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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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Brave Soles are Officially Part of the Agents of Change: Climate Solutions

Brave Soles are Officially Part of the Agents of Change: Climate Solutions

We are so excited to finally be able to announce that Brave Soles is part of the 2018 cohort for the Agents of Change program at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) in Toronto.

Here's what this means in plain English...

The  Agents of Change: Climate Solutions is a joint effort between the Government of Ontario and the Centre for Social Innovation. It's designed to help startups from a variety of backgrounds with one common goal: to build businesses that are going to help in the fight against climate change. 

Some of us are fashion businesses, some of us are agriculture initiatives and one of us is even figuring out how to make massive amounts of bread from beer :)

All of us are excited to have the opportunity to join forces and collectively work together for a better future we can all share in. 

Over the next year, we will be working closely to learn how to drastically cut down our greenhouse gas emissions, how to improve our supply chain management and how to build a sustainable business that can flourish because we are putting people, planet, and prosperity on a level playing field. 

We don't just want to say we believe in building a sustainable fashion industry - we want to prove to ourselves and our world that it is possible.

We are honored to be part of this new adventure, and you are part of that story. 

We will keep you updated as we learn and grow through this process and continue to create change through beauty and courage. 

Thanks for believing in us and thanks for having such great taste in shoes!

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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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How Do You Measure Sustainable Change?

How Do You Measure Sustainable Change?

Have you ever wondered how to measure sustainable change? We are embarking on an exciting next step in Brave Soles. Well, truthfully, at this point, every next step is exciting, but this one is especially so :)

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