Meet Revelry Workshop Coach, Tippy Tippens
Tippy Tippens is the Founder and Director of Matter and the BirdProject. She is a social entrepreneur, designer, gandhiwarmer, and is passionate about helping to build sustainable growth, making the objects that we live with us work for us instead of against us and ultimately wishing to contribute to greater happiness.
She’s pretty amazeballs. Here’s a quick Q&A interview with Tippy.
Why do you do what you do?
I came to a point in my life where I realized that I would need to create my dream job. I want to work on things that help make things better. We have so many societal and environmental problems that are caused and grown by a refusal to look at things as a whole. My inspirations and passions come from looking at the details and the connectors, finding hope, and highlighting the good things that work.
I’m not sure why it took me a while to get here, I do know that everyone’s path is different. The experiences that I have had brought me here though, so I don’t regret them & I learned through them. I continue to learn a lot & never want that to change. I also realized that I didn’t want to spend my time and energy to create things that the world doesn’t really need. That got more & more depressing to me and hurt my soul, honestly. That made me want to find a solution to fix that, so here I am working on that solution.
Tell us about a day in the life of Tippy Tippens.
Each day is pretty different, which I really enjoy & value. In the past year though, I’ve also been working on starting the day well consistently. I’ve noticed that if I start my morning nicely, everything else works better. I get up and sketch/write while drinking my coffee, then 20 mins yoga & 10 mins meditation. Unfortunately, I don’t do this everyday, but I want to!
Then, my days are a variety of moving new things forward and keeping current projects flowing too. This is a mixed bag of: ordering/researching sustainable materials and processes, asking questions, answering questions, getting in touch with people, packaging products, fulfilling orders, playing with new ideas, thinking about the future, working with the awesome makers who make the Matter goods…. There’s a lot of research, tinkering, and question asking/answer finding.
Can you tell us a bit about how Matter, Inc. came to be?
Matter actually followed the creation of BirdProject. Upon creating this poetic product to help raise funding for BP oil spill cleanup, several things clicked. Love for design + environment + good living + the search for my dream job + a first visit to New Orleans = click. I had wanted to start my own thing for some time and while in the process of creating this new idea, I realized that I had found it. I started looking for a name and while talking with a friend, I said, “I only want to work on things that really Matter” & had my ‘a-ha’ for my new company name. I needed money to get the idea going & got my start on Kickstarter in 2010. I’ve been running, learning, & growing ever since.
So, the BirdProject was launched through kickstarter and congrats on your recent indiegogo campaign. I can’t wait to get to see the blanket! Can you share any lessons learned from running these campaigns?
Thanks so much! I’m excited for the blankets to become real and see them all soon too.
As for running the campaigns, my most recent learning is that summer isn’t the ideal time for a campaign. People aren’t very engaged online, they’re at the beach or in the mountains, or someplace not in front of the computer. I think I will stick to spring and fall from here on out. I think a big misconception by people wanting to start a campaign, is that the campaigns run themselves. That you upload everything online and voila, you get funding. You really have to carry them through, reaching out to everyone you know & asking them to help you spread the word too. I think it’s good to think about what you select to help fund or get excited about. Sometimes I back projects because they’re my friends or family, but most of the time no matter what, it’s because I’m excited about helping someone who is working hard to create their dream. It’s important to remember that while telling your own story.
Matter then became one of the first B-Corp businesses in the state. Can you tell us a bit about the process and how it has impacted your company and vision for social impact?
I’d been following B-Corps for a while and was delighted when they became available in Louisiana. They’re awesome for reinforcing your social and/or environmental mission throughout the structure of your business, protecting that mission once you have investors/stakeholders, and to build a network of like-minded businesses. Business for good is a growing reality and the B-Lab does a great job I think of helping to tell that story across the nation.
The process was fairly easy thanks to a collaboration by Propeller, the B-Lab, the New Orleans Business Alliance, & Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, all working w/ State Rep. Walt Leger & Secretary of State Tom Schedler to bring the B-Corps to LA, into law, and to create the documents needed for businesses to incorporate as a B. A group of six businesses, myself included, traveled to Baton Rouge together to incorporate on August 1 of 2012. This was the first day that it was passed into law.
We love the birdies and are really excited to see your new products. Can you tell us more about the inspiration and creative process behind designing the blankets, notebooks and totes? Any other new products up your sleeve?
I so appreciate that. The inspiration really comes from the issue or problem at hand and the findings from the research that I’ve done around it. I follow the news pretty religiously and as I see a building problem I select it to work on. I try to pick the fundamentals, the things that we can’t do without. The latest projects focus on good and fair education for low income children, building literacy, and relief efforts post Hurricane Sandy.
Each product highlights something key from the problem at hand. In my solution, I always try to evoke a message of hope, a solution to build upon. All of these problems are gigantic and overwhelming, I like to create a little piece of hope (made sustainably) to help chip away it in a postive way.
New products are definitely up my sleeves! I have many ideas, the next three will focus on gun violence, the loss of bees, and preciousness of water. I also have a couple of larger business ideas focusing on wetland restoration that require some more substantial investment.
From Gandhiwarmer in NYC to bird soaps to bike lanes in New Orleans, your work inspires and impacts so many. Are you working on any new projects outside of Matter you would like to share?
Thanks so much again, it is gratifying to hear that. Well, we continue to do Gandhiwarming events and there are a couple of art projects that I’m interested in pursuing. One of them, ‘Amuse’ is collecting the funniest jokes in the world and installing them (only) in Braille around cities on escalator hand-rests, street posts, railings, and other high-hand traffic areas. Perhaps a kickstarter for that will pop up soon..