If you’re here, reading this article, then chances are you’re already fairly familiar with shoe related impact on the environment. You’re probably also familiar with the different drives related to shoes including Soles4Souls, but if you’re not then don’t worry! That’s what we’re here for, to do the research and break it down so you can be in the know without having to go out of your way looking for it.
So what is Soles4Souls? How are they related to the shoe industry? And, most importantly, how are they helping to lessen the impact of the shoe industry on the environment? We’ll be discussing all of these in our blog today! So settle in and get ready to learn about this amazing charity and their goals.
The History of Soles4Souls
Soles4Souls actually started up as a byproduct of executives in the shoe industry wanting to provide relief to victims of natural disasters (such as Hurricane Katrina and Tsunamis). The Organization itself was formed in the year 2006 by Wayne Elsey (the previously controversial founder), and is now run by Buddy Teaster. Thanks to numerous endorsements from celebrities such as Jessica Simpson and being featured in the Guinness Book of World Records, The non-profit group expanded rapidly into the now well known group it is today.
Soles4Souls is a Non-profit organization that specializes in repurposing used clothes and shoes. While they generally prefer to receive donations of apparel in good or gently used condition (due in part to their main method of using them to fund relief efforts); they do also accept and help recycle clothing in less desirable conditions too.
Their main goal is to take these donated items and use them to provide relief to people in need, or to help create jobs in third world countries in an effort to get them back on their feet!
While many people may initially assume all the shoes they donate to Soles4Souls will directly be donated to those in need. This isn’t actually the case. While yes, there are some shoes that do get donated in this method, most shoes received by this organization are actually sold off to other smaller groups who are responsible for selling them to other business owners in third world countries, as a means to help them provide for their own communities.
While this may come as an upset to some, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do. In fact, the general concept of donating and stereotypical visualization of charity is worse in practice than you might think. Why is that the case? Well, if you make products freely available to people then they’ll obviously be more inclined to take it right? In some cases where people actually have no money, then yes, they might need the help of that one extra pair of shoes so they can protect their feet from the elements.
However, most people do have some money and may still take this free offer as more of a crutch when it’s really not necessary. This becomes a problem when the donated “free” goods become competition for the local businesses also trying to sell similar products. In a way, by trying to help them, we’re only making things worse by not only stealing business from their local shops– but also, in turn, making less jobs available to those same people.
Business owners, first and foremost, need to be making enough money to cover their own costs. That includes their inventory, paying their staff, and property expenses. If they’re constantly having to compete with the low low price of free, they’ll be put at a disadvantage and thus end up selling less inventory. Overtime, this could result in them having to cut costs, such as extra employees, as they can no longer afford to run their business while hiring them.
What Soles4Souls is doing is the better practice of helping to support those countries' economies through their businesses; by providing them with an accessible inventory of clothes at a reduced price than buying them brand new. It also means they have a wider range of selection, which they can now use to attract more customers and create revenue!
How Soco is also trying to do our part
While Soles4Souls’ main goal is to help people through repurposing gently used clothes, they are still helping to reduce the number of clothing that ends up in a landfill. By doing so, they’re also helping the environment too as that means there’s less chemical rich products sitting around to slowly decompose and contaminate our soil.
While we’re nowhere near Soles4Souls in lessening the environmental impact in the shoe industry, we’re also doing our best to help in our own way. We use plenty of recycled materials (such as rubber) and reject the use of plastics in our shoes. By doing so, we’re also doing our part to keep those harmful products out of our landfills while providing new chic footwear for others to wear!
We also ensure all of our products are made with quality so they are far more durable than your average cheap fast fashion footwear that can usually only hold up a few months before it becomes less than ideal to wear. Our goal when making out footwear is to provide both comfortable, long lasting, and affordable shoes to people while making/ delivering them to you in as eco-friendly a way as possible!
So in our own small way, we’re trying our best to actively take steps towards making the shoe industry a more environmentally stable business. If we can get other companies to join us in our mission, then all the better!
If you want to check out what sort of shoes we can make while adhering to our goals; then Click Here to check them out!