How are you doing today? What’s making you feel good today? How are you planning to feed your soul? It seems like a lot of questions right! Well, we believe that all good ideas begin with good questions. And so was the case for this sustainable footwear brand, Brave Soles. When the founder of the brand, Christal Earle, was faced with a lingering issue of the enormous amount of wasted tires around her, her heart had just the right answer for it. It resulted in beautiful handmade footwears with durable soles made of tire and oh my, they’re gorgeous! Come join us, as we learn more about her inspiring journey.
What is your mission at Brave Soles?
Finding beautiful fashion that's kind to both people AND planet can be difficult and expensive. We're contributing to the creation of a better future for both - at a fair price. We want our customers and fans to love their choices and proudly share the story behind what they own.
Tell us about the genesis of your brand.
It has been 12 years in the making! As the founder of an international youth humanitarian organization, Christal (co-founder and CEO) had been working and learning from a local community of garbage dump workers since 2005 on the north coast of Dominican Republic.
For Christal, every day that she worked alongside the people in that community was an adventure in laughter, connection, and the hard truths about our shared humanity. There were, however, also a heartbreaking number of tires. They were a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases and they were a toxic nightmare.
In 2010, an unexpected turn of events in Christal’s journey left her facing the fact that she was going to have to rebuild her life between two countries. She was now torn between Canada where her career was based and Dominican Republic where her adopted daughter couldn’t leave. Like many parents around the world, she figured out a way to make it work.
But all the time, the question was still there: “What could be done with all the tires that are dumped everywhere?”
In early 2017, the idea struck for the first time. Why not use tires for soles on beautiful hand-made shoes - and create a way to help the most vulnerable people in the process?
What kind of superpower does your company possess and why should we care?
Our soles are cut directly out of tires in the landfills and dumping grounds of the Dominican Republic. They are purely reclaimed and upcycled. We are proud of the simple, honest process of how each of our products is born into the world.
What are your favorite products/most popular this year?
By far, our best-selling sandals are the Jasmine, the Avarca and the Ophelias. I think it’s because they each represent different personalities and purposes. The Jasmine is a pretty, feminine sandal that goes from day to night, the Avarca is a classic lifestyle shoe that is going to go with you everywhere and the Ophelias are simple, well-made slides that are perfect for summer days.
Our AirCraft Collection is something we are excited about these days, as well. We use reclaimed leather plane seat covers from Voyageur Airways and Jazz Aviation. We incorporate all the materials from the plane seats and the result is simple, classic accessories that will continue to travel with you for many, many years into the future.
What are you working on for 2020 and beyond that you want us to know about?
We simply want to get better at what we do. We are starting to work on our B-Corp certification process, and we are seeking to set up more retail partnerships with boutiques and sustainably focused fashion brands. There are a lot of good people doing good things and we want to be part of helping the tide rise for all of us and make sustainable fashion the norm, rather than the exception.
Contributing Author: Bhavya Jha