Paying It Forward
I believe every experience in life is guiding you to your true purpose. I would never have imagined that being a special education student would have been such a guiding compass for my EarthKind® business many years later. But, it taught me the power of small things done with great care. While I wasn’t book smart, I was thoughtful, kind and intentional and that was what got me through the early years.
I started EartKind® with nothing—no money, no education, no industry experience and certainly could not yet articulate my dreams to gain support or encouragement. What I did have though, was purpose and a belief that I was really onto something different. While there was no market demand at the beginning for my new approach to an old problem, common sense told me that people would prefer a pleasant smelling pouch over a toxic kill spray if they had the choice. I also thought it would be much better to build a business with purpose, do good—as well as make money—seemed like a really smart thing to do.
There were plenty of people far smarter than me who said it was impossible, but the thing is, they were looking at what had been done before. I, on the other hand, was challenging conventional thinking. Not only challenging the product concept, but my business model was unconventional. I decided that I had been dealt a winning hand. The years of being just a “little different” had left a positive mark on me. I liked that difference, it made me less affected by the opinion of others, more sensitive to unmet needs, and more willing to go out on a limb.
For me, giving back is not about giving money, it’s about giving people opportunities. For 10 years I have been fortunate to have a special DD “handicapable” team that have played a invaluable role, helping me to achieve my business mission. Together we have disrupted the retail pest control market while becoming a powerful force of purpose beyond profit.
With an 80% unemployment rate among the handicapped population, we all need to look at how we can include them in our workforce. I can tell you that working with my special team, reminds me every day of the power of small things done with great love. It has been a journey of discovering the potential in everyone.
Now, for all those nay-sayers at the beginning, I wonder what they have to say now. EarthKind products (all 10 million of them and counting) sell for three times more than their conventional poison and kill counterparts. Huge brands are now jumping on the bandwagon. Unilver found that 33% of buyers (in general) want to buy products from companies that have a strong purpose, and 50% care that a company is ethical and environmentally sound.
Well, I guess common sense prevailed.