At Work with Carmin Black of Half United

At Work with Carmin Black of Half United

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.At Work with Carmin Black of Half United

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

What’s New on E&M!

New Improved Ember & March

Update: I had this post (almost) ready to go last night. I was so anxious about the reveal I could barely sleep but set an earlier than usual alarm so I could wake up and launch early this morning. Maybe my anxiety was well reasoned –because I woke up (late) to a data base error and unable to log into anything…. Read More

On Blogging / Rooted in Good Soil

Rooted in Good Soil

I’ve gotten a few emails lately, quite a few emails actually, from readers looking to create a brand or launch a blog. Every email is, of course, a bit different but the questions and issues seem to be the same. The common narrative looks something like this: “I’m all set to go, but I don’t know how to promote, what… Read More

Monday Morning Coffee

Sunday Morning Coffee

Happy Monday, happy May (insert Justin Timberlake N’Sync meme here). I spent this weekend cuddle up with an inhaler and a box of tissues, so needless to say –nothing blog related was tended to. Thank you, allergy and asthma duo. I really wanted to get this post up yesterday, but I took advantage of finally having some energy to do… Read More

A New Era

Entering A New Era

What a week. But it’s official –finals are over and done with and one week from today, I’ll be walking in graduation. #AllTheFeels I walked out of my final final exam feeling a bit indifferent. The uneasy feeling of “what’s going to happen next” didn’t creep up on me, but the rather the sentiment that the board is finally clear to… Read More

Doing More With Less

Doing More With Less

In the four years I’ve been in college, my least favorite annual tasks have been packing and moving. From dorm room, to sorority house to off campus apartment moving boxes and temporary furniture up and down too many flights of stairs. I’m a huge proponent of decluttering, but I am also a hoarder at heart. I hate throwing things away,… Read More

Sunday Morning Coffee 04.26

Sunday Morning Coffee

I’m writing this while craving all the late night snacks, but not daring to go downstairs to get anything after about 12 hours of Netflix food documentary screenings. Yeah, it’s been that kind of weekend. So now I want to eat everything but can’t stop thinking about the sugar/dairy/soy/trans-fat/omgwhatisactuallyinthis content of everything in my fridge right now. Does anyone else… Read More