Closed Caption Transcript:
Hi friends, my name is Vanessa Barker. I'm Taylor Willis and we are the co-founders of the Welman Project. We are a local non-profit on a mission to fill the classroom, not a landfill. So we are working to solve these two big issues in our community. That's waste output generated by businesses and lack of resources in our schools with one solution, and that's creative reuse. We do that by collecting surplus materials from businesses, finding curriculum, enhancing ways to repurpose those materials and giving them away to teachers for creative reuse in their classroom. And today, we are going to tell you how a binder clip can change the world. Let's back up just a little bit. So my good friend Taylor here said creative reuse. Well, what is creative reuse? In our mind, Creative reuse is looking at the every day through a lens of possibility. So sure, this is a binder clip and it clips papers together. That's its intended use. But how can we creatively reuse this in general and specifically to us in a classroom? There's lots of really fun ways. For example... You can create a catapult using a binder clip, a spoon and some rubber bands. Why is that important for a classroom? Well, that's physics and it's math. And it can be applied in kindergarten classroom or it can be applied in a high school senior science classroom. Another thing you can do with this is with the binder clip. You can make your own clipboard. So if you have a stiff cardboard or the end of a notepad with that kind of press board material at the back, you can actually make your own clipboard, which is really great for teachers, because that's a hot ticket item that teachers are always looking for. And generally speaking, they need one for each student. And generally speaking, there's twenty five kids in the classroom. So instead of purchasing brand new clipboards, easy way to make your own using your own using a binder clip. Now, that's just a binder clip, but in our line of work, we apply creative reuse literally to everything that crosses our path. So when a business donates surplus materials, whether it's office supplies or factory remnants or outdated signage, business cards, we're looking at that item not just for what it was or what it still is, but what it could be. How many different ways can manipulate this thing? In a classroom to cover anything from math, science, literacy, to history, to art and all the other subjects in between. So creative reuse, is something that anyone can participate in and encourages you to color outside the lines and think outside the box, which is my superpower. And what does this have to do with you? Well, you're entrepreneurs, you're business people, you have businesses and businesses account for two thirds of the waste in our local landfills, Two thirds! That's a lot of waste. That's a lot of waste. So as business people out in the world, we want you to be out there thinking responsibly about your waste and working to reduce that waste output that is coming from businesses. As entrepreneurs, you have flexibility. You're setting up your business, you're making choices. And we want those choices to be sustainable choices. So looking at all of the ways that you can do that in your business and actively making those choices, because it's important, not only because it's the right thing to do, but for your consumers, 79% of consumers say that they consider the sustainability practices of a business before making a purchase. So it's good business practice. Is what you're saying, Taylor. That is what I'm saying. Great. So there are two things that we encourage you guys to do within your business. One is to rethink and the other is to reimagine. Excuse me. The first thing is rethinking what you are doing, how you are using your business dollars, how you are making partnerships. Are the companies and people you're working with also practicing sustainable measures? Are they reducing their carbon footprint if you are shipping and packaging lots of items, what does that packaging look like? There are really great options for packaging and shipping nowadays that really reduces the amount of one time use plastics and can.... That box or that packaging can be reused or at the very least recycled, which is awesome. So another part of rethinking is rethinking your day to day, and it goes beyond just having a recycling bin in your break room. It has to do with, all right, if we are producing business cards or we're producing letterhead, what do we need to have on there? What is absolutely necessary? Your website, your website is not going to move, but your offices might. So unless you're really having somebody come to a location for your goods or services, do you really need that on there? A lot of what we get from companies besides binder clips, are paper products that have outdated information on them. So what information is necessary? For your customers, for your partners to have on that piece of paper, and what can you really eliminate to keep that... those documents, those papers in circulation longer? Obviously, going paperless is really rad. I love trees. You should love trees too. They're good for the environment. They make our world beautiful. So going paperless is always rad. And then in that, if you decide to go paperless, what do you do with all those binders? What do you do with all those binder clips, paper clips, staplers? Well, duh, you donate to us and then we pass them to teachers. So just rethinking how you're purchasing what you're having in your office or your shop is really important. Try to get that two thirds of waste produced by businesses down. That's a great goal. The other thing is to reimagine. So we all are going to create waste. It's inevitable, no matter how hard we try to reduce or refuse, waste is going to happen, especially in the business world. But it doesn't have to go into a landfill. So when you're done using it or if there is a misprint, duh, call us, but also reimagine. You know, think about, well, I really would have thrown this way. But now that I listened to Taylor and Vanessa at the Women Project, I know that this binder clip or I know that this weird sample has so many more applications. So we encourage you to think outside the box, which you already do because you're entrepreneurs. So this is a no brainer for you. Rethink, reimagine. Why should you do this? Well, because it impacts your Fort Worth. That was good. Thank you. You're welcome. We chose to focus on getting resources into schools and improving our education system because we know that an equal education for all is vital to the success of our community. And so we want to improve those, the education for all the students in our society. So we are looking for creative reuse as a solution in classrooms because having that hands on, open ended kind of learning is vital to developing the skills that our workforce needs. Being able to manipulate these materials and have these outside of the box activities promotes problem solving and critical thinking skills and creativity. And I'm going to bet that's what you are looking for when you are hiring employees. So as your business is growing and you're looking in the future to hire hundreds of employees for your very successful business that you have planted here in Fort Worth, we want to make sure that you have the resources to be able to hire the successful workforce that you need for your business to thrive. So as business people in this community, you need to be concerned about the education that is happening now because that's going to impact the future of your company. It's so true, I mean, it is it's crazy to think about it. My kiddo's a first grader right now, and she will be in the workforce before I know it. And what can we do as a community to make sure that even these young learners are tapping into that creativity that so often gets stifled as we get older and older? So. Rethink, reimagine, care. And the final thing we want to talk about is where we are. So, physically we're in our new building, which is very exciting. But Taylor and I, we've known each other since childhood, we have always had a passion for the environment. We... We grew up in Fort Worth ISD, and so we really wanted to give back to the community that raised us and then create a better community environment for the kids we're raising today. We started out as a hobby and we thought, oh, man, there's so many things going in the landfill when we used to work in event production and we noticed that there was a lack of resources in our schools. So. All right, why not? Why not just put those two together and use some creative reuse brainpower and knock on some doors and see if teachers or schools would be interested? They were. And it was nuts. And so we decided, you know, we should probably become a non-profit and just be like, legit. And so we did. And it wasn't until a year and a half ago maybe that we really felt comfortable calling ourselves entrepreneurs. You know, we were just two buddies who had an idea. It was a passion project. It was joyful. It was fun, and I got to hang out with this chick all day. So but in order to take this project and really be an agent for change and really make an impact on our community, we needed to start telling ourselves that we were businessmen and that we were entrepreneurs. And once we felt a little bit more comfortable in that role, things really started picking up. So who would have thought that in a global pandemic that we would be in a position to move into a new building that is twice the size of our current location and has heat and air conditioning, which is super bonus. But here we are. And we got here because of amazing mentors and which is so vital in launching your idea. We got here because of a supportive community. We got here because educators said, yes, this is helping. This is impactful. So we did not do it alone. What's going to happen in this new space is that we'll be able to continue our mission of filling classrooms and not landfills, but will be able to invite the community as a whole into our space. So currently it's just educators coming in and shopping for free for their materials. But now in this new location will be able to invite the community as a whole to come and use their purchase power to support that mission through a retail space that boasts awesome creative reuse projects and items and vintage things and funky things, as well as a workshop space where the community, young, not so young, pretending to be young, can come and get their hands dirty and be messy. And get back to those creative, critical thinking, problem solving skills that I think are deep down inside of all of us, but kind of get swallowed a little bit by the hamster wheel of life. So, yeah, so we're really excited. We're going to be celebrating our fifth birthday. So. It's just crazy. We've always been flying the plane and building it at the same time. And I think in year five, year six, we're starting to really get to that cruising altitude and trying to do our business better. I've talked a lot, but I also want I also want to say that when you look at, OK, you need to be an agent of change or for change or you need to make an impact. That sounds really daunting. You know, there's a lot of big issues in the world right now, and it just feels sometimes overwhelming to think about how you as an individual or your company is going to help solve those issues. A wise person once told me that there's only one way to eat an elephant, and that's one bite at a time. We don't actually eat elephants, but you can make an impact with small actions, with small adjustments in how you run your company, and that goes to sustainable practices in implementing those in little bites. You know, Taylor and I. We thought, all right, we'll put our little little bits of good into this bucket and hopefully one day it'll fill up and maybe we'll see a bigger change. Well, the community jumped in and went, I want to put some stuff in that bucket, whether it was actual stuff or volunteer time or just an encouraging note to a teacher. And that bucket filled up really fast. And now we have millions of buckets. And the impact and the change that we're seeing is instant and that's crazy, so don't be discouraged about, oh, I got to be this agent for change, you already are. You're an entrepreneur. You already saw a place where the world could improve and you're doing it right now. But now you can do it with... considering, you know, what you're purchasing and where it goes. What else you got, Taylor? That's it. We love Fort Worth. You're in a great place. Keep doing whatever you're doing. Remember. A binder clip can change the world. It really can. We've seen it happen. Bye!