Bus Rides & Brain Storms

September 29, 2016 0 Comments

It was our last day in Costa Rica. We were on a bus, riding back to San Jose after spending the afternoon exploring a volcano.

Staring out at the rolling green hills of Central America (and trying not to get carsick on the winding roads), Connie and I started brainstorming… and dreaming.

I guess I should back up a little.

Months before, Connie had told me about her dream of a business to help people overseas by purchasing their handmade goods and selling them in the States, then sending the proceeds back to a cause in that country. I’m a “helper” by nature and Connie is one of my closest friends. When I heard of her dream, I thought, I want to help!

The timing seemed right, and we were scheduled for 3 trips that summer, one to Costa Rica, to the DR, and one to India. In addition, Connie, who has a talent for design, decorated a wedding at the beginning of June and I’d helped with whatever random tasks she needed. Both of us had been paid and planned to use that cash to help start what was being called, “Purchase Effect.”

In Costa Rica, we bought the first line of PE merchandise—coconut earrings and wood wine bottle holders, colorful scarves and clay birds. And we found the cause—a church and ministry dedicated to reaching out to at-risk teenagers.

So that ride from the volcano back to San Jose was huge, because it was the beginning of a plan of action. But most of all, it was a dream.

I pulled out my notebook and listened to Connie as she talked through her immediate goals, then ones 5 years out, and finally 10 years out. Everything from eventually publishing a book about her travels to speaking at Catalyst. She talked about the website and social media, of how we could get the word out, and what to do when we got home.

Everything was so new—creating spreadsheets to keep track of each item, tagging it, putting it online to sell, and most of all, finding the way to share the story. It was daunting, but it was exciting.

As we neared San Jose, I closed the notebook and smiled. In just two weeks, we’d be in the DR doing the same thing all over again. And a month later, in India. Two months after that, we’d be headed to Thailand.

Purchase Effect became a legal LLC in January of 2012, but I always think of that bus ride in Costa Rica in June of 2011 as the moment when we realized Purchase Effect could be something great.

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