Grid magazine: Dansko, a responsible shoe company


Earlier this summer, I did some reporting for sustainability publication Grid magazine about Dansko, a suburban-Philadelphia durable footwear company that specializes in clogs. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish the story for some personal reasons.

Still, you should see the final product by Natalie Hope McDonald on Page 10 here, and check out the whole mag, which is an interesting niche news startup in Philadelphia.

Below read some of the content that I didn’t get the chance to use.

Mandy Cabot, Dansko co-founder

  • “We were  given an insanely large cash offer to sell to a large public company. We imagined what that would mean for Dansko: basically unlimited money for R&D and growth and employee opportunities as a mom and pop business. So we seriously entertained the idea. It was something most entrepreneurs would spend a lifetime waiting for.
  • “We want to create opportunities for the next generation of folks who are stakeholders, and that ties into sustainability, so we started looking closely at our environmental footprint.”
  • Sustainability was not part of our original mission.
  • My mission and Peter’s are different. Peter is leaving the world better than he found it. That comes from his Danish heritage. Mine was more for our stakeholders, to be their favorite.
  • “Part of the sustainability mission is our corporate sense of responsibility, not just to our employees or stakeholders but to the community.”
  • “There’s noting more empowering than paying it forward.”
  • “As Daria said, we always wanted to do the right thing. We wanted to get to the next model as a midsize company. We wanted to be our retailer’s favorite, our employees favorite and our vendor’s favorite.”
  • We’ve never been driven by profit. If we were in it for the money, we would have sold. But we’re not. We’re gearing up for the next generation of Dansko employees and fans.
  • We have some projects in R&D that, if I told you about,  I really would have to kill you.
  • “I think that there’s a collective power that larger organizations have.”
  • “The more we inspire our following, the greater their loyalty to Dansko, the greater that loyalty, the more permission or mandate we have to make yet better products and make yet better decisions.”
  • “In our efforts to leave the world a better place, it sure starts with how we treat each other.”

Daria Payne, who was the building’s project coordinator

  • “Being thoughtful and sustainable is in Peter’s DNA, even if he didn’t know the details.”
  • “Three years after building the first, they found they had outgrown that building. So Peter approached me. And he said, ‘this is not going to be business as usual.’ It’s going to be a green building, though he didn’t know about the details of LEED. But he wasn’t going to have another over-engineered, energy waste of a building.”

Read this GreenLight profile on their new headquarters, and an Inquirer story on their vertical garden.

Below watch some Dankso customer testimonials.

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