Meet Christal Earle, a serial entrepreneur, public speaker, agent for social change, and founder of Brave Soles, a brand that upcycles tires from landfills to create handcrafted shoes and accessories. Before working in the sustainable fashion space, Christal was the co-founder of Live Different, an international youth humanitarian charity. In 2017, Christal launched Brave Soles, working with artisans in the Dominican Republic to create products that are conscious of people and the planet.
My first job ever was… as a seating host at a breakfast diner in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Before my work with Brave Soles, I was… the founder of an international humanitarian charity.
I founded Brave Soles because… I worked for many years with landfill workers in vulnerable communities around the world. I began to see the opportunities for circular fashion and a circular business model based on what I saw being discarded.
The thing I love most about what I do is… I get to work with some of the most kind and generous people — that includes both our team and our customers.
I love public speaking because… I come alive when I have the chance to connect with an audience and help them begin to see the power of their choices in a new perspective.
“Listening and learning from people who are living in a challenging environment day to day helped me see the possibilities from their perspective and think about how to start in the most simple and effective way possible.”
My best advice for anyone that cares about a cause and wants to contribute to it would be… to learn about it and to challenge your perspectives and assumptions. For example, before I started working with landfill workers, I assumed that discarded materials would be useless at that point and that there would be no way to reclaim them. Once I started to ask questions to the people who lived and worked in that landfill, I began to see a thread of common opportunities emerge. Listening and learning from people who are living in a challenging environment day to day helped me see the possibilities from their perspective and think about how to start in the most simple and effective way possible.
One tangible way you can be a more conscious shopper is… to look for transparency. If a brand is truly being transparent, it means they are working to do better and better. When it comes to building a more sustainable and resilient world, we can’t get stuck on looking for perfection. We have the opportunity to look at what is being done with an honest and transparent effort and we can put our resources and attention into those places.
I like to think of the way forward as a reflection of what served humanity for thousands of years before now: If you were to go back 125 years, chances are you would have known who made your clothes, who made your shoes, or who crafted the items in your home because you would have been connected to them. However, we have become very disconnected from what we own and the stories and people behind what make those products possible. To be a conscious shopper is like an adventure in curiosity and in learning to see the story behind what you are putting your money into.
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… never being scared to ask questions — of myself, of trusted advisors, and of the people I am seeking to serve.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I get weak in the knees for anything with maple syrup!
I stay inspired by… always learning from others through reading, listening, and through the people I have in my life from around the world.
The future excites me because… I have the opportunity to create meaningful change for myself and my daughter, and those who will come after her.