18 Dec 2019 Products Created with a Purpose
by Judy Teeven, Founder, Purpose Manufacturing
Note: This is part of a series of columns written by members of the Second Muse cohort working in partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in Collaboratory. SecondMuse is a company that helps support and nurture “homegrown” entrepreneurs. These are people from our community that are working hard to establish or grow businesses here in our neighborhoods. They have identified needs in our marketplace and are standing up companies to meet them, while strengthening our community. SecondMuse and the Foundation believe that people are the core of our economy and that is an important step in Southwest Florida philanthropy, to help people establish businesses here, to create jobs here and keep the talent and enterprise here.
Purpose Manufacturing is a small manufacturing company that believes in cultivating the undiscovered value in all things. What that means is that we are socially conscious, providing job training and employment opportunities to those who come from disadvantaged circumstances. We are passionate about bringing small manufacturing back to our community and we are committed to creating trend driven eco-friendly products.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to do what I love and am so grateful. With 35 years of designing and manufacturing, everything from Couture Bridal Gowns, airplane seats and thousands of products in China for big box stores. Although I have had so many exciting experiences, like hosting decorating on a dime for Fox 4, presenting my products on Shark Tank, and Project Runway and creating lines for many celebrities, I wanted to do something that had an impact on my community. Launching Purpose Manufacturing has been by far the one that gives me the most satisfaction and purpose.
The concept of building a company that thought outside the box began with a trip to an orphanage in Bolivia where we launched Products of Hope to give opportunities to age appropriate youth to have vocational experiences and produce a product line that would help to change their future. After 3 years their products are featured in a Casa Moda, a luxury home décor store in Santa Cruz.
In Jan of 2019 we began to work on launching a similar model here in Fort Myers. By partnering with local 501C’3s we have the opportunity to provide work opportunities to veterans, abused women, and those with physical or mental challenges.
We have had some ups and downs so far, but I have learned some really valuable things along the way. Funding, finding the right connections, and creating the right business structure have been very challenging, but the Second Muse and the Kinective program have been instrumental in our ability to walk through these issues and find creative solutions.
It has been a such a wonderful experience to participate in this program. The support and resources the Second Muse has brought to all of us has made a significant difference over the past 6 months. Taking a leap into entrepreneurship isn’t without fear, but to have a team that you can connect with at any time for encouragement, direction, and sometimes a bit of prodding, has made such a difference and I look forward to being able to pay if forward. For more information, please visit: https://Productsofpurpose.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. Explore SecondMuse at SecondMuse.com, follow on Twitter and Instagram, or reach out any time at Secondmuse.com/contact.