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Mark, photographed by Alden Wallace, in Santa Monica

Mark Wystrach — who co-founded The People’s Movement, a.k.a. MOVMT, with Kevin Flanagan and Chris Swortwood — chats about his mission and his music.

A mission-based maker of eco-hip shoes and accessories that help stop single-use plastic pollution around the world. We use natural, organic elements, sustainable packaging and upcycled materials made from plastic bags cleaned from the island of Bali.

And a portion of all our sales benefit…
5 Gyres, a non-profit transforming scientific research on single-use plastic pollution into action. Simply put, buy our shoes and help start a MOVMT to save the environment.

My brother-in-law and I were inspired to start this company…
When I first went to Bali and saw the unnecessary destruction of the beautiful island, largely due to single-use plastic pollution. Upon return to the States, I learned that this was the largest problem facing the environment that was the easiest to fix through education, awareness and action.

Why we started with shoes…
First off, because we love footwear design. Second, because we are a mission-based company that makes goods with a message, and what better product to start with than shoes, since almost everyone in the world wears them every day? Third, because we saw a huge niche in eco-conscious footwear that was actually on-trend!

Most exciting part about owning your own business…
Knowing that, to a degree, you control your own destiny and schedule. How hard you work and how much passion you infuse will directly affect the success of your company. This is also the most challenging part.

Best business advice I’ve received…
Kevin Flanagan, my co-founder, our CEO and my brother-in-law, told me early on, “Say what you do and do what you say.” It’s simple and profound, meaning to follow through and maintain integrity in all you do. That and “money loves quick decisions!” He is the reason that MOVMT is around today. He has been inspiring and teaching me since I was 12 and continues to today.

The funny thing about walking down the street with a wine bottle filled with water…
It stops people in their tracks when they see me take a mid-day tug on the streets. Everyone thinks I’m some out-of-control wino and it will without fail trigger at least one brave soul to ask me if that is wine or if I need help! I revel in the opportunity to educate them about the dangers of drinking water from plastic bottles and always leave them inspired to change.

The story behind The People’s Sessions, our live music series…
The idea is simply to have a running musical series where MOVMT brings artists, activists and tastemakers together in a unique venue for an evening of education and inspiration, sealed together with a stunning live performance. We were fortunate to have The White Buffalo perform at our first, along with a talk given by Lisa Boyle of 5 Gyres.

Our favorite surf spots…
We can’t tell you that! But they are definitely all in Mexico.

And one surfing insider tip…
The best surfer is the one having the most fun.

More to explore in Style


  • jen


  • http://www.clippingimages.com/ Clippingimages

    Thanks for sharing.