Today’s guest blog is from one our ‘Non-Profit Friends’, Kenton Lee (Founder of Because International & The Shoe That Grows).
It all started ten years ago on a post-college trip around the world for Kenton Lee. This fresh-faced, Idaho native left his small town to travel the world and see how he could help. An experience with a young girl at an orphanage in Kenya who was wearing shoes that were so small she had to cut open the front to let her toes stick out – it sparked an idea.
What if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand? What if there was a shoe that could grow with the growing feet of kids?
After returning home to Idaho, it took Lee and his friends six years to work on the design. But they finally did it; they created a shoe that could expand five sizes. They called it The Shoe That Grows.
They started a nonprofit organization called Because International to structure the cause. It started slowly at first, but then several online articles empowered the cause to go viral in 2015. Since then – the organization has worked with over 1,000 partners to distribute 175,000 pairs of The Shoe That Grows to kids in over 100 countries.
But people always asked: “Could we buy your shoes for our kids?”. It was never the mission of Because International to try to distribute The Shoe That Grows in a commercial way. So the answer was always, “No”.
But now it is the right time to change that.
Because International formed a separate, for-profit company named GroFive (registered as a Benefit Corporation in Idaho) to sell a commercial style of the growing shoes called Expandals. They are launching this new company and product with a Kickstarter campaign. It went live on Tuesday, July 10th and fully funded the $10,000 goal in two hours.
Expandals are expanding sandals that can grow five sizes and last for years. They come in sizing ranging from toddler up to a US Men’s Size 13. And they offer four colors: Teal, Blue, Pink, and Grey. Every purchase of Expandals helps get more pairs of The Shoe That Grows to kids in need around the world. And a growing pair of shoes can replace two, three, four, or more pairs of regular shoes; so it can be better for the earth by doing more with less.
GroFive is committed to the relentless pursuit of better: better products & better mission. Their first product is Expandals, but they are excited to see what other innovations they can create in the future. To learn more about the company and be a part of the Kickstarter for Expandals – check out GroFive.com