Two years ago, Meagan Brady and Liz Sargent were co-workers at a global financial corporation. They left their job to go into business together, desiring a company that would promote community and create positive change. This is their story:
We were paid well and treated fairly, but always felt that too much mental and emotional energy was consumed by work, leaving little time for anything else. We both felt that if work called us away from our families for such long hours, then we should feel more fulfilled and excited by our impact on the world.
A few months after each of us had made the decision to resign, we came up with the idea of /GIV/, a company that would sell goods to support charity. We wondered – are there other women like us, who would love to give back more, but don’t have a moment to spare? As we talked to our friends, the answer was a resounding ‘YES’.
At first, we were focused on making everything ourselves: candles, bath bombs, sugar scrubs and lip balms. There were scales and hair nets, scoops and candle tins cluttering our homes. We were having fun creating products, but we also loved discovering other brands with similar mission-focused business models. These companies use a philanthropic business model designed to engage customers in purposeful spending, and more importantly, empower various communities in need. (For example, United by Blue: an outdoor apparel and goods brand that removes one pound of trash from waterways for each product sold.)
We have been encouraged, humbled and inspired by the brands we work with. We strive to be more than a retail store. We aim to build a community of like-minded positive people who make giving back part of their everyday lifestyle.
So this holiday season, we plan to give back however we can, and encourage everyone to do the same: through performing a random-act-of-kindness, donating your time or money, shopping small or simply sharing your love with others.
Thus, we adjusted our business plan to become Maryland’s one-stop-shop for products with purpose, exclusively focused on carrying brands that give back. We soon began stocking up on inventory and scheduling our first pop-up shop event.
During the past year and a half, we’ve had the opportunity to redefine what a career can be, and what kind of life we want to live. Especially around the holidays, we feel especially fortunate to make our own schedules – perhaps deciding to forgo /GIV/ work one day in order to attend a school event and plan for out-of-town guests. And the kicker: zero working-mom guilt.
Each day is completely different (planning events, retail sales, writing social media posts, designing collateral, logging invoices, researching new product ideas, sourcing goods, or physically lugging merchandise into a pop-up space) and work no longer feels stressful; it’s fulfilling, exciting and rewarding on so many levels.
And because of our line of business, we are regularly reminded of the tremendous good in the world, which is especially helpful each time we hear about tragedies in the news (hurricanes, gun violence, families in distress….).
These reminders may come via an email update from social-good jewelry line PURPOSE that was created by iSanctuary.org, an organization that helps educate, employ and strengthen survivors of human trafficking. Each piece of jewelry is hand-made and signed by a survivor. The sales of the jewelry enable these women to be independent, which dramatically decreases the likelihood of falling into sex slavery again.
Or through a social media post from Headbands of Hope that has a “buy one, give one” model. Since the company was founded in 2012, they have donated over 200k headbands to kids battling cancer.
Or perhaps from witnessing the generosity of our community when strangers bring coats, scarves and gloves in droves for a recent /GIV/ Coat Drive to support a D.C. shelter.
And we’re reminded that there are actually millions of amazing people in this world, working hard to make a positive impact in their communities.
Head to their website to learn more about the company and shop their goods.
Click here to buy tickets to Sass Girl’s Night Out and shop the /GIV/Pop-up!
Want to learn more ways to give back to your community? Check out our Girl’s Guide to Giving Back, from our Winter 2017-18 print issue, or our resource on ways to help women in the Frederick, MD community.
(Featured image: /GIV/ co-founders, Meagan Brady (right) and Liz Sargent (left), host a pop-up shop for charity in downtown D.C. Photo credit: Liz Sargent, /GIV/.)