Feelgoodz’s brand mission is to use direct trade principles to ensure fair working conditions and economic opportunities for its global supply partners.
INTEREST IN GIVING BACK
Kyle Berner’s interest in giving back was sparked the summer of his senior year of high school, when he volunteered to serve others in the community Fries, Virginia. The community was built around a large textile mill and exposed Kyle to many different cultures and economic backgrounds. He met many people less fortune than himself. This was the catalyst of the ethos “Man for Others” and his sincere desire to give back.
Kyle has had several different career paths: hot dog vendor, career coach, basketball coach, editor clerk, and music producer. After meeting someone who had backpacked through Thailand and hearing their amazing experience, Kyle knew that would be his next great adventure. Soon, an opportunity to travel to Thailand presented itself. He jumped at the chance to embark on an adventure that not only challenged him, but also allowed him to experience a different culture. Kyle quickly dove into the culture and got a job teaching English. After several weeks walking and hiking through Thailand, his favorite pair of flip-flops busted. Needing to find another pair, Kyle searched the Bangkok market. He found a vendor’s display shaped like a tree with flip-flops hanging from the branches.
Curious about what he found, he tried them on and fell in love with the most comfortable flip-flops he had ever worn. After talking with the vendor, Kyle discovered the flip-flops were made from %100 natural rubber tapped from Thai rubber trees. Kyle was fascinated! The idea of a comfortable, sustainable flip-flop captivated him. With Kyle’s passion, optimism, and tenacity, he brought these products to the US. Feelgoodz was launched in 2008.
The company grew quickly due to Kyle's focus and dedication to the use of all-natural materials crafted by artisans, and cooperatives all around the world. His desire to find the best suppliers has helped Feelgoodz expand to other communities around the globe and empower more artisans. Besides Thailand, the company also works with weavers in Guatemala, where it has expanded their employment of 25 weavers in two villages to 160 weavers in nine villages. Feelgoodz also works closely with manufacturers in Vietnam to craft the Kinderz flip-flop, using non-toxic leather and all –natural rubber harvested directly from rubber farms in Binh Duong, Vietnam.
In the beginning stages of launching Feelgoodz, Kyle faced many obstacles from mislabeled products to stranded shipping containers. Kyle worries about overlooking small details that would have a negative effect on the business. He stated that his passion for the products and the people he employs gives him the resilience and stamina to overcome any obstacles.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Kyle believes that if you want to make a difference in the world, find something you are passionate about and don’t let anything stand in your way. Make it happen! He says that if you feel called to do something, enjoy doing it. Seize opportunities!