The Dot Story
From Hallie Brand, Founder.
It started in a children’s home in Uganda in 2011.
I lived at a Rafiki Training Village outside of Kampala during the fall semester of my junior year. During that time, I learned a lot about orphan care, but I also learned about education and its ability to help families and communities thrive. After returning to Mississippi to finish college, I took an Entrepreneurship class where the professor challenged us to "take a problem we were passionate about and solve it using business", and from there, Dot Products was born.
From 2013 to early 2018, we ran Dot Products as a school and art supply company funding education in the D.R. Congo, Tanzania, Mexico, and Haiti. During our four years, we were able to provide forty three years of education to students in the four countries. Through ongoing school supply bundle projects, we still support students in Haiti! Click on each country to learn more about our partners there.
Our Product Line was an ever-evolving line of ethically-made*, eco-friendly* school supply and paper products. We had a line of products made by artisans in Haiti through a partnership with But God Ministries, AND each month we released a line of student collaboration journals created by talented students from across the country. It was our joy to help empower young people to use their gifts to send their peers around the world to school!
(*Without owning the production facility, it is REALLY hard to know for sure where and how all pieces of each product are made. But we worked hard to understand the process.)
If you followed along on social media, told your friends about us, stopped by at an event, shopped in our Clinton retail store, ordered online, or were a part of Dot in any other way, YOU are OUR PEOPLE, and we are forever thankful for the way you changed lives with us!
Interns have also been a HUGE part of our team since the very beginning (and I hope to continue that program in a new way one day in the future). These 19 girls helped us reach incredible heights that wouldn't have been possible without their hard work!
What I Learned
"Why We Transitioned Into Helping People Build And Grow Their Own Organizations"
I'd love to say this was the plan all along, but as with most business stories, it's been quite the journey. What I've learned is that you have to be flexible and open to opportunities as they arise. From the very beginning of my journey, I've loved learning about entrepreneurship, talking with other business owners, reading books and articles about successful companies and applying the lessons of others to my own practice. A few years in, I found myself reevaluating my path. With a new marriage and an upcoming move, my life no longer looked like the one I had lived and loved in the early days of entrepreneurial journey. I still loved running a business, but I realized my day-to-day needed to change. I reevaluated what gave me joy and found that we could make a greater impact by changing our business model to focus on sharing what I'd learned as a business owner and leader. I took on a number of projects over a year’s time to make sure it was a sustainable change and then made the leap.
But remember: that's just a snapshot. Daily life was a lot messier in that season as we had to close a shop, shut down a product line, rewrite a business plan, and reevaluate exactly what I really did know about business. I’m thrilled to be in this new season, and I’d love to help you figure out how to make your dreams work with your very real every day life. Interested? Let’s talk! I’m always available at firstname.lastname@example.org.