Olli was started in 2015 in Columbus, Ohio by sisters Heather Shuster (high school teacher) and Holly Shuster Van Tilburg (nurse). By having a last name like Shuster, it made perfect sense to start a shoe company (Right??).
Heather lived overseas for a number of years as an international school teacher (China, Korea, the UK and Ecuador), and on one trip to the beach, she forgot her flip flops (that's slippers to you in Hawaii!). There were bright colors, and wonderful patterns... but all the shoes were made from plastic and synthetic materials. She began to research if it was even possible to make a flip flop from natural rubber. It turns out there was. However, rubber is notorious for exploiting their workers--from hazardous working conditions, and wages so low that oftentimes entire families were pulled into a life of debt. This is why we at Olli are proud members of the Fair Rubber Association. We only purchase rubber from rubber plantations which provide Fair Trade rubber.
Upon return to the US, Heather joined forces with her older, wiser sister to found Olli. We wanted to create a company that would use the most natural resources possible, treat workers fairly, and pay a living wage. We are intent on creating products as ethically as possible so that our customers can enjoy them as much as we do.
We are very excited to present our first line of certified Fair Trade natural rubber shoes coming in 2016.
Stay tuned for what's next!
Heather and Holly