Business in Focus: Allbirds

A closer look at companies executing leadership excellence

If you’ve worn out a pair of walking shoes to break out of your Covid orbit, you might consider ordering your next pair from Allbirds. Founder Tim Brown, a native of New Zealand, was well versed in the qualities of merino wool. Inherently curious, Brown began asking himself why such a remarkable, sustainable resource was virtually absent in the footwear industry. And with that spirit of wonder, the Allbirds journey began. After years of researching and tinkering, Brown teamed up with Joey Zwillinger, an engineer and renewables expert. Together, they crafted a revolutionary wool fabric made specifically for footwear. The outcome? An entirely new category of shoes inspired by natural materials, and an ongoing mantra to create better things in a better way.

Today, Zwillinger serves as Allbirds’ CEO from its San Francisco headquarters with a team of approximately 500 employees.  The company is dedicated to making the most sustainable footwear possible – shoes people feel good in and good about – using the world’s best natural materials.

The company is on a mission to prove that comfort, good design and sustainability don’t have to be mutually exclusive. It’s been a certified B Corporation since 2016, meaning that it meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

As proof of Allbirds’ commitment to social responsibility, the company posted a message to the healthcare community on its Instagram in late March, saying the brand would gift its signature Wool Runners to medical professionals working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and inviting them to get in touch.

Three days later, Brown and Zwillinger shared a second update. “We’ve been completely blown away by the response to our U.S. healthcare donation last week,” they wrote. “Our team has been working overtime to get back to all of the requests, and we’ve distributed $500,000 in shoes since Friday.”

Here’s another fun fact:  the name Allbirds is a nod to New Zealand — it references the fact that the island-nation’s first settlers found hardly any mammals when they arrived in a land of “all birds.” Kudos to Allbirds for modeling its dedication to social and environmental responsibility.  To learn more about the company’s journey to make better things in a better way, click here.





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