I once heard that if you have a refrigerator, you are in the top 5% of the world’s wealthiest people (UNICEF quoted in The Unemployment Survival Guide ). Wow, I wonder what percentile I would be with my iPhone!
The first time I heard this statistic I was just starting MyNiceTie.com and I wanted to give it something special, something that people could get excited about. I wanted to invest my time and money in to something that would make the world a better place.
It was 2007 and Tom’s Shoes was just getting started. If you haven’t heard of his shoes, the idea is that for every pair you buy, he gives one to a poor child – one for one. What an amazing idea! I wanted to do something similar, but different. Obviously, it had to be different because ties won't help the poor much unless they have an interview.
I wanted it to be something sustainable, something that could change lives, not just wardrobes; I wanted something that would help people rise out of poverty. I found what I wanted with KIVA.org.
I was introduced to KIVA by the owner of a snow cone shop. His customers loved the idea that they could help someone by buying a snow cone. He explained that 50% of his revenue is lent (at zero percent interest) to struggling people all over the world. When the money is paid back, he uses it just like any other for-profit business does.
KIVA combines the power of micro-financing and the power of the internet to help alleviate poverty through lending. KIVA empowers generous individuals, and companies, to help fund the entrepreneurial efforts of highly motivated people in poverty. Some of these people in poverty need as little as 50 dollars to purchase a bike for a delivery business or to purchase inventory.
Needless to say, I was interested, impressed, and totally inspired. I realized that this would be a great way to make a difference, and it would help MyNiceTie’s customers make a difference too; although I didn’t have many at the time. This would allow us to make a lasting change in people's lives by giving them fishing poles instead of just handing out fish. I decided that day that MyNiceTie would use 20% of all purchases to help pull less-fortunate people out of poverty.
I still had a long ways to go, in fact MyNiceTie was still in its infant stage. Just a month or two previously I had built my first website with a $12 do-it-yourself website kit at Big Lots. Through hard work and persistence I built MyNiceTie into what it is today, a thriving eCommerce business with a popular How to Tie a Tie YouTube channel.
MyNiceTie.com has come a long way. In addition to selling our own inventory, we feature the neckties of retail partners throughout the web. We dream of being the hub of all that is new, fresh, and fun in the necktie industry. And, we are happy to report that as of today (2015.02.17), with your support, we’ve helped 587 people get the money they need to start businesses that could pull them and their families out of poverty and we will continue to re-invest the 20% until we reach our current goal of helping 10,000 people.