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See How A Surfer Became A Social Entrepreneur

See How A Surfer Became A Social Entrepreneur

Photo by: Mark Harpur

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.

Check out some of these examples of Indosole’s great work:


This is why we do what we do, using discarded tires as soles for our footwear – to be part of the solution

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 a cause based leader, 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. So, if you want some kickin’ sandals and shoes that make an impact, go and check out Kyle and Indosole, and make your wave!

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