Beyond Business: How Kfir Gavrieli Turned Ballet Flats into a Social Good Movement

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Tieks CEO Kfir Gavrieli has a serious fan following when it comes to his foldable Italian Leather—and highly collectible—ballet flats. Beyond the fact that popular colorways and limited-edition shoe releases sell out within hours, Tieks lovers have built a community around these shoes, creating home bases such as the Tieks Anonymous Facebook group, where more than 40,000 members come together to spill the tea on everything from upcoming style releases to company giveaways and even personal details about their lives. Tieks are already a social force to be reckoned with, yet Gavrieli and his team have found even more ways to harness that community. And, in doing so, they’ve created a movement devoted to social good.

Shopping for a Cause

Why is Tieks a shoe brand worth rallying around? First, are the ways in which Kfir Gavrieli differentiates his shoes from other ballet flats: the brand places an emphasis on comfort, quality, and unique designs. In fact, to date, there are close to 70 different Tieks patterns and prints—not including limited editions such as the Neon Collection or the highly coveted annual Black Friday Tieks—with many colorways available only for fans who join a waitlist, due to the specific look’s popularity.

But, design and quality aren’t Tieks’ only differentiators. Gavrieli stands out from other entrepreneurs by using his brand’s popularity to further social good. Through his Gavrieli Foundation, the CEO has cemented his position as the single largest lender on Kiva, a micro-loan platform. The Gavrieli Foundation is empowering more than 55,000 female entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries with donations totaling more than $10,000,000.  But his social movement hasn’t stopped with Kiva. Gavrieli is always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to leverage his beloved ballet flats’ popularity for the good of society. So, when the war in Ukraine first broke out, he knew it was time for Tieks to jump in and help.

An Auction for Good, Powered by Social Support

In February 2022, shortly after the initial Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kfir Gavrieli proved that Tieks’ social cache is worth far more than what the ballet flats sell for online, direct to consumer, in the Boutiek. For reference, the teal-soled shoes start at $185 and increase in price based on style and color. When the CEO decided to auction off pairs of limited edition Tieks styles to support Ukrainian relief efforts, the results defied all expectations.

The Tieks auction raised close to $90,000 in proceeds, which the brand used to provide meals for Ukrainian refugees through World Central Kitchen. While that total was impressive enough, here’s a stat that’s truly surprising: one pair of Tieks sold for over $6500—a value that’s 32 times greater than the actual retail price.

Now, some of that sticker shock could be explained by consumers’ generosity when shopping for a cause.  Yet, in the case of the Tieks auction, it seems that excitement over the actual shoes—and the forces for good that the brand represents—also helped rally participants to show such unparalleled support levels.

By designing shoes that people love, and fostering a community around that passion for fashion, Kfir Gavrieli has pulled off the unthinkable: turning ballet flats into a powerful movement for social good