Take that first step, send that first email, or make that first call to set your ideas into motion. The process will grow organically after that but you must, must start.
Madeleine Park is a marketing & branding professional who has used her expertise to found and operate a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Together She Can. Together She Can works to help the female homeless community with hygiene care. Park and her team partner with all of the major homeless shelters in the Greater Boston area where they provide hygiene gift bags and life classes on a monthly cadence. Together She Can has also secured partnerships with Sephora, Garnet Hill, Warby Parker, and other nonprofit organizations. Park was featured as Boston’s Women of The Week in 2017 and has spoken at prestigious universities across New England.
Park also works with franchise and consumer businesses to help build their brand, increase awareness, drive sales, and expand across the globe. Park has landed coverage in print, digital, and broadcast outlets including Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fortune.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I started a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Together She Can, that works to help homeless communities with hygiene care. We gift hygiene gift packets to shelters around the Greater Boston Area.
The idea came about as I was doing spring cleaning. I had tons of extra toiletries and I didn’t want to throw them out but I also didn’t have anyone to give them too. I realized that I could create small gift packages and hand them out to people in need.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Our typical days consist of sorting hygiene products, bagging them, and organizing them to be dropped off at homeless shelters. On top of that, we offer a pick-up service for donated items and we partner with companies to set-up Life Programs and donation drives. We are able to make the most out of everyday by setting up annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. This helps us stay on top of our recurring, daily schedules while also giving us the space and time to focus on new initiatives.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The simple answer: follow-through. Take that first step, send that first email, or make that first call to set your ideas into motion. The process will grow organically after that but you must, must start. Create a team that believes in “the follow-through” and work together to help execute on each step of the process.
What’s one trend that excites you?
It excites me to see social media increasingly playing a huge part in the nonprofit industry. The uptick in influencers, sharing capabilities, and new fundraising outlets is helping us to expand quicker and more efficiently than ever.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that makes me a productive entrepreneur is always “striking when the iron is hot.” Whether it is a developing a idea, creating new relationships, or simply remembering to send a thank you, it is important to me to never procrastinate.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop comparing your story to others. Everyone is on their own journey. There’s no need to add more pressure on yourself, especially when it will not serve you in the long term.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I am a big proponent of always saying yes. I say yes to everything and then figure the logistics out after. This has given me an abundance of new opportunities and experiences (and even a new puppy!)
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Learn, learn, and learn some more. You can never be too informed or knowledgeable. The world is changing everyday, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest, develop opinions on such, and discuss them with others.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Implementing a digital media strategy from day one has allowed us to grow exponentially. Marketing is my forte, so ensuring we had the proper branding surrounding our organization/mission and pushing it out via digital outlets allowed us to gain a donor base faster than regular word-of-mouth.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One thing that I am constantly striving to get better at is to contain our growth so that it does not overstress operations. It is easy to take-on too much, so finding a balance is always a must.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Look into start-up accelerators. If you get accepted, the knowledge and resources you gain access to are invaluable. These will help mentor you, grow your business, and allow you to network with some other great entrepreneurs.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I purchased small, jacket pins with our Together She Can logo on them. They will be handed out as free giveaways and be included with thank you letters for our donors. It is a great way for brand awareness and a nice gesture for those helping our cause!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I run our Together She Can website through Squarespace. It is very user-friendly, has a ton of capabilities, and they are always adding new features. They have made running a website, fundraising, and gathering new interest extremely easy.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend everyone read “Shoe Dog” by Nike Founder, Phil Knight. It is an incredible story of growth, set-back, and ultimate success. It is a great reflection of how a corporate giant was once a small company.
What is your favorite quote?
“Never let someone tell you that you are too young to accomplish something. A baby shark, is still a shark.”
- To act on your dreams, ideas, and goals you must take the first step. You don’t have to have the whole thing planned out beforehand. Jump in and the rest will happen naturally.
- Follow-through is key. For projects and relationships, make sure to follow-through and surround yourself with those that do the same.
- Look into how digital media can work for you brand. Keep an open mind and explore new outlets.
- Always continue to learn.
- Never let anyone tell you that you’re to young or too *this* or too *that* to accomplish something. Work hard, say yes, and let the results speak for themselves.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.