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"Giving Tuesday" is Really About This One Thing

November 27th is known online as, "Giving Tuesday". It's a day that has come to be when non profits encourage shoppers to counter their post-Black-Friday commercial rush with a little bit of charitable generosity.

I like that idea.

However, I am also a big fan of giving every other day of the week - because giving isn't about money.

Giving is actually about kindness.

The opportunity to choose kindness will show up in the most unlikely of ways. Being kind is just as much about considering your habits as it is about helping little old ladies across the street. 

Kindness can be about owning up to your choices and acknowledging that they really do have the power to make a difference.

Recently on the IDEAS podcast, I heard well known environmentalist Graham Saul talk about how environmentalism has a message problem. As in, there is not one cohesive message that we all can understand and rally around when it comes to the environment. 

I agree.

Some people are focused on forests, while others are focused on how we use resources. All of them are equally important, but not all of them are treated as such. 

That's why, since the first day we launched, I believed in the core of my being that Brave Soles had to be built on kindness.

Kindness to people and planet is not just a nice thought; it's a call to justice and equality. We all deserve equal access to being treated with dignity and respect; whether that be towards humans, animals or the earth we share. 

To live and choose kindness is to truly draw a line in the sand that serves as a notice to how we are going to live and show up in this world.

This Giving Tuesday, we want to call you to make a kind choice. Perhaps that choice results in some of your financial resources going towards a charity you care about. That's great.

However, it may also mean that you are going to consider how to make kinder choices, as well.

Maybe it means both.

But do yourself a favour, okay? 

Do something today that reminds you that your choices matter. 

Because they do. 

xo

 

 

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Does Your Challenge Seem Beyond Your Control?

Does Your Challenge Seem Beyond Your Control?

I have come to realize that the opposite of feeling hopeless is not to simply feel hopeful. Hope is relying on something outside of yourself that is still beyond your control. Although it helps us to dream of something different, we can’t co-create our world or future with hope alone. Hope is an ideal to hold out when we want something to happen. 


However, choosing the next step that is within your power to take is how change actually begins to happen. 

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Learning to Live More Sustainably

Learning to Live More Sustainably

Learning to live more sustainably is a journey we are all on. We invited some of our community to share what their journey is starting to look like. 

This is Cameron's story...

As humans we evolved like any other animal on this planet. We are part of a circle of life, death, and rebirth. Besides our skeletal remains and a few fragments, we leave very little trace of where we were, what our cultural beliefs were, what our hopes and dreams were, or what our daily life was like.


We were simply humans.


Today it is so easy to get caught up in…well, life as we know it. We go through the motions and our brains are so scattered by the complexity of our daily lives that we forget to stop and breathe. We forget where we came from and how we got to where we are now.


We forget the basics such as, without our soft footprints on the earth we wouldn’t be standing in a supermarket scrolling through Pinterest for dinner recipes.


Sustainability isn’t a decision, it’s a compilation of moments:

  • It’s the moment that you reach for detergent and decide to look at the label
  • It’s the decision to pass up ‘fast fashion’ for higher quality pieces that were made with love, integrity, and ethical practices.
  • It’s moments of realizing that regardless of where we are today we are all still connected to one another and to this earth.   

No one is perfect and my journey of living more sustainably is simply that, a journey.


Traveling around the world has made me aware of the impact my life can have on others and the planet.


I’ve walked through slums and seen how people born in the cycle of poverty barely survive.


I’ve talked to women in rural Uganda who were given microloans for their small businesses and seen how because of that loan their families are healthier and their children are given the opportunity for education.


I’ve walked down the streets of Senegal during a garbage strike and realized how a beautiful world can quickly be made inhospitable by our waste.


So, as I move forward in my life I try to take more meaningful steps, I stop and think, ask questions and make educated decisions. I first ask myself, do I really need to buy this? We can easily get caught up in the consumer world and forget to live simply and with purpose.


I then look for companies whose practices make the world a better place; whether that be ethical work environments, recycled materials, carbon-neutral power in production facilities, natural ingredients, no testing on animals, etc. It allows me to purchase products that make me feel good about the world around me and I love that I can support these businesses whose values align with mine.


While I can’t reach out and lift everyone out of poverty, or clean all the plastic waste out of the oceans, I can make ethical choices to support those who are working to do just that.

I can make a little corner of the world a better place.

It is the collection of these thoughtful moments that will allow us to give back to the earth that has so graciously allowed us to become the humans we are today.

 

Find Cameron Bowers on Instagram @noborders.md

 

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Stories That Inspire our Accessories

Stories That Inspire our Accessories

We love inspiration. The people and faces behind the items we create and release are always rooted in two things: functional beauty and the authentic story that we can share behind why we created it.

That's why we love it when people ask us how we ended up creating some of our items. 

So, let's satisfy some of your curiosity with some of our recent items...

 

The Paola Clutch was inspired by Paola Barret.

Paola is the creator and goldsmith of Sunpetals Jewellery. Paola is focused on upcycling silverware and broken jewellery in precious metals to transform them into new, modern, and minimal jewellery with the dream of using reclaimed precious metals from circuit boards and X-rays.

Based in Ottawa, Paola loves gallery hopping, the zero-waste movement, supporting vintage and ethical businesses and day-dreaming of moving to the Dominican Republic. When she gets there, she plans on being surrounded by flowers in her studio with her mini cows Dolly and Daisy ( if you’ve never heard of mini-cows we suggest to do a quick google search to fall in love instantly).

The Kristina Clutch is named after Kristina Paider, the very first person to know and believe in Brave Soles.

Kristina is a screenwriter, a powerhouse communication coach and the founder of both the Hollywood Approach and the Writer’s Green Room.

Kristina is based between Cabarete and the rest of the world. She came to us with her design idea because she wanted to give a gift to a friend who had helped her with a very specialized project.

We admire Kristina for many things and we agree with her that, “Saying yes to yourself inspires magic all around you.”

The Widlena backpack was named after Miss Widlene Earle. She is Christal’s sun and stars.

Widlene is a fantastic 13 year old who enjoys horseback riding, photography and chilling with her friends. She is full of kindness, empathy and possesses a quick sense of humour that keeps her Mom on her toes.

Widlene told her mom that she wanted a special backpack that was her own design. She began to draw pictures and gather ideas and before long, the Widlena was born. It proudly goes with her to school, the beach and on many Instagram photo shoots with friends. 

The Sandra is named after our favourite breakfast restauranteur, Sandra Weber.

As the owner of Claro Cafe in Cabarete, Sandra was also the very first vendor to welcome Brave Soles when we first launched. Sandy is famous for her incredible ability to make anyone feel welcome in her world, while all the while making sure they have a great glass of wine in their hand at the same time. She is a mom, a wife and a true friend to many.

We designed the Sandra wallet after she came to us with the idea of something that was without hardware and yet secure and sleek looking. She was the first one to own the Sandra and we are grateful for her inspiration.

Since our beginnings, we have discovered that the best way for us to continue to be inspired is to pay attention to the stories around us, waiting to be told. Thanks for being part of that inspiration. 

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When is a Shoe Bag More Than Just a Bag?

When is a Shoe Bag More Than Just a Bag?

When we first began to dream about creating something with a bigger mission behind it, I was only thinking about one way to accomplish our mission. I thought it would only be done through the product we were creating.

We carefully planned out our styles, our processes and even our logistics.


However, there was one thing we didn’t think about: the possible potential for the packaging of our products. When we began to think about what we could do, we got excited about what it could provide for our mission as a company. 


Each Brave Soles item that leaves us and goes out into the world arrives at its destination wrapped in its own unique bag.


Granted, there’s nothing that special about a simple bag.


Except when you consider that you and I are not separate from the items we fill our world with.


We are connected to it all through the stories that are interwoven in our lives.


A simple shoe bag from Brave Soles can tell a great story:

  • It could have been the robe in a Christmas pageant worn by a “wise man”
  • It might have even been a maxi dress that had a lot of great cocktail parties before it went off rotation
  • Perhaps it was destined for the landfill as a roll-end and one of our team members dug it out of a back storage room in our continual quest to upcycle materials.

In our journey to grow and learn how to continue to bring our love of fashion, people and planet together, our little shoe bags have come to represent something to us that is personal, unique and inspiring.


Those little shoe bags represent the beginning of a new life for everything that’s connected to them. They keep the fabric out of landfills and they give your items a longer life by protecting them, However, perhaps the most exciting for us is that they help to provide tangible income for ladies in the communities we work in.


One of the those women is Carmen.


Carmen is a jewelry artisan and seamstress. She has come a long way in her journey from being vulnerable as a young single mother to being a homeowner. Much of that is due to the kindness of Canadian volunteers who helped her build her own home.


But that was just the beginning.


Along the way, Carmen also realized that she had some great skills and ideas. Most of all, she has shown herself and the world that she has the drive and integrity to make her ideas happen.


Carmen is one of our suppliers in our ever-growing supply chain for Brave Soles. We helped her buy her first sewing machine and she has helped us solve a problem for our packaging.


We all share part of the story of beauty in the world. Thanks for joining ours.

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A Quarter Turn in Your Thinking Can Make a Huge Difference

A Quarter Turn in Your Thinking Can Make a Huge Difference

When I think about how I want to move forward and how we can help people do the same, I think about the quarter turn of a champagne bottle.

There is no judgement on the sediment that collects in the bottle. It just is.

You don’t know what you don’t know. Until you know.

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Here's Why We Admire Amy Brand

Here's Why We Admire Amy Brand

Each member of our Indie Sales Team is diverse and inspiring with a unique and insightful way of looking at their world. Amy Brand, a Canadian that has replanted in Switzerland, is our newest team member...

Hello! I am a Canadian living in Switzerland with my Swiss husband and our two kids.
I run my own small beauty studio with a view of the Alps from home called Sugar Beauty Therapy. Mostly I do makeup, nails, and other cosmetic treatments, but I also enjoy painting and creating anything nice.
For me, it all falls under the category of “beauty therapy” :)
I have known Christal (our co-founder) for a long time, and have always admired the ways she has taken action to make a positive impact on people’s lives. I immediately loved the easy-going designs of the Brave Soles products and felt drawn to the idea of using fashion to do something good for the world.
 

My own path has taken many unexpected turns. One of the biggest turns was being diagnosed with Breast Cancer two years ago. 

I went through a fast and furious treatment of 8 rounds of chemotherapy in 8 weeks. This was followed by a 9-hour surgery to remove my ovaries and remove and reconstruct my breasts.
However, I am incredibly proud and grateful to say that I’m fine and back to normal life!
The BRCA1 gene mutation runs in my family. That's why I am proud of our many survivors and previvors kicking cancer’s butt... and then calmly picking themselves up and going on with living their lives.

I am inspired by people who take responsibility for their own happiness. People who take their focus off the negatives in life (we all have them) and choose to be joyful and thankful are the kind of people I like to be around and work with.

If we fill our own lives with happiness, it’s bound to spill over and have a positive effect on others too.
Like many of the people reading this, I have a dream for the next generation. That they will use their strengths and passions to work hard at something that makes them feel fulfilled. I think if people can feel good about their own lives, they are less likely to find fault in other people’s lives and are more likely to live in harmony.
I truly feel that there is something for everyone with the variety that Brave Soles provides. Everyone who enjoys looking stylish, while feeling comfortable will love Brave Soles!
I really am passionate about Brave Soles. The shoes and accessories are beautiful. I also really feel that making a positive impact on the environment is a powerful part of our story. However, the way Brave Soles enables ordinary people to help change the lives of more vulnerable people is the most beautiful thing to me.

Amy's favorite items? 

"I absolutely love the Jasmines! They’re as smooth as butter and so comfy I can wear them all day. I also love the Kristina clutch, it has such an effortless chicness about it."
Interested in learning more about joining our Indie Sales Team? Click here and get your questions answered!

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