How Tieks for Heroes is lifting up frontline workers in the midst of Covid-19
Starting in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in the United States, Tieks decided to take action to help frontline workers and other heroes. Within a week, the company launched Operation #SewTogether, an effort that has driven the donation of over a million masks to support frontline medical personnel. A few months later, it expanded this effort with Tieks for Heroes, which offered the company’s high-quality, popular line of ballet flats to frontline medical, first responder, and military personnel at a steep discount — $100 off.
Tieks launched Operation #SewTogether at the outbreak of the pandemic to help offset the critical shortage of PPE for medical workers. After hearing directly from a friend working on the frontlines at a Los Angeles County Hospital, Tieks CEO Kfir Gavrieli reorient the company’s Culver City facility to set up a mask production line and invite his customers to join in the effort, providing online mask-making tutorials and offering $50 gift cards for every 25 masks sewn and $100 gift cards for every 50 masks sewn.
Rewarding our customers for sewing masks wasn’t enough. The company knew that heroes fighting Covid-19 on the frontlines needed masks first, so that was its initial focus. For several months, it offered $100 gift cards to heroes risking their lives on the front lines as a thank you for all they are doing.
Tieks was thrilled to see the response from across the country. A nurse in Wisconsin called her pair of shoes, “a ray of sunshine in the rainy day in the form of little turquoise box with Wild Copper content” and respiratory therapist in Kentucky said this was “literally my favorite thing to ever happen as a result of working in healthcare for the past 18 years!”
Tieks for Heroes reached and supported hundreds of thousands of nurses, doctors, hospital employees, first responders and military members during a time of intense need – from an RN who has been doing community outreach and case tracking in the Navajo Nation, to a pharmacist in Virginia who said the shoes put a smile on her face while navigating this new normal.
This steep discount made it possible for everyday heroes to treat themselves to a high-quality luxury item during one of the most difficult times communities have experienced in living memory. One mom sent an email thanking the company because Tieks for Heroes came at a key time in helping her daughter, an ICU nurse, get a much-needed morale boost. Her daughter had just worked 50-hours straight over a 4-day period, admitting a 26-year-old woman with COVID. “As my daughter hooked up her high dose of oxygen she looked at my daughter and said please don’t let me die.” After she got home, a coworker texted her about the program, because she already has two pairs of Tieks. Kathy’s daughter said, “Mom, I treated myself to a pair.”
One nurse practitioner student shared how her pair of Tieks were not only extremely comfortable, but also brightened her day. After getting blisters after her first clinical rotation, she talked to a PA who recommended our ballet flats. “Fast forward to today… I got home to them sitting on my doorstep. They were in this gorgeous Tiek Blue box that had a flower on top (which I gave to my daughter for her hair). There was even a handwritten card on the inside thanking me for my service. They are so comfy and I cannot wait to wear them to my next rotation day.”
Both Tieks for Heroes and #SewTogether helped bring the Tieks community together during this difficult time. An email from Olivia from Atlanta, Georgia wrote about the program, “I work two jobs as an RN and am currently a full-time graduate student in clinical rotations to become a nurse practitioner. So, I’m on my feet quite a bit everyday! I got my first two pairs of Tieks this week and I can honestly say that when I was wearing them it was the first time my feet didn’t hurt in weeks. They are SO comfortable. Thank you for making it financially possible for me to enjoy a pair.”
This program was the company’s way of thanking heroes who have been giving 100% of themselves to helping others. Penelope in D.C., who is studying to be a physician assistant-certified for pediatrics, said when she came across Tieks several years ago, she never thought she’d be able to purchase any. She posted, “Honest to goodness, just merely trying them on made my feet feel so so different! I am so looking forward to eventually adding more to my collection.” In this stressful time, she added that the personalized note made her tear up.
In the face of great loss, stress and uncertainty, so many during this time have shown the best of America – none more so than our frontline medical workers. One way that companies can do their part in this moment is by taking care of those who take care of all of us.