In this picture Tori and Betsi Burak the creators of the Luv My Woobie ® blanket line (www.luvmywoobie.com)
I am a strong beliver in giving back. And I think that in order to enjoy the journey is to leap into people’s lives, we all have the power to give and love other people.When we do so , we change the kind of person we are and the kind of world we live in, we can all give something back even if it is kindness. I was pretty impressed with the Woobie Wonder Women. The story of Tori and Betsi Burak the creators of the Luv My Woobie ® blanket line and Getrude Matshe from New Zealand. They are the Woobie Wonder Women who are teaming with Dr. Shellie Hipsky who wrote Ordinary People Extraordinary Planet,(www.shelliehipsky.com) and Rob Hartley who is a motivational speaker and author to blanket the world with kindness during the season of giving. I admire kind hearted pleople who contribute in bringing light to the life of the less fortunates especially in children’s life.
Tell us about yourself.
We are sisterpreneurs from Los Angeles. Elizabeth Wilson (Betsi) is a veteran accessories designer and Victoria Burak (Tori) owned a private holistic health and sports massage practice. Our parents have been happily married for 42 years and are both entrepreneurs – our mom a real estate broker and our dad a master welder/engineer/fabricator. In fact, our grandparents on both sides were also entrepreneurs.
What or who inspired your mission?
Our mission is that no baby, toddler, or child should be without a security blanket; something to call, “mine”. We are very inspired by social entrepreneurship and companies like TOMS Shoes. A few months ago Tori read the book, “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins, which prompted a quest. We then decided that for every blanket purchased, we would donate one to a child in need. We started in Los Angeles, in our own backyard, then we teamed up with Dr. Shellie Hipsky on the East coast with the Homeless Children’s Education Fund in Pittsburgh and we are going global this month with a blanket drop in Africa at an orphanage in Zimbabwe. This is our legacy.
Did you face any challenges while building this business?
How much time do you have?! Let’s just say we refuse to fail. We have faced obstacles from manufacturers, website designers, PR firms, you name it. Every business faces challenges and we think it is how you deal with the challenges that makes you either succeed or fail. Of course we also deal with our own different personalities and business roles on a daily basis. In order for our business to work, we maintain strong boundaries, speak with candor, face obstacles head-on, and make decisions together. It is essential.
Tell us your favorite part about the process?
The moment we decided our mission and new business model gave us goose bumps and made us cry (happy tears). Yes, it’s exciting to design new blankets but nothing compares to the feeling we get from doing the blanket drops. When you see the look on the children’s faces, it is extraordinary. And when the mothers, many who are survivors of domestic abuse, of these babies tell you they can’t believe a stranger cares about them, it just touches your heart and fills your soul. Giving is addicting. This is so much bigger than we are and when little things come up, we just remind ourselves that our mission more important than our personal “stuff” and we are making the world a better place. This is our destiny; our legacy.
Why do you think our readers should go and buy this blanket?
Right now the economy is not so great and yes, we do make a high-end blanket. But when you consider that your readers are really getting two for the price of one and they are able to impact a life by providing a “forever keepsake”, it is a no brainer. We are helping so many children while giving struggling families a platform to give back. They can buy our blanket knowing that they are touching the life of a child who is ill, homeless, a natural disaster, displaced, etc. Around the world children are cold and hungry. Together, we can help solve one of these problems.
Getrude Matshe (http://www.getrudeinspires.com/) author of Born on the Continent and founder of the non-profit organization “Africa Alive Education Foundation”
Getrude, I also do work in Africa with children. Tell us about Africa Alive Education Foundation and how it connects you with the world while helping those in need?
Africa Alive Education Foundation has truly opened up the world for me in a numbers of ways. First of all, I had to step out into the world to share my story and in so doing I have travelled all over the world from Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, UK, and the USA. Secondly, in so doing I have found so many other projects and orphanages and I’ve come to realize that all the children in the world are our responsibility no matter where we are located in the world, we are one big global village with a responsibility to the world’s children. So I roll up my sleeves in any way I can to get involved to help children in any way I can.
Describe what drove you to want to promote “blanking the world with kindness” and about your fellow social entrepreneurs on this journey with you?
I attended the National Publicity Summit in New York in October and made a very personal connection with Tori, Betsi and Rob on a number of levels. When I got back to New Zealand we started talking about ways that we could work together so that we could make a difference to the children in the world in some way. Blanketing the world with kindness and the Woobie blanket seemed like a great way to make a difference not only here in the USA but around the world as well. Purely by coincidence, I also started talking to Dr. Shellie Hipsky about her book Ordinary People Extraordinary Planet and when I started talking to her about the children’s project we both realized that she was very much a part of what we were creating. I feel excited to have this opportunity to work with Shellie, she is like my twin sister on the other side of the world, it is amazing just how much we have in common. But our passion for children is what really unites us. As a mother yourself, describe why blankets can mean so much to a child. Do you have a story relating to this? I am the mother of three amazing children and watching them grow up has taught me a lot about what a child needs. I would particularly observe the need for comfort whenever I was way especially with my youngest son; I had to travel to the USA for 4 months when he was three years old and he got very attached to his blanket when I was away. My husband said that he decided not to even wash the blanket too often as well because it would lose my sent with every wash while I was away. So little children get attached to their blankets for so many reasons, it’s the feel and the smell as well that sooths them. What I love about the woobie is the pacifier in the pocket; it’s not just a blanket. When I saw the woodbine what impressed me the most was the variety of colors and how lush they feel on the skin, they are really designed for comfort.
Jacob Hipsky getting his woobie Blanket!
Tell me three main ways that people can help with the Luv My Woobie movement.
Well firstly please buy a blanket, in fact buy three blankets because for every blanket you buy we get a blanket for one of the children we support in Africa, its Christmas and this will make a fantastic gift to any child. The website is www.luvmywoobie.com. Secondly, please spread the word about the woobie campaign, they say one person knows at least 250 people so tell all your relatives and friends and encourage them to buy the blankets too. Thirdly, please use all your social media platforms to share this message too, through facebook and twitter and myspace. Know that there are more exciting things to come out of this team from inspirational music to books and we will need your help to spread the word. The internet truly connects us all over the world and makes us all one big global village!
Do you have great stories about changing people’s life and want your story to be heard?
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