July 31, 2015 4 min read
Launching Indosole off the back of a surf trip to Indonesia in 2004, Kyle Parsons has been at the forefront of the sustainable material revolution ever since. Kyle and team are on a quest to keep one million tires out of landfills and to be repurposed as soles for footwear. Reaching out during our early days, Kyle has been in touch with Bureo since the inception of our project…and we have made sure to keep Indo’s powering our team globally. Alongside his selection as a Bureo ‘Push For Tomorrow’ rider, we had a chance to catch up with Kyle during a recent visit to the Outer Sunset, SF.
We have a lot to relate to given the nature of our programs, upcycling raw materials to divert waste. How does it make you feel to be able to show traceability in your products and how they are constructed?
Kyle - Gratifying. We see a new movement in repurposing….which is next level to recycling. Being a part of pioneering this movement is challenging…similar to Bureo we have had to take an existing material and use creativity to innovate functional products. At the end of the day when we work through these challenges and end with quality footwear…its really rewarding. We start with a mission, which turns into a process, and then we end with an awesome product. For Indosole, ‘the machines’ are our people in our process. We like to say made by people, not machines. Valuing our people, we have been able to create a great network in Bali, Indonesia over the last 10yrs, which we are focused on brining to the next level. As we achieve growth and higher volumes of output…the result is greater waste diversion and more jobs for the communities we value.
What does the word waste mean to you?
Kyle - Waste is really the unnecessary disposable of valuable materials. At Indosole we look to not only solve problems, but to look at ways to prevent waste. When we save a tire, we are actually going to mechanics to prevent the waste from moving on. When you prevent waste before it makes it to a landfill, your impact is so much higher.
You started Indosole in 2004, launching in 2010, have you seen a change in consumers appetite for sustainably sourced products during this time? Do you think the market is putting more value into responsible products?
Kyle - Absolutely, the desire for our type of products grows every year. More and more great brands are coming onto the scene, providing greater awareness and supporting our vision. Preventing waste….converting materials into functional products.
Indosole is known for a culture of exploration and adventure, how closely is this lifestyle tied to the health of our natural environment?
Kyle - We are living in a new era, an era where we are committed to seeing an intersection of our careers with our lifestyles. We wanted an adventure when we started Indosole, and to be a part of a movement. We wanted to make a difference while living the lifestyle we desired.....and this is aligned with nature and our surroundings.
As an active supporter of non-profits, can you share some insight into the importance of tying business to work from local non-profits?
Kyle - At the core of it, community is the strongest thing. When it comes down to a local business, or collectively working to make progress, its important to stay involved locally to make a difference. Cleaning beaches, gathering micro plastics, or getting together for community fundraisers are commitments that make a difference for the community and environment. In SF we do a yearly street festival, to benefit the neighborhood and helps support beach clean ups. We work directly with Surfrider and 5 Gyres, supporting local cleanups and their programs to bring awareness and find solutions. In Bali, we support Project Clean Uluwatu (What Up Curtis!) by helping construct their products and getting involved with their local cleanups. Its important for us to support both those communities to make a difference.
With operations in Indonesia and California, and headquartered in ‘Balifornia’, your team really fills the global citizen roles. What is the best part of balancing time between Bali and Outer Sunset?
Kyle - [Laughs] I don’t get down to Bali these days as much as I wish, but we have an incredible team on the ground there. For me it’s all about shaping a lifestyle and connecting it to adventure. When we started Indosole, I saw Bali as a place that needed help…with an environmental disaster going on with pollution there. I also saw incredibly talented and creative people, which created an opportunity to manufacture. We wanted to tie technology and the people in Bali together, and inspire by creating innovate products and finding solutions.
Terima kasih Kyle! Keep pushing!