Founded by Ashley VanBuskirk and Victoria VanBuskirk, the Flora Stationery slogan is "funding futures." And that's exactly what they do. "Every 25 journals sold funds a young woman in Eastern Europe for a semester of college," they write on how they fulfill their mission.
In an effort to know more about the business model and its progression, SocialBusiness.org talked to Ashley VanBuskirk about her inspiration and creative rituals.
Four Questions with Ashley VanBuskirk
1. How did the idea for the business come about?
The idea of selling products to sustain a scholarship fund developed after I studied abroad in Kosovo during the summer of 2013. While working as a reporting intern at a local news organization, I met a young woman who was struggling to pay for her education. She was supporting her family of five while still trying to go to school. I first became interested in her story after she told me she hoped to practice law, in order to help women affected by gender disparities. She was an incredibly inspiring young woman and I wanted to help her, but didn’t want her education to rely on how much money I could individually give her. Our goal is to create a sustainable process to support these scholarships while giving other women in Eastern Europe an opportunity for a college education.
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
We wanted to market and sell our products to college-aged students and believed the best way to do this was through selling school-related products, such as journal notebooks. Every student throughout the world uses journals and notebooks to write about their lives and we believed this was a great way to help connect both students and women to this issue.
3. How do you get your inspiration?
I don’t believe it’s a question of how, rather, a question of who inspires me. I am so inspired by the young women who are incredibly passionate about pursuing an education to help not just better their own lives, but the lives of those within their communities. These are the women we support, and I am so inspired by them. They represent the next generation of leaders, innovators, and decision makers. I feel blessed to be able to help support their dreams and goals.
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
I try to reset by doing one spontaneous thing a day. It breaks up the regime of daily life and pushes you to be creative and flexible with your time.