At Work is a bi-weekly feature on Ember & March that does just what it sounds like –showcases entrepreneurs, small business owners and the like At Work. Follow along on social media using the hashtag #EMAtWork! Have someone you’d like to see featured? Shoot me an email using the subject ‘At Work With *Name*’!
What time do you wake up in the morning and tasks do you take on first?
Lately its earlier and earlier. My goal these days is no later than 5:30. I have so much to do in a day and if I want to pack in time to exercise or strategic business planning it has to be before my real work day begins. The earlier I get started the more relaxed I am throughout the day about fitting in everything I need to complete.
When did you know you wanted to become an entrepreneur? What was the first thing you did to make your goal a reality?
I think it wasn’t until I traveled the country on behalf of TOMS. I saw the ways young people responded to the idea of conscious consumerism. Its like something just hit me. I was like “I have got to do this, I dont want to work for TOMS (even though they are a killer company), I want to start the next TOMS” something within me told me this was my next step. I followed that feeling and have never looked back. The first thing I did was interview other entrepreneurs, and leaders in the fight against childhood hunger. Some of the advice I took, some of it I didn’t. When I first started HALF UNITED with my brother I was obsessed with learning about our giving model. I wanted to get our giving right from day one. Looking back that was very altruistic and while it is important to make sure you are giving effectively, I do wish I had spent more time on business planning, product development, goal-setting. However, I did not realize the importance these things play in making a company successful. In a way the ignorance my brother and I had about running a company served to our advantage. Had we know the challenges ahead we may have quit early on.
How did you decide to pair clothing and accessories with the fight against hunger?
To my brother and I this just seemed like a natural fit for our interests. We cared about feeding people in need and after learning how affordable it is to do that, we decided to sell a product (clothing) which could be made and sold affordably while still earning enough to cover our expenses and keep our business growing. We then transitioned into jewelry which also has high profit margins, but constantly needs to be re-designed and updated to keep customers coming back to what’s new and different. Any product can be turned into a give-back product if you want it to. Recreating yourself and giving your customers what they want is the challenging part…. Read More