Home is where the heart is. It is the place that contributes to one's self-awareness and values, which ultimately have a hand in shaping a person's career success. Therefore, with no surprise, it is expected for someone to want to protect their home at all costs. At least, that's the mission of Francesca Kennedy, Founder of Ix Style Water For Children. She recently sat down with Project Entrepreneur and discussed how her passion to give back became a business.
What inspired you to start your business?
In 2009, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, which once was considered the 8th world wonder almost died. This lake is where I was baptized, it's where I learned how to swim, it's where my grandparents lived, it was and is my second home.
Overnight, toxic blue-green algae covered almost every inch of the lake. NASA called it one of the worst natural disasters to occur in our lifetime as you could see the contamination from space. During that trip, I saw little girls collecting the water to drink and the markets were empty as tourists had stopped visiting.
Ix Style is a charitable fashion company that sells bags and sandals made by Mayan women artisans in Guatemala. For every purchase, we donate 15% of our proceeds to provide clean drinking water to communities around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, where my family is originally from. Ix is the Mayan word for water.
What is the biggest thing you'd like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
I would love to see less fast fashion and more handmade quality products that benefit the artisans that make them. Through our work with our weaving coop's in Guatemala, we're doing exactly that.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
"Don't let anyone deter your dreams." My dream is to share my journey with audiences around the world and inspire people to start their own companies and leave the world a little better than how we found it. When I started Ix Style and left Goldman Sachs a lot of people thought selling typical sandals from Guatemala sounded crazy.
What do you do every Monday morning to prepare and motivate yourself for the coming week?
I go for a run or do yoga. Then I meditate for 15 minutes through my friend Julie's meditations. Her guided meditation, when done regularly, have really helped me stay motivated and on track!
This article originally appeared on the Project Entrepreneur website and has been condensed for clarity.