by Sam Lewis, Wear the Fund, and member of the SecondMuse Cohort - Click here for original article
Since starting WearTheFund (WTF) nearly 8 years ago in my hometown garage, the hills and valleys of being an entrepreneur have been like the stories of many other entrepreneurs I have met and read about. However, our unique differentiation of giving back to a nonprofit with every order (pre-Amazon Smile) is our hallmark but with it, its own set of challenges. This is partly due to the already hypercompetitive and low-margin industry of screen printing, embroidery, and wholesale textiles. In addition to the traditional competitive hurdles, giving a percentage of your sales away in this type of industry can be organizational suicide (so I’ve been told).
But what about the rewards? What about the long-term benefit not only to the business’ bottom-line, but our community and society as a whole? I say it’s the future, and our survival is a testament to that. With that, it’s been such an honor to partake in the inaugural SecondMuse cohort in SWFL, “Kinective.” The visionary approach to entrepreneurship and economy building through a local and sustainability lens emboldens and fortifies the idea that we must be more acutely focused on elevating our peers and community overall. This collaborative movement has helped me allocate time to work more strategically on my business, locating resources and connecting me with like-minded individuals who aspire to inspire.
So, in a world where oligarchs and tech giants reign supreme, how do we fix our sustainability issues pertaining to social, environmental, and economic impacts? We support entrepreneurs. We shop local. We pay a few dollars more for sustainable, socially minded businesses and goods. Ultimately, we break the cycle. There is no question this takes effort, mindfulness, and a little patience, but it can be done – it must be done.
WearTheFund has generated over $175,000 for our 60+ nonprofit partners since 2012. Our beneficiaries span healthcare, education, environmental, veterans, animals, and social services. Our clients have directly improved our community by choosing to use us. It didn’t take extra taxes or large corporate donations. These are dollars that otherwise would be an “unrealized” loss to important local causes if they had shopped elsewhere, let’s say China or a large online company. Imagine if every business gave back even 1% from their sales. Many are already jumping on board; you just have to find them. We can do this. This article is simply a reminder to be a mindful and conscious consumer when you make your next purchase. Be a hero for your grandchildren and future generations – they’ll thank us later.
An Invitation: Please come join us November 14, 5:30-8:30 p.m. at our warehouse located at 93 Mildred Dr #B, Fort Myers, FL 33901 for a Lee BIA Young Professionals event benefitting Lee Builders Care. For more information, visit www.wearthefund.com.
About SecondMuse and its Partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
SecondMuse is an international company that collaborates with visionary governments, corporations, foundations and startups to build 21st-century economies. At the core of our economies are people, communities and networks. From Brooklyn to Bali, our programs span geographies, sectors and size of business. We tackle essential challenges in manufacturing, energy, capital, education, mental health, data, civic engagement, food, blockchain, disaster risk and more around the world. Located in Collaboratory and in partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, SecondMuse launched in February 2019 and is currently working with its first cohort of local entrepreneurs.
Some of SecondMuse’s current programs include NASA’s Space Apps Challenge, NYCEDC’s Futureworks, the M-Corps cleantech manufacturing program with NYSERDA, The Incubator Network with Circulate Capital to battle ocean plastics, and LAUNCH, accelerating technologies for the circular economy.