I think that local businesses and companies that manufacture in America are incredible. But I think that small businesses that manufacture in America that also focus on doing good for others are incredibly amazing.
Enter Half United. Four years ago, Carmin Black and her brother, Christian, founded Half United as a way to merge their passion for style with their dedication to charity work and community service. With just $200, they decided to build a product line and donate half of their profits to ending the fight against hunger. Their expanding product line is built around the bullet necklace, symbolizing the fight against hunger. To date, they have donated 98,676 meals.
I had the opportunity to speak with Carmin a few weeks ago and per usual, my notebook is a mess, with tangential notes written all over the margins. Always a sign of an interview where I connected with the person, and where I left with more ideas and questions than I had when I came in. Carmin is incredibly inspiring and so devoted to fighting hunger. Which is imperative – around the world, 925 million people are hungry (4x the population of the USA) and a child dies from hunger related causes every 13 seconds. This is unacceptable.
Read on to learn more about Carmin… and then please go check out and support Half United so that we can all help in the fight against hunger.
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS?
I love Olivia Palermo’s style and can really relate to the aesthetic she creates.
Leopard loafers, black coated denim with really loud flats, a great black v-neck tee. Really great quality pieces you can wear with anything.
I either wear simple jewelry ( a HALF UNITED fighting hunger piece) or one big statement necklace.
WHAT GETS YOU THROUGH THE DAY? THROUGH THE WEEK?
Coffee. I’m starting to embrace drinking my coffee without cream – you know you are an addict when you don’t need cream!
Journaling or reading a devotional when I wake up. I always have a better day when I do this.
Working out. I feel better and have more energy.
Sleep. I go to sleep early, I don’t care if it’s not cool.
Great music. I love Emili Sande, Lorde, Adele…
Really, having a balance is what matters!
WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Other designers – I love the Dannijo sisters, they ferociously advocate for themselves and have a no-excuses approach to their business. Finding fabulous new blogs. The Feed Foundation and the One Project.
The mentors I meet with on a regular basis – they are awesome people that challenge and push me in my business.
I read as much as possible – I learn so much by using Entrepreneur.com as my own personal business Google! There’s so much to learn from what others have already done and accomplished in their businesses, so I try to do that as much as possible.
WHAT MAKES YOUR DAY?
At work: When I see my team working together and coming up with new ways of doing things that are more effective. When I see us working together towards our common goal – to fight hunger.
Increased sales – because this just means that we are increasing the amount of money that we give away!
At home: fun dinner parties, a great date, dinners with my friends, and spending time with my family around the holidays.
WHY DO YOU MANUFACTURE IN AMERICA?
At first we made all of our products in-house. As we’ve expanded, we’ve had some really amazing experiences working with American factories and I love knowing that I can help revive these companies while we also fight hunger. That’s what it’s all about – helping our neighbors and our friends… helping their families. It’s amazing to know that you are providing a livelihood for your neighbors and to think that you can employ people you are also helping.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER ENTREPRENEURS?
It takes a strong conviction to start a business and feel the odds are against you. Don’t be limited by your lack of anything – just believe in yourself and keep doing.
When you put your heart and soul into something, it pays back. When you half-ass something, you get half-assed results.
I hate when people say I can’t or I won’t. We have a list of words we’re not allowed to use at the office. These words are toxic. If you think these words, you’ve already shot yourself in the foot. If you want it, go after it, be relentless; I guarantee, you will get what you deserve.
Photos via Half United: