BigCommerce Customer Spotlight: Spreading Hope with Love 41
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It all started with a trip.
As Suzette Munson and her husband Dave toured Africa in 2010, they saw firsthand what genocide did to the people of Rwanda, even 20 years after the fact. Upon returning home, Suzette couldn’t shake the sights from her mind.
“It all really rocked my world. I was not expecting it at all,” she explained. “There were 300 to 400 street kids running at us who were hungry…it really shook me. I had this crazy recurring dream after our trip. Never had one before, never had one again, but the same dream kept coming up. I had to do something to help. There was no other option.”
Then, her two dreams collided.
Suzette always had a passion for fashion, from playing dress up as a young girl to designing products for Saddleback Leather Company. Now was her chance to take those two dreams — helping the people of Africa find hope and her love of fashion — and combine them together to create a brand that could truly make a difference.
But what would she call this new venture? Through a series of miraculous events, she was led to Psalm 41 — ”I won’t tell you what it says,” she joked. “You’ll have to go look it up yourself.” — and Love 41 was born.
This new brand would combine her passions, and 100% of the profits from the business would go toward helping those who need it most.
Suzette had a goal. She had a skill, a business idea and a name. Now it was time to act. She had helped design some of the signature products for Saddleback Leather Company, but they never really fit her.
“Saddleback products were really heavy for me,” she explained. “I’m five-foot-two and they just don’t fit me.”
Apart from a more manageable size, she also wanted her bags to have teeth. “Dave likes his buckles and belts. I like zippers and he doesn’t. Let them have the 100-year warranty over at Saddleback and have no breakable parts. We’ll do 41 years and have zippers,” she said with a laugh.
Now that there was a product, it was time to integrate it with their ecommerce solution. To keep Love41 separate from Saddleback Leather, but still under the same umbrella, they opted to use a tab at the top of the screen to allow users to switch between the brands.
Once the brand itself was complete, it was time to use the proceeds for what they were originally intended: spreading good in the world.
Love 41 currently works in the U.S., Mexico and Africa. Proceeds from purchases go toward a myriad of charities, including:
Africa New Life Dream Day Care (free daycare for those attending training for sewing or beauty school in Rwanda).
Child sponsorship for orphans and street kids in Rwanda.
Leonsito’s Day Care in Mexico (free daycare for single parents and low income families).
After school programs in Leon, Mexico, to help school children with their homework and teach English.
But Suzette still wants to do more. “My goal is to go so much further than we are now,” she explained. “Not too long ago, we were able to meet with a lot of kings and queens of different countries in Africa, and we started noticing the real need for education, even in their children. We have a school in Mexico, so I thought ‘Why don’t we do a school here?’
“When you give people education, it really changes things. It changes lives. It changes a nation. It’s so powerful,” she said.
Their ability to help those in need will only become greater as the brand continues to grow.
“With Love 41, we’ve seen consistent growth year over year. And a lot of that is because of BigCommerce, just how much easier it is, how user friendly it is,” she said. “It’s really just a blessing because as we grow, we can grow with a company that cares about our success. I’m very grateful for that.”
With all her success, Suzette has some advice for those looking to find their own opportunities. “You eventually get to a point where you say ‘A paycheck isn’t enough anymore.’ I hear that a lot, that people aren’t passionate about what they’re doing, or they don’t feel like they’re making an impact. I say dig deep and find your passion.
“Find your natural gift and shine,” she continued. “If you just go for the money, you’re going to end up feeling pretty dang empty inside.”
Want to learn more about Saddleback Leather Company and Love 41? Check out our case study to find out how they’ve used BigCommerce to expand and grow.
Reed Hartman is a Content Marketing Manager at BigCommerce, where he uses his years of research, writing and marketing experience to help inform and educate business owners on all things ecommerce.