Philomath-based Softstar Shoes announced this week that it has been certified as a B Corporation, an action that the company’s leadership calls “a stamp of approval for the company’s practices of environmental and social responsibility.”
The company’s mission has remained intact since it was established in 1985. Founder Tim Oliver built his original shoe-making workshop out of a broken-down school bus to make healthy footwear for his young daughters, said Tricia Salcido, Softstar chief executive officer, adding that he utilized resources sparingly and established a community dedicated to preserving nature and promoting long-term sustainability.
Today, Softstar designs and handcrafts minimal leather footwear at its 12,000-square-foot workshop in Philomath.
“We spend 35% or more of our waking hours in our job and we should strive to make that work enjoyable, purposeful and impactful,” Salcido, who took over the company from Oliver in 2005, said in a press release. “One of our core values is making Softstar a joyful place to work — and all the good we do together flows from that central, cultural force.”
Softstar’s sustainable culture includes an energy-efficient, family-friendly workshop that is wind and solar-powered as well as an employee garden. The company donates 100% of revenue from scrap-made pet toys to charity and has been one of Oregon’s 100 greenest companies eight years in a row.
To achieve B Corp certification, a company must pass a rigorous assessment and score well, go through several levels of audits and change its corporate structure to be a benefit corporation. The process takes over a year to accomplish and Softstar said in a press release that “companies that display the B Corp logo are trusted to not be greenwashing their products and services.”
Softstar joins the footwear ranks of AllBirds, Toms and Vivo Barefoot as B-Corp-certified companies.