Tell us about Conscious Step.
Conscious Step was created as a fun and easy way to raise awareness for serious issues that urgently need solutions. Each of our socks is partnered to a world class non-profit organization to give direct proceeds and tell the story of a project they are supporting. For example, a pair of water socks provides 18 months of safe and clean water through Matt Damon’s Water.org foundation. As we look to raise awareness for amazing stories and organizations around the world, we strive to reinvent a premium product through eco-friendly standards. Through learning and collaborating with Fair Trade International, Vegan, and other leading sustainable and humanitarian organizations we continued to strive to change the industry standard. Conscious Step was created to give an ordinary purchase, extraordinary purpose.
What is your mission?
We created Conscious Step to spread awareness to the issues that impact the world around us. We believe that in order to change the world, ordinary people need to take part. Understanding the issues that surround people and our planet, while empowering the world with knowledge and solutions in an uplifting manner. All our products are designed to tell a story with unique hand-crafted boxes to further develop the different story collections. Our team is a strong believer that the first step towards solving any issue is conscious awareness.
What inspired you to start Conscious Step?
Conscious Step was founded on the principle that global awareness was a major issue in poverty. Giving ordinary people a tangible way to show their passions and the issues that have impacted their lives. It didn’t have to always be a sad moment, but something to show that you were a part of the fight. We often see everyday people sacrifice their lives to protect the planet, or learn about and fight against disease.
While starting Conscious Step, our co-founder Hassan was working at the World Health Organization where he became aware of the United Nations Development Goals. These goals are structured to help people understand the root causes of poverty. We were passionate about sharing the stories of people and organizations making sacrifices for a better tomorrow.
Our current partners are assisting us with these sustainable development goals:
What is the best part about running Conscious Step?
Wearing your own socks is pretty amazing, so is testing new products you imagine. Traveling and having a business based in New York and Sydney is always exhilarating, as well. Few people are lucky enough to have the opportunity to express themselves or create art, even fewer are lucky enough to do it to make the world a better place. Without a doubt, the best part is helping the organizations spread awareness and sharing stories of inspired work.
Is there a specific reason you chose socks as a way to give back?
Socks are convenient enough to incorporate in people’s everyday lives and the industry lacks brand loyalty. Socks also have a fun way of making people feel warm. We wanted to reinvent the market, even more as we learned about the overuse of polyester and other materials negatively impacting our skin and the environment.
How do you know you are making a difference? Do you have any success stories you can share with us?
With 27,387 days of HIV/Aids therapy provided, 26,748 meals provided, 80,775 months of clean water, 82,202 books donated, 58,020 trees planted, and 1,689 steps taken, we can see our success in the numbers.
As a young company, we’re very close with our partners. We provide them with unique marketing collateral, local awareness and 200+ stores and volunteer work, which have all played vital roles alongside our donations.
How do you spread the word about your company?
We spread by word-of-mouth through retail stores, markets, press, advertising, collaborations with corporations and our nonprofit partners. Our happy customers continue to be our best resource.
What do you find your biggest challenge is?
While many aspects of growing a business are extremely challenging, the hardest part was creating an eco-friendly supply chain in a world where so many people follow their instincts of cutting corners or hurting the environment for personal gains.
What are your dreams for Conscious Step?
I’d like people in countries across the world to be able to give back and understand issues locally, as well as around the world. To be able to educate their friends, colleagues, and significant others about issues that impact the future and changes they’d like to see and be a part of in the world. Even better, it’d be great for people to understand how it impacts individuals presently, as well as in the future and feel empowered with a solution. I want people to look good and feel comfortable doing it. I like spreading the warm energy that comes with connecting yourself to the greater good in the world.
Do you have a favorite pair of socks?
It varies by season, mood, and outfit. For sneakers, I definitely have a few different go-to pairs, and likewise with formal attire.
We hear about and see more and more organic cotton. How does using organic cotton impact our lives, the lives of the factory workers and our environment?
A big issue into today’s world of fast fashion is many of us get caught in the latest style, as companies like H&M’s shelves evolve everyday. The common consumer doesn’t understand how it’s possible for products to reach the market at such a low price point. In many cases, pesticides are used in the farming of regular cotton, toxic dying processes are used and synthetic fabric consumption ends up leading the world to a constant stream of environmental issues.
Producing organic apparel not only improves the health of farmers, but the process uses much less water and prevents the pollution of toxic chemical waste. Unions and collaborations continued to be structured around this process with care for people and the environment. In fact, you can find out more about our mindful manufacturing on our website.
On your site you list fashion as the second leading cause of pollution in the world. What’s the leading cause?
Oil and fossil fuels.
Last year I saw a movie called “The True Cost.” While I’ve always done my best to educate myself on the global consumption issues with sustainable development, this movie really put in perspective how terrible the conditions in the fashion industry have become. Factories are forcing mass amounts of people into small vicinities to meet unrealistic deadlines, and synthetic and toxic fabrics are destroying the workers’ health, their water and the environment around them.
Pollution spreads in all directions of these projects — from the poor removal of waste to the inability to recycle the products that have a 3-5 wear lasting cycle.