What is the story behind A KINDNESS COLLECTIVE?
God called me to Philadelphia for graduate school where I met a girl named Felicity. Quickly after our friendship began, she told me that God had spoken to her to open an orphanage in India. She asked me if I wanted to help her, and because of my love for children and global health, I ecstatically said yes! In 2015, we started the nonprofit “Little Loves.” Since then, God has helped us raise over $120,000 to build the Little Loves Orphanage in Andhra Pradesh, India. Today, we have taken in 11 precious orphans into a better life and are hoping to welcome more children in this summer! In March of 2017, I was growing weary of asking people for money, so I prayed. Then God planted this idea of creating the clothing line: A KINDNESS COLLECTIVE, an ethically made athletic clothing line where 100% of the proceeds will go toward supporting orphans across the globe.
Years before meeting Felicity, my friend said that she had vision of me dressing a mannequin for different seasons. A few years later, a pastor at a conference prayed over me and said he was reminded of the Proverbs 31 woman who clothes her house in scarlet. He said that God would gift me with the opportunity to clothe people and to help put the kingly and royal back on people who are down. God was speaking into my life about this journey before it happened. Everything came full circle after moving to Philadelphia.
Prior to this venture, did you ever think you’d have a clothing line?
I never thought I would have a clothing line. Growing up, I didn’t have much confidence in myself or in my words, so starting a business venture like this was completely out of the question. Now that I am reflecting on all of this, the clothing line makes so much sense because it somehow is the intersection of all the things I love— children, charity, clothing— and puts it into one beautiful adventure with the One I love. It reminds me of this quote by Oswald Chambers, “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.” So even thoughthis is certainly not the path I would have predicted for myself, it is so much better than anything I could have ever imagined because it is God who is directing my steps.
What is it like starting your own business while having a full-time job?
I am thankful that I have a full-time job that allows me to have a flexible schedule. I am a pediatric nurse working at a rehabilitation hospital in Chicago, so I work about 4 days a week. The rest of the time I devote to growing the business. It also helped that when I was building the roots of the company, I was in a transition period in Baltimore waiting to move to Chicago for my husband’s residency, so I had a lot more time to invest in the company. I am also so thankful to be working on this business with my older sister Jennifer who has put in just as much time and effort into this vision. Even though she’s busy taking care of her 2-year-old daughter Chloe, she has put so much sacrifice into building this company into what it is. I couldn’t do this without her!
How has working in retail benefitted your philanthropy efforts?
We ultimately created A Kindness Collective because we wanted to create a sustainable way to support the Little Loves Orphanage. It is my desire that every dollar go toward supporting the children at this orphanage, and then one day, help support other orphans around the globe. I want to give up my time and efforts toward this cause because it breaks my heart knowing that children are born into the world with little chance of surviving. After spending some time in the orphanage in India and seeing how the people in the surrounding village live in such extreme poverty, I can see that every dollar makes a difference.
What would you say to someone who has a dream to launch a start up?
To the person who hopes to launch a start up one day, stay humble through the process and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I have found that my network of friends and family has been my biggest resource for building this business. Learn from every mistake, and treat each as an opportunity to improve as a person and as a business. There will be days where you second guess yourself and other days where you feel like a complete failure, and on those days, remind yourself why you sacrificed so much to be here. Be patient with yourself and with the process. Trust that God has a perfect timing for everything. If you feel convicted that God is calling you toward launching a start-up that you’re passionate about, continue to pray through it and get ready for an exciting adventure ahead!
Little Loves is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping orphans around the globe. The children pictured are part of Little Loves Orphanage, located in Andhra Pradesh, India. For more information click here.