When Sean and Shannon Scott founded COMUNITYmade, they had a passion for more than quality footwear. They built a company that was able to strengthen the entire community around it. “Local production is a better way of doing business,” says CEO Sean Scott. “Economic sustainability and social impact are baked right into the core of our business model.”
Sean and Shannon Scott find the soul of the footwear industry
COMUNITYmade’s cofounders share a wealth of experience in the footwear industry. Sean Scott began his career as a shoe salesman on Haight Street in San Francisco. His customers ranged from the neighborhood’s homeless to the city’s elite. Working in this type of retail opened his eyes to the significance of money exchanged for a product. The lesson he took from the sales floor was that mutual satisfaction was only attainable when both the seller and the customer value the product equally.
Later, Sean Scott signed on as Chief Shoe Maker of TOMS Shoes. As one of the original members of this successful brand, he helped introduce the buy-one-give-one business model that originated with the company’s decision to donate a pair of shoes to children in developing countries for every pair of shoes sold. With this company, he learned first-hand that consumers expect more than just quality products. They want their purchase to play a part in a greater change for the better. During the following years, he accumulated experience working for NIKE, ASICS, and VANS.
Shannon Scott also worked at ASICS. She remembers being inspired by the founder, saying, “I want to do something, no matter how small, to help my community.” This mission resonated with Shannon and later became the catalyst for her decision to build a company that could combine her passion for custom footwear and giving to the people around her.
Sean and Shannon Scott are not just business associates. They are lifelong partners who have been happily married for years. When they began dreaming up a business model that could produce footwear locally to give back to the community, they knew they wanted to explore that vision and build it together.
Local production is the core of COMUNITYmade
COMUNITYmade’s team produces shoes right in downtown Los Angeles. At one time, that area was home to hundreds of footwear factories, but thanks to overseas production, only dozens remain. “There are shoemakers in LA that have not had a chance to demonstrate their craft,” Sean Scott observes. “We can change that.”
COMUNITYmade disrupted traditional overseas production for several reasons. In Sean and Shannon Scott’s view, mass production is obsolete, slow, inflexible, risky, unpredictable, increasingly expensive, and plagued with human rights and sustainability issues.
“Consumers don’t want to buy products made overseas,” Sean Scott explains. “They just haven’t been given a choice. Local production supports the community with jobs, enhances customer experience, provides an emotional connection to products, and drastically reduces a company’s carbon footprint. It is good for both people and the planet.”
COMUNITYmade believes in building community
In addition to making shoes locally, COMUNITYmade uses its product as a vehicle to support the community’s favorite charities and nonprofits. When customers buy shoes from COMUNITYmade, up to 20% of the purchase price goes to fund a charity of their choice.
Sean and Shannon Scott created a community space to hold local events. “By using this space to connect people and facilitate participation, we want to make good things happen,” says Shannon Scott. “The types of events we hold here support all of our platforms. We want to contribute to long-term, sustainable solutions, and we’ve partnered with Youth Mentoring Connection, Street Poets, and The People Concern to help us do that.”
COMUNITYmade means quality made
Sean and Shannon Scott are committed to creating lasting change and equally passionate about designing footwear that stands the test of time. Craftsmanship permeates the Italian leather, high-elastic EVA midsoles, cable stitch detailing, ortholight insoles for breathability, and signature hand-painted heel tabs. Adopting the company motto of “choose well, and make them last,” they guarantee these high-quality shoes will be go-to footwear for years.
“We’re really proud of our shoes at COMUNITYmade,” says Sean Scott. “We consider the fit, the comfort, and the materials to the finest detail. They’re made right here in LA by craftsmen and craftswomen that we now consider our friends. These are more than just shoes. They help build a community.”