“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and forgiving heart, one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”
-Marvin J. Ashton
Years ago, when Allison and I started SoulKu we attended the New York Gift Show to see what was out there. It was a real eye-opener for us. Thousands and thousands of square feet, literally acres, of show spaces filled with stuff…stuff that was really cool, stuff that was interesting and inspiring and then loads of other stuff that was just “stuff.”
We’d leave the show every day and walk to a friend’s apartment where we were staying off the Highline. It was a good way to decompress; to think about what we’d seen, who we’d met and what we wanted to do with our company. One big thing we decided was that we didn’t want to create more “stuff.” I kept thinking about that line from the movie Say Anything where Lloyd Dobler says, “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything, as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed or buy anything sold or processed or process anything sold or bought…” you get the idea.
We definitely had a moment where we thought…what are we doing? The world doesn’t need any more stuff. We really had to dig deep to decide if creating things were what we wanted to do. What we knew for sure was that we wanted to make a difference in the world. We wanted to “Be the Change,” so to speak. And we realized it would take a lot of adherence and commitment to create a successful gift company that could do/be that.
Our dreams were really big and our first go round failed. Our second go round failed too, and there were probably 3 or 4 more major failures after that. But we kept going back to the drawing board and redefining what we wanted. Eventually, we came to the mantra “celebrate, inspire, empower and connect.” And we stuck to that like glue. We always made decisions with that in mind, whether it be a new collection of bracelets that we were creating or a non-profit we were choosing to support.
Flash forward several years…About once a week a friend will stop by either my office or Allison’s and pick out something for a woman they know that is feeling down in some way; a separation, the death of a parent, empty nesting, the loss of a job or something that felt secure. They will tell us the stories of these women and we will always be moved.
They also come by to pick out gifts that celebrate a woman friend’s a new job, new child, new home or new adventure. These stories constantly remind us of our purpose. And while creating little gifts may not be saving the whole wide world, for a moment in time we are helping to nurture love, relationship, healing, balance, peace. We are a part of the celebration, the inspiration, the empowerment and connection of women. And it makes our “stuff” not so “stuffy.”
We don’t write this blog post to toot our own horns – we are beyond blessed and honored to be part of the little moments that make a difference in people’s lives. We write it to say that making a difference can be really, really simple. You don’t need a business or a business plan. You don’t need a million dollars or a degree from Harvard. You just need the desire to make a difference. It’s the intent and the little things that are really going to change this world. And we are so grateful to be any part of that.
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