And the bigger point this makes for consumerism.
In the age of social distancing and staying indoors, millions of people have found themselves in virtual classrooms and work spaces. While these changes have introduced a whole new set of challenges, there comes a revolutionary opportunity to follow your own passion and finally start that idea you’ve had for years.
And while countless businesses are struggling during these unprecedented times, there is hope for the future. With new struggles come new solutions as people around the world find creative ways to make ends meet.
After witnessing toilet paper obtain its own worth as currency, Americans in particular have realized the supply chain vulnerabilities of corporate consumerism in parallel with joining a movement to support small businesses.
Many essential household items have been swept off of grocery store shelves repeatedly since the start of the pandemic. Cleaning products have faced especially high demand as households attempt to defend themselves against the novel coronavirus.
Soap in particular has introduced an opportunity for the general public. It’s not exactly easy to create your own version of Lysol that’s safe, but soap is actually rather simple. It’s currently one of the more popular searches on Google!
With how accessible it is to learn how to make such a critical sanitary item, Fifth-grader Grant Collier decided to do just that.
“I had the idea a year ago,” said Collier. “But we never did it. And then when coronavirus hit, I decided to start it because people needed soap.”
At the time of this writing Collier has sold his soap to over 60 customers including The Jungle Box in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Given that he’s in fifth grade, his mother helps him with some of the logistics.
“For right now, running the social media and stuff, that’s kind of my part,” said Collier’s mother, Morgan Martin. “I do step in and help him when he has big orders and I help him with keeping track of the orders. But I think as he gets older, he’ll be able to do some of those things more on his own.”
Not only is Collier developing a hard work ethic and business skills, he’s also saving money to go to college.
“He is putting a lot of the money into his savings account,” said Morgan. “He wants to go to a good college someday, So that he can own an even bigger business. He’s also helping us pay for some of those hockey expenses as well because they’re very expensive.”
Even as Collier grows his successful business, he still has the support of his mother to allow him to still be a kid.
“It’s mostly fun,” explained Grant. “Because we can be making double the amount of soap at one time. So, while my mom is mixing the soap, I can be heating my soap base up, and when she finishes, I’ll put it over and we can just get it done quicker. And then I can get back on my Xbox.”
Collier isn’t alone in his entrepreneurial spirit. In Houston County Georgia, 12-year-old Chavis Taylor-Smith founded his soap company 10ksoaps. Taylor-Smith has devoted nearly all of his profits to donations and homeless shelters, serving as an example during these stressful times.
“Helping others just makes you feel good,” Taylor-Smith said. “It was during a time of need and people couldn’t really find it anywhere, any soaps or hand sanitizers or anything anywhere, and I was just there to help as a helping hand.”
Across the world, Tayyab is an 11-year-old boy in Pakistan who founded Soaptastic. His unique flare on hygiene includes placing a toy inside each bar of soap he makes. This encourages kids to wash their hands thoroughly as they try and get to the center-prize. As a bonus — Tayyab has great taste in toys.
Initially, Tayyab and his siblings gave 20% of their profits to charity. But after their venture gained traction, they decided to pledge over 90% of their earnings to their communities. How can this not brighten your day?
These are only three of countless examples of the entrepreneurial spirit and a will to do good — despite the circumstances. When the two combine, opportunities arise and everyday items bring a smile to your face.
Despite the severity of the pandemic, the world is seeing the possibilities that come from the general public serving their communities. Imagine if one day it is common to get natural soap from a neighbor instead of buying a name-brand from a corporate chain. What other everyday items are waiting to be crowd-sourced? What opportunities await for those who decide to simply take that first step, and do what is good for them and the world? What will our consumerism-based society look like if people choose to serve their communities rather than serve their wallets?
I am hopeful for the future.