It was not uncommon for Tian Mu to pass by someone who was living on the streets as he commuted every day in Los Angeles. After much contemplation, the seasoned tech entrepreneur decided to put his best foot forward for his local community—by devoting the heart and ‘sole’ of his next venture to helping the homeless.
With a bit of divine inspiration, Tian came up with Brethren Shoes—an online store that offers to give as much comfort as it sells.
“Homelessness in America is so pervasive, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed, but I believe in the kindness and generosity of the human spirit,” says the new footwear CEO.
Brethren Shoes is the only e-commerce store for men’s shoes that utilizes a “buy-one, give-one” model, notably made popular by TOMS Shoes. For those less familiar, the idea is simple—for every pair purchased, a second pair is donated. Unlike TOMS, however, Brethren Shoes focuses solely on assisting people experiencing homelessness in the U.S.
Best of all, Brethren customers will be wowed by the price and stylish selection—from classy wing tips to biker boots—all for $66 per pair ($59, with a GNN discount).
Additionally, if you just want to donate a pair to someone in need without buying a pair for yourself, Brethren Shoes offers a special charity price of just $33.
All the shoes are leather-free, too—but you’d never know it by looking at them.
Having launched in September to rave reviews, Brethren’s ‘donation shoes’ currently make up one-third of all sales, which shows significant support for Tian’s belief that we are all capable of a great deal of compassion and generosity when given the opportunity.
“Giving a pair to yourself and a fellow brother in need is a win-win for everyone,” Tian told Good News Network. “We all need shoes. We all have our journeys in life. Shouldn’t we all get there with confidence and comfort?”
The first nonprofit receiving new shoes as part of the “buy-one, give-one” deal is Project Joy, which provides employment services to two homeless shelters north of L.A. in Lancaster, California. When they received their first donated batch, the young men there were thrilled by the new kicks.
“It brought a lot of excitement and positive energy to us all. By Brethren’s customers gifting the shoes, it led to a visible self-esteem boost,” says Kim Watson, founder of Project Joy. “The shoes brought this group of young men together. I saw them evolve from some guys who have been sharing a space to a unified force… walking together as brothers.
Brethren is offering GNN readers an automatic 10% discount ($6.60 deducted at check-out) for any $66 pair of shoes purchased through the links on this page—and they’re also giving GNN a small commission after every purchase at that price.
It’s a tremendous bonus, too, knowing that free shoes are delivered to a homeless social services provider like Project Joy—with an extra bit of joy coming back in satisfaction, because you’ve helped a young man stand tall.
(Shop online here, and get your automatic discount.)
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