While we were in Austin for SXSW we did the logical thing that any vegans would do and headed to the original Whole Foods for lunch. Paul was wearing his Crocs in public for the 5th day in a row, so I was immediately drawn to the Feelgoodz flip flop stand near the check out. It was there that we met the bubbly BrandiJo Fontenot LeBlanc Miller, the head cheerleader of Feelgoodz, who began to tell us the story behind the amazing company with a cradle to cradle design.
The company was started in 2008 by Kyle Berner after he returned to his home in New Orleans from a year-long backpacking trip in Thailand. While there, he was crossing a market in Bangkok and the strap of his flip flops broke off. He came across a vendor and purchased a pair of flip flops made from a rubber tree. Kyle was amazed at how “curiously comfortable” his new shoes were and set up a meeting with the manufacturer. Soon he had gained the exclusive rights to sell the flip flops in America and started the company out of the shed in his parents’ back yard.
Since then, the company has grown exponentially and merged with another eco-friendly shoe company, started by Mark Saad, called Kinder Soles under the Feelgoodz brand. They just opened their first retail store in Raleigh, NC at the end of March. We were happy to meet and interview Kyle- our second VVN interviewee with a TedTalk.Aside from their amazing impact on the planet, these are some of the most comfortable sandals out there. When you want a new pair, you can just bury your old ones in your garden and they will biodegrade! Eat your heart out, Crocs! You can check out the entire line of flip flops and get your own pair at feelgoodz.com and follow the company on twitter and Facebook.