Maker in focus: Ocean Sole

Ocean Sole is a social enterprise, that upcycles washed up flip-flops found along the beaches and waterways in Kenya. Inspired by the toys children were making out of the flip-flop debris, Julie Church, the Ocean Sole Founder, encouraged their mothers to collect, wash, and cut the discarded flip-flops into colorful products to sell at local Kenyan Markets as another means of income for their families.

The social enterprise positively impacts over 1,000 Kenyans through the collection of flip-flops and direct employment. It provides steady income to nearly 100 low-income Kenyans in the company. They aim to recycle a million flip flops year, recycle over one ton of Styrofoam a month, and save over five hundred trees a year – by using flip flops instead of wood. They contribute over 10-15% of their revenue to beach cleanups, vocational and educational programs as well as conservation efforts.

They use their social enterprise to pay bonuses to employees, invest in a welfare program that allows a zero return in funds to all employees to help facilitate payments for educating their children, buying land and other means. Our actions must make a difference to the plight of our oceans and Ocean Sole’s ethos is to give back what they earn to change the lives of many – through employment, education, and meals.

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