Ledbury Launch Fund / Meet The Finalists
Shine Craft Vessel Co. Shine Craft Vessel Co. creates premium, well-designed beer growlers and will expand into barware. Jordan Childs started Shine Vessels in early 2014 to complement the national craft beer trend with reusable barware that appeals to design lovers as much as beer enthusiasts, with a portion of every sale going to food and natural resource sustainability initiatives. Jordan informs us from his, and our, hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Was there a defining moment when you decided to fully dedicate yourself to pursuing Shine Craft Vessel Co.? It was about a week and a half after the first batch of Vessels went on sale. My wife and I made the decision to invest our personal savings into the first production run and agreed that if they didn't sell we'd just have some awesome gifts for friends and family for a few years. After the first few days the Vessels were on sale, we were fortunate to have some major beer and gear sites prominently feature them. From there, the company sold through the first batch, we opened a pre-order on the second run and sold over 50% before even being fully produced. It was a very inspiring time and gave me the confidence needed to know Shine Vessels had a future. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? My Dad told me at an early age that you will get far in life simply by being nice to people. It was an incredibly simple statement of wisdom but I have practiced to it for years, and it has never, ever failed me. Being willing to welcome people into your life and being grateful for what they do lets others know you respect them. I've been very fortunate in my life to have had some amazing opportunities to learn, travel, work with talented people and I firmly believe that trying my best to be good to people has paid karmic dividends. Being an entrepreneur can often be a long and difficult climb. What keeps you motivated to keep going? It's a combination of optimism, passion for what I am making and gratitude for being fortunate enough to be able to be doing this. Those are the internal drivers, the stuff that's in my head and heart. The other motivator is without question my wife, Kim. She supports and challenges me in so many ways and on those really low days helps put everything in perspective. She's got entrepreneur's spirit in her DNA and is one of the strongest people I've ever met; with someone like that in your camp it's easy to stay motivated. How do you take your coffee? French Press. Almond Milk. No Sugar. Where was the last place you traveled? Before starting Shine Vessels, I worked for The LEGO Group and had the opportunity to travel to a number of really amazing places around the world. The last trip I took before leaving the company was to Prague, Vienna and Munich. What would $25k do for your business? Shine Craft Vessel Co. is at such an exciting point right now with all the growth the company has seen since our first batch. Because of the substantial interest and support, it's becoming more difficult to keep up with the demand our company is experiencing. The capital from the Ledbury Launch fund would be strategically invested in assuring we have a solidified supply chain to meet current and future demand on our core offering, develop new products and make sure the proper platforms are in place for healthy growth (i.e. analytics, warehousing, shipping materials, temporary staffing needs). Up to this point, I've never sought outside funding but recognize the time has come to scale and being a finalist for the Ledbury Launch Fund is a perfect opportunity to accomplish the financial piece while getting feedback from the super smart and warm people at Ledbury.
Thread While visiting Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, Ian Rosenberger noticed two things while there: an abundance of trash and a desire to work. These two problems eventually lead to the founding of Thread. Thread uses an innovative method to transform trash into textiles, which in turn, creates jobs for the people of Haiti. Here, we catch up with Ian from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Was there a defining moment when you decided to fully dedicate yourself to pursuing Thread? Six weeks after the earthquake, my friends and I decided to help a Haitian child I had met on a previous trip to Haiti who was dying of a tumor. His name is Tass. We raised the money we needed for the surgery, got him to the states for treatment, and afterwards brought him home to Haiti. The neighborhood Tass comes from is one of the worst around, and it's common for young men from there to die early and violently. I realized that just dropping him off wasn't doing much for Tass, and that the entire exercise was a pretty presumptuous and self-gratifying unless we stuck with him until he didn't need us anymore. That begged the question, what does it mean for the poor to not need help? In having lots of conversations with the poor themselves, we realized that poverty really ends with decent, dignified, nine to five employment. Unfortunately in Haiti, jobs are hard to come by so we decided to create some. I had written in my journal after my very first trip, "If Haiti can turn trash into money=good". We googled it, decided we could make fabric better than everybody else out there, and Thread was born. I quit my job two weeks later. Are you reading anything good at the moment? Yes. Stop reading this immediately and go buy Guns, Germs, and Steel. The Sixth Extinction is also a great read. I developed my philosophy about poverty in part from Dr. Paul Farmer, and I highly recommend his most recent, In the Company of the Poor. I make anybody who comes to Haiti with us read Mountains Beyond Mountains. If you're looking for a great candy book, The Emerald Mile is an awesome true story about three guys that did a speed run down the Grand Canyon in a wooden dory. Nerd alert. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? My dad keeps telling me that Thread is a boulder that we're pushing uphill, and the second we stop to see if we're close to the top is the second it will roll back over on top of us (My dad is a little dramatic). He's all about "head down, shoulder to the wheel." It's not the smartest teams that make it or the ones with the sexiest idea. It’s the fearless ones. The ones that get up every morning, put on their overalls, and get to work. I love that. Being an entrepreneur can often be a long and difficult climb. What keeps you motivated to keep going? I feel a lot like I have the best job on the planet, because I get to hang out with our Haitian partners who are actually earning money from the trash we turn into fabric in the streets of places like Cite Soleil or San Pedro Sula. Cite Soleil is the poorest neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, and ranks as one of the bottom five or six slums on the planet. These men and women know a type of poverty most of us in high-income countries just can't imagine. I recently asked them in Kreyol "how does recycling help you? Is it a good thing for you or not so good?" One of them answered: "Before we picked up plastic, there was not enough food for my family. We were hungry. Now, there is some food to go around." I feel like starting a company is the equivalent of getting punched in the face and knocked down on the daily. Conversations like that with folks who've become friends and in many cases like family in places like Cite Soleil make it damn certain that when we get punched, we're going to get back up again. Where was the last place you traveled? I'm writing this from the Port-au-Prince airport right now, so I guess the Caribbean
The Ledbury Launch Fund will award one of these entrepreneurs with $25,000 to help their consumer goods business, as well as offer mentorship from Ledbury Co-Founders Paul Trible and Paul Watson. Visit the launch homepage to learn more and to vote here.