Business, Entrepreneur

Using Your Dollars to Make a Difference with Bethany Tran of The Root Collective

Episode 301: Show Notes

Welcome back to the podcast all of you wonderful listeners! Today we have a great show in store for you, one that is less about how you make money and more about how you spend it. We know that most of us quite like doing that! Bethany Tran of The Root Collective is here to tell us all about how to spend your money in more positive ways to create a better world around you. She is a problem solver and entrepreneur who started the company to help serve struggling communities through job creation. She actually left a stable job to pursue this work and we applaud her for that. She explains The Root Collective’s business model as well as gives some general ideas and information on wiser ways to spend your bucks!

Welcome back to the podcast all of you wonderful listeners! Today we have a great show in store for you, one that is less about how you make money and more about how you spend it. We know that most of us quite like doing that! Bethany Tran of The Root Collective is here to tell us all about how to spend your money in more positive ways to create a better world around you.  |  The Strategy Hour Podcast  |  Think Creative Collective

Essentially, this episode is all about how we as women can spend our money in better ways and make a conscious impact on the economy and communities. Bethany has lots of ideas for how to implement these ideas and changes at a reasonable speed and we are pretty sure that after this episode you are going to want to buy some boots from her shop. You have been warned! She talks branding, community, sustainability, and we ask her why she has the best hair in the world! Here at TCC we really believe women rule the world and we need to step into the role as much as we can!

Why Women Rule the World

The Root Collective is a shoe company that really stands by the fact that women control about 85% of household budgets in the US. This obviously make them the most powerful people in the world because they have their hands on the wallets. This is such a fascinating and empowering idea and the control women have over the economy means they really get to decide who to give their business to. Some people are a bit surprised to hear a shoe company taking this stance but money talks, so you can help decide the world you want to live in by how you spend it. Bethany’s business is completely centered around the people who create their product and for her the real road to alleviating poverty is through job creation. She believes that you need more than education to end the cycle of poverty. Our guest admits that The Root Collective actually fell into the business of shoes and it was not the original plan. She did not have any experience in the shoe market and it was much more about fixing the problems she saw with a workable solution in commerce.

One-to-One Business Models

It seems a lot of people confuse what the The Root Collective do with TOMS, who are also a shoe company with a social impact slant. Bethany finds this quite baffling because they are actually very different and believes that the way that TOMS is giving away shoes actually hurts local economies, the ones she is trying to help. Work is the basis for empowerment for Bethany and charity is not the answer to impoverished areas. For Bethany, even using empowering language in their brand and communication is important, she does not want to frame it as saving people, but rather creating opportunities. She also has the strong view that charity is putting a bandage on a problem that needs surgery!


Our entire business was built off of wanting to solve a problem, which was the lack of jobs.
Tweet This via @bethanyltran

The Expense of Producing in this Way

Companies like The Root Collective are invariably more expensive than their less concerned counterparts. But our guest reminds us consider the cost of the product to the person who made it and not just to ourselves. What is the sacrifice of the worker who made your new jacket or shoes? If we trace these answers we will most probably find that the person actually making your items is being paid pennies and living a life of more hardship than we can imagine. So when something is cheap in the store, remember the price tag beyond the one you can see. We also live in such a throwaway society and these cheap items you might find in store do not last long, the materials are bad and they are unhealthy for our environment. We need to think about quality over quantity! We know how it was made and the price of that and often these items last longer, so take a step back and think about it!

Other Ways that Women Can Speak with Their Dollars

We do not need everything on the shelf! What can you throw away that is unnecessary to your life? All of the stuff we carry around and store takes up our mental energy and when we start to think about where it comes from and the cost of it, it can become really overwhelming! Bethany really wants us to be more conscious and intentional by starting to look for people and companies that are doing better. The Root Collective is by no means perfect yet but they are always aiming to be improving and growing towards an ideal. You can do the same with your spending, getting more in line with your ethics and being more thoughtful with your dollars. You do not have to change everything all at once but you can slowly start to find those companies that are making the effort and support them. A suggestion from Bethany is to contact companies about their practices, this will help you to become more informed and also communicate the importance production ideals to businesses. The Root Collective has been running for five years now and the response has been so great from their customer base. So many buyers report having amazing compliments on their shoes which in turn makes them want to explain about the ideas of the company. As such there is a dedicated and return customer base that is constantly growing. So join the movement and change the world around you!


  • Why Women Rule the World! [0:03:50.8]

  • The Business Decisions That Bethany Has Made to Make a Difference. [0:08:01.2]

  • One to One Business Models. [0:10:14.3]

  • The Expense of Producing in this Way. [0:16:58.8]

  • Other Ways that Women Can Speak with Their Dollars. [0:23:15.3]

  • The Community, the Movement and Repeat Customers. [0:29:59.5]

#TalkStrategyToMe [0:36:17.6]

  1. What is the cost?

  2. Do you need it?

  3. Where did it come from?  

  4. Find your favorite brands.

  5. Think about second-hand!



Bethany Tran

The Root Collective

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bethany Tran is a problem solver. She left a stable career in marketing to start The Root Collective because the lack of jobs in underserved communities wasn’t being addressed. She believes that commerce can change the world, that women are a key part of that, and that every single person has the power to create a better future. She lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband, two dogs, chickens and a parade of foster dogs constantly in and out of the house. She likes to ferment beverages in her kitchen, thinks pizza should be its own food group, and that unicorns just might exist.


  • Business.

  • Job Creation.

  • Uplifting others.

  • Social Impact.

  • Expenses.




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