This article is part of a series I launched at Social Change Nation – I interview Purpose Driven entrepreneurs from around the world for my podcast, and now you’re getting the inside scoop on the lessons they are teaching me…I’m sharing these with you so that we can learn together from these change agents. So, whether you’re a purpose driven entrepreneur, want to be one, or hope to learn more about cause based entrepreneurship, stay tuned. I’ll publish a new one of these every weekday for at least a month – and even longer if you all love it & comment on it. Want to keep up? Then follow me on umano.me, subscribe to my podcast, or just link up with us at socialchangenation.com. Either way, sit back and join in as we learn about the stories of world changing entrepreneurs.
Up until 2004, Kyle Parsons was just your average surfer bum - galavanting around the world (when he wasn’t at his day job) looking for the next killer wave. But a trip to Bali changed all of that… see, Indonesia struggles from one of the worst pollution problems in the world, mountains of used tires compete with the mountainous beauty of that country. And, the Indonesian people face an employment situation unlike anything Kyle had ever known…
Determined to change this, Kyle soaked in the lessons of that trip ditched the day job, and founded the purpose driven company known as Indosole. Talk about triple bottom line (i.e. People, Planet, Profit) – Kyle has managed to capture every bit of that with his company.
Kyle’s work takes old tires that would otherwise contribute to Indonesia’s massive landfill problem, and transforms them into beautiful sandals through a production process that is organic, toxic free, and environmentally sustainable. Not only that – but the process provides dignified work to many in Indonesia.
The sandals, shoes, clothes, and accessories that Indosole creates are all part of a process of ‘re-imagination, repurposing, and re-birth’ and I love the strong imagery that those words draw up in my mind. Kyle reimagined the way that ‘waste’ was perceived – repurposed something that everyone else thought was trash, and has helped thousands reimagine the life they thought they would lead.
Like so many other great change agents – Kyle & Indosole clearly have a deeper measure of success. Indosole of course must keep its margins to maintain its mission – but have a look at their website, and in the upper right, you’ll see a small ticker clicking off the number of old tires they’ve transformed into beautiful art that people around the world are proudly wearing.
Adam Braun, author of The Promise of a Pencil, says that ‘tourists see, but travelers seek’. That’s the meaning of social entrepreneurship and cause based business, folks – to be the type of person who, unlike most other ‘surfer dudes’ travels to a place, and sees something no one else has seen: an opportunity to turn tires into social change. An opportunity to transform lives. An opportunity to spark conversations about ways we can reimagine the way things are done. Learn from Kyle, and make your wave.
Want more stories of purpose-driven entrepreneurs? This story originally appeared in our Social Good Guide – 50 businesses. 50 causes. 50 ways to change the world. You can find them all at socialgoodshopping.com.