches of handcrafted shoes that use upcycled or sustainable materials. Angilina and her husband, Mike, founded 5028 to create high-quality, eco-conscious shoes made by passionate and talented artisans. In thinking about the future, Angilina wants to use 5028 as a way to highlight mental health through art.



What is the benefit of producing shoes in small batches?


There is a lot less waste in small batch production since every shoe ends up having a home. Our goal is to make shoes special. We have really skilled craftsmen and artisans working on our products. It’s not a big assembly line, so there is a lot of thought and care that goes into each shoe. We’re able to use the most sustainable and environmentally friendly materials that we can. There is a lot of time, effort, and materials that go into making shoes, so we make the process as sustainable as possible by only utilizing small batch production.


What inspired you to start 5028?


I worked in corporate footwear for about 15 years, where we focused on mass production in China, Spain, and Portugal. When I traveled to those places, I was blown away by the craftsmanship and how much care goes into the products. I struggled as a designer to come up with interesting and unique ideas that could still be made commercial. I got sick of my ideas being diluted to fit the mass production standards, so I decided to start 5028. We go into factories and take their unused or old materials to make our line of upcycled products. By doing that, we’re able to make something out of materials that are already there, and otherwise would be thrown out.


Can you talk about 5028’s dedication to mental health awareness?


When I was working on the corporate side, I loved the creativity aspect but I felt I was missing a sense of purpose. My brother became sick with schizophrenia and it was an eye opening experience for me. I realized I didn’t have a good handle on my own mental health, and also saw how much change needs to happen in terms of destigmatizing mental health and improving the system surrounding it. When we started 5028, we had the hopes of it becoming a mental health nonprofit, and that’s still the goal. $5 from every pair of shoes we sell is donated to a mental health organization. Even though our culture has conditioned us to not talk about mental health, we have to start treating it with the same importance that we have with our physical health.


What has been the best part of starting 5028?


My favorite part is also the hardest part. When you work for a big company, you have a very specific set of duties at your job. When it’s your own company, however, you work in every silo. I work in shipping, marketing, design, finance— every aspect of the company. Having a pulse on all of that is very exciting, but is also a challenge since I’m not inherently good at all those things. I started 5028 with my husband, and it took about a year for us to get a good system down of figuring out what we individually wanted to focus on.