I want to live in a world where people can thrive.

We are so excited to have The Root Collective Pop-Up at our South Main location October 23 through 26! This is the perfect opportunity to try on these beautiful, handcrafted creations, normally available online only. We'll be taking custom orders that will ship right to your house all week!

Read on to learn more about founder Bethany Tran + this amazing brand.

Start by telling us a little bit about The Root Collective + your role?

I'm the founder and CEO of The Root Collective, a cult shoe brand that works with makers in Guatemala. All of our products are ethically handmade by small workshops. We hear time and time again that our customers can't walk out their door without getting compliments on their shoes, which is amazing because it leads to a story about how they're empowering communities and investing in change!

How did The Root Collective get started?

It all got started on a trip to Guatemala that I took over 10 years ago. I realized that the focus to solve poverty was on education, which is amazing and needed, but if you educate a kid and there's no job for them after they graduate, then nothing has changed. I realized there was a gaping hole in how we were approaching poverty alleviation that needed to be filled. It was never my intention to start a business. I call myself an accidentalpreneur because this was never in the plans! But I had a calling on my life to meet a need and so I did.

Why is this cause important to you?

Our world is broken. Plain and simple. There is so much hurt and pain and lacking. I want to live in a world where people can thrive.

What is the best way people can engage with your mission?

Shop fair trade! Honestly, I hear all the time that people want to make a difference in the world and don't know how. Here's the truth: you are deciding what kind of world you want to live in every single time you open your wallet. That might sound crazy, but it's true. Women control 85% of household budgets in the US. That's literally billions of dollars every year that is controlled by women! I'd love to see more women really understand how much power they have and the kind of influence they can have over our world.

Own it. And then do something with it.

Do you have a favorite product?

Right now, I'm loving the Lizzie in Noir boot! I'm not normally a black shoe person, but that boot is an instant confidence booster. I can take on the world in that boot.

What does your partnership with New Creation mean to The Root Collective?

Collaborations are where it's at. I love being able to mutually support other like minded businesses to really just further our collective missions. Sales of our shoes directly impact jobs for our makers in Guatemala.

Is there a particular quote or story from one of your artisans that has stuck with you?

Juana, one of our weaving women, once told me that the fabric was woven with their tears and their stories.

She's one of 400 women that make up a weaving cooperative that we partner with in Guatemala. The cooperative was started during the 36-year civil war that ravaged Guatemala, starting in the 1960s. The rural indigenous population was heavily targeted during the war. Juana's husband went missing in the middle of the night and his body was never found. This was a very sad, and very common, story.

Weaving is an ancient tradition in Guatemala, one that is kept alive by women. After the war, women started meeting at each other's houses, and weaving together. It was a way to not be alone. It was a way to heal.

So every piece of fabric that you have on your shoes and bags from The Root Collective has a woman's story in it. What an incredible thing to carry with you.

What keeps you moving forward on the days you want to give up?

Hope. People ask if there's ever a time that I want to quit, and my response is always the same. " About five days a week." The truth is that this is hard work. But I remember hope. I remember what I want the future to look like. I remember how I want the world to be. I remember hope.

Is there anything else you would like to highlight about The Root Collective?

We have the best people in the world! The Root Collective is not a shoe company. We are a people company that happens to do shoes. Our people are everything. From our makers to our employees to our customers. We love our people.

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Shannon Blosser

Office + Event Coordinator

Doing a little bit of everything.