It’s been just over 4 years since we first started working on Hippy Feet, and in that time we’ve been fortunate to find a passionate group of supporters who want to help make a difference in the lives of young people affected by homelessness. We look back at that time grateful for the impact that we’ve been able to have together. With your help, we’ve donated 20,000 pairs of socks and provided part-time, transitional jobs to over 120 homeless youth. Simply put, there are young people who are no longer homeless because of you.
We’ve made enormous progress, but our mission is far from done. Hippy Feet provides valuable opportunities to the people who need them the most. We hope to continue this work and have a deeper impact, but like many small businesses right now, we face an uncertain future.
To our customers, partners, supporters, families, friends, and more - we want to be transparent about how Hippy Feet is affected by the pandemic and how it impacts our ability to serve the homeless community.
Impact on Hippy Feet
We’re fortunate to be able to continue shipping orders and creating new products. Most of the manufacturers we work with have been deemed ‘essential’ during the pandemic. In early May, we will be able to release new Summer products and continue to sell online. From this standpoint, Hippy Feet is not significantly impacted.
Unfortunately, socks are a highly seasonal product. In April and May, you’re probably more interested in buying sandals and swimsuits than a pair of cozy knee-highs. For this reason, we rely on most of our business coming from other businesses this time of year. We create custom socks for organizations to use as employee/client gifts and promotional products. They get to create an awesome branded pair of socks with Hippy Feet and help homeless youth in their community in that process.
This portion of our business has suffered from the effects of social distancing and COVID-19. Many of the events for which we make products have been canceled or indefinitely postponed. Financial uncertainty has led some companies to cancel orders on custom socks for employee gifts. Fewer face to face meetings means fewer people need promotional products.
Helping the Homeless
As you likely already know, we’ve provided jobs to homeless youth through a program we call Pop-Up Employment. We hope to bring this program back once COVID-19 is behind us, but it isn’t responsible for us to continue to operate this program while social distancing is the norm. People experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to the disease, and our program relies on bringing together groups of young people. To play our small role in ensuring the safety of the community we work with, we’ve suspended our Pop-Up Employment program.
To take its place, we’re introducing a temporary employment model that we’re calling “Employment, Delivered.” As part of this program, we’re delivering socks, packaging materials, and instructions directly to homeless youth who have been pulled off of the street to be housed in shelters or temporary housing during the pandemic. In the convenience and safety of the place where they’re staying, we ask these young people to package the socks we’ve dropped off and let us know when they’re complete, at which point we pick the socks up and pay them for their work.
This all happens while observing social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone involved, and do our part to help flatten the curve. We hope to continue to expand this program moving forward, looking for more ways to help support homeless youth during the pandemic.
How you can help
There are many ways you can help sustain Hippy Feet’s mission of serving homeless youth:
Purchase Hippy Feet Products - buying a pair of Hippy Feet socks is now more impactful than ever before. Your purchase not only provides a job to a homeless young person, but it also helps support a small business at a critical time.
Hippy Feet Gift Cards - it’s never too early to start holiday shopping, right?
Post on social media - Sharing the story of Hippy Feet’s mission with your friends and followers makes a big difference!
Custom Socks - If your company could use custom socks, we would love to work together. Creating custom socks is a great way to give a branded gift that makes a difference for homeless youth.
Thank you for your support through these challenging times. With your help, we hope to continue to provide employment opportunities to young people in need. Please stay safe and healthy, and please don’t hesitate to ask if there’s a way we can help support you at this time.