what is at your core?

Hey there!

I have a question for you. What is at the CORE of what you do? Why is that important to you? When you know the WHY in what you do, it inspires you to move forward each day, pushing through troubled waters and keeping you focused while riding the waves of success. For companies such as TOMs shoes and Happy Blankie, it’s the knowledge that they are making a calculable difference in the lives of children.

There are many reasons these two brands are successful, but I want to focus on their similar models and how you can adopt a couple of their practices. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, both Happy Blankie and TOMS shoes operate on a “One for One” model. Happy Blankie donates one blankie to an orphan for each blankie purchased, while TOMS shoes donates one pair of shoes to an impoverished child in countries around the world for each pair that is purchased. This one-to-one exchange is not only very generous but also simple for customers to understand. There’s no percentages donated to figure out and the customers know exactly what their money is going towards. It’s a more tangible result that the customer can understand.

The other smart thing about these two companies is how they name each of their products. Whether it’s “chase the happy dog” Happy Blankie, or the “Kenya Stripe” shoe, both brands know how to draw the customer in. The names make the products come alive in a way “dog blankie” or “grey striped shoe” never could.

When you are feeling overwhelmed with your business or just want to throw in the towel, think about WHY you started your line to begin with.

Think about your CORE:
Commit to
Embrace your mission [or values]

What was it that inspired you in the beginning? When you are able to dig deep and can get to the core of this question, you will be able to sustain the highs and lows of your business and KNOW that you are doing it for the better good. You need to not only think about the people you have helped, but also those out there who could still benefit from you. When there’s a deeper purpose and meaning behind your brand, you will find it easier to keep moving forward… with a smile :)

I would love to hear your mission and what drives you easy day! Post your stories here.


Grace Kang
Your Retail Product Mentor

p.s. A BIG, warm welcome to all of the new readers who joined our community! You are going to love the resources you will find here to help you make your product retail-ready… Enjoy!

p.s.s. Are you creating your own posse? Giving and receiving support is crucial when you are running your own business. Post your Facebook Page here and let’s support each other :).


  1. Knowing that I am able to give back to the community (I donate a % of proceeds to different charities quarterly) is what drives me to succeed. The more successful I become, the more I am able to help others that are in need..

    • absolutely… no more playing small.

      the more successful we become, the more we can help others! love that cecilia :)

  2. This is a great question, Grace, and one that I think about often in what I do. The core of what I do is to help women to embrace their own beauty and step into their power. I do this in many ways – by speaking, by writing, through my consulting and now through my global movement, the “i am beautiful PROJECT”. I want women all of the world to get that they are already beautiful, that they don’t need to hold themselves up to unattainable ideas just to be good enough. I want to help them boost their self esteem, step into their power and live life on their own terms! Whoo hoo!

    • whoo hoo!! i LOVE your new project michele and your new blog is beautiful. will you post it here so everyone can check it out? xoxo

  3. I have 2 things! First is my photography business! We’re (my husband and I) called Pay it Forward Photography. http://Www.pifphotography.com. Our goal is to donate 100% of our portrait session fees to different charities every month. We’re slowly getting started, but its been really great! We’ve donated family photo sessions to families that couldn’t afford one, etc. I also have art photos that I sell that are a 9/11 tribute and donate a portion to the memorial and scholarship fund.

    Second – I make Nursing covers, changing pads, maternity clothes – I’d love to be able to give somehow with that to make a difference, but they’re more of luxury items. Most people can live without them. Any ideas?? Thanks!

  4. good article! I think that’s awesome of company’s to do but I prefer to do my giving outside of business (just my preferance) But I truly believe that those who are most generous will get it ‘paid’ back in huge amounts. The trick is to give without worrying what or where those returns will be found because it must be genuine. (I’m not passing judgements on others.. speaking for myself here) I would love to give back in the form of employment and / or inspiring creativity and the belief that anything is truly possible if you’re willing to do the work… now how to communicate that… you’ve got me thinking…

    • i totally understand where you are coming from heather!
      giving doesn’t always have to come in the form of money…. it can be to inspire creativity (like you said) or giving back in terms of your knowledge, time…etc

      yes…. we all have to do the “work” to really get our message out there in a BIG way. it’s really the only way to generate the money that we need to give back.

      i’m glad that this got your juices flowin’ :) xx

  5. Very true! Loving your company’s mission can make all the difference in driving things forward, particularly when things get a little challenging or tedious. My husband and I were inspired to create One Lemon (www.onelemon.com) when we were living in Asia and met amazing artisans along our travels who were reviving traditional crafts as a way to earn a living. These artisans now create all of our products. We are proud to make a difference in their lives by doing business with them, and are inspired by the goodness they bring to each and every one of our products.

    • tamara,
      i love that you are providing employment to artisans in asia! there are so many talented women out there.

      do you know this charity org called http://buildanest.com/? their mission is based on this very idea – worth checking out :)

  6. I have just found the confidence to start my business, but I have always had this vision/ mission for my business. When I was younger art, making things and writing was my escape from my chaotic childhood. It is my goal to give back to the community the gift of art and show them how art can save your life and enrich your life in so many ways.

    • that’s beautiful lisa. i couldn’t agree more! art is such a beautiful gift that can enrich the lives of little ones to adults. xx

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