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How to Build A Business with Social Impact

A life-altering injury left Michael Mader depending on his family and friends for financial and emotional support. 

“I used to be a longboarder and I never wore a helmet foolishly,” Mader said. “So I was skating home one evening and I hit a crack in the road. I ended up landing on the curb. It resulted in a traumatic brain injury and forced me to drop out of school. I also had to quit my job.” 

Mader realized that without his support system, he would have been homeless. 

“I felt compelled to pay my good fortune forward and build something that could act as that support system for those that didn't have the system that I did when I experienced my moment of greatest need,” Mader said. 

Mader, along with his co-founder Sam Harper, started Hippy Feet in 2015 as an apparel business that donates half of its net profits to supporting youth experiencing homelessness. 

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“Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel ourselves, we figured we should just support the systems that are already doing this kind of work,” Mader said. “That can have an even deeper impact if they had additional funds generated from Hippy Feet.”

Shifting to this model and building out Hippy Feet’s offerings to include clothing and accessories has allowed the company to grow substantially. 

“We're actually currently up 136 percent year-to-date for 2022 when compared to 2021.” Mader said. “We still expect to do half of our revenue in the fourth quarter.” 

Tune into the full interview with Mader on Shopify Masters to hear how he and his team were able to build a profitable business model with impact, win pitching competitions, and score dream partnerships with professional athletes.

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