Two years ago, I lost everything. I ended up in a small trailor in the woods of South Georgia 20 miles from the nearest town. I ended up knitting teddy bears to get myself out of there. It took six months, it took walking 7 miles a day to the nearest post office, and took a lot hope, prayer, and resilience. My teddy bears became admired, adored, and longed for.
A few months back, I did a plegde on Indiegogo to raise funds to write a book about my time in the woods, describing not only how I came to knit the teddy bears, but the experience of living alone in the woods and how I managed to take a simple hobby and make it my income. Thankfully, that project was a success, I reached the goal I needed to write the book and I'm anxious to see it in print in mid February of 2013.
But, in that time, many more things have happened. This business I created, out of necessity, is beginning to lose strength. Two years after fighting and struggling just to survive, has taken a toll. I need to move this business into another arena, a new place where it can grow and thrive, a new moment where it has the nurturing to flourish. I've knit nearly 600 teddy bears in these last two years, and though people love them, I've only just begun what I think could be an amazing moment in entrepreneurial history, where a man, homeless and with nothing, managed to build an empire by knitting. Yeah...by KNITTING. A rough looking, bearded red neck of a man who smells of Old Spice that knits teddy bears showed the world that it takes passion, persistance, and a certain amount of humility to build a business into a brand.
I haven't been charging enoug for my teddy bears. I've charged enough to keep food in my stomach, the lights on, a place to sleep. But, I have to go further, I have to do more for myself. I have always refused state assistance. NO foodstamps, NO EBT card, NO welfare or unemployment check. I'm old fashioned like that. If I have a talent, and an ability, then I have an income. And if no one will employ me, then I'll employ myself. To take federal aid would be....would be like giving up. So, I've come to Indiegogo looking for someone to help put this little guy on a map. I need more yarn, I need more boxes for shipping. I need an afternoon not knitting so I can meet with retired executives to help me map a direction, I need charge more for my bears, for my craft, for my talent. And this campaign can help that. This campaign of mine can prove to those who think that all is lost, that just a bit of persistance, a bit of your own self resilience (SELF RELIANCE!) will give you the power you need to survive.
These funds will buy me enough materials, time, and resources to go from the homeless guy who knits teddy bears....to inspiring entrepreneur.