"I wanted to transform communities positively. When the opportunity arose for me to apply for the Lillie Knox Award, I did because I saw the benefits. I knew that the grant could allow me to grow my business."
Kaylynn Jordan, CEO of Ethical Sourcing Network, has been a certified WBE since 2013. The company is dedicated to designing and delivering products that create positive change in the lives of others.
How many years as a WBCS member? I started researching the market in 2012, and I officially launched in 2013. My first decision as a business owner was to become a certified woman-owned business. A woman by the name of Nancy Allen certified in central Florida presented the benefits of certification. I then understood the synergy and encouragement of supporting other women-owned businesses. I also wanted the opportunity to do business with large corporations, and by doing my research, I discovered that certification is required.
How did you make the most of your WBENC certification in your first year of membership? I think that certification validates your business as being 51% owned, operated, controlled, and managed by a woman. With the certification, it has connected me to mentors that show me how to market my products and establish relationships with major corporations. Currently, I have a vendor agreement with Sam's Club, HEB Grocery, Wegman’s, SuperValu, The Fresh Market and King Kullen. Without the certification, it would have been difficult to work with large retail corporations.
You previously were awarded a Lillie Knox Investing for Growth Grant in 2016 (a grant fully funded by WBCS members). How did the grant help your business? Winning the Lillie Knox Grant was the catalyst in helping grow Global Purpose, a product line that benefits non-profits. We were also able to trademark, Global Purpose, increase advertising and marketing to promote products, and make a difference globally. Since winning, HEB Grocery has purchased over 80,000 Global Purpose Giving Bags benefiting Help One Now are in 250+ stores. Our newest product, The Bouquet Bag benefiting International Justice Mission, is projected to be nationwide in 5 retailers by Summer 2018.
How are you using the Women Owned Logo on your products? Our Global Purpose products proudly carry the Women Owned Logo. Using the logo has allowed me to identify other women-owned businesses to work with. The logo helps bring consumer recognition of products created by women-owned businesses on store shelves both in the U.S. and international markets. We make sure to place the logo on all our products because it's who we are. I love to look for the “Women-Owned” logo as I shop for products and services.
Have you volunteered with WBCS? I think WBCS is a phenomenal organization. My experience has been positive, and everyone is professional. I currently do site visits in Northwest Arkansas. I work to empower other women and to help grow other women's businesses. My volunteering is not about self-promotion, it's about working together with other women to uplift and grow together.
What is the best reason for another WBE to get certified? Starting a business can be a challenging, exhilarating, exhausting, and yet incredibly rewarding experience. The WBENC certification has benefited my company tremendously. I'm often asked by other women business owners if the certification is worth it? I ultimately believe it's beneficial if you want to be involved in the community of women. The RPO, WBCS is an excellent resource of knowledge. Attending different events allow for you to learn the tools for preparation, and strategies to negotiate and meet with corporate entities. For me, the certification enables a constant flow of working with other WBEs locally and internationally. When WBEs get involved, you learn about different women businesses and their superb services. Often you can feel isolated as a WBE; the membership also allows for mentors to speak encouragement while providing experience and strategy to your business.
People often ask, "what’s the best way to support your business?" It’s easy, buy Women Owned!