Freedom for Toes! Our Q & A with Paola Shah

Running a small business is always challenging and right now it is especially difficult. Today we introduce you to Paola Shah, one of the most innovative small business owners we know.  Her business, Tucketts, is the result of a combination of passions and beliefs: barefoot workouts, following nature, love for colorful socks, sustainability, and helping people make a positive impact- which are all the things we are thinking about right now.  We met Paola at the Pilates Method Alliance Conference and bought a bunch of Tucketts which we love and wear to our @exhalebarre classes. We like them so much we wanted you to learn more about Paola and her wonderful company.

Tucketts is offering  30% discount + free shipping for our readers using promo code DONUTSANDPIES30     Go to link in bio to connect and learn more. And, by the way, this is not an ad and we do not receive any compensation, we just love her socks.

What inspired you to develop Tucketts?

The idea of Tucketts was born when I helped a friend of my husband do market research to open a Pilates studio and realized that wearing socks was mandatory in some studios. I have always liked colorful socks and I enjoy barefoot workouts. I found that many people were dissatisfied with the available socks options; toes came in different shapes, lengths and sizes, and not everyone was comfortable, or able to wear socks that encased each toe or covered toes completely, keeping the barefoot sensation was a must. It was that aha moment that the idea for open-toe socks struck me like a flash of light. I just knew I had to create a grip sock that still kept the foot-brain connection while being a modern, colorful and sustainable sock that could create a positive impact in the environment and the community. Tucketts patented socks give support, provide a slip-free surface area, and the open-toe design retains the barefoot sensation while stimulating the foot-brain connection.

You believe in sustainable packaging – tell us more.

I want to quote what Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, once said in an interview: “Everything man does creates more harm than good. We have to accept that fact and not delude ourselves into thinking something is sustainable. Then you can try to achieve a situation where you’re causing the least amount of harm possible. That’s the spin we put on it. It’s a never-ending summit. You’re just climbing forever. You’ll never get to the top, but it’s the journey.” As a business owner, we have to make many choices, some choices have a short term impact and some a larger and wider impact that we can’t even completely measure. From day one, I decided Tucketts was going to be 100% tree-free to reduce our impact in the environment. It turns out that Colombia, where Tucketts are made, also is a country that produces sugar, so the fibrous residue left over after the sugar cane has been pulped and the sugar extracted is used to make paper, which we use in our packaging and office.

Where are Tucketts made and why is it so important to you?

Tucketts are made in Colombia. When selecting a factory to manufacture Tucketts™, we decided to make the “people” part of the equation our priority to start. Our factory is fully engaged with the W.R.A.P. ethical principles; and belongs to a local clean production agreement with a tight-knit web of suppliers. We strongly believe in diversification of the apparel industry in order to increase sustainability of manufacturing. This is what initially attracted us to our factory; to help support emerging manufacturing regions and decrease the unemployment rate in South America.

Making a positive impact is important to you – – tell us about the initiatives you are involved with. 

We believe people come first and that the balance of body and mind of an individual build peaceful communities and can also extend to the environment. Every collection Tucketts launches has a meaning as does every single design. For instance, the Himalaya Collection pays homage to the green mountains, rocky paths, glistening glaciers, and white peaks of the Himalayas. It tells the story of an adventure fulfilling my life-long dream. Part of the proceeds of this collection were donated to the American Himalayan Foundation. Our “Nude For Everyone” collection was about bringing a range of nude shades that included the variety of skin colors of our clients, it was about being inclusive. The last fall collection “Fall into the Dunes”  brought awareness of the role of the deserts in the balance of our planet. Our past collection “Toe-tally in Bloom” was all about the importance of bees, and 10% of the proceeds of the sales of the first production of that collection were donated to

When someone buys a pair of Tucketts, they are also buying a good manufacturing practice (made in Colombia,) a high-quality product and they are, also, “giving back” through their purchase via our Tucketts for Peace Initiative. We are also working with an organization in Colombia called Dunna that is dedicated to helping men and women victims of violence (all affected by the internal war in Colombia) using yoga, meditation and movement to reconcile communities. It’s a beautiful program and we are proud to be listed as one of their partners.

We talk a lot about brain health and healthy aging – can you tell us about the foot brain connection?

With so many vibrant designs and colors, Tucketts high performance grip socks are not only in style, they are functional and tailored with science in mind! Feet do not function independently of the body or brain. The highest number of nerves ending in the human body are in the feet. In fact, extensive research points to a definitive foot-brain connection, which is so dynamic that when activated, it allows us to move with calm and security. For instance, the brain tells us how and when to adjust our posture. I recently learned that the highest threshold of sensory information received by the brain comes from the heel and toes. That’s why it is so important to let the toes free and really integrate them as part of the workout.

I invite you to check your feet. Are they dry? Are they hurting? What colors are the toenails? The feet are a mirror for the rest of the body and most of the time are neglected. Take good care of it by pampering them, it will have an impact on the rest of you!

What is your favorite workout?

I have many favorites and it also depends on the season. In winter I like to do more pilates, it’s great for my knees and hips, in particular for skiing. The rest of the year, I do a combination of running, zumba, yoga and barre.

Do you have any advice for aging enthusiastically?

I think it is all about finding the balance of body, mind and soul. From what we eat to how we think, everything has an impact. Last night I was reading an article about brain health by Dr Sanjay Gupta. He mentioned that socializing is a healthy brain-activity and that people develop a more resilient brain by taking decisive action, instead of prolonging a decision. Gratitude is also a positive practice to nurture oneself, as he says “it is very hard to cripple a brain that is decisive and views itself favorably”.

Tucketts is offering  30% discount + free shipping for our clients using promo code DONUTSANDPIES30

Connect with Paola Shah:


Instagram @lovetucketts

FB  @lovetucketts

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