Outer Sunset's Indosole Scores $30K Kiva Loan For Sustainable Shoes

Outer Sunset shoe company Indosole recently completed its third Kiva fundraiser, which closed earlier this week. Now fully funded with a loan of $30,000, founder Kyle Parsons says he's looking forward to fulfilling the company's environmentally focused mission to make shoes from recycled tires, in both San Francisco and Surabaya, Indonesia.  

Indosole will be using the Kiva funds to expand its shoe manufacturing factory in Surabaya, which has been with the company from its beginnings, over 10 years ago. The expanded factory will allow it to store and cut tires into shoe soles on location, instead of at a separate facility. 

Indosole at Sunset Mercantile in December 2015. | Photo: Indosole

Indosole's mission is to keep one million tires out of Indonesian landfills by recycling them into shoes. So far, the company has clocked more than 60,000 tires saved. 

The Kiva loan is Indosole's third, as it's had to go through a process of building up trust with the funding site to crowdsource larger loans. 

"You can crowdsource your first loan at $5K," Parsons explained. "Once you pay it back, then you can qualify for another round and crowdsource another $10K loan. Over the last three years, we've done that and paid them back completely, at zero percent interest—which is unheard of."

Parsons credits both Kiva's powerful platform—which reaches a million people—and a loyal group of supporters for its ability to fund the loan. "We have a loyal fanbase that has lent to us before, and are aware of us," he said, noting that he and his staff pay it forward by actively funding other campaigns on the likes of Kiva and Kickstarter. "It always comes back," he said. 

The staff at Indosole includes both Indonesians and Americans. | Photo: Indosole

Indosole recently departed its digs at Noriega Avenue's Church of Surf, which closed down after three years, as planned.

"The rent we were paying was going towards funding a preschool for the church," Parsons said. "It was an amazing way to grow our brand and also assist the church in their new venture. We were sad to leave, but it had run its course. It was a great experience." 

Parsons is currently looking at new spaces in San Francisco, potentially in the Outer Sunset, and hopes to close on one in the spring. In the meantime, the San Francisco branch of Indosole will be based in SoMa, working on fundraising and planning its next steps for 2017. 

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