When I say flip-flops what is the first image that pops into your head? I bet I can guess, white sand beaches, painted toenails, waves lapping on the shore, the aroma of sunscreen. Perhaps a drink in one hand, and a book in another. You’re not thinking about your flip-flops at all are you? Yet OLLI is changing the world with flip-flops.
If you asked the same question of the Co-Founder of OLLI, Heather Shuster, you’d get a different answer. When the former teacher arrived on a beach in Hawaii to find out she had forgotten her flip-flops, her journey quickly became less focused on simply finding a pair of shoes and more attuned to her carbon footprint.
Heather’s disappointment in the lack of comfortable, reasonably priced, eco-friendly shoes quickly became a crusade. Inundated with low quality options that hurt her feet, and the environment, she was determined to source a shoe that wasn’t cheaply made with harsh chemicals.
If you’re like me, you live in flip-flops during the warmer months, but bare skin swaddled in phthalates, a group of chemicals used to make plastic more soft and flexible, isn’t the relaxed vibe I’m looking for. And if that doesn’t scare the PVC out of you, go ahead and google “phthalates” for more reasons to quit plastic.
Sustainable fashion isn’t new. From A-list celebrities participating in red-carpet Green Dress Challenges to tourists looking for eco-friendly beachwear. Renewable and biodegradable has long been the popular choice for consumers looking for clothing and accessories that make us look good, and also helps us feel good.
Inspiring Change One Step at A Time
In pursuit of an earth-friendly flip-flop Heather decided to team up with her sister Holly. Together the Shuster sisters journeyed to Southeast Asia in search of natural rubber. Natural rubber is collected through a system very similar to the collection of maple syrup. The rubber is extracted from a rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis). A “tapper creates an incision in the tree and the milk is collected in a cup.
The sisters soon learned that eco-friendly didn’t necessarily mean humane. During their travels they were witness to poverty and exploitation, and were shocked by the living conditions of many rubber tappers. This could have been the collapse of their dream, instead it energized them. Heather and Holly persevered, insistent on becoming the solution to the problem.
With more research, they came across the Fair Rubber Association and from there OLLI was born. These striving sibling entrepreneurs were now able to source the natural rubber, and also ensure safe and fair working conditions for the tappers.
OLLI pays a premium for the natural rubber to ensure these workers receive fair wages, medical care and safe working conditions. Every purchase literally changes a life.
Heather has personally visited every factory they work with in Sri Lanka, proving her passion for the product, process, and working conditions for the people who make these fair trade flip-flops.
So, what about the final product, and how does it stand up to the cheaply-made, over-priced, and chemical ridden competition?
OLLI sent us a pair to try for ourselves, and here’s the verdict.
To be honest, I was skeptical. In my experience products that are trying too hard to be everything often fall short. I thought that while the natural materials were a dream come true, the actual fit and comfort could be lackluster. My test shoes arrived just in time for Spring Break and slipped nicely into my southbound luggage.
For 8 days I lived in these shoes, escorting me on shopping trips, beach dates, and even an afternoon spent strolling on a boardwalk spotting manatees.
The first thing I noticed was how much softer they felt than my other flip-flops. Also, they were much more flexible and comfortable. After wearing them for several hours I didn’t feel the fatigue in my feet that I usually get while wearing flip-flops. I also didn’t experience the chaffing I usually do when breaking in a new pair of sandals. It was like they were instantly broken in. Even while hiking on the boardwalk, which I typically wouldn’t do in flip-flops, I felt no discomfort.
So, let me get this straight, natural, chemical-free, sustainable, renewable, blister-free, softer, more flexible than man-made, longer lasting, fair-trade, guilt-free fashion, with a mission to make the world a better place? Sign us up!
OLLI is in pre-launch right now, which means when you head to their Kickstarter Campaign you can have these little eco-friendly miracles at distributor cost until April 12th!
After the Kickstarter campaign, the shoes will be available at OlliWorld.com retailing for $29. They come in a range of colorful styles and unisex patterns. Shipping is offered worldwide.
It gets better…
OLLI is giving away 3 pairs of their Earth’s favorite flip-flops absolutely free exclusively to TryBelle Magazine readers!
The Giveaway is now closed. The Winners are:
To Enter All You Have To Do Is:
- Comment below – Why are you ready to kick your expensive, cheaply-made flip-flops to the curb? (Please state your country in the comment.)
- Share this post link on social media. (Yes, we do check before we qualify our winners.)
- Like TryBelle Magazine’s Facebook Page
- Receive a bonus entry for following us on Instagram @TryBelleMag and commenting on our OLLI Giveaway post.
- Giveaway contest is International.
- Giveaway contest begins at time of publication: March 30, 2017 and ends April 13, 2017 11:59pm EST.
- Winner(s) will be randomly chosen and notified by email by April 21, 2017.
- Winner(s) must reply to notification email by April 28, 2017 11:59pm EST.
- Failure to accept prize within the designated timeline will result in forfeiture and a new winner(s) may be chosen.
- Decision on winner(s) is final and prize is non-negotiable, non-substitutable, and non-transferable.
- This is a sponsored post and your gift comes directly from Olli.
- Our Legal Terms
Go ahead and enter now so you can change your world and walk the walk this summer in earth’s favourite flip flop by OLLI.