Archive for March, 2011


Law School Prom

Yesterday I took a break from Swapfish to head to Barrister’s Ball, the Harvard Law equivalent of senior prom.  It was possibly the best experience I have had yet at Harvard.  I feel so fortunate to have such a great group of friends who are all so interesting, intelligent, and inspiring, but who also can do the Dougie, shopping cart, and salsa like champions.  The photo below is missing the other six, but, everyone was too busy dancing to get all nine of us together at once.

It’s hard to believe we only have four weeks of classes left.  I am going to miss this place and the wonderful people I have met here.

 

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Cash strapped 20-somethings.

I read about an interesting socially entrepreneurial start-up today creating an AARP for twenty-somethings. (You can check them out here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/25/aarp-for-under-30-set-aim_n_840851.html). However, the thing in the article that struck me was the lead-in, stating that one in six twenty-somethings were underemployed, and one in ten had to move back in with their parents.  The article also stated the average 20-something carried $24,o00 in debt.

As a 25 year-old soon-to-be Harvard Law grad launching my own company, I can relate to this statistic.  I have piles of student debt, and am living on hope that I will never end up back in my parents basement (although, free rent while starting a company is always a good thing).

This statistic got me thinking…

The 20-something era is when the majority of parents have their first child (although the age seems to be trending upwards).  A large number of my friends are now having their first, or even second child.  As I think through my friends, some of the brightest, most interesting people I know are underemployed, many of them now with children.  With one out of six twenty-somethings being under-employed, that is a lot of families potentially trying to make ends meet on a less than ideal budget.

Swapfish can help.

http://mashable.com/2011/03/23/ski-lift-pitch

I love this idea for bringing entrepreneurs and investors together!

4:04am

It’s 4:04am and I likely should be sleeping.  However, I am wrapping up emails, putting together a partnership packet and wondering when in the next 24 hours I am going to research and finish the paper I have due for class on Friday.  The crazy thing? I am unbelievably happy.  There is a sense of sheer joy that comes from building something that is yours, from taking a vision and making it tangible and accessible to other people and impacting their lives in a new way that is unrivaled by possibly anything else.

I was talking with another fellow entrepreneur a few days ago, and we both mentioned how we viewed company building as art, rather than work.  He said “some people are painters, some are composers, I’m a builder.  I create companies.”  I think that’s a great insight; it explains how something can be simultaneously the most difficult and most enjoyable thing I have ever done.

And now back to work.

The average family spends $30,000 on “stuff” for their child between the ages of 0-12.  That’s not food or consumables, that just “stuff”, toys, books, games, clothes, bikes, sports equipment, etc.  To put that in perspective, it would look something like this over the child’s lifetime:

The average family’s pile of “stuff ” headed to the landfill would be enough to fill an entire semi-truck!  71% of this could be resold on the secondary market and reused by another child.  So, imagine taking that huge pile of wasted “stuff” above, and reducing it down to this:

It’s an ambitious goal for a company to change lives and save the planet, but, at Swapfish, we dream big.  It makes all the work worth it!

I just arrived back in Boston on late Monday night from spending nearly a week back home in Central IL with my family.  It is a town surrounded by cornfields on nearly all sides, and defined by churches, baseball diamonds, and community centers.  I have only been away for three years, yet I am amazed now when I go back the little things I notice that come with living in a small midwestern town.

For instance, when I was out shopping with my mom and sister, a woman came out of the dressing room and asked my fashion advice.  Within three minutes, I learned she had two teenage boys, always wished for girls, and was told growing up she should never wear yellow because of her blonde hair color.  After living in Boston for three years now, that amount of self-disclosure reinforced to me the human desire for connection and the importance of relationships, even among strangers.   I loved it!   And, btw, she was right, yellow wasn’t the best choice…I told her to go with the bright pink instead to contrast her skin tone.  She followed my advice (I think).

Being back home always reminds me why I am working so hard on Swapfish, and why all the sleepless nights, missed classes, and overdoses on Dr. Pepper and Starbuck’s are worth it.  Because so many families, especially in the midwest, are working so hard just trying to make ends meet.  I have so much admiration for the bargain shoppers, garage-sale aficionados, and coupon-cutters.  It’s time there was a way for these moms to save money while still providing safe and quality items for their child.  It is my dream at Swapfish to make life easier, and a bit better, so perhaps rather than downgrading their phone plan to pay for new toys, or forgoing new clothes to buy a coat for their child, young families can stretch their dollars just a little further.

Now that company building is in full swing, I decided to finally jump into the blogging world.  I’m excited to start sharing my thoughts on life, the start-up process, and tips to help moms save money, save space, and live more sustainably.

Welcome to the thoughts inside my head. I’m sure this blog will turn into an interesting mix of personal insights and professional reflections.  So…without further delay, let’s do this!