A Great Start

 

The past two months have been a whirlwind of activity in the world of Knots. At the core of it, I’ve been privileged enough to lead a company that designs cool products and supports an incredible charity alongside my best friend and partner in crime. Along the way, we’ve met an array of interesting people, built an incredible team and are on the verge of pursuing long-term partnerships with many energetic entrepreneurs across the country. We’ve seen an outpouring of support from friends and family members that are closest to us and know us inside and out. We’ve also become friends with complete strangers inspired by our mission and eager to participate in various and diverse ways. We’ve sold ties of varying styles and have received much feedback (some solicited, some not so much) about what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong. Thus, we find ourselves at a point of expansion that has caught me off guard and has us encouraged and extremely optimistic for the future of this company.

Although we have had innumerable experiences, moments and interactions that will linger with us for years (we’ve always said the book rights to our story will be more profitable than the company itself) last week was one of the most memorable and important moments in the company’s young history.  On Tuesday, we proudly coordinated a teleconference with our first charitable partner, Water for Waslala. PJ and I meticulously crafted our presentation, in which we committed the first fifty percent of our quarterly profits to the people of Waslala, Nicaragua and their continued struggle for access to clean water. This was a sentimental experience for me, because of my obvious connections with the Waslalan region, people and WFW board members.  However, perhaps it was most meaningful because for the first time I sensed that PJ, who has not yet traveled to Nicaragua but is anxious to book his first trip, resonated with the magnitude of what this money means to the average household in a Waslalan town. Our relationships with our partners is a priority for us and to hear that PJ sent the check along with a handwritten letter of appreciation meant the world to me.

For three years we have worked on the development of this company as a passion project, with little to show for our hard work but personal debt and an ever-present distraction from our friends and families. Why did we invest our time and resources so heavily in this project? Because we have witnessed and believe in the importance of Water for Waslala’s work. This has been worthwhile because we believe in the potential of the American consumer to indulge in more than just their personal style. You, our customers and our friends, have not let us down! You have enabled us to bring a product line to life that is truly inspired in its design and represents something bigger than a single transaction. You have joined us in putting your money where your mouth is and prioritizing a mission that is authentic in its desire to help others. For that, we are eternally grateful!

What are the impacts of your empowerment of the Knots brand? With this donation, you have enabled Water for Waslala to provide clean water to 478 people for a year! When I last traveled to Waslala in 2009, we were only designing systems for communal access points. Now, Water for Waslala is able to accommodate each household in a town with its own monitored tap, and the townships are organized to the extent where they are orchestrating their own municipal water organization that sets a fair market value for water usage and invests that money back into the maintenance of the systems. This level of maturity in such a short period of time is an impressive development for the Waslalan people and puts them on the path to true sustainability! All of this is due to the tremendous work executed by Water for Waslala and Villanova’s student community. It makes me beam with pride to think that we have connected so many unique people to this noble cause. Whether you are a familiar friend or new acquaintance of the company, we are so grateful for your support.

 
PJ McAward