Soul Swag, LLC passionately supports Rising Lotus Children’s Village (RLCV), a safe home since 2005 for orphans and disadvantaged children in Nepal. In addition to complete care, RLCV offers hope of escaping the cycle of poverty through a rigorous and quality education program.
Soul Swag originated out of pure necessity and a genuine desire to never give up. RLCV required additional funding in order to increase the programs reach as the number of Nepalese children in need grew at exponential rates. Founder Tracy Brandt spent 2 ½ years locating local Nepalese factories, free of child labor, which could produce promotional bags for import and sale in the US. Profits from Soul Swag sales were to be donated to RLCV.
The tragic earthquake which rocked Nepal in April of 2015 shattered that plan. At a devastating 7.8 on the Richter scale, many lives were lost and much of the country endured massive hardships. Although not completely destroyed, the RLCV home sustained a significant amount of damage, including the kitchen, sleeping areas and the entire volunteer quarters.
Sadly the factory was not so lucky; the powerful quake reduced all of the buildings to piles of rubble and debris. And although extremely relieved that no one lost their life at RLCV or at the factory, we worried about RLCV’s future as its potential Nepalese source for cash flow was eradicated.
Back home we researched countless avenues of production to serve as an income source for RLCV. We explored purchasing a factory here in central Florida; we researched equipment acquisition; we communicated with many local marketing companies and asked for assistance in our sales efforts.
One day, Alyssa Baum, Soul Swag’s Director of Global Awareness, called Bee Branded, a local promotional marketing company. She spoke with Monique Sola, the President of the company. It turned out that Alyssa and Monique knew mutual acquaintances through a local school in Orlando. They quickly became friends and after learning about Soul Swag’s mission, Monique decided that she really wanted to help.
When Monique, Tracy and Alyssa met, their intention of a short introductory meeting turned into a three and a half hour brainstorming session. Tracy explained the origins of RLCV as well as the current dilemma arising from the destruction of the factory in Nepal. Monique insisted on helping and vehemently vocalized her desire to be an integral part of Soul Swags endeavors to support RLCV. Monique brought years of experience in the promotional products industry and helped Soul Swag with everything from products, to pricing, industry standards and marketing strategies. Her contribution turned out to be tremendous. Her years of experience in an industry that we knew nothing about, saved us months of painful learning.
In the coming months Monique became a critical part of Soul Swags mission by continuing to provide assistance to Soul Swag. In addition, and much to our appreciation, she supplied products to Soul Swag at an incredibly reduced rate. Her unwavering generosity allowed Soul Swag to reap the maximum amount of profit dollars which would then be used for the Rising Lotus children.
One day, in a joint marketing meeting, Monique said to Tracy “Can I help you more? I want to do something bigger, something for the world. I want to help you. I want to help the children in Nepal. Let me be a part of Soul Swag.” She genuinely and whole heartedly believed in Soul Swags social mission and wanted to solidify its success. Monique officially became a part of Soul Swag. Tracy and Monique joined together, their experiences, their contacts and most importantly their shared passion. Their combined efforts came to fuel and drive Soul Swag and in turn provide a continued source of funds to the children at RLCV………………… And that’s our story. And here we are today…….
Soul Swag, LLC. The fusion of excellence and kindness.
To learn more about this devastating earthquake, check out this great documentary from Nova:
You can purchase the full documentary from PBS here.