Do you dream of building a good company and a meaningful life? If so, you need to be in good company. This is a show about real people building great companies that make a big impact. Each week hosts Caitlin Crosby Benward and Allison Trowbridge go behind the scenes to get the scoop on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the company world so you can become a better leader and gain fresh wisdom for both your personal and professional life. New episodes every Tuesday!
Brett Hagler: On Dreaming Big While Starting Small
Real Good Company is a show where we talk with real people building good companies that are making a real impact. We’re so excited to welcome today’s guest, Brett Hagler, the Co-founder and CEO of New Story, an innovative nonprofit that pioneers solutions to end global homelessness.
Founded in 2015, New Story works to solve the problem behind homelessness through creative and innovative solutions to decrease the costs of homes. The organization got its start in Haiti and now works in El Salvador and Mexico. Since its inception, New Story has funded 2,300+ homes, built 30 communities and raised more than $25M.
After college, Brett knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur as well as be a part of impact-oriented nonprofits. Right after college, at 22 years old, Brett started a for-profit, online ecommerce company. They partnered with two charities, Charity Water and Mission of Hope in Haiti, which is where he was first exposed to the issue of homelessness. After a trip to Haiti, Brett was moved to compassion to see the effects of poverty on families.
When he couldn’t find a nonprofit that was forward-thinking and moving forward with technology and innovation, Brett was inspired to start his own organization. New Story was launched to create a fresh perspective on the outdated model of charity. They focused on 3D printing as a form of innovative home design that could significantly decrease the cost of a house and the time to make it.
In today’s interview, Brett tells the story of how he and his team went through the famous startup accelerator, YCombinator. He shares how he and his New Story team have run the nonprofit as a business. He also offers advice on taking big risks and navigating the hard parts of launching a nonprofit.
You can find out more about Brett and everything mentioned on today’s show here. Also, you can find Brett on Twitter at @bretthagler and New Story at @newstorycharity. Get to know our hosts on Instagram @CaitlinCrosby and @AllieBridge. Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so that we can stay in Real Good Company!
Brittney Kelly: On Leading With Ethics in the Business World
Real Good Company is a show where we talk with real people building good companies that are making a real impact. We’re so excited to welcome today’s guest, Brittney Kelly, the founder and designer behind Tribe Kelley, an ethical and sustainable clothing brand. She is also a mental health advocate.
Tribe Kelley, which started with just three t-shirts and two pairs of bell bottoms, now sells women’s and men’s clothes online. They have two stores, a flagship store in Nashville and a second store in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and are about to open up their wholesale division. Brittney prioritized making Tribe Kelley an ethically conscious brand and manufacturing clothes in a moral and sustainable way.
Brittney got her start in the business world on Etsy with her own shop called Wondertown, where she made custom hand-dyed t-shirts, purses and new jewelry out of broken and reclaimed, vintage jewelry. After graduating college, Brittney married Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line and she went directly onto a tour bus with a group of about 12 guys. Meanwhile, she was writing the blueprints to her own brand during her first year of marriage. She launched Tribe Kelley in 2014 on her one-year wedding anniversary. She knew she wanted to do something with fashion and make people feel good about what they put on with a give back initiative.
In the early days of the brand, Brittney focused on keeping manufacturing as many of the brand’s goods in the United States as possible. They develop and design every piece either in Nashville or Los Angeles to make sure their products are made ethically and in line with their morals. Tribe Kelley gives back with every clothing line launch. In 2020, they worked with a nonprofit called Home Street Home, which serves the homeless community in Nashville. They were able to donate $50,000 from the launch of their butter sweatpants.
Today, Brittney tells the story of how her business has succeeded through adversity. She shares how to be taken seriously in the business world and how to get the wheels moving on a big dream. She also offers advice on carving out time for creativity, setting boundaries between work and her personal life and overcoming challenges as an ethical brand.
You can find out more about Brittney and everything mentioned on today’s show here. Also, you can find Brittney on Instagram at @brittneykelley and on Tribe Kelley @tribekelley. Get to know our hosts on Instagram @CaitlinCrosby and @AllieBridge. Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so that we can stay in Real Good Company!
Holly Hayes: On How Adversity Equipped Her to be a Successful Entrepreneur
Real Good Company is a show where we talk with real people building good companies that are making a real impact. We’re so excited to welcome today’s guest, Holly Hayes, an award-winning author, world-renowned recovery ministry expert, and founder + CEO of Sanctuary Project, a community of advocates bringing hope and healing to survivors of trafficking, violence, and addiction.
Sanctuary Project is a survivor-run nonprofit social enterprise that empowers and employs survivors in the jewelry design and creation business. One hundred percent of the sales go directly to providing more job opportunities and training to survivors. Hayes, a survivor of trauma herself, has always been an entrepreneur and hustler, even when she was in the darkest part of her life. A natural entrepreneur, she innately saw margin and opportunity to build business from a young age.
Sanctuary Project was recently named Austin Woman Magazine's 2020 Women's Way Business Awards "Business to Watch - Under $3M." Their impact jewelry line can be seen both online and at several local and national boutiques and was picked up by Target.com in the Fall of 2020. An award-winning author of the book “From Basement to Sanctuary,” Hayes is passionate about helping others find "sanctuary" from trauma. She is also a coveted women's ministry and business leadership speaker and has spoken at conferences all over the globe about transformation from trauma.
A full circle moment, Hayes uses her business prowess to bring good to the world. Today’s podcast focuses on From a life of drugs to trafficking, to a career in real estate to starting her own company, Hayes’ journey taught her the skills and the pitfalls of running a company.
Today, she speaks in the women’s jail and shares her story to inspire them to harness their innate talents and skills for good.
Hayes tells the story of the turning point of her story in 2001 and how she turned her life around. She shares business skills and leadership skills that she harnessed from her past experiences to create her business. She also offers advice for founders on how to determine how much equity to give investors and employees.
You can find out more about Brant and everything mentioned on today’s show here. Also, you can find Holly on Instagram @hollychristinehayes and on Facebook here. Get to know our hosts on Instagram @CaitlinCrosby and @AllieBridge. Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so that we can stay in Real Good Company!
Jessica Jackley: On the Power of Social Enterprise
Real Good Company is a show where we talk with real people building good companies that are making a real impact. Today’s guest has a prolific resume in the entrepreneurial and social enterprise worlds. Jessica Jackley is the founder and CEO of Alltruists, a monthly subscription box that provides at-home, kid-friendly volunteer and giving projects for the whole family. Prior to launching Kiva, in October of 2005, she co-founded Kiva, the world's first crowdfunding site for microenterprises that provides entrepreneurs with affordable capital to start or expand their business. In its first year, Kiva facilitated $500,000 in loans. Today, Kiva has facilitated more than $1.5 billion in loans worldwide.
Jessica is also a cofounder and General Partner at Untapped Capital, an impact capital firm that invests in startups that are making a positive impact in the world. To top it all off, she harnessed her entrepreneur acumen into her own book. In “Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least,” Jessica shares lessons learned from successful businesses in the world’s poorest countries and how to tap into the innate entrepreneurial spirit we all have for social change.
A natural entrepreneur, Jessica grew up in the business of doing service. After founding Kiva, Jessica went back to business school at Stanford and was able to apply the lessons from class on how to operate a nonprofit like a business. She shares her journey of debunking and demystifying the myth of entrepreneurs and for-profit businesses versus nonprofits.
After going through a divorce from her husband and the co-founder of Kiva, Jessica stepped down from the organization and set out to create something new. Through a process of resetting, she learned her identity was not wrapped up in one company or in what she does. After a three-year sabbatical, she spent a year writing case studies about female entrepreneurs. She later remarried and today the happy couple has four children.
On today’s podcast, Jessica discusses her journey as an entrepreneur and the art of combining problem solving and solution-finding with the life-giving and redemptive purpose of giving back. She shares how her journey as a mother inspired the idea behind Alltruists and creating kid-friendly volunteer projects at home. She also offers advice on using both your heart and head and how to do good in the world while utilizing business skills and entrepreneurial thinking.
You can find out more about Jessica Jackley and everything mentioned on today’s show here. Also, you can find Jessica on Twitter @jessicajackley. Get to know our hosts on Instagram @CaitlinCrosby and @AllieBridge. Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so that we can stay in Real Good Company!
Tina Wells: On the Art & Science of Good Marketing
Real Good Company is a show where we talk with real people building good companies that are making a real impact. We’re so excited to welcome today’s guest, Tina Wells. Tina is a business strategist, advisor, author and the founder of RLVNT Media, a multimedia content venture serving entrepreneurs, tweens and culturists with authentic representation.
She is the author of the best-selling tween fiction series “Mackenzie Blue” and its spinoff series “The Zee Files,” which is exclusively sold at Target. Most recently, she launched Elevation Tribe, a mentor group and online platform for aspiring female entrepreneurs, specifically women of color.
Tina got her start after answering an ad in Seventeen magazine to be a writer at a newspaper called The New Girl Times. A suburban teenager and the oldest of six kids with dreams of being a fashion writer, she was hired as a product review editor. Intent on finding a way to “finance her suburban lifestyle,” Tina didn’t think she could make much money, but she thought it might be a fun way to get the product she liked.
In 1996, at the age of 16, Tina launched her first company, Buzz Marketing Group. Two years into it in college, one of her clients told her that she had a business in market research and that she should “figure it out.” So she did. By her senior year of college, she had six-figure research projects and was working with big name clients like Dell, The Oprah Winfrey Network, Kroger, Apple, P+G, Johnson & Johnson, and American Eagle
Nicknamed the “millennial whisperer,” after a decade of studying the purchasing decisions of the millennial demographic, Tina was in the position for clients to find her. As the buzz grew, Tina enlisted the help of friends. They nicknamed themselves “buzzspotters,” a network of trendspotters that did market research for brands. In 2000, after a blurb in Cosmopolitan about Tina and Buzz MG, she got 15,00 applications from teenagers from around the world for the role of “buzzspotter.”
A decade into running Buzz Marketing Group, Tina wrote her first book, “Mackenzie Blue.” She put her journalism degree and her marketing experience to good use to write a book series for the tween girl market with good values. It sold hundreds of thousands of copies. A couple of years ago, Audible bought the audio rights to it.
Tina is a true marketer who understands the balance of art and science in marketing. Today’s podcast focuses on her passion for consumer insights and the intersection of research, content product and community. She also shares research insights about what today’s youth are craving and what is changing in product and content.
For authors, she shares the value of seeing your book as a product, the importance of deeply knowing and understanding your audience and matching that product toward what the consumer wants. She also shares advice for the upcoming entrepreneurs and authors on how to market themselves and work with big name brands.
You can find out more about Tina and everything mentioned on today’s show here. Also, you can find Tina on Instagram @tinawells and on Facebook here. Get to know our hosts on Instagram @CaitlinCrosby and @AllieBridge. Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so that we can stay in Real Good Company!
Brant Menswar: On Finding Your Black Sheep Values
Real Good Company is a show where we talk with real people building good companies that are making a real impact. We’re so excited to welcome today’s guest, Brant Menswar, a speaker, author, core values activist, and author of “Black Sheep.”
The book was inspired by his son, Theo, who was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer at the age of 14. After 263 straight days in the hospital, the family was told to say their goodbyes. Unbeknownst to Brant, his brother posted a Youtube video pleading for help for Theo. The video went viral overnight, and doctors around the country reached out offering to help. They found a solution to an impossible situation, and Theo survived.
After the jarring experience, Brant was motivated to live with more intention and to figure out his nonnegotiable values, aka his “Black Sheep Values” or the things that make him 100 percent, original, and unique. He went on a years-long journey of doing the work to figure out his “Flock of Five,” his nonnegotiable values that can be honored on a daily basis.
Today, Brant’s values are clearly established and unchanging. His Flock of Five (plus an additional bonus value) include: hope, creativity, impact, empathy, family, and authenticity. Every decision he makes gets filtered through these six things. Previously, before finding his non-negotiables, Brant was speaking about 25 to 30 times a year. After he did the work to find his values and to live with intention, by July of 2019, Brant was speaking 70 times a year, his speaking fee tripled, and Washington Speakers’ Bureau named him one of the Top 10 Speakers in the country.
On today’s podcast, we focus on values-driven leadership and how discovering our nonnegotiable values leads to success. Brant says that people who know their Black Sheep Values have a competitive edge in life versus those who don’t know their non-negotiables and are just winging it.
Brant shares how to bring your values to work and how to create values-driven leadership and values-driven organizations. Without these “organizational Black Sheep Values,” a company’s success is based on pure luck or chance. He shares how connecting the head and the heart helps establish those values. Brant also explains how organizations have to be deliberate about how their values are going to be experienced and creating bridges between employees’ personal values and organizational values.
You can find out more about Brant and everything mentioned on today’s show here. Also, you can find Brant on Instagram @brantmenswar and on Facebook here. Get to know our hosts on Instagram @CaitlinCrosby and @AllieBridge. Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so that we can stay in Real Good Company!
Feel inspired & understood all at once
This is EXACTLY what the world needs. 💯💯💯
These two are so so great. So full of wisdom and they’re so engaging and fun. Love everything about this podcast.
Really cool to get invited into the process of creating something new. Thanks Allison and Caitlin!