Hope Strikes Back
In collaboration with Giving Beyond the Box, owned and operated by Professor Sandra Enos, we are releasing yet another, awesome gift box to the public. You may be familiar with these gift boxes, as we have previously sold themed boxes for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentines’ Day, and more!
This time, we are proud to present the Hope Strikes Back box, filled with items exclusively made strictly by small, local businesses of color. As a business owned and operated by two people of color, we resonate with the specific hardships associated with being minority-owned. Supporting BIPOC business strengthens local economies and closes the racial wealth gap. It also provides an opportunity for you to “vote with your dollar”, and encourage diversity in multiple business sectors.
We chatted a bit with the brilliant Professor Enos to discuss how her vision for Giving Beyond the Box came to life, and the obstacles she overcame in the process!
How did you business concept come to be? Was it a lifelong goal or a newer passion?
I retired as a sociology professor 2019 and had an idea for a social enterprise business. I created a program of study about social entrepreneurship at my university and had a good overview of the field. Also, I had done pop-up markets for several years featuring social impact products. I have had a long career engaged with lots of paths to social impact.
Were your loved ones supportive of your endeavor?
I didn’t tell many people when I launched this but those I spoke with were very excited. Some people thought I was too old to start a business like this.
What were some of your challenges in your first few months of business? What do you wish you knew when you started?
I had to learn so much and found it hard because nothing was well organized. Even though there are good resources, you still need to do a lot of learning and mistake making on your own.
What were some major accomplishments your business has achieved?
We have brought the idea of social enterprise to many new audiences. We have given the gift of purposeful gift giving to hundreds of people.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Creating new products and learning about folks doing good and shaking up the status quo.
What is so important about supporting smaller, local, minority-owned businesses?
Economic empowerment is critical. No one wants to be dependent on another for his livelihood. That doesn’t mean that we are not dependent on each other. What I mean here is that the more economic resources you control or have access to — capital, talent, markets, networks and others — the more you can set your own course. For too long, communities of color have been deprived of access to the American dream. I really believe that the more we as consumers support the BIG companies, the more we allow companies to get larger and more dominant, the more of the future that we are giving up
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Join us on Saturday September 26 at the Dean Hotel in Providence for an outdoor market from 2 – 6. We will share our new Hope Strikes Back box and our new T-shirt as well please come be to brainstorm and think with us about how to best support local businesses of color. #givingbeyondthebox #deanhotel #soulitasoap #greentenderfoot #nissinaturals #blackleafteapvd #chrisfagbayi #tomaquagmuseum #impacteverything #pioneerprints #mesafresca
Can you recall an impactful story that shaped your business, the way you operate, your leadership style, etc.?
I am constantly inspired by folks in the social impact field. I have a whole collection of heroes and many of my mentors are young enough to be my grandchildren. I have been humbled by many of the ideas that I used to live by in terms of being of service to the world. I am also a fan of the Fixes series in the New York Times because it showcases the work of individuals all over the planet bringing their talent and energy to bear on complicated issues.
I think the longer that you are in the field, the more you realize that you need to do and the more you recognize that we so need to support each other and sustain each other’s passions for good.
What advice would you give future entrepreneurs?
Learn from others. Don’t begin your work with the “answer” until you really understand the problem. Believe that those with most lived experience with the challenge are often the best suited to addressing it. Understand that just because you have the privilege to do good, in terms of talent, money and inclination, doesn’t mean that you have the answer to the challenges folks are facing.
And find some people you can rely on advisors and coaches because you will need their excitement and engagement with you and your ideas to keep you moving ahead. Being an entrepreneur means wearing lots of hats, especially at the start, and not all of them are comfortable. No one is ever really prepared because it is such a wonderful learning journey.
We love collaborating with Professor Enos as a trusted mentor to the IMPACT team. I personally am inspired by how purposeful she is with her work regardless of age! Social timelines are social constructs so don’t be afraid to tackle your goals every single day of your life!
You can expect individual posts about every one of the small businesses featured in the Hope Strikes Back gift box. We want to shed light on the remarkable work of our partners who are paving the way for BIPOC business owners! Stay tuned…