Places & Faces
Loom Life
1/31/2018 5:39:35 PM
Loom Shoes

Mark McCormick spent over twenty years in the corporate shoe industry, finding success in high level management positions with companies such as Stride Rite, Keds, and Sporto. But something in his career life was missing. "Once you reach a certain level of success in your profession, you start redefining what success really looks like,” McCormick says. "It had been my desire for several years to one day create my own shoe line and have the opportunity to approach business based on my own values and ideals; to focus more on the quality of the product and the impact they have on people’s lifestyle.” In other words, "People over profits.”

A Pittsburgh native whose career took him to cities as far-flung as Dallas, Boston, and Denver, McCormick moved his family back to Sulphur, his wife Debbie’s hometown, in 2013. Early last year, he made the break from big business, and in December 2017, he and business partner Charley Brown started their new company, LOOM, a footwear business that donates 10% of their profits to the Maasia Beaded Project in Kenya, created through the charitable arm of Custom Safaris. Through the program, women are given the supplies and business education needed to create bracelets and necklaces to sell at local markets. They’re taught to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining. "This general principle of alleviating poverty by facilitating self-sufficiency is something we wanted to make a cornerstone of the LOOM culture,” McCormick says.

McCormick and Brown share the desire to do both business and life differently and to see the impact of their business decisions first hand. LOOM’s three corporate values, Honesty and Transparency, Ownership and Accountability, and Influence over Income, define them. "We are less concerned with attributes like price and more inspired to design product that connects with consumers who value lifestyle brands with a story,” says McCormick. Their business tag line. "Believe in the weave,” ties together the innovative shoe fabric and the notion of weaving LOOM values into their company culture.

On his philanthropic mindset, McCormick says it’s not enough to do well for oneself. We are meant to reach out and help those around us. "I was raised to put a little something in the collection plate every Sunday, but Deb taught me how to put a face around charity. She’s been the driver of that philosophy in my life, in the lives of our three sons, and even our dog Maddie, whom she rescued along the side of the road.”

LOOM LIFE recently debuted two products including a sneaker called Voyage, made with a fabric woven so tightly, it offers a remarkable amount of flexibility and stretch, yet the fabric’s buoyancy helps maintain its original shape. It’s touted as the perfect travel shoe. They even sell pairs with a carabiner so you can easily clip them to your backpack or purse and go. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and washable. Their Sparkle slip-on boot was originally designed as a fashionable way for dancers to find relief after hours in the studio or competition, but they discovered that all generations and demographics are gravitating to the boot. "It’s fashionable enough to wear out yet comfortable enough to use as slippers at home,” says McCormick. 

In the near future, LOOM will introduce more women’s shoes and their first men’s styles, as well. "The men’s shoes will be perfect for this area of the country because, like our other shoes, they will have memory foam insoles but they will also have a wool insole that keeps the moisture away and the upper of the shoe will allow airflow. No socks required,” added McCormick.

Currently, LOOM shoes are only offered through their website, loomwayoflife.com, but McCormick plans to partner with a few independent retailers later this year, as well as several large on-line retailers. "We look forward to growing into an international lifestyle brand. Our background is in footwear but the discovery of this material could be applied to many different concepts. We even have some furniture ideas!” McCormick says. 

To learn more on their charity, click here. To read more about LOOM’s story, see their website.

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