Behind the brand: Mark Wystrach, Co-founder of MOVMT

The People’s Movement (MOVMT) is an eco-conscious inspired maker of shoes and accessories…founded by three southwestern cool kids. We had the chance to meet up with the Arizonian cowboy of the group. We bet that you’ll be hooked too!

Q: What was the initial idea behind the People’s Movement?
A: Creating an eco-conscious, mission-based label that was hip, well built & would inspire the fight against single use plastics. Our opinion was that products “should” be made consciously to lower negative impact by employing innovation, creativity & common sense.  We felt that a lot of the eco, mission based brands out there were kind of lame and we wanted it to make it cool to believe in what you wore!

Q: What was the first product about?
A: Our first collection was super small and all about casual, California lifestyle.  It was very minimal, a bit rough around the edges and meant to be a “classics” collection.  Something you could keep in your closet for 20 years and always have as your “go to” casual sneaker.  They were lite weight, thin and pretty comfortable.

Q: What materials are used in the People’s Movement sneakers?
A: We use natural, organic and up-cycled materials when ever possible. Our current collection features Organic Cotton Canvas, organic cotton laces, nickel free eyelets, water based glues, natural dyes.  The collection also features up-cycled adornments made from plastic bags we are cleaning from Bali. Our shoes come packaged in re-usable totes made from bio-degradable bamboo with 3 sided boxes made from sustainable cardboard that can be completely composted or recycled.

 Q: What has initial feedback been from buyers, customers, and press?
 A: The response for the design, quality, comfort and the story has been inspiring from buyers, customers and the press.  In just 12 months we’ve been able to get our product into over 110 amazing stores like DNA, both in the states and a few international.  We’ve been able to build a small, but loyal fan base of both retailers and consumers that really believe in what MOVMT stands for. We also hear from everyone about how comfortable they are…for me that is huge as you won’t build a loyal brand of repeat customers without comfort…I challenge your customers to compare our comfort with some of your “bigger” brands and I’m confident they wont be disappointed.  I sound like a real shoe salesman right there! Hahahah!

Q: What are your values? The brand’s values?
A: The People’s Movement is small brand that I started with my brother in Law, Kevin Flanagan(CEO) and his childhood best friend, Chris Swortwood (CFO) who I’ve known since I was 12 years old…soo we are truly a family and the brand is a direct reflection of our personal values.  Health, having fun, creating, finding balance, not being too serious but being focused, making a true positive difference while making a career, a business, a source of security.  My partners are married with kids and I’m single, so I guess our values are the same, but our focus differs from time to time…hehe!

Q: Who is Mark Wystrach?
A: I like to think of myself as a wanderlust traveller, “viajero” who is constantly inspired by the journey, the things I see, the stuff I experience and the people I share it all with.  I’m very passionate, somewhat of a control freak, quite particular and critical at times.  I’m hyper active, love being outdoors and active and am terrified of missing anything.  But, If you really want to know, you should ask my friends, they’d probably tell you the truth!

Q: What brought you into the world of fashion? What is your background?
A: Really, my brother and law and co-founder, Kevin Flanagan got me interested in fashion when I was in high school and he was working for brands like Oakley and Globe.  I knew from that time that it was a dream someday to start a line with him…the journey from there to here has been a long strange one and is better told over a whiskey or three! Short story is, I went to college, traveled around the world, moved to LA, had a successful career in entertainment, when Kevin left Reef as the VP of Marketing, he called me and said he wanted to start a company, so jumped at the opportunity, turned down a big TV show and got to work developing MOVMT together along with Chris, our family and friends…it was such a great break from acting and the non-sense that is Hollywood and was also the hardest I’ve ever worked…still is, but it’s the best, most fulfilling part of my life yet.

Q: Three things people may not know about MOVMT.
A: 1.)We make our P.O.P. from up-cycled cardboard made by our friend Stefan Jerermias who is an amazing human being – 2.) Whenever I am in the office, music is blaring 3.) our HQ is a LEED Certified, converted warehouse two blocks away from the surf in Solana Beach, CA, but I live in LA!

By Josi

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