But Civic Duty’s story starts with CEO Steven Weinreb. As a young boy growing up around his uncle’s men’s clothing store, Weinreb could not wait to finally get the chance to work in his uncle’s store and get a real taste of the fashion industry. Once old enough, he dove right in and began working for his uncle and was well on his way to his dream job. Fashion never seemed like work to him. “I just enjoyed working,” he says. “And because it was something I loved to do, it wasn’t work. It was the fashion element that I loved!”
After years of working in the fashion industry, owning his own mortgage company, producing footwear for Ecko Unlimited and working as head of sales for British athletic line Gola, Weinreb became a victim of the economic downturn of 2008, finding himself jobless and a bit hopeless. With his wife’s encouragement, he was able to “reset himself” and revisit an idea he had had about making shoes out of a paper-like material. That material was Tyvek, which is a lightweight, sustainable, and water resistant material that while looks like paper, is extremely durable and is used in construction as a water barrier wrapping for homes. It is also the same material used to make FedEx envelopes.
After much experimentation, he was able to come up with the technology to successfully manufacture shoes out of Tyvek, and thus Civic Duty footwear with fun, vibrant colors and a look of cool, edgy flair was made a reality. However, his recent experience of being burned by the economy had left its mark on him.
“It was at that point that I became determined to develop a business that would be socially, fiscally and environmentally friendly,” says Weinreb. “I wanted a business that would be inspiring to others, be beneficial for Americans and be affordable and of course, awesome.”
Not only are Civic Duty shoes made of an eco-friendly material, but each year an exclusive shoe is made with 100% of the proceeds going to a social cause benefiting those in the US. Every year, Civic Duty will choose a different social cause to donate to, and as “co-conspirators,” shoppers are encouraged to suggest a cause for consideration. It is a part of their “Conspire to Inspire” campaign, which encourages civic-minded Americans to come together to benefit our country and create a sense of community.
To join the movement, check out CivicDutyShoes.com and take your pick of cool kicks with a cause.
Written by Clarissa Burt with Marika Bastrmajian
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