How Tieks by Gavrieli Shifted their Business to Help During the Coronavirus Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed America. People across the country have seen their way of life upended as part of a national effort to stop a highly contagious virus from killing millions through orders and guidelines to stay at home and self-quarantine. As millions file for unemployment and millions continue to work as essential employees, the frontlines of the battle against coronavirus is being fought by healthcare providers: nurses, EMTs, doctors, hospital workers, and more, who are bravely working to save the lives of people who contract this this new disease, which has no proven treatment.

At the same time, almost every city and state across the country lacks the supplies and equipment that healthcare workers need to fight COVID-19. The supply of medical masks was rapidly depleted, life-saving tools like ventilators have been delivered unusable to a number of hospitals, and potential emergency medical treatments have been rendered unavailable due to major flaws in national shipping and logistics systems.

Now, businesses and non-profits are stepping up and stepping in to fill the gap. Respected business leaders aren’t waiting for the federal government to deliver supplies and resources that healthcare workers need. Instead innovative companies are retooling their operations to help protect those who are most at risk. They are also empowering their customers and fans — many of whom are also at home wondering what they can do to helpwith pressing problems during this unprecedented crisis.

One such business is Tieks by Gavrieli. Tieks by Gavrieli is the world’s leader in Italian leather split-sole flat shoes — a reenvisioning of the ballet flat designed to fold and fit perfectly in a purpose and be worn all day, every day. Stylish, comfortable, and durable, their shoes have led to accolades including being recognized as one of the 25 Most Innovative Consumer Brands by Forbes, a spot onInc.‘s 30 Under 30 list, being listed as a Top 30 Startup To Watch by Entrepreneur, and an appearance on Oprah’s O List.

CEO and co-founder KfirGavrieli, has made empowering women a centerpiece of the firm’s ethos.Through the Gavrieli Foundation, Tiekshas given more than $10 million through Kiva to offer micro-grants to female entrepreneurs around the world.

Gavrieli leveraged his business experience, contacts, and leadership skills to launch Operation #SewTogether— a game-changing way to use Tieks’ resources, along with the company’s massive and dedicated fanbase, to help fill in the major gaps in personal protective equipment (PPEs) and create equipment for medical providers in dire need.

Kfirsprung into action after a friends’ sister, a doctor in Los Angeles on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, told him about the lack of masks about a week before major news outlets began reporting on this. Reaching out to his business contacts around the world, he sourced whatever masks he could and made a major cash donation to purchase and deliver them as quickly as possible.

That was the first step. In late March, Tiekstransformed itsLA-based production facility from making shoes to making masks. They bought sewing machines and trained team members to make them, rapidly scaling in-house production. They then also created an opportunity for fans of the brand to get involved, offering a $50 gift card for customers who sewed and donated 25 masks and a $100 gift card for customers who sewed and donated 50 by following detailed instructions that the brand shared online.

Within 24 hours of launch, Operation #SewTogether was responsible for delivering thousands of masks to hospitals and clinics in need, and made a significant, measurable, and positive impact in their communities. Even during this challenging and turbulent time, Tieks has been able to produce hundreds of thousands of masks, using the power the company and its community to save lives.

Gavrieli explained said the response to this incredible mission moved him. “As soon as I learned of this coming shortage, I knew we had a responsibility to reorient our business to get masks into the hands of those who need them most. We’ve seen the tremendous power of our Tieks community many times before, but the response so far has been beyond anything I could have imagined.”

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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