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Change Co. - Giving Back with Cool Subscription Boxes

May 25, 2017

We recently started a collaboration with Change Co., a startup that offers a quarterly subscription box to introduce others to modern socially conscious products made by companies that are striving to create positive and lasting change.

They donate to charity too. Nice!

We love connecting with other socially conscious brands and sharing their story, so I caught up with the cofounder Lydia to hear her story first hand:

(Joe from Tree Tribe): Where do you live and where are you from?

(Lydia): I am from an incredibly small town in Kentucky. I grew up with a large family, and an even larger extended family that included much of the neighborhood! I was fortunate to grow up in a town where everyone knows each other, the kids play outside until dark, and no one locks their doors.

For the past five and a half years, I have lived on the outskirts of Nashville, TN with my husband, who doubles as my best friend, and my german shepherd who doubles as my needy child. :)

How did you come up with the idea for Change Co? Tell us the story of your startup.

I always knew that I wanted to do something that made the world a better place. In that small town I mentioned above, I spent many summers rallying the neighborhood kids to host bake sales, car washes, and yard sales to raise money and awareness for a children’s hospital - we cleverly called ourselves Kids Helping Kids.

I spent much of my time after that holding fundraising campaigns for charity: water, the nonprofit that strives to bring clean drinking water to those in developing nations. These fundraising years fostered my desire to help others, and strengthened my desire to create something of my own that gives back.

I had thought of starting my own nonprofit, and I still plan to one day. I had a small understanding of social enterprise (I loved shopping with Pura Vida and Krochet Kids!), but once I started working at an international social enterprise and learned more of how powerful this model was - I fell in love with it!

I looked into starting my own social enterprise focusing on helping human trafficking victims, and though I definitely see that idea in the cards for the future, it was not a viable option for my current situation.

While still keeping my social enterprise wheels turning, I kept getting these popular subscription box advertisements on Facebook and thought how nifty a monthly surprise would be! I suppose you could say I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment, when I thought of how incredible it would be to introduce the masses to the socially conscious products being made by companies that really wanted to change the world; how this could inspire people to find purpose in their purchases and really make an impact!

I hit the ground running from there and things started to slowly fall into place. In the early months of Change Co. being born, I enthusiastically spilled all of the above to one of my greatest friends, Meredith, and she immediately caught a vision and came on as the co-founder and my right hand lady!

We are now figuring this rollercoaster out one day at a time, and I have to tell you, it has been one of most exhilarating rides of our life! Woah, was that too long of an answer?! :)

hiking in the woods

I love how you give back a portion of profits to charity. What organization(s) do you donate to and what motivated you to get involved in social enterprise?

Meredith and I knew that we wanted Change Co. to make as much of a positive impact as possible, from every single product in the box, to the box itself (made from 100% recycled material!).

We wanted our subscribers to rest easy knowing that their purchase from us had a purpose. So, we decided to commit to donating at least 10% of all of our profits each quarter to a highlighted charity! We want to be able to use this opportunity to draw attention to causes that may not get as much attention, such as the water crisis and human trafficking.

We are about to ship out our first Change Co. box for the summer (yay!), so we have only had one featured charity to date - charity: water. We chose them for several reasons, they were the first nonprofit that I sunk my heart into, and the water crisis is one that is worthy of everyone’s attention (did you know that 1 in 10 people lack access to clean drinking water?!).

We vow to only work with reputable nonprofits that are doing their best to change the world for the better.

Who or what are your inspirations?

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by so many people who have positively shaped me and my world view.

My mother is the strongest woman that I know and my role model. From a young age, I watched her and her admirable work ethic provide for my brother and I, work multiple jobs, and put herself through college. My mother never told me that I could not be whatever I wanted to be, and instilled in me that I always should treat others the way that I would want them to treat me. I think that lesson has shaped much of what I am doing now.

My husband is my rock. I have no idea what I would do without his encouragement and support of every crazy idea that crosses my mind. How even when I want to quit something, he gives me the little push that I need to keep going, and reminds me of why I started. He is someone who goes the extra mile, and I am happy to have that rub off on me a little!

Everyday I am inspired by so many of my caring, selfless, friends and family, it would be hard to list everyone that keeps me going! :)

What are your goals?

My goal is to create as much positive change that I can before I leave this world. Meredith and I have some pretty ambitious goals with Change Co., how we wish to shape it, the impact we want to have in the coming years - to say that I am excited to see how the next year goes would be an understatement!

Where is your favorite nature spot in the world?

I have added so many to my list this year (now I only have to find the time to get to them!). As of now, one of my favorite nature spots would be in the mountains in Colorado. I spent about a week in high school climbing a 14,000 ft mountain with my peers and there is nothing more surreal than climbing to the top and looking at miles of snowy toped trees and mountains.

mountain view

Do you have any books or podcasts you want to recommend?

The Hidden Brain is my all time favorite podcast! Meredith and I both studied Psychology in college and love learning why people do what they do. The Hidden Brain dives into and sheds light on just about every topic you could imagine, and that interests me!

I am currently reading The Art of Significance by Dan Clark, and so far it is a phenomenal read! I was fortunate enough to meet Dan at a personal development seminar and his stories about living a life of significance really resonated with me. If you want to be inspired to strive for a life of purpose and meaning, I recommend buying a copy!

Any advice you want to give to aspiring social entrepreneurs?

Find something - a cause, a problem to fix - your why, and pour your heart into it. Find a cause that will keep you up at night, something that will cause you to bombard your friend’s Facebook newsfeed with (haha)- something that tugs at your heart. And once you find that ‘something’, let it consume you.

Someone wise once said 'do what you love and you will never work a day in your life'. Your why is what will keep you up after an exhausting day to send that last email, and I firmly believe that you have to have that something to build a social enterprise (or anything for that matter).

How can people follow your journey?

People can follow mine and Meredith’s Change Co. journey on Instagram (@changeco.us) and Facebook (@changecobox).

It is going to be a wild journey, and we are thrilled to welcome anyone aboard, to lock arms and change the world with us. :)

**By the way, their first subscription box is launching June 1st and they're hooking up the Tree Tribe fam with 10% off the first box - you can use code TREETRIBE at Changeco.us. The code is good until June 1st! :)

Author: Joe

Joe's into outdoor adventures, hiking, living in random countries, and having fun. He's on a mission to make a positive impact on the world and live in harmony with the Earth.

Favorite nature spot: "Any forest, probably Big Sur in California"