BANGS is an interesting business concept, both in design and professional model. Modeled after the basic canvas sneaker of a Chinese worker, BANGS Shoes was created by Hannah Davis to aid entrepreneurs in over 60 countries. BANGS supports a range of businesses, from a mobile coffee shop in California that employs young minority women and teaches them business skills to various art therapy companies.
From its humble beginnings as a far-fetched idea in a recent graduate’s mind while living abroad, BANGS is rooted in Charleston. It was basically built on James Island as that was where Hannah lived at the time and she found her financial support by a happenstance meeting in a bar on East Bay Street.
Ethan Davis, Hannah’s brother, explained the basics of the business, including their unexpected marketing strategy. BANGS doesn’t buy ads. All advertising is done through their ambassadors, and about 800 of them at that.
BANGS has created an environment that fosters community, something very evident in Davis and other BANGS ambassador Maddie Dunn’s experiences. The ambassadors get to provide the personal advertising for the shoes that are the means the company uses to invest in businesses. This gives them a goal far more effective than the motive to just sell some shoes. Ambassadors get the opportunity to become active citizens and put back into their community, something Dunn coins “paying it forward”.
More than just a fashionable shoe, “BANGS has really thought about how they can affect their world and how it can be utilized,” Davis said.
The company works directly with businesses in what they deem a “loan based engagement project”, investing 20 percent of their proceeds into a social mission by providing funds for various businesses. They work to continue the relationship between the businesses with a “let’s foster this thing” attitude, according to Davis. Davis explained that they believe in “teaching a man to fish versus giving a man a fish” so that there is no “unintended harm” from their investing within the businesses, and subsequently, communities.
Each ambassador shared their initial reasoning for joining the BANGS team. Outside of his strong family ties, Davis “realized the values that the company had and the values I had were the same.” Still, the family aspect makes the experience more enjoyable as they are “advancing the movement as a cohesive unit.” Dunn felt passionately about their investing in entrepreneurs, and enjoys the community aspect of the BANGS family. The community spans national borders, as ambassadors can meet up on excursions or become pen pals with other ambassadors around the globe.
BANGS encourages their supporters with their mission statement “Your Adventure Helps Others to Find Theirs.” The company inspires others to live like their BANGS ambassadors, an example of where BANGS shoes can take you. No matter what stage of life, BANGS challenges consumers to #liveBANGS while engaging with the environment and the people around them. Ultimately, they hope to create engaged citizens looking to make a change in the way they participate in their world.