Casey McCauley – Features Editor
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In Mandarin, the word bangs means “to help,” and that’s just what Hannah Davis set out to do in 2012. At the young age of 24, Davis sought to combine her love for shoes and her goal of helping others into a single business concept.
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While student teaching in China, she was inspired by the simplicity of the shoes that workers and farmers wore and wanted to model her own after them. This realization led to the birthing of BANGS, Davis’s start-up company that sells durable, 100 percent vegan shoes similar to those of the farmers’. The difference between BANGS and other traditional shoe outlets is that 20 percent of the net profits goes toward investing in other entrepreneurs and start-up companies.
With “Your Adventure Helps Others Find Theirs,” as its slogan, BANGS encourage others to bring their ideas to life and financially help them get on their entrepreneurial feet. Starting a company of her own, Davis understands the difficulties and fears of beginning a new business, which is why BANGS lends a percentage of its funds to help others until their business is successful enough for a refund.
Every month, BANGS hand-selects entrepreneurs to invest in their business ideas. Through its online-only stores, BANGS has been successful enough that it has been able to invest in over 515 entrepreneurs in the United States and 60 different countries around the world. When a loan is repaid, BANGS does not take the money back, but re-invests that same loan with a new, different entrepreneur. Davis’s hope is that over time, one loan could cycle through innumerable entrepreneurs, growing many, many businesses.
Not only are other businesses booming thanks to BANGS, but BANGS itself is continuing to grow. In only two years, the company has recruited 52 mentors, 800 ambassadors and 900 team members, all having their own tasks and goals. Clarion University has its own BANGS mentor right here on campus. Sophomore secondary education major Abigail Shipley has made it her goal to bring awareness to BANGS and its cause to the student body. BANGS doesn’t pay for advertising, part of Shipley’s job is to promote the company via her own Instagram account, hashtaging “LiveBANGS” on each post. Many of her other responsibilities handle PR, social media, campaigns and product development.
When asked what her favorite part of being a mentor for BANGS is, Shipley said, “Definitely the people and the connections you make from it. Everyone who is involved in BANGS is passionate about something.”
BANGS will have applications available on its website soon for anyone who is interested in volunteering or follow the adventure on Instagram @BANGSSHOES.