My business partner is Steve. We’ve known each other for a long time. He’s been my marketing consultant for my human resources consulting business that I started in 1988. Over the years, we often met at restaurants and coffee shops to conduct our business due to the distance between our locations.
We had a particularly interesting meeting at a popular Providence, Rhode Island restaurant in the fall of 2011. At that time, the world was still suffering from the results of the Great Recession of 2008.
At the end of our meeting and lunch, Steve asked me if I would listen to some ideas he had for potential new businesses. He never asked me something like this before. I listened to one idea about a new phone app, but I didn’t like it, and went back to finishing my lunch of fish and chips (one of my favorites dishes at this particular restaurant).
He then told me about another idea. He said it was inspired by the painful effects of the Great Recession: an apparel company with products and messages that would urge people to engage in positive behaviors to benefit the lives of others, not them. Steve said that it wouldn't be a charity that asked people to give to specific causes, but a broad campaign to encourage people to do a wide variety of good deeds for others. He thought it might be a great way to offset what seemed to be increasingly negative behavior in our world. I told him that I liked it, and urged him to think about it some more. We left the restaurant and we each went on to finish our day's activities.
I didn’t give Steve's ideas too much thought after I left. But as days went by I couldn’t get his idea out of my mind. A week later I called him to tell him how much I really liked his concept, and asked him if I could be involved in helping him develop the idea. He told me that it was what he hoped to hear! We got to work, and spent numerous meetings at the restaurant (usually over more fish and chips) to begin the creation of The Make Life Good Company!
WHO WE ARE
Today, we are four guys who strongly believe that we can play a part in making the world a better place. We’re not musicians who have already sold millions of CDs, who are starting a new project, or even filmmakers who have already made successful movies, but are seeking funding for another one.
We are a brand new venture with few financial resources that has been in development for more than three years. During this time, we’ve done things like meet in coffee shops and restaurants to discuss our core philosophies, identify our key messages, create basic designs for products, recruit designers, create a logo, develop a business plan, test our idea with people and business students, and arrange the legal stuff.
I’ve told you about Steve and me, and how The Make Life Good Company (MLG) was formed. Along the way, we gradually told people about our idea as we tested it in the marketplace. All love our idea! They understood that our concept isn’t about how good life is for us, as individuals. Instead, our idea is exactly the opposite. It’s about what the name of the company says… making life good for others.
And through our journey over the past four years several people liked our concept so much that they are now part of the company. They include two MBA students and an undergraduate business major from two different schools who approached us and asked how they could become a part of what were doing. We didn’t ask them - they asked us how they could help us. They didn’t ask for compensation. They just said they thought that they could help. I love those kinds of people who recognize a good idea!
One of them is Mike, our third partner. Steve and I are happy to have him a key member of our team. I always hope that businesses that I support are run by great people. It just makes the whole experience more satisfying and complete for me. Mike is that person. People who we hope to help in the future would be even happier to know that Mike, an MBA from UMass Boston who works at State Street Global Advisors, has helped to make this idea a reality. His help has been invaluable to Steve and me.
The same is true for Sean-Paul Fitzgerald, who handles our social media activities. We are thrilled to have a young person like SSean-Paul contribute his knowledge and perspective to our efforts. A recent MBA graduate of Clark University Graduate School of Management with a concentration corporate social responsibility, Sean-Paul works at Transamerica.
It takes a lot of time and effort to start and build a business. And we are very pleased with what we have accomplished so far, which includes:
- Developed unique product concept.
- Trademarked and registered the words "Make Life Good!" for the apparel class with the USPTO.
- Created and trademarked our logo for the apparel class with the USPTO, which should be registered by late summer/early fall.
- Recently trademarked the words "Make Life Good!" for the jewelry class with the USPTO in anticipation of a partnership with a jewelry manufacturer and marketer with distribution around the world.
- Inspired business partners to join us.
- Built a Shopify ecommerce webstore with the assistance of MinionMde.com that has been operational since the fall of 2015, and have created social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and Tumblr.
- Partnered with ThePrintful.com to produce and ship many of our products for our online customer orders.
- Ran a small, yet successful Kickstarter.com crowdfunding campaign in the summer of 2015.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING. . .
There is so much more yet to come. We’ve started with some basic t-shirt designs that convey our primary message as well as some of our secondary messages. In the near future, we’ll produce additional apparel and more non-apparel products, including jewelry, like bracelets, name tags and necklaces, glassware and drinkware, posters, home products, and other items.
We're committed to making all of our products in the USA. We want to “make life good” for workers in this country. It’s time to re-commit to building American businesses battered by the outsourcing of work abroad. Although our part in this movement may be very small at the moment, our belief in the importance of this commitment is strong.
We also believe that all of us should do our part financially to help those who need help. That's why we will donate 10 percent of our profits to organizations, and possibly individuals, too, that Make Life Good for others.
Steve, Dave, Mike, Sean-Paul