Why BallareCo and what is the #ballareway?
My vision for Ballare has always been to create a shoe that is comfortable enough for women to be able to get on with chasing after their dreams. It was imperative that I produced a shoe that was always comfortable from the moment it was put on, as I was sick of spending money on expensive and cheap shoes, to have my poor feet ripped to shreds! I remember some days I would prefer to wear my heels all day because my new (read 3 months in) flats were still so tough and needed to be ‘worn in’ further. I was also tired of having my shoes, whether, cheap high street buys, or more expensive brands start to fall to pieces within a month or so.
It took us about 2 years from the initial concept design and testing of various manufacturers to eventually come up with the now final Ballare flat design. To me the Ballare flat was more than just a shoe- it was a beautiful creation that needed to feel as amazing, as it looked. It was a shoe that was to enable women, whether they be corporate workers like me, entrepreneurs, mamas (or both) or just trying to get on with whatever hustle they had going on! A shoe that was ethically and sustainably made AND had all the sophistication of a handmade Italian shoe, without the crazy price tag and lastly, but perhaps most importantly, without compromising on quality (not one BIT!).
This to me was the beginning of empowering women, the next phase was about choosing a cause that I whole heartedly believed in. It was always going to be about empowering young girls with education or women through social impact projects. Initially I looked at helping girls in different third world and poverty stricken areas- but my heart kept coming back to Palestine. At times I convinced myself it was too controversial, but at the same time, I couldn’t ignore home. Thank goodness I followed my heart, because the majority of people along my journey have been nothing but supportive!
After a long process of looking for schools and local organisations, by chance, I had the dream opportunity to work with UNRWA and develop a partnership that enabled me to contribute to the education of Palestinian girls in Palestine. UNRWA was the right fit for me as I had not spent prolonged periods of time in the region to know well enough how things worked. UNRWA has been helping Palestinians since 1949 and their schools still outperform all the other schools in Palestine!
We are almost one year in since our launch and soon to release our impact report, as well as our exciting new strategy to continue our work in Palestine. Part of that strategy is about the third aspect of what I dreamt Ballare would be, a platform for women to be inspired, to contribute and to be empowered in various ways. Keep your eyes open for some cool stuff coming up!
The #ballareway is about making small changes, that lead to big impact, one step at a time.
In the comments below share your #ballareway story to help encourage and inspire others to follow their dreams.
Next blog post, I will share some of my latest trip and work in Palestine.
On the left, one of our customers in her “Ellen” flats, available online. On the right, some UNRWA school girls, in Palestine.