The Root Collective
Updated: Jun 3, 2019
**This post contains affiliate links
Who doesn't love cute shoes, right?
While I have nothing against cute shoes because I'm sure a sucker for them too, I'm not sure what it is with our shoe obsession as women. I mean, why the need for closets full of shoes, especially ones we don't wear? Do we really need 20 pairs of shoes? Or more? Think for a minute. If we own 20 pairs of shoes and wear one pair a day, we'd wear each pair of shoes only 18.25 days out of the year.
Truth is, it's not that expensive to fill up our closet with cute shoes. If we only wear them a handful of times, what's the big deal? They didn't cost that much to begin with.
Hence, the problem isn't cute shoes themselves. It's how easy it is to buy them.
Shoes, like clothing can be created cheaply. And sold cheaply. So we can have a full closet, when really, all one needs is a few pairs.
Our assumed need for shoes makes me think about Laura Ingalls Wilder describing Pa's broken shoes and his desperate need for a new pair. And when he finally had money for new ones, he met the pastor on the long journey to town and gave him his shoe money for a new church bell, saying he could do without new shoes, even though the condition in which she described them said otherwise.
Somehow, our mentality has to change. And that change starts with us. Somehow we have to realize that a closet full of shoes might look pretty, but doesn't fulfill a need. Why not spend money on a good pair of quality-made shoes that makes a difference for the life of the shoemaker than the same amount for several pairs that we don't really need?
I don't think I'll ever forget the scene in the movie, True Cost. The one with the piles of black shoes (if you've seen the movie, you likely remember). Black shoes that likely ended up in some cheap shoe store. There was something about that scene that was haunting actually. In a single scene, the problem of consumerism, the problem of American mentality that everything should be cheap, was laid out in this mountain of black shoes.
So what's a consumer to do? Can we really have cute shoes and make a difference in someone's life?
Enter The Root Collective. Handmade shoes, people.
The Root Collective's motto is "create a culture of kindness." As consumers, our purchases make a difference. We make a statement with the kind of businesses we choose to support with our money. What kind of statement do you want to make?
Taken directly from their website:
We exist to support community jobs, empower parents to care for their families, and invest in positive change.
At The Root Collective, we partner with small, independent workshops because we believe that's where the most impact in communities happen. Our goal is to support existing workshops that are run by local business owners. All of our producers receive beyond fair trade wages.
This model is intentional. Small business has the power to create incredible change in communities through jobs, and we want to support and empower those local leaders to continue to see change through employment.
Steady and safe jobs are also fighting gang violence in Guatemala by giving young men and women an alternative to joining the gangs, which are rampant in many communities throughout the country.
According to Otto, their lead shoemaker, "making shoes is sacred work."
Shoes made by hand. From start to finish. Seriously.
I own three pairs of Root Collective shoes. Worn day-in and day-out, these shoes last. And they're comfortable. And they're cute. And man do I get compliments when I wear my boots!
There's a power in knowing where your clothing, your shoes, your products come from. It's a game changer.
When I put on my shoes from The Root Collective, I think about who made them and where they come from. I think about Otto, the gang member turned shoe maker who sees a vision for his community. If someone compliments my shoes, it gives me a chance to share, to tell people I know where they come from. It makes them think about whether they can say the same. My hope, is that it encourages them to dig a little deeper.
Let your shoes make a direct statement about the kind of world you want to live in!
**All photos are property of The Root Collective.