Carter English grew up in the Park Cities never having to worry about how he’d pay for a new pair of shoes or purchase athletic equipment.
His business partner, Gabe Williams, grew up in the south side of Fort Worth – a more blue-collar Hispanic community.
Despite their different upbringings, the duo came to similar realizations about the responsibility to help others.
Those realizations led to a new shoe brand that aims to be transparent, socially conscious, and community-centered through a hyperlocal business model.
Williams, while working as a Nike director, realized many of that brand’s consumers were a lot like him and grew up the way he did.
“I remember having a lack of resources, and I felt a cognitive dissonance while I was there that what if we created a brand that was similar to Nike but provided resources to communities in need that close the resource gap.”
Carter, a Highland Park High School alumnus, considered the implications of his own upbringing.
“Growing up in Highland Park, I had every opportunity for success, and I love this community because of it,” he said. “But, I feel like being born into prosperity, there’s a responsibility to try to even the playing field.”
Carter said he specifically saw the essence of the haves and the have not’s while working as a football coach.
“You would see guys that have no opportunities and no coaching, and you see the Highland Park guy who has every opportunity,” he said. “And I realized I could have been born anywhere else, and I saw that disparity and difference, and I thought to myself, ‘Why is it that I have this, and others don’t? How can I try to even that playing field?’”
Carter and Williams co-founded casual dress sneaker brand Davi pronounced “Dah-vee,” to transform the sneaker industry after witnessing the resource and access gap in art, music, and sports programs.
Every time a customer orders a pair of Davi sneakers, 5 percent is donated to an initiative located in the city where the purchase was made. The first three partnerships are local organizations: Hope Farm, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, and I.M. Terrell.
The Fort Worth-based brand plans to launch its efforts in Dallas early next year and will partner with Oak Cliff charities.
Preorders for the new shoe line are currently over, but future purchases can be made at thisisdavi.com.
About the name: ‘Davi’ is Portuguese for David. The name is inspired by the Biblical story of David versus Goliath. Not the underdog story, but more so about the belief that David had to step into a moment that most thought was impossible. Davi is for those moments when you have no choice but to step into the impossible. – Gabe Williams and Carter English