Designer Spotlight: Indosole
- Tell us a little bit about your background before starting Indosole.
Growing up in New Hampshire our founder Kyle Parsons was an avid outdoor enthusiast. With this, came a deepened respect for the environment. He made his way out to California about ten years ago where he worked in the snowboard industry in Tahoe, Northern California. After leaving Tahoe for San Francisco he quickly found himself on a vacation to Bali, Indonesia. Not only did he fall in love with the people and the culture, but he found a tire-soled sandal there when wandering the streets; and the idea for Indosole was born.
- It’s incredible that you have become a certified B Corporation. Can you explain to our readers what that means?
B. Corp is, at its core, a certification. There are a series of long questionnaires and requirements to make accreditation. These include anything from paying employees ample wages to cleaning with green products. However, we have found B. Corp to be more than a stamp of approval. There is a network of like-minded businesses beneath the organization that allows ideas to be shared and ideas to grow. It is comprised of individuals that wish to change the way people do business.
- Tell us about your brand, your product and what sets you apart?
Our bread and butter is tire-soled sandals. Kyle picked up his first pair on the streets of Bali about seven years ago. Designing much of the product that followed in house and with the help of some designers, we have slimmed down the look and created a more comfortable, fashionable, and functional footwear line. We have recently expanded into the closed toe division, as well. What sets us apart from most other shoe brands is our commitment to repurposing. We source waste tires from the landfills and mechanic garages of Indonesia, wash and sanitize the tires and cut them to size. We use innertube from bike tires for some of our sandal straps and shoe voxing (side paneling). We even wash and sanitize chip wrappers for some of our hangtags. We are trying to repurpose as much as possible. Additionally, we do not use gas powered machinery or any animal products to construct our footwear. Everything is made by skilled hands.
- What is the best part about running Indosole?
The best part is the people. Everyone from our internal crew, present and past, to the workshop crew and of course our customers. We have been lucky to attract good people with a positive attitude at every stop. Our workshop crew is delightful and always smiling. They are happy making shoes and being able to support their families. Our customers genuinely like what the brand stands for and as our product gets better, they only get happier.
- How do you manage coordinating with a team that is spread across the globe?
This is by far our biggest challenge. We have a small office in San Francisco and a team in Bali who manages the manufacturing and delivery to local retailers. The communication barrier is tough with spotty internet service in Indo and language barrier to boot. But, after seven years of doing business like this we have managed to smooth some things out and make sense of others before we are into the situation.
- What long term opportunities do you see for your creative viewpoint and products?
Our overall goal is to shift the consumer mind towards making more conscious choices. Also, by educating the consumer about a pollution problem before they even know it’s a problem. Lastly, we have a goal to turn their newfound knowledge into a purchase of a comfy pair of shoes…at least that’s how it goes in our perfect world. Easier said than done! We truly believe that the future of consumerism looks different than the present and past. We intend to be a part of that movement. It’s important to us here at Indosole to tell stories and create a connection between ourselves and our customers that will impact them beyond a new pair of kicks.
You can find Indosole below: