Scott (Dropping Out)
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welcome to the winning ugly podcast. It's me, your host, Trish
and Emory of course, as always, Emory is here, uh, with my lovely cohost, uh, have such a beautiful bride. I'm very thankful and we have a great show today. I'm very excited and I think you guys will, uh, really enjoy learning about this guy and, uh, hearing his story.
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Thanks for joining us today. Are you going through a tough time at the moment? Are you fighting, trying to win ugly? Well, you are in good company. Our guest today, we'll share how he had to win ugly through dropping out. He is a successful entrepreneur who owns a store that sells handmade, fair trade, African art, crabs, jewelry and accessories. So Scott, welcome to the show and thanks for joining us. Yeah,
thanks for having me. You have really cool hair. I do. And I also dropped out of one of college. Did you? Well I went back and then dropped out and then went back and then dropped out. But it's technically the same thing as you finish. Yeah, of course. You got a four year degree. We stopped at the drop. Took me like eight years to get it. Yeah, I got it done. I got mine in about seven school, man, you got me beat. Yeah, I do. Yeah, it was good to have you, man. Thanks.
Well, I've do believe we met
at an event that you had here at your store and we immediately hit it off. And I want to say the name of the store is Kanzi. It's K A, N, z. I, which means hidden treasure in Swahili. Right? That's right. Well tell us a little bit about the store and the mission behind it and everything about it. Yeah. So we, um, are based here in Birmingham, Alabama. And, uh, my wife and I are both transplants to the city, but we, um, started working in Uganda, uh, when we were in college and started a nonprofit to serve, uh, underprivileged children, vulnerable children and orphans. And then out of that, um, work, we decided to do something more sustainable that was more targeted towards creating jobs and opportunity for
people in those communities. And so we started a, uh, a business social business with a couple of fair trade brands and Kanzi is one of them.
So Kanzi started out retail. Um, it sells, like you said, uh, all handmade fair trade products from east Africa. Most of the products come from Uganda, which we source, but, um, it, uh, it's been a long start. Um, long story, but we started in 2010 and so that, um, initially was just retail. And then in 2013, 14 we kind of transitioned, um, the business more to wholesale and we kind of put Kanzi to sleep and focused on one of our other brands, which is called the ornaments for orphans. And we've really grown the wholesale business and the consignment program that we run in that brand, um, and focus that in the last three or four years, uh, exclusively. But when we relocated to this location in Birmingham, we had this wonderful warehouse, which is in the back of, you can't really see it. Um, and from the store.
And then we were trying to figure out what to do with this like 2000 square foot space up front. And so, yeah, thanks. So we, um, we gutted it and renovated it. And about three years ago we relaunched the Kanzi brand and under the brick and mortar store, which you see here. Um, and so yeah, in the front you have this lovely space that's um, multi-functional. We desire to do more than just retail here we want to have events like where we met. Um, you can rent it out. Um, you can and we use it as our office space as well. We'll do a lot of meetings here and we have a kitchen which is serves as a break room and part of the allure of the event space. Yeah. It's very well welcoming. There's the kitchen, the coolest watering holes
myrcene because it is just so welcoming and you just want to hang out
is just drink some cool coffee, have some great conversation. I have a lot of customers that come in the store and they're like, why do you have a kitchen in the middle of your store? Awesome. And brings people together. That's what I said. I said, I want to know my answer is why not? Because I'm like, why not? But it's like people don't, people have a hard time thinking outside the box and that's kind of how I operate. So I'm like, why can't it be everything to a lot of people instead of just trying to do one thing. Um, even one of my staff complains all the time that like we have this office in the back corner. I'm like, why not? And she's like, when people come into a store, they want, they want this retail experience as a, yeah, well we're not getting that foot traffic anyway.
So come over to Kanzi and Homewood, Alabama. Please come make yourself some coffee and buy some stuff at his table because it's always open. Yeah. And what's that big horn thing? I was swinging around like a baseball bat earlier. It's cow horn. That's a cow horn. Yeah. It's like, so like the ancestor to the Texas Longhorn is the in Cola cattle, which is a breed in east Africa. Right. And it's indigenous to that area. And so we actually sell the horns and the, and, and horn related product in the store. Um, so you can get small, medium, large or extra large horns. And if you break it, you buy it. Okay. So don't swing them on a swing and like a baseball man. Buy It. Then you can do when you can do whatever you want with it, kid, call me and get advice. But um, but yeah, so and then the ornaments, the reason we started selling the horns is cause that artists and group that we partner with in Uganda, a really cool group, um, makes this great products out of it. And we do a lot of Christmas ornaments from the horn. And so they're like all hand cut flat. And it's a really cool process.
That's actually something I want to say because this past Christmas I came here and got a box of ornaments and I sold them and people were just so amazed at the handwork that goes into this and the beauty. And I even met a gentleman that is from I believe Uganda and he saw one of the ornaments and he had a tear in his eye and he remembered actually making these ornaments when he was a kid. And
so it just really touched so many people and they are beautiful ornaments. So this Christmas coming up, you need to get you a box of ornaments so you can support the people for ornaments, for orphans. And he sold quite easily from what I remember. They did. Yes.
Very easy. Yeah. They sell themselves. We've prided ourselves on really well selected curated products that are um, top quality if they were really nice. So the ornaments for fins is something that, um, we do here as well and the whole company is focused on creating jobs and opportunity for our sins and, um, sustainable development for these communities. And so like, I don't need to spend too much time on it right now, but um, we learned over the years that a lot of the charity work we were doing wasn't really serving the people well. And so we really tried to refocus our efforts and attention to create jobs and opportunities. Um, cause people wanted to work, they didn't want to handout. Yeah. And Great. And statistically and Uganda, I think 60 70% of the children that ended up in an orphanage or some type of institution have a living parent.
Okay. Not just living in relative but living parents. Yeah. And this seems statistics are in Haiti as well. Okay. And a lot of these developing nations. So what happens is churches and groups and um, missions organizations and, and other charities go overseas and the number one, they see all these kids, they see all these street kids and they think we're going to help them. So you start these orphanages and the adult attracts all these kids. But a lot of the kids from or that are coming from the community or just from parents who are suffering and struggling to get by. So the parents drop the kids off and they're like, Hey, will you feed them and give them education? And a lot of times it's true. They can't afford to do that. I mean, oh, schools aren't free overseas. There's a lot of it is even public education.
There are school fees related to it as well as uniforms and books and everything. So parents who are struggling to feed their kids are really struggling to put them in education. So we, um, we saw that and we said, well, if we created more jobs in these communities and the parents could afford to send their kids to school and feed them, it would be a lot better for the kid. And there's more and more statistics and stories that are out there that are just, it's just not good for kids to grow up in these institutions and it's great for them to grow up in homes and they need a place to, to live. And, uh, so creating jobs through fair trade is a really, really good way to help some of the poorest of the poor. And that's why we do what we do.
That is awesome because immediately when you walk into the store, you can feel that, um, like you actually feel like you are in Africa when you are here. You have beautiful music, music playing in the background. You have gorgeous handmade jewelry. You have the ornaments that we talked about and the bags that are so cool. Like, I can't stop staring at these bags that are around the store as well. And um, you do have a lot of art here.
Yeah. So the art hanging on the walls, we've got six different Ugandan artists that are decorating our walls. And I did it personally just cause I liked the art on the walls, but I also, but I saw it. Yeah, it's really beautiful. So, um, I've curated about, uh, and I've developed relationships with these artists and there's, and their works are for sale and I'm hoping to bring back, I'm going in a couple of weeks now, but to bring back about 20 more paintings and, and I've got a couple of commissioned pieces. That's great man. So that's cool. Um, and then the bags are great. They're made in, um, from cow hide, uh, top grain leather from Kenya and we've got two different groups that we're working with. And um, yeah, they're really high quality stuff that you just, it's surprising. So I sort of feel like I'm in Jumanji. Maybe I came and you're still think so. Yeah. I was like Jumanji you know the, the, the way the vines grow all over years.
Don't roll the dice. I sort of felt like I was in Jumanji. You start thinking it's a compliment. Start the game. You have to finish it. That's a great movie.
And you know what? Emory does not like games? No, he is does not any like any form of
Oh, extremely, extremely competitive from what I know.
Not like video games.
I'm not a video game guy. I never understood games in general or games or games a ton. Yeah, it's, it's a pet peeve almost because I'm good
at him and I can win usually. Actually we actually are really annoyed about board games. Honestly. I really am. This is a true story. We are sorry it just chest. Don't like any of them. I don't see the point in having board. Funny Story. We're married almost 11 years and we, I can count on maybe three fingers how many arguments we've actually had. Yes, very heated arguments. One of them was overboard games. We were in this group and our friends love to play board games and they kept asking for us to play board games. And this was when we were first married. I did not know his deep Patriot for board games and I was just saying just get new friends. So, and she's like, no you can't. He told me, he was like, if you ask me one more time to play board games, I'm going to lose my mind. And I was like, never again will I ask him like four games. So they freaked me out. That's something's weird about them. I don't want to come over. I just don't trust them the way the board is and the game stuff on top of the board roast is a weird of a settlers of Keto. I do like the apple one second of my financial app. What is the app? He yes, I like that because it's hilarious and you can say stupid stuff. Anyway. Scott, what is your favorite country in Africa?
Well, I'm partial because we started our work in Uganda, so Uganda is pretty, pretty close to my heart. Um, and you've got us called the Pearl of Africa and both are nonprofit and our for profit, the parent corporation and are both named after is called Pearl ministries and Pearl enterprises ministries and Pearl Pearl of Africa. That was from Winston Churchill's journals in the same sentence he called Uganda, both the Pearl of Africa and like a stinking hole. That's, it's
quite the opposite all in one sentence. Right? It was a, it was a, yeah,
it was a paradigm. Wow. Well there was like a lot of um, malnourishment and a lot of preventable diseases. And so coming even, I mean, back then there was a lot more, but they just didn't have, what is it? Just regular plumbing, sewer systems and just decent etiquette. So obviously there's gonna be issues. It says there's, there's, there's issues and then, and you would see that and like, and people were written with diseases like malaria and even missionaries and um, Xpanse or colonialists like suffer from it dramatically as much as the local people didn't, maybe a little less cause they had doctors. So you had all these tropical diseases and these things happening. And then also just like this beauty of just, it's just a really beautiful green, lush country. The mouth of the Nile River starts there from Lake Victoria. It's, it's pretty remarkable.
Do I want you to give us a snippet of one of like maybe one day of your travels there? What, what does it look like?
Oh Geez. Uh, I get up eat breakfast. Really good fruit and good. Fast forward. That man. Really good for you. We know you like apples, you know your breakfast and eat breakfast. Pineapples. No, the breakfast are important is a really good breakfast. They're really good breakfast. Okay. Like fresh fruit, fresh fruit. The best bananas ever eaten in Your Life.
Yo. Yo Yo were in Columbia that yes. I mean, yeah, we have the Papayas, mangoes. You can buy can't in America you cannot buy fruit that tastes as good. No, absolutely. Star food. Fast forward, they have these bananas. They're baby bananas. The size of your thumb. The tiny bananas are the best. Incredible. They called [inaudible] Colombia. I can't even describe them. Research. I hate her. I Love Bananas. When you talk about like free doesn't like breakfast, we talk about food, he's like, no, this is my favorite meal of the day. And then Uganda, it's like it's a big deal. It's a big deal. I feel I'm feeling plus plus. All right. So I usually am like
constantly on the go and visiting artisans and visiting groups. Yeah. And so if I don't eat breakfast, I'm like dead by noon. It makes sense. You breakfast, I'll go all day without lunch and like, so I'm visiting with groups, I try to avoid downtown Kampala. And Nairobi is like crazy traffic, like insane traffic. There's like one main road to downtown Kampala in Tempe road and it's a, it's a two lane highway. Oh my gosh. It's really a two lane highway with a big shoulder that acts as a four lane highway and people don't know where they're turning.
Sometimes it's a five lane highway. Teenagers. Are you traveling in a car in a taxi or a car?
Yeah, and I drive a lot there. Yeah. So unless I don't know where I'm going. And then I heard somebody here get a kind of driver. And so we'll, I'll just try and visit the artisans. Couple of our groups are on our side of town, so they're easy to code too in the, our main one, uh, in Kampala and then somewhere on the outside, the outskirts of town. So we try to, I try to plan like one or two a day. I've got seven groups in Uganda that I have to see. And then, um, uh, working with them on new designs, trying to get them to improve quality control, cause they really, they struggle with that a lot. Um, and, and our, our whole desires to grow and educate and empower Ugandans to come and do the work for themselves. But it's really hard. So we're trying not to like tell them what to do, but at the same time, like I have to sell stuff that's of the best quality jr and it has some like some semblance of like consistency. Uh, so, and if products are made wrongly or poorly, I can't sell them. And so I'm usually on the land for it from a business resective perspective. Just to pay for it, but also like it doesn't sell for my customers in their stores, retailers. So it's like it's a lose lose if it's bad, it's always win. Yeah, sure. So that's a big part of what I do there. And then I'm on occasion, I'll just go have a little fun.
Well that's what I was gonna say. Do you get invited to their homes or their shops are in there?
Some, some. So some are like separate shops, some are, a lot of them are shops in their homes, just like a cottage industry and the grew ones that are growing. Even then they'll start a workshop, but it's usually on the land that they're either renting or the town. So it's not really expanding beyond that. Um, tell me about the food. What's your favorite meal in Uganda? Yeah. That you just made. You can't stay to fly their steak, do they? S they don't need, that is also my favorite meal. It's my favorite, but I haven't yet eat it there. But like, so you've gotten fake battle thing? I was swinging around a real, is that the steak? That's, yeah. Yeah, it's good. It's good food. But no, like, uh, in terms of you got into food, I like, I'm a k Matoka is like a banana mush. It's a green banana mush. That's like mashed potatoes and then they, you can either put like a soup on it or a ground nut sauce. It's like a Gina. It's like a peanut sauce.
Sounds good. Me? Is it a banana or a pontine? It's, it's a, it's in the banana family, but so it's like a plan, Tane? Yeah, but not sweet. Gotcha.
Yeah, because, well there is, okay. So there's two types of plantings. There's the green ones in the right ones. You know how many varieties of bananas? No, I do not. I was gonna ask you how June 23 430 I just guess that was pretty cool. Is that right? High five as you can't see it because it's a podcast and we're not on video base. Seriously, there's over 400 or something. Types of Varese of bananas. They peel the banana and measure right then and there. Or do they fry it first? They don't. Right.
So it's not like a Pantene that's sweet. It's and it doesn't peel. They have to cut it to get it and then they steam it or boil it. Okay.
Okay. I understand. I feel like we should start a cooking class similar to my phone though. A little bit similar, but like all of like African, Puerto Rico. Okay. So that's what I was wondering. Cool. What about the weather? Cause I know you love cold weather. It's tropical. Oh try, it's warm. Oh, sorry about that. But I mean it's nice. So it's like southern California, maybe a few degrees warmer. What about us? Not Bad. What about an attraction that you go, um, maybe one of your first trips there that you, it was a must see
mouth of the Nile River. So we're the, now river starts in Africa is on the lake, Victoria basin in this river basin and um, it starts in Uganda and goes up through Sudan and Egypt sounds amazing. Knower. So yeah, you can see it as pretty cool. You can take a boat out onto it. You can also raft in the Nile or take a barrel down the road, but in denial. But barrel ride down the Nile. But I've never done that. And that won't probably cause you can get like weird stuff in your mouth through the water. You don't want to get weird stuff in your mouth. Yeah, I always try not to do that. There's a lot of stuff in the water.
Well, Scott, before we move into your story, let's ask you a few fun questions. Do you remember your first job as a kid?
I do. What? Can't wait to hear it. Is it? I was a caddy. Really? Yeah. For a golf course. I would have never took you a golf guy. Really? Yeah. For Real. So I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Not Kidding. This for real. Is this made up? Okay. So you grew up in the suburbs and the suburbs of Chicago. My Dad was a landscaper and uh, one of his jobs, early jobs when he was a kid was catty. And so he would drive into either his customers and, or his lot every morning. And I was 13, 14. So you can start caddying when you're pretty young and you went, dropped me. And I think one of my brothers off the one that's a year younger than me every morning at like five 30. Wow. Yeah. Early riser. Hopefully they had a good breakfast and they did not. And I'm not ready for the and nothing you have for breakfast. And you would sit there and like if you got picked, you could go and carry someone's golf bags.
I think that would be an awesome job. And have the wind is blowing in your hair
and if you did not, if you did not get picked, you would just sit there for hours and hours and hours. And there was, there was a really terrible experience because I was, we were, it sounds like it wasn't, it wasn't because we never worked. Like we would just sit there and just like wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and put on a turtle eggs though. What's your hobby? Turtle eggs. Yeah, but turtle coffee. Wow. That's crazy. What a small world. Totally dokie. No, for real. Um, I've got a few interests. Hobbies. I don't really have time for hobbies or working out. I work too much, but, um, if I had my druthers, I
really like hiking and that it's not just any particular type of hiking. I'm like a slow hiker. So I like to mushroom hunt. I like to look at mushrooms. Are you, when are you going?
Cause I want to go. Yeah, absolutely. For Real. Yes. I'm not going anytime soon. The best time of year. It's over. Like it's early spring when I want to go early. Spring or fall. Yeah. And especially in Alabama. Why haven't on some of the best mushrooms hunting? Some of the best mushroom hunting is in the, in the world happen. I'm not kidding you in Canada, like west coast from Seattle up to Alaska and then there's some islands out there that when I was in Denali a couple of summers ago, I was in Denali, so confused. I was in Denali a couple summers ago and like my family and my parents, my, my, my, my like wife and kid, Vivian and my parents are with me and we're hiking these trails in the, in the National Park Denali and like I've got my camera with me and they're like way up ahead of me and I'm just stopping checking out the mushrooms cause you have to have like the perfect condition.
It's 14 we need a Po. Yeah, exactly. We need to pause. Exactly. What do you like to take pictures of them? You like to pick them? I don't like them. I don't know why
I didn't learn how to pick and cook them, but it's dangerous. So you need to know what you're looking for and I'm not going to experiment unless I know there is, there's groups out there so you only take pictures. I don't know. And sometimes I just look on them.
Oh I feel like there's some hippies that would like to really can come friends with
you thing. It's like it's my Qology so it's and like button mushin it runs in the family. So I have a, I have a second cousin. Well my bellows, maybe my mother's second cousin, Sam ditch. Not Kidding you. So my, my love for this happened. I was camping, I don't even know what to say. I was camping and I was just, listen, I was camping in Cloudland Canyon
in, in, in, uh, Georgia, north Georgia, Tennessee valley. Right. Have you ever been? No, it's beautiful. It sounds great. And August and I camp there by myself for a week and at my camp site there was a really heavy rain. One night in the morning I woke up and there's like mushrooms everywhere and there's like 20 different varieties just within like this little 20 foot radius of my campsite. Right. So I drive to Chattanooga and I go to use bookstore and I buy an Audubon mushroom book, legit mushroom, but from [inaudible] and then, and then I'm like, I get home and I start telling my parents about it and my mom's like, oh yeah, your Uncle Sam or my uncle sandwiches. Like kind of like the pet name, whatever they gave him. Cause he was really like a second cousin was like Sam Ristich. He like discovered two of the mushroom varieties in that book.
Yeah. This was Skype from Maine law. Question. What's that? What's your hobby? And we've entered into a generational hippy hunt with, it's not a hippie health mushrooms. This is great. This is the coolest thing ever. I will say mushrooms are pretty cool the way they look. Beautiful. Portabella and button one. Who's button? Well, they're all look like buttons. Well just the ones you find the grocery store like from your nearest Piggly wiggly. So I took
pictures in Alaska and on my son's bedroom wall, he's too, but when he was a newborn, we created this collage of pictures. So I've got this giant picture. I took a mountain Denali that we blew up and it's really cool on one wall. And then there's a collage of pictures on another wall and grizzly bear, a Caribou and three mushrooms. It's very cool.
Do you want to wait? Okay. When Uncle Sam's poster. Oh awesome. Not Kidding. Well we will go into the last place you vacation to or more than one abi. What's that? So we just, you said, I grew up in a family of like burden camping on doorsy. I like to do a lot. I'd like to call if I like to do a lot of things. If you're listening, I like to take photos, comment on Instagram, poetry and, and just say like, I'm also a forger of mushrooms. I want to see other people that do this. It's for real. Is this a real thing? A club. There's mycology clubs. You know what? My color jeans, I'm not, I follow a couple of people on Instagram. My college is a study of mushrooms. Cool man. I'm a fun guy. Ah, boom. B. Oh, last place you vacation or visited? Toughen island. Not Dolphin, spelled dolphin island. It's an Alabama. They all are from, I thought it was Daphne. Daphne. There is definitely Alabama is like a city. Dolphin island is Dolphin d, a. U. P. H. I. N Island, which I'm pretty sure it was named after dolphins. They just didn't know how to pronounce it herself. Probably. So Trish grew up in a house. Boats.
I did not grow up in a house with a dolphin. No. I swim with alligators, but no. Oh my goodness.
It's really pretty down there. Oh yeah. Yeah, we're familiar with that. But it's like Brown water. Not Clear stupid blue water because no, it's not swampy water. It's close to the Mississippi state. The Mississippi Delta like filters out to there. That's why all the shrimp and oysters. I'm from Louisiana killing it, man. Well, Netflix are good old cable. Oh, I don't do cable anymore. Does anybody do cable? No. Windows. And why are you asking? There's two [inaudible] people somewhere that do it. Go on this school. You're just trying to figure that out, aren't you? Yeah, because I don't really like TV, so I don't watch TV ever. I do Netflix and Hulu. That's cool. Nothing wrong with that. This next question is, um, is a good one beer or wine? Beer. Unless it's really good wine. Favorite beer? Good answer. Ips. Oh, I'm an iPod guy up top. You're drinking strawberry logger. I am so not so. Now we'll try to pull the fast one on me.
Oh my goodness. I
ate all day. Yeah, and I don't like wine either because it just makes me sleepy and I just want to go to bed. I love wine. I actually love good one. Are you in the suites at all? Nope. All right, so we can avoid the next question. Yes and no. All right. But if you had to choose cake and ice cream, I would rather have a beer than dessert. Like I'm not as felt as I used to be, so I kind of have to pick really tall guy so you can, I can hide it. You could tell you can hide it, but I'm not as fit as I used to be. No, I'm probably ice cream on your list. It's cake, ice cream, cookies and milk. I'll ask myself the question because ice get, our hosts are kind of slacking right now. I like halo top.
What? Yeah, I like big spoon. It'll tell. Oh yeah. Big Spoon cream. Healthy ice cream. Best ice cream you've had flavor. The best flavor is in a Bogota. The chocolate that I used to get. Oh, at crepes and waffles. Oh, Chen. Rochelle chocolate. It will get on a flight right now and go to Bogota. Go to crepes and waffles. It's the chocolate all the way on the right. When you're looking at the ice cream is, it's the one all the way on the ring. American owned? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You call it creeps in walls. That's the name of the restaurant. It's in Bogota. In Spanish or is it in the name of the restaurant? It's called crepes and waffles. Come on, man. Stay away from the mushrooms. Mushrooms happening here. US English word
and it's really called the restaurant. It's really called crepes and waffles. Chocolate. Rocio get two scoops. They'll be the ones that you buy on the codes to get to school. But the cool thing about this restaurant, Oh yes, they have savory and sweet savory and sweet crepes, but they're Rochelle chocolate rose show. Ice Cream is fabulous.
Yeah, hands down. So that's fantastic. Best ice cream ever. Eight. There's two gelato in Italy. Oh, I would say probably, I mean literally it was pretty good street on the streets of Florence. Just kinda pretty legit. Yeah, it's legit. Sounds like it. Yeah. The crips are pretty legit too. And then, but big spring creamery had this amazing Bazell ice cream. Ooh. [inaudible] last year. Bazell Red Bazell July. I was like a light green and it was like it, it was like, Whoa, what'd you do here? This is not, I've had a Bazell macaroon that's about the only basis. Also very solid. And I'm pretty sure it was my son's first tasted ice cream because he's two and he's never had an ice cream cone before. Wow. That's awesome.
Holding out the goods. All right. He was like, what is this stuff? It's incredible. All right Scott. Well, we're going to move into your story and I'm, your story is about dropping out and you actually dropped out of your master's program. Yeah. So let's kind of struck that at college, but I finished that. Good job. Good man. Well, tell us a little bit more about, you grew up in Chicago and then you went off to college. Well, it's kind of start there.
Yeah. So I um, grew up in services Chicago, went to University of Illinois for three years and then biting a line on and finding a line. I, yeah, big 10. And then, uh, that's Champaign-Urbana. Uh, we have the same colors. We have the same colors as Auburn. You watch him. So then I went and studied abroad in Scotland for a year. That's cool. Yeah.
Mind blown. I want to like live in Scotland. Don't have you been there? No, it's cold or Ireland. I go
visit it. You should definitely visit. It's beautiful. It's a dream of ours. Yeah, it's Collins. Awesome. Sue. I lived in Aberdeen, which is in the northeast coast, like up and fur and went to school there for a study abroad for about a year. Did Not finish. This is like a recurring theme, so I'll bring it up now. Like did not finish the second semester and dropped out of that and came home. And um, there was like personal issues, depression, anxiety, all that stuff was happening, like flared up. Wow. And so like I could not go to class or didn't want to or couldn't finish the work. So I came home, lived and worked for my dad landscaping for a year and then decided to go back to school and I finished my Undergrad at Covenant College, which is like a mountain Georgia where um, small Christian liberal arts school at the top of the mountain, um, where Chattanooga on the base in the city. And from there I met my wife who uh, we met in Uganda, we met in Africa, we had a couple of classes together for a c, um, for I think my senior year, her junior year, I'm pretty sure maybe it was my, anyway, I was there two years. We had a class together. She thought I was that obnoxious guy in the back row. Yeah. And then I married her. I used to be that guy.
This was my kid how we met. It was statistics class and I would sit all the way in the front. He would sit all the way in the back and I thought he was up noxious, but I was drawn to him for some crazy reason. Yeah.
You guys out there, if you like a girl, just be obnoxious if you're in college and sit in the back and we may work and if you're still not in college, maybe when your office you could sit somewhere in the back and be obnoxious, you still may work. You work for me. Oh. And then all of a sudden like, or married, married, boom. So we got married in Chattanooga, got um, lived there two years and in that time I was trying to figure out what to do with my life and I thought I'd try seminary that was going to be a pastor. So that's what brought us to Birmingham, Alabama. We bought a house, moved everything here. Okay. And I started my masters degree, caught four semesters into it and dropped out. It's a, it was like a three, four year program and that was fully scholarship two. It was totally a difficult decision. It's a life changing moment for sure. Yeah. Well what,
why did, why did you drop out? I mean, what was that defining moment? I mean you moved your whole life here.
Yeah, I know we will on originally too. I was going to go to California and that would have been scary. Um, cause we would have been like gone all the way across the country and by like we had no roots here in Birmingham. Me that we didn't know anyone. We didn't know a single soul. We um, it was like a new church, new community, a new city and we had very little like my wife was born here. Um, but she lived here two years and then moved to Atlanta and then she grew up in Atlanta. So she, her roots are in Atlanta. Has or her original that which is, I mean, so relatively close. Sure. Chattanooga, Atlanta. We had friends, family and then the area I dropped out, the market crashed and we like sunk or here like, and then our house like lost all its value when we could ever really escape by.
I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. So I thought I was going to be like a pastor or missionary. Yeah. Or it's some type of like good person and you feel like a person. I'm still a good person. So at this point you've dropped out. Yeah. And how are you feeling from a self esteem standpoint? Well, the reason of the dropout, there was a couple of our marriage was kinda on the rocks and our daughter was very young, like one or two. So there's, we had those like new house, new city, pretty new things, a lot of stress. It sounds like new baby or are we moved here? She was pregnant. [inaudible] was born here that next January. And like, and we had a new ministry. Our nonprofit was working in Uganda, still weren't even salaried. So like we had like no salary.
We hadn't like maybe some health care through it, which was really just because Jamie was pregnant. And, um, like I didn't even know what I was supposed to be doing. I just thought, I'm going to get this job or get this, um, get this degree and go be a pastor somewhere as like pretty S. I dunno, looking back, kind of stupid and idealistic, but like just was what it was. And so, um, we went, I went to Beeson divinity school at Sanford University and it was a great school. Great Program. I'm really good at school. Like you seem like a studious kid. I'm pretty, I'm pretty good at it. And so I didn't get awesome grades in college because of all like the, there's a lot of stories there, but like the, I mean, I live in Scotland. C'Mon. So gotcha. So like there was this whole journey, I was trying to find myself discover who I was, discover God and discover and I'd really didn't want anything to do with him.
So I just moved away to Scotland and then he found me there. And like I said, Nope, you've got mushrooms there. No forge at all. Really? I wasn't into that back then. You should've checked that out. Yeah, I checked out a lot of like bars in Scotland. We're getting, we're getting the picture, man. Yeah. But I just think what you did and, but, but like, and I went to class the first semester. I did all right. The second semester, not so much. Gotcha. And so I had great friends. Um, so coming back to coming to Birmingham was really challenging and the seminary degree was good. I was getting pretty decent grades. I think the worst grade I got was a c in a admissions class because I didn't finish the work and that's like the year I dropped out. Okay. And so like I got hit, I got hit head on with anxiety, like severe anxiety and like the depression just like reared its ugly head and like I couldn't even, like I would drive to the school, I would drive to the parking lot and I literally couldn't like get out of my car.
You're like stuck in yourself. I don't know, it was stuck somewhere. I know what you mean. So like, and I started getting therapy and that helped and that helps. That helped me with a few things, especially at home. And then so I had this decision to make and it was basically like I had to give up something so I had to give up either our, our, our ministry or working Uganda. I had to get up my marriage or I had to give up seminary and I was like, well that's an easy, so you put it like that. Yeah, that's how I, it's kind
how to put it to make that decision. So I cut it out and I was like, so what am I going to do now? And my wife with our new daughter was like, I'd really don't want to run the ministry.
And she was kind of on paper as executive director and I was like, well, I kind of helped start it in Chattanooga. I was the one that got the lawyer and the accounting together and like created the five one c three so I said, all right, well I'll take it over, I'll run it. You can take your time off and I'll see what I can do with it. But then in this whole process of like discovering who I was and like that I didn't need to go to seminary to really kind of be who I was meant to be. I always, I'm kind of pretty entrepreneurial and I think that comes from like my dad. And he started his own business when he was newly married to my mom and like grew it to pretty successful. Do you watch that? Yeah, I kind of grew up with that and like I think I was doing the whole seminary thing to kind of make him happy and proud of me. But like that was kind of stupid because
It really didn't pan out. I think we can all relate to that. Something to make someone else happy. Right? Yeah. It was kind of, yeah. I don't even know if impress was the right word. Like I just wanted him to acknowledge me. What are the same time like forcing something that wasn't really meant to be. So then I, so I left and uh, and I had to figure out what I was supposed to do. So I went to the Board of the nonprofit and I was like, you know, we've been going to Uganda for five years now and like we're not seeing this much results. Like, we keep dumping all this money in and we're just giving, these kids are getting educated, but also families are like kind of getting torn apart or really not like figuring out ways to provide for themselves. Like there's gotta be a different way. And I didn't really know much about um,
Fairtrade at the time, but we kind of just like, this is 2009 10 market crashes, half of our giving just like shuts off. And so like I was like rock and a hard place. I was like, what are we going to do? And my father in law, I was like, well here's two grand. Go by some of the crafts you've seen in the markets that you're giving away as gifts. Tell your donors and let's see if we can sell it. And like, so we brought back like two or three suitcases full of stuff. Was that your first seed money? That was our seed money and like wow. And I, and I, and I am like pretty natural sales man. So like I can sell anything that's really cool. I actually can do the same. So, so like I was just like, and I would figure out where to go, like where and how to get it done and I would just do it and then I was like, Oh, I think we've got something here.
Okay. I kind of want to park there though because I mean normally when you drop out of something that's positive, like obtaining your master's, I mean it's Kinda was something you had to do, but were other people kind of make saying no. Like you really should stick it out. Like please all of my,
wow, how do I put it? All your people were, were saying that's just my people. Like the, the seminary had 50% of the scholarship and I had two other NF, two other foundations that have given all this money and they weren't, they were at the same time understanding. But they're like, we've committed a lot of money towards senior through up to this point and get you on like, and I felt really bad about it. I'm sure.
Yeah, I'm feeling it right now. I felt really bad. Like I still like. And then for the first, the first five years I kept promising them that I was going to go back. That's tough, man. I was trying to think, I meant I had this intention. Yeah. Yeah. And then like my dad would always ask like,
hey, you ever going to go back to seminary? I'm like,
yeah, maybe. I'm glad that time is over for you. Yeah, that's stressful.
But did anyone react positively? I mean were, did you have anyone in your life that was saying, I mean, I really feel like you should,
you should drop out. Absolutely. Well, my counselor, my wife and I made
the decision together, which was good. And like, and like her parents were pretty supportive cause her dad had left a really good business and just kind of like lived off his savings for a year, a really good company in order to like,
two veterans and he had like had a similar experience and they were pretty encouraging. They're like, it's okay. Like
that's good. That is, I mean, yeah. That is good that you had someone in your corner. Sure. Wow. Yeah, I mean, but at the same time, like it felt like we were all alone in it. And like that was like probably the hardest decision. Sorry man. Made, if I would have known you back then I would have gave you a hug. Yeah, thanks. It's been like, just going to begin. That's what I mean. Like you can't promise that. It's like, that's the thing, like, sure. I can't, you can't promise it's going to be good. Well yeah, but I could have gave you a hug. Hugs are great. If we did in that moment, I probably would have been like, I wouldn't be like, what is this dude doing? Y Z. Oh, I see how you me. But like, no, that's for real, like seven inches shorter than me. So it's an, I have a lot of short friends. It's okay. So I feel, I feel okay about that. Yeah.
Um, okay, so you said your father-in-law or your father gave you the seed money. Father-In-Law. Okay. So he gave you the seed money. Was that kind of how
Kanzi was birthed and so yes. So actually that's how
crafts from the Pearl. Okay. Was Birth within the nonprofit. And then a year into it, I was like, I think we have something. And I started doing some research about nonprofit for profit hybrids. P corporations were just becoming a thing. And I was like, well, Alabama's backwards. So it doesn't offer B corporations is still doesn't to this day.
There's no, I'm just being honest. Like it doesn't, it's true. They still don't have [inaudible] corpse I got here, we're with you. So I mean, you and I would've had to go like to New Hampshire. So I just set up, I set up a c corporation and um,
got some more funding for that and then started making this transition from nonprofit to for profit so that the for profit business would take on all the expenses and all of the overhead and all and really
make something of itself. And then not knowing what I was doing, but kind of being able to figure things out. We, um, we launched two brands simultaneously, so we, right, we launched Kanzi and ornaments for fins in 2010 at the same time. Ornaments for fins was literally supposed to be a seasonal Christmas program to sell ornaments, to raise money for the kids. And it was going to be in churches and Kanzi was going to be what we did the rest of the year also through fourth quarter. But like, and so we put a kiosk in the mall and the Galleria and we were retail only and I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I could sell the product and it was successful.
Right. It made it well, yes and no. So how do you define success if we're still around five years to eight years later. Yeah, that's good. But in the beginning we didn't know where you're doing. So like I had such high overhead, I had full time employees, full time staff. Right. And it was crazy. He did it to a streamline it a bit. Yeah. So we transitioned, like I said earlier, back to more wholesale and I let a lot of people go to just kind of stabilize things. And then that was the moment where we kind of like also the vision was really ornaments for ovens the whole time. I just didn't think I could sell it. Christmas ornaments year round, which you can if you do it right. Of course you can. You really can. Yeah. No, people don't think that. So like the ornaments for orphans has really kind of really blossomed.
And so we took, we took that, well it's funny too, the first trade show we did, um, in Atlanta I brought both brands to wholesale market Kanzi and arms orphans. And we did that for three shows. July, January, July again, and Kanzi got outperformed by ornaments for orphans, two to one really, even off season like January especially like was a better and I was like, well, there she is. So that's the proof right there. Writing can be sustainable. Well, and it was also confusing people. So we, so we, we dropped the one brand and just took that one to market and really scale it up. It's good. And then and then like four years ago, five years ago when we signed the lease on this place, I was just concentrated. The first two years I'm getting the warehouse operational and getting ornaments, orphans brand up. But Kanzi has always been like what I love. I like the retail, like interacting with customers and I liked the whole design look into curating Alabama's rubbing off on you. Why you saying you love to be with customers? And I've always loved the customers. I'd love to love people. I love customers. When I made Christmas reasons in Chicago and sold them in flea markets, I didn't tell you about that one. That's a different story.
Ah, well I need to know though, like at some point did you mourn the fact that you were not going to be a pastor and like now you're this,
oh, his door. Oh, always. Yeah. It's still to this day. You more than that. Yeah. So sometimes I wonder like miss heavies, the wrong word. I just have a lot of like doubt. Sure.
I mean, I don't know. Like I see you here and how I'm, I've been here probably, I don't want to say a dozen times, but around that and you do interact with people in a very intimate way to where you care for them. You listen to them. Like I said, I just think that maybe
don't let this exterior
Philly pastoring really, you know,
may look a little different in your life and I think you are doing what you're supposed to do in reaching people right here in your storefront and throughout the, when the trade shows, when they come, yes, they don't really come in the doors, but if they're coming, if they do come in the door. Um, so
obviously were you thinking when you got the seed money that this is, this is going to work. I mean we're going to
no, I have no idea what I was doing. Okay, well that was pretty ugly too. Yeah. Yeah. We're going to save that for a new, a different chef. Different show. Yes. I mean seriously like if I knew anything back then I probably would have made it a lot more mistakes. Really.
Yeah. Cause I would have thought I knew which direction to go at the scene. So my ignorance was kind of helpful at the same time. I wish I knew then what I knew now at the, I mean it's a catch 22 because like, but I had like, I was an English major. I didn't know if I said that. So I was an English major. I got a Latin minor and a philosophy minor that both did not transfer when I, when I changed schools. Really? Yeah. And so like um, cause uh, cause it looks like I just spent seven years on this degree but it's not true. I was like literally like had two full minors. I was like one hour away from both minors and then I transferred and neither of them
And so I was an English major, like going to seminary who started
nonprofit and two businesses. What did you learn that you can apply to future situations from all this? Don't do it. Don't do what? Don't do you? I mean I already saw that shit. It's entrepreneurial-ism is not for everyone. Yeah. I wouldn't recommend it either.
Like the new cool thing right now, like starting your own business, being an entrepreneur, like hey, if you've got that word entrepreneur next to you, you're cool. Cool. Yeah. Yeah. It's, especially if it's tech specially if it's tech, but it's highly difficult. Oh my gosh. Extremely difficult. So I was just highly unlikely you're going to succeed. So I was just at this um, conference in Dallas, which was like the, the Christian version of shark tank lines. Then like V and it's for real and there's a group, the, the lines done was started here in Birmingham's for a group of Christian businessmen businesses mission group and they're at Sanford University and then there's one at Dallas Baptist University now. So I was there, I went to this breakout. There's this guy who is worth a lot of money doing this session and he's got a, an a some type of investment fund and like it's pretty pig.
Like he's legit, he's like an ex marine and also in heart, Harvard MBA. Wow. Dude. Like it's crazy. It's cool. It's crazy business here in Birmingham. No, he's in Dallas. He's based in Dallas and he's part of the Dallas guys. So I went to his breakout session just to hear to try to learn a few things. And he came to this like startling statistics of like, um, he's like, if your business is around in the first, after three years of starting, you're like in like the eighth percentile. That's scary. Yeah. It was like, cause one in five businesses fail. Right. And then he's like, if you actually do like what was the number 2 million in sale? If you get to, if you get to 500,000 you're like in the 2% and if you get to like a million to 5 million, you're in the top 1% and if you get to like over 10 million you kind of have like made it and that's like less than like 0.8%.
It's like crazy of businesses I start with in certain amount of years. It's not encouraging. No. At the basically is like me, you better have something good if you're going to want to launch a business or not know what you're doing or be able to scrap it. You gotta be able to describe exit exit strategy strategy? Well, what exit strategy. I'm just, when I say scrap it, I mean like, so maybe that was the wrong word. Choice. It's okay though. Um, scrape it together. Oh yeah, you gotta have grit. You gotta figure you gotta be willing to like bootstrap. Yeah, I know. You've got to grind it out, grind it out. What are you most proud of with your story? I mean, you've been here since 2013. Yeah. So I dunno, I still am to struggle with how to define success. I still struggle with how to define success based on like the American dream versus like what does success look like?
So we're still here. The business is still around. We're helping a lot of people. Our sales are way better than they were when we started, but they're not at what they could be. And I'm always striving to do more. Um, whether or not I'm striving to do more to build it for my family, which is partially true, but really like the more sales I have, the more people I employed overseas and the more people I help and that's like what really governs it. But at the same time, like if I use that as my driving force every day, it's really demanding. It's like a serious demand. I'm because I'm like, you feel more like a failure than you do as a success when you've kind of like 7 billion people in the world and of which half of them 3.5 billion are living like on less than $2 a day. It's crazy. Yes. Success is relative. So like what does success look like for me?
I'm in the top 1% of the world and yet like I'm trying to help the bottom 50. Okay. And I don't know people, I'm a capitalist for sure. I sell stuff to people. I don't know. A lot of stuff they don't need. I mean it's like just true, right? Yeah. And what do you at the same time, I think you kind of do need it because there's two advantages to having stuff that's made in our store. One, it's handmade by somebody overseas and it's employing or empowering somebody who has little to nothing, but now they have dignity. They have worth. Now they can provide for their own family and too, I mean, so it brings that human element and two, it's, it's fair. So you're not buying something that was like made in a sweatshop or made by somebody who is exploited or taken advantage of. So like it's that other layer of dignity and um, and I think those are important and they get lost. That sounds like success. Yeah. That's a good defense. I mean, doing that for someone that's huge. Uh Huh. But not a lot of people are doing it. Yeah. It's lonely out there.
You chasing your dreams, has it helped you to reach out to others or under other entrepreneurs? Maybe you inspired them
I think. I think for the first, no, no, in short, no, no. In short, no. And here's why. Two reasons. It's been taking me five to six years just to figure out like own it that I'm an entrepreneur and then I have my own business. So you've not really been at that point to where yeah, the knowledge is overflowing. Well, so you're just, it's not just knowledge. So knowledge is the second part. So it's like, so, and it's a piece of the puzzle, but for me just owning that title and owning like who I am and what I'm good at and like where I'm supposed to be. I'm a, I am kind of where I'm supposed to be, am still struggling with that. Like, because I still hang out with the doubt and the regret of like the dropping out and of leaving seminary and like forgetting that calling and forgetting that path and going on a whole different journey.
Right. And so like, and then at the same time like, so I've, I've kind of figured out how to own it and, but then it's also like the old me and my wife would close to call me pretty proud and arrogant, but like I'm not the same way I used to be as well. Like, so I still, there's, I mean people struggle with pride, not all,
but a lot, most especially entrepreneurs. I mean, come on, who's kidding? I'm very humble. You've got to kind of have products. You kind of have to have like this belief that you can do anything
you want to when you put your mind to it and you would otherwise not, oh, absolutely. Yeah. There's an arrogance there that you're saying, oh, I'm, it's not going to protect me. I can, I can blast through that and do it right at the same time. Like on a bad day is just like, it's the world's crumbling and you're going to like crawl up into a fetal position and you're a little crazy, but you do this, this, this initially it's just give and take. Okay. I read it, I read something, Pong Ball, I read something in Forbes and uh, I don't know if I read in Forbes, so don't quote this, but I read it, I read it somewhere. People, there was an article that talked about it, talked about, uh, entrepreneurs having, you know, uh, a small amount of manic, a small amount, not, not a, not a great amount as far as to make it detrimental to their, uh, performance.
But there, there is an amount there that they have, which is sort of a catalyst to why they are successful or the why they've chosen the entrepreneurial route. And I kind of feel like that, I always feel like I was always a little screw Bali, so maybe that's, yeah, I'm a, I'm a bit more than a surgeon can attest to that. I'm probably a bit more than a small yeah, for real. But they say, well, like, so what? So I was with friends at last Tuesday here in the store and they, we were talking and she works for a friend of mine. Um, and if she's ever listens to this, she'll know who she is. But she's like, I told her, I really believe strongly that like the rules don't apply to me. How did that go? Rules on? And she said, you're a narcissist. And I said, no, this is not narcissism.
This is entrepreneurial-ism. I didn't answer this way, but this is what I was thinking. Like there's a sense of me that there could be pride in narcissistic tendencies. Fright. I mean, as at the same time I just read, it wasn't in Forbes, but it was in ink. I mean, I don't even know who he was. He could've been, he was an ink. Might've been the same. I just read an ink that like entrepreneurs and it was a study done by, um, this professor in Toronto who's a psychologist, sociologist and he examined entrepreneurs and he's like, entrepreneurs had the exact opposite trait and soldiers, soldiers fall the rules, they need rules and, and Instruction and they need guidance and they need to be told what to do to stay away from danger. It's not just what, I don't know what the reason is or just following danger or or following an executing the command.
Right. Absolutely. Listening and entrepreneurs, they don't want those rules and restrictions. They need to know that there are no rules and restrictions or if they're above them because they're creating something that wasn't there before. Wow. I am 100% a soldier and Emory is 100 years change. Churches. Life now knows what's wrong with me. I love rules. Yeah, I don't, my wife is a rule follower. I'm a rule breaker. She's like, that light is red. I said that that light is yellow turning to red, and if we crossed that line, we're in the yellow zone. Like she's like, why didn't you stop?
Yeah. Trish is a rule follower. Oh, why didn't you use your turn signal or indicate that you were changing lanes? I said, because the person two miles behind is really doesn't need to be notified. It's totally fine.
Yeah. Who am I telling? It would be nice if you told me. I was like, you're in the passenger. Oh, Jamie, I love you and hope you're not listening to this part. So anyway, in a nutshell, I don't really know if I'm inspiring anybody to do what I'm doing. My goal hasn't been to do that yet. I've had to own it for myself
at the same time. I know for a fact that I haven't even been doing this 10 years. Like we started in 2010 2009 like unofficially but 2010, 10 years and it was three or four years into that that I really like hit my stride and figured it out that this is where we are and where we're going. So in my mind the business is really only like five, six years old. Legitimately, it's still on its end with a complete separation from the nonprofit and being able to totally support itself and, and everyone in everything underneath it.
And so because of that, um, I don't really feel like I'm an expert in this whole thing yet to be able to advise or offer that type of guidance. The only type of guidance I usually can offer people is two things. Don't do it. If you don't got it. And I can usually tell pretty quickly if someone's got it or not. Yeah. If you call yourself an entrepreneur, you probably know an entrepreneur and then two, two, I'm not kidding. It's like I know what you mean. You know what I mean? Right. And then too, um, the other advice I know I can give is don't work with your spouse. I don't know. I totally another five guys. We've, and we, I know we've talked about this before. Me and Tricia killing it.
We've been married almost 11 years and we are, I mean we actually love working together. It is a great partnership. You guys are odd. You're not the rule. Thanks a lot man. Thanks. I do think we are humble guy. So I do think we are an odd couple. So we don't know that with my spouse we don't fit. But I don't know. I mean I do enjoy his lioness personality and he does. He likes my personality of isn't a lioness the girl? Yes. Oh pretty. Pretty sure. Sorry not line is, what is it? Lion? It's cause we're in the gym monkey right now. That's what [inaudible]. Okay. I do like his lying personality. The king. I do call him king. You do? Yes. So yes, she, does she ever give her grow your beard out or leave it like mango? He did whenever we lived in Columbia and I couldn't deal with it like a, like a, yeah, she would for real me.
I did apologize. Okay. Whatever. I do call you lion and so scratch Linus and I didn't know, isn't it princess? I get it. Princess Line is okay. Wow. Anyway, but I do, we do work together well and we balance each other out. Couples. Couples can do that. Yeah. It's rare. It's, it's actually very beautiful the way we do work together. I think it works for some, but for the majority thing, either don't, it doesn't work well or they shouldn't. Yeah. It's healthy for me. It's really not like I'm 13 years into the unhealthy stuff. I okay. Like whenever my wife and I are like not working together, things are way better at home. Yeah. You know what you can do with what you can do. Odd. When we are not working together, we're like, man, tell you we didn't get to like hang out and like work together and like brainstorm till we actually say that when we go home. Wait. Anyway. Well I want you to like define like what, like how are you winning through dropping out? Like what, it kind of explained that a little bit. So I think the whole dropping out scenario,
whether it's in like school, which it was for me and my master's and it was pretty close to it and my Undergrad, I mean like literally went to three different schools in my undergraduate degree. Um, one was an easy transition, the other was not so, and it was like not sure if I was going to go back. So, um, it kinda helps to build s it tears you down like tremendously, but it also builds a new, some character and if you can like figure out a way to overcome from that. So I used to really be in take classical music and I still kind of am, but like Stravinsky was one of my favorite composers and the fibers sweet. And it's like, like my all time favorite, the Firebird being the Phoenix that rises from the ashes. Right. So like there's a sense of, um, dropping out.
It's like, it's the, the dustbin, the ashes, like, it's over. And whereas a new beginning coming from, and that's where I think all of us are trying to figure out like, what's that new beginning look like and how do we do that? Especially those of us who have dropped out of something before. So whether you've kind of like me and like not finished school or one aspect of school, cause I've had friends that dropped out of
high school and I had friends that didn't finish college. My brother even, um, went to community college for one year and then it was like, this is not for me. I'm done. And he was not book smart. He's a smart kid. I'm pretty sure he worked for my dad and now he owns the company and runs it. And so like you don't, I mean it's, it looks different for everybody, right?
But like, absolutely. Um, I don't know what advice I would give them except for like, just discover who you are and try the new thing. It even if you're not sure what that new thing, that next thing it looks like. Can you just kind of go for it? Yeah. And kind of take the next right step. Yeah. Yeah. Or left. Hold on. Just take a step. I mean, really like you just got to go. I mean, so like when I was at my worst in seminary, like I couldn't enter school. I hadn't, I was literally like in my car, calling my wife in tears. Like, honey, I can't go in. I don't know what I'm doing. I literally can't. Difficult, man. It's tough. It was tough and like I had no answer. And then the, the writing was on the wall in a sense. Like we, we decided our own path, but it was like, maybe this isn't for us.
And then I, then I was like, well, I still got to keep doing what I'm doing. So we kept him in the nonprofit, but under that, under my new leadership, I was like, all right, well let's try this. Let's try that. And then like the rug was pulled out from under us when the market crashed in our donations, gave it like 50% drop. We just kind of had to do something. So we improvised it. A pivot. Yep. And some people can pivot and land on their own two feet. Some people pivot and fall flat on their face. Some people pivot and they need a pivot into someone else's creation. It's not necessarily like you always have to do it yourself, um, as well. And that's another piece of advice. So if you're not an entrepreneur and you know that about yourself, it's not like you're on this alone. You can kinda just go reinvent yourself in someone else's creation. Yeah.
That's good man. Great Advice. Well, we are so thankful for you joining us today and sharing your story. Um, you really encouraged me, which I always say I need my daily dose of encouragement. So thank you so much Scott, for sharing your story with us. Yeah. Thanks for sharing, man. Yeah.
Was that, am I putting insightful? Absolutely. Next time we'll have a dance party,
dance party and Jumanji dance dance revolution. Johnsy no. Jumanji come on in. Kanzi. Yes. Kanzi is the name of the state. We'll bring board games. [inaudible] Jim Hush.
Yeah, it's probably one board game.
I could play it and he would totally play two rounds without your music on. Cause it's totally like role playing, but it's a physicality literally involved. I feel like I have the every step of the way I can bring it. Which and make it happen. Which are you Dwayne? The Rock. The Rock? No, the new one. The new,
I don't remember. I just go there. I don't remember anything. Oh, come on Robin Williams. You're way more like Robin Williams.
I'll tell you. Robin Williams, he was a stud. He was a, he was a great actor. Very good.
Yes, he was. Well we'll bring board county looks like, I don't look like Robin Williams. Similar like Michael Jordan more than other like rotten league. Which Michael Jordan, [inaudible] Jordan or chem j. Any anyone from Chicago. How's tying that in? And I'm a professional and slap a podcast. Oh Man. Well,
thank you for listening out there and just remember to share your story because you never know who can be, who needs to be encouraged, who needs to hear their daily dose of encouragement. So share your story with someone today. And again, thank you for listening. Thanks a lot, guys, for listening and have one day and week
when the ugly moments come. Remember that light shines brightest in the dark. Love radiates brightest among life stands most boldly against