Photo Credit: Saalt
In today’s day and age, thousands of brands are in the market. A quick Google search for shoes would leave you inundated with options. So how do you sort through all the noise to find the one brand that you’re going to buy from? In other words, how do brands make sure they stand apart from the crowd?
Some brands would go on and on about how unique and beautiful their shoe designs are, while others would brag about their craftsmanship, and others would appeal to the masses with their affordability. But would any of these facts grab our attention? Do any of these attributes really push us to buy?
No. But why is that?
It’s because “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” - Simon Sinek
Brands with strong values and a sense of purpose inspire us and make us feel like we are a part of something greater than ourselves. They touch our hearts.
Here’s a rundown of our favorite purpose driven brands that lead with intention. We promise you’ll feel guilt-free buying the shoes because of the mission.
Saalt: menstruation care
Saalt was born from a phone call that the founder, Cherie Hoeger, had with her aunt in Venezuela. Cherie learned that most Venezuelan women did not have access to pads and tampons in their local stores. This had been going on for years! She vowed right then and there that she would help create a solution so that no one had to rely on disposables again.
In 2018, she launched Saalt. Their first product, the Saalt Cup, truly embodied their vision of making cleaner, more sustainable period care accessible to everyone.
Saalt values: sustainability, accessibility, and products healthy for both you and the planet.
Universal Standard: inclusive fashion
When two friends, Polina Veksler and Alexandra Waldman, founded Universal Standard in 2015, they set out to create the world’s most inclusive fashion brand. Their core belief is that people of all sizes should be able to shop the same way. They now offer every style in every size from 00 through 40 through their direct-to-consumer site.
Universal Standard aims to reshape the industry so that fashion represents everyone. They’ve even reworked the conventional size chart so that it accurately reflects the average size. If the average woman wears a size 18, that should be called a medium, right?
Universal Standard values: inclusion, representation, and community.
Priscilla Tsai founded Cocokind in 2014 after years of battling her own skin insecurities. The idea was to create a skincare brand that featured gentle formulas, clean ingredients, and an affordable price point. But she didn’t want to market the brand in the usual way. Typically we see ads of models with “perfect” skin and airbrushing. Priscilla didn’t want to follow in these footsteps. The brand wanted to change the status quo of the beauty industry and break the cycle of “aspirational beauty.” Cocokind opted for imagery of bare-faced humans with breakouts and all.
Cocokind values: transparency, eco-conscious, affordability, and skin positivity.
ABLE: fashion and accessories
After moving to Ethiopia by happenstance, Barrett Ward was faced with an ugly truth – that many women worldwide live in poverty and are forced to turn to sex work to support themselves and their families. Ward knew he had to create more sustainable jobs for these women; thus, ABLE was born. The brand started by selling scarves that were handwoven by local women
ABLE has grown quite a bit over the years, but the mission has always stayed the same – to provide sustainable jobs for women so they could create a better future. for themselves and their families.
ABLE values: job creation, empowering women, and investing in our communities.
Femly: organic period products
Femly was founded in 2016 by Arion Long out of necessity. Previously, Arion had struggled with excruciatingly long and heavy periods. Doctor after doctor dismissed her complaints and only compounded the issues by subscribing to birth control pills which only lead to more painful side effects. Finally, Arion found an OBGYN that took her seriously. She was informed that she had an abnormal growth potentially caused by the chemicals hiding in the pads and tampons she was using. From that moment on, Arion decided to go organic, but she knew she had to spread the word so that others didn’t suffer her same fate.
Femly was created to educate, provide organic period products, and increase access to help end-period poverty.
Femly values: period health, education, and accessible menstrual care for all.
Nisolo - shoes
The idea for Nisolo was born in 2011 while Patrick Woodyard was working in Trujillo, Peru. While there, he met remarkably talented shoemakers and learned that despite their ability to make gorgeous shoes, they struggled to make a livable wage. He knew the key was making their shoes accessible to the global market. So Patrick employed the artisans and began selling leather and footwear through his new lifestyle brand, Nisolo.
11 years later, the company has stayed true to its mission – delivering excellent products with superior design and quality while keeping ethical production and the wellbeing of the producers at the forefront.
Nisolo values: craftsmanship, ethical production, and the well-being of the employees.
Don’t be afraid to put your wallet where your heart is. The world has enough mindless corporations, let's show support to purpose-driven brands and businesses.
Have any favorites that didn’t make our list? Please share!
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