Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Sandra Vaughan, CEO of Earth Bands. Originally, an a author, first book, “Two Thousand Minnows, and film producer in LA, National TV commercials, films, and documentaries. But now it’s 100% Earth Bands…
What exactly is Earth Bands?
Earth Bands are very cool and special bracelets, each bead is actually made with the earth or the sand from every location, i.e., home state, place, college or beach. Each tag on the bracelets has a groovy design that identifies the bracelets’ location. Earth Bands are USA made and sourced with eco ethical materials, vegan if you will. That also means, we actually spend more to make sure we can buy our products in the USA, from the slider, the ID tags, the designers, printers, clay, colors, etc.. With the exception of the hemp cord that is not available for purchase in the US, hopefully that change sometime soon. We are located in a small town in Northern California and we love supporting the local economy and students.
What inspired you to start Earth Bands?
Earth Bands, overall pureness; the simplicity and seeing the true happiness it brings people is what inspired me. It was my brother, Mark’s, idea to make a meaningful bracelet using the earth or sand. Of course, how we got there was another story, as I say, it took a year of failing and rolling million ugly beads to get there and finally figure it out. But each hometown, cool beach, special place or college team holds a certain kind of meaningful connection for people. I love giving, and giving people happiness and putting a smile on their face when they receive their bracelet is really true happiness for me personally. I always say, I have the best seat in the house when it comes to Earth Bands, I get to interact with those who share how much their bracelets mean to them or how the bracelets actually inspire them personally. I love that. Every Bead Tells Your Story!
What is the mission behind Earth Bands?
The mission is really simple, to take care of planet and people as best we can. We give back $1.00 from each bracelet to one of our three favorite non-profits, the customer picks which one they want their dollar to go to. Our commitment to support people with purchasing our eco ethical materials here in the USA is to continue economic growth in the country and community by providing jobs. It’s so amazing to see what a difference your business can do for others, from a pay check, to learning and collaboration.
Each bracelet is unique in their own way, can you tell us how/why?
Each bracelet is unique in their own way is because we hand roll them, so therefore, each bead has it’s own slight individual shape, color variations, swirls designs, and the hemp color the customer choses also lends itself to that uniqueness as well.
You give back to the planet with every purchase, can you tell us about that?
Again, the giver in me, frickin’ loves the give back to the planet, the feeling you have when you get to write a check and send it to non-profit or sponsorship. Knowing that you are contributing towards the planets’ health well being, is so gratifying. In fact, I feel that way just ordering product for the bracelets, again, knowing we are supporting employee’s salaries or other companies overhead means a lot. To actually give and not just taking feels amazing for all of us. One of my favorite stories, is Water Man, Patrick lives in Kenya, TSAVO eastern national park and provides water to Elephants and wild life during this horrible drought. He drives miles and miles in an old water truck, filling the watering holes each week. I was so moved by his efforts to keep the animals alive I reached and ask if we could help. I told him we didn’t have cash to donate but that we could develop a cool bracelet using the earth from the watering hole. He sent the earth where these majestic animals drink from daily and we made the bracelets giving 50% of every bracelet sold to Patrick. At the end of the campaign we raised over $1000.00 in a couple weeks and were able to pay for several trucks full of water for the wild life. That bracelet is magical for us!
Where are your products sold? Are they sold in stores?
We sell primarily on-line, but we do have over 70 stores through the US, beach stores, souvenir shops, gift shops, resorts, etc…
How do you spread the word about your company?
That is a good question, right now we spread the word through a grass movement, friends tell friends. We are very hands on with social media and vibe with current events, the good, bad and the ugly. We like to contribute to harder times with campaigns, collabs, and giveaways to brighten people day or make it easier for others to share the bracelets with their besties or family.
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?
Well, I would insist on a hard and true business plan first and foremost. This where the story begins, the meat and potatoes of your adventure, if you will. You have to learn your market, who is that market, what kinds of opportunity is available in that market, who is your buyer, what are trends and what shelf life of your product is, before taking the next steps. The next thing is to be as realistic as possible, look at your product from every angle you can with a very, very critical eye. This is not the time to kid yourself, be sure and confident. Challenge your business plan several times, have others challenge it… Remember poking holes at the product and the business plan is the only way you can learn how to really step out there in the market place and compete! Be honest, good ideas are good ideas, but a stronger idea, stronger solution, and stronger product is always better. Finally, do real market testing, talk to people, strangers, go to trade shows, learn as much as you can about the business or market as you can!
What is on the rise for Earth Bands?
Colleges are on the rise, we were blessed with the opportunity to make our bracelets for over 40 different colleges with the earth from each campus, super exciting. That was in the business plan as part 2 of growth and to finally have these available is huge for us. I have to say these are so fun, I mean you talk about school spirit, the mascot, school colors, and the campus earth, we can’t wait to share them with everyone…
Is there anything else you would like to share with us? 🙂
Lastly, I would encourage everyone to buy a bracelets- LOL just kidding… I would actually like to say this, Earth Bands is passion project with a product that I love sharing, growing, and learning from. And it’s one of the most difficult and rewarding adventures I have had so far, so much to consider, so much to do and I would not trade it for the world. The people like yourselves, She’s Fit to Lead, and countless others I meet along the way have added so much to my life. Most importantly, all of the experience has only expanded upon just how important it truly is to love, love, love, what you do in life. Thank you so much for allowing Earth Band to share!