Before he was in the shoe business, Benny was in insurance. He quit his job wanting to sell surfboards in Bali, but that dream didn’t pan out because he was played out by his suppliers. Fast track to 2018 where Benny has since launched a few startups, of which he counts Anothersole as his most meaningful and successful venture.
“We have failed so many times. I’m not ashamed of it but it could have been avoided. With Anothersole, we realised, look, we are not trying to be the next top fashion brand. We wanted to go deeper and find something more sustainable and authentic.
So, we sat down as a group and asked ourselves, what do we want to achieve — as a company and as human beings; what legacy do we want to leave behind? Is it money? Yes, it’s important to be profitable. We have family to take care of, so that has to work. But that shouldn’t be the primary consideration.”
On Social Responsibility
“Why Buy1Feed1 focuses on children-related issues? First and foremost, we are parents. Phoebe (my business partner) and I looked at each other and she said, ‘Can you imagine, our kids on the street going from car to car asking people if they can clean the windscreen, or asking you to buy some trinkets from them … sleeping on the street, next to polluted rivers?’ I said, ‘Cannot la.’
Children, they’re innocent, they didn’t ask for this. Are they condemned to prostitution or a life of living on the streets just because they were born in the wrong place or the wrong time? This is something that we feel passionately about and we want to do something about it.”
“Weight is a major issue when you travel. Anothersole shoes are breathable, come with a removable sports footbed, and are really light too. Our new Gen II shoes are only 280 grams.
For the space you need to pack two pairs of sports shoes, you can pack five pairs of Anothersole. We combined versatility and functionality; that way, you can pound the pavement for the whole day — in style — and still have no blisters.”
Life as an Entrepreneur
“My whole entrepreneur career is a journey of discovery with a lot of stupidity and a hell lot of guts. We were young and foolish. We just bashed through…nothing was planned really. It was a lot of heartache and pain…twenty years of that.
But, I was just talking to my daughter — she’s only seven. It was raining and we were having one of those daddy and daughter chats. Then I looked at her and I said, I loved my life now. I love having you in my life. I love being a dad. I love running a business. I love building something and I really enjoy seeing it grow … I love every moment of my life and I mean it.”