Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Introduction to Where to Shop Wednesdays

In June of 2011, I began to get a little stir crazy. I had a 4 month old baby and was now a stay at home mom. Becoming a SAHM meant a big pay cut for us. We thought we were ready for it but we weren't. It was also a huge adjustment to me not bringing home money. We are also normally a charitable couple but all of a sudden we needed every cent we were earning. I figured we couldn't be the only people who had this huge change to our normal life by having a baby and one person of the couple deciding to stay home. 

Late one night after getting our daughter to bed, I was browsing on of my favorite sites: Made By Survivors. They are an incredible organization/business that empowers women. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery and trafficking and others live in poor communities with no rights. They teach and train these women to become artisans and then the items they make are sold around the world. So you buy a beautiful necklace and you empower a woman you will never meet. It's  incredibly powerful for these women, yet so simple for the consumer. 

I started thinking, why couldn't there be a online store or better, physical store that did this geared towards parents. Every baby needs essential items and almost every baby gets gifts. I started researching and planning and then told my husband of my grand plan: I wanted to open a store that sold all things baby but only from companies who were charitable. I also wanted the company to give back. The planning was bumpy but I had some good advisors. After realizing bank don't like to give money to start ups we scaled back and it became simply a cloth diaper store with room to expand. And that is when Teal Elephant was born. 

The name was chosen because Teal was in the green family and our company was "green" just not 100%. Elephant was chosen because elephants are matriarchal animals. If a mother elephant dies, the other female elephants help raise the orphaned elephant. They also work together so no one is left unprotected. These facts amazed me and I fell in love with elephants.

My business would have been open one year on paper this month. I am in the process of closing it because I figured out that I love cloth diapers but I don't have the passion that is needed to help push a business along. I won't say it was a waste of time (maybe a little money here and there). I learned a lot about business and a lot about myself. I met some amazing women and mothers and I loved it. 

Even though I am closing it, I still have a interest in businesses that are charitable. If I know a company gives to others when I purchase there items, I will pay more and I will have a deeper following to that brand. 

I figure there are some other mama elephants that like to shop and like to help people. When money is tight people want to make their dollar stretch as far as it can go. What if we looked at that a little differently? What if we shopped for items that we needed that also helped people in return?

Each Wednesday I will give you a different business that I love that gives back. The first few will be cloth diaper related because, well, I already know about them. 

I have to give credit to an amazing website I found last year in the process of all the business research. They do this same thing except it's almost daily and it is more in depth than I will be doing. It is MilkShake. Check them out and bookmark them (and me too!!) and let your shopping help empower people!!

What is your favorite business that gives back?
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