Welcome to the LBC ‘Profiles of Inspiration’ Interview Series. This project was created to provide insight and exposure to some incredibly innovative and inspired men and women who are making things happen in their corner of the world in 2010. It is with sheer delight and complete humility; I am able to shine the spotlight on these remarkable individuals so that you can in turn be fueled with their creativity, diligence and vision.
The first honorees for our ‘Profiles of Inspiration’ series are sisters Tiffany Bachman and Leslie Suter of 2010love-a sustainable, charitable lifestyle brand including apparel, home goods, art +literature, and food-related products. Ultimately, 2010love was created to inspire people to make a positive change in their own lives and the lives of others, starting now.
What is your ultimate vision for 2010love?
The message we are spreading through our business could be considered what we’d like our kids (and ultimately, humanity as a whole) to aspire to and embrace. There is so much potential for well-designed products to be useful, responsible, and helpful to others in need either by functionality, positive messaging or charity … so why isn’t everyone doing it?
What are the core values of 2010love?
Loving what matters, Sustainability, Well-Being, Philanthropy, Family, Design with Purpose.
How did you develop your business model?
Our bread and butter company, Handshoe Design Collaborative (HDC), is our brand strategy and design business that developed 2010love as a ‘side project’ to use design as a philanthropic mechanism… so HDC is really the model we are working from. The thought and planning that went into differentiating HDC from our competitors basically came from the combination of common sense and our unique passions: we have big-city, award-winning, agency experience that can be offered at a lower price because we have little overhead. Secondly, we are passionate about working with companies who are focused on sustainability, education, responsible growth and food because these are the values very important to us and increasingly more important, to the world.
Business planning for 2010love evolved in a two week time frame. We had always had dreams and plans to develop a project to give back, but the mark was originally sketched out for something entirely different. When we saw the mark, we instantly saw its potential for something greater. I asked Leslie if she thought people would wear it on a t-shirt, she said ‘YES!’, so we printed shirts, did a photo shoot, started a blog, got a face book and twitter page, opened an Etsy shop-and we were in business. Thus far, the positive response we’ve had from customers and press has now made it apparent that 2010love does have the legs to grow. So, we are currently developing the concept into a separate business and we are very excited about it. Everything happened a little organically and serendipitously, which maybe is how it’s supposed to be when good things are happening…
Why do you think 2010love is having so much success today?
Well, I’m not sure how you measure ‘success’, but we certainly have received a lot of positive feedback, sold a nice amount of shirts and are piquing the interest of some good folks who know how to make things happen. We think this is occurring because the design of the mark is simple, interesting and powerful, and can be translated by most everyone despite their language. Furthermore, its meaning (and I’ll quote from a post we did on the blog): “… resonates with them (people) somewhere personally. Some place… deep down, this important, essential truth (love) that has been around since the beginning of time, has begun to inspire action because it’s being seen in a new way on a new day. Love crosses partisan lines, religious boundaries and beliefs, socio-economic levels, language and geography. Positive action is the result of love. A simple, positive message CAN gain enough traction to create a chain of individually inspired positive actions around the world… if people can understand they hold the power to make it happen. ”
How are you reaching your target market and then converting to sales?
Right now we are reaching our target through social media, word of mouth, and of course… t-shirt advertising (which are all incredible forms of advertising and visibility). Conversion to sales?: People see the shirt, hear about the message and the charitable contribution, and want to buy one. It also helps because the mark is a highly interpretive design… many individuals want to commemorate something special to them whether it’s a change in their life, a wedding, a birth, or become part of a movement or group, that is trying to make a difference in the world. We’d like 2010love to become that group…
What do you most dislike about being a business owner & how do you deal with that part of business?
I think our least favorite part of being business owners is the back end organizational stuff… bookkeeping, IT, backup, etc. We prefer the creative, strategic, business development side of things. However, being a small business means we handle most everything right now and to deal with that, we just try to take one day at a time: we work a lot of nights and weekends, but balance it all out with good music, good food, friends and family and of course, good wine. We also have an amazing network of friends and professionals who help us when things reach too far beyond our expertise.
What do you most enjoy about being a business owner & how much time do you get to spend doing it?
The best part of being a business owner is that we have the opportunity to do what we love. Certainly there are aspects of being a business owner that are not as fun as others, but generally speaking we can take our passions and put them out there for the world to like… or not like…. but at least they’re out there. It also allows us, as women and mothers, to have flexibility for our families. Sure, we may work nights and weekends, but we can also arrange to be there to pick our kids up from school or put them down for a nap. Technology has certainly helped this as well, where we can work almost anywhere at anytime to keep up with the flow of our business. So I guess we get to spend a lot of time doing that part of our job… being creative, ideation, evolution, dreaming… from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed (and even as we sleep) we are coming up with ideas.
Where do you find inspiration as a business owner?
We are inspired by good people who do good things, and make it their livelihood. We are inspired by beauty, wit and really good design. We are inspired by simplicity. We are inspired by powerful, successful female business owners… (you know who I’m talking about.) We are inspired by what the world truly needs today, and I’m not talking the next ipod or other means of convenience… I’m talking the in-your-face truth of where we stand as a human race, the consequences we and our children must face in the future, and the actions we must take, now, to make a difference.
Thank you Tiffany Bachman and Leslie Suter. We LOVE 2010love!! For more information about the 2010love project, please go to 2010love.com.