By Alison I. Somilleda
Feelgoodz™, an environmentally and socially conscious flip-flop company based in New Orleans, LA, is redefining the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). From materials, production and distribution to giving back to the community on a global scale, Feelgoodz™ has created a business model that paves the way for a future of truly positive change in the CSR domain.
Founded in 2008 by Loyola University New Orleans (2003) graduate Kyle Berner, Feelgoodz™ operates its business through the triple bottom-line model of People, Planet, Profit. The Certified B Corporation has successfully incorporated The Materials Economy: Extraction, Production, Distribution, Consumption, Disposal concept to every product they produce. Berner’s approach to the business is “Mai Pehn Rai,” a Thai phrase meaning “it’s cool,” “no worries,” or “take it easy.” Berner believes that by adopting this philosophy in the workplace, he is able to build a better business and contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle for the consumer.
Recycling to Build a Better Future
The social mission of Feelgoodz™ is to create a “Zero Flip-Flop Waste World.” Biodegradable product combined with innovative recycling initiatives has made it possible for the company to make a difference both locally and internationally. The first CSR initiative underway at Feelgoodz™ is the Recycle Your unFlops campaign. Feelgoodz™ collects used flip-flops that are then sent to Kenya-based company UniquEco, a flip-flop recycling company. The flip-flops are then distributed to Kenyan villagers who create eco-boutique merchandise that, in turn, creates a steady source of income for the community. Feelgoodz™ customers who participate in the recycling program receive points that lead to a new pair of free flip-flops.
Step into Education
Feelgoodz™ has also partnered with Pencils of Promise, a global outreach organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to 75 million children worldwide, by using sales of flip-flops as a driver for education. Utilizing the progressive model of collaborative consumption, 2,500 pairs of flip-flops sold means a lifetime of education for a preschooler in Laos.
A young entrepreneur’s passion for flip-flops and a vision to create a global lifestyle brand that uses sales of conscious products to create positive social change around the world has resulted in a business model that truly utilizes and promotes sustainability.
Alison I. Somilleda is a freelance writer and contributor for the San Francisco-based Green Chamber of Commerce, an organization dedicated to building an honest economy for all people and the planet.