Pursue your dreams and do what you love. Sound dreamy? For Quinn Vandenberg and Jonathon Button – the owners and operators of Life Out of the Box – those dreams are reality.
Life Out of the Box is a social venture that provides school supplies to children in need. How do they do it? They sell hand-crafted, custom-made bracelets online, donating the proceeds to their cause.
But that’s not all. They also travel the world to inspire people to make their dreams come true. Quinn and Jonathon don’t just want to pursue their dreams, but they want you to pursue yours. They want you to live life out of the box.
The Bona Wire: So what’s Life Out of the Box all about?
Quinn: Life Out of The Box is a social venture where we travel the world and work with artisans to create handmade products. For every single bracelet we sell online, we give a child in need school supplies.
Jonathon: Each handmade product that we have has a unique number on it, kind of like a bar code, that enables the customer to go online and view the child that they gave school supplies to. We make a personal profile for every child that we’ve given to with their name, their age, and what organization they’re associated with so that the customer can feel the connection that we feel every time we give school supplies to children.
How much time do you dedicate to the business aspect of Life Out of the Box?
Quinn: So basically, when we’re traveling, our main way to market our business is through social media. We’re very active on all platforms of social media, and it’s really crucial for the growth of Life Out of the Box. It’s basically all been word of mouth so far, and viral, social interaction between us and people around the world.
Jonathon: The key for us in getting our name out there over our social media platforms is just interacting and networking with people online. This interview is a perfect example. We constantly interact with other blogs as well as other people who are supporters . Anyone who wants to talk to us, we are honored to talk to them, and we try to share that as much as possible.
Quinn: Really, when we initially came up with the idea of wanting to start our own business, the root of it was we wanted to be able to travel the world and create a business that gave back. We knew that the main way that we were fortunate enough to be able to do that was to be able to market and use online media to be able to get the business out there.
Jonathon: So as long as we’ve got internet, we’re good to go.
So you guys are present on pretty much every social media platform? Do you manage all your accounts on your own?
Quinn: Yeah we do. It’s just the two of us right now on our team. We started it, and we manage all of it. We’re constantly trying to learn and adapt, seeing how we can push each platform to be more effective for us. So it’s a lot of work and a lot of time, but it’s been really great so far.
What’s the most effective social media platform for you?
Jonathon: Well, for us by far it has to be our blog, our WordPress website. That’s what we started with about two years ago. We started it before we had the business, before we even had any other social media accounts. Just to kind of see if we could get people interested in the journey we were going on. The next one we probably created was Facebook. Facebook, we find, has the most social interaction. People talk to us, communicate, they are happy to share it. We really feel very connected to our Facebook followers. All the other ones, it’s just a different way we can share our media. We love to use Instagram, and we’ve been starting to pick up on Pinterest as well. Sometimes if it’s on video, no questions asked, we always do YouTube, but we also publish to Vimeo. That way we can share on different platforms. We try to do it all, but definitely our blog’s the number one thing.
What made you start Life Out of the Box?
Quinn: We went through school, we both got business degrees, and we were both really connected with business. We worked a couple of years after college, on the right path to doing good things. But it all came down when we first met each other, we started asking each other the question “What is success to you?” And after defining our own individual ideas of what success really was, we kind of started talking about how we wanted to work for ourselves. We wanted to be our own bosses. We wanted to travel the world. We wanted to create something that gave back. We didn’t see any reason why we should stick around and wait for that at age 25, so we decided to get up and start doing it.
What’s the coolest place you’ve been to?
Jonathon: That’s a great question. The answer changes constantly based on what we’re craving or what we’re missing. But right now, we’ve definitely been talking about how we miss living in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. We’re in Morocco, and there are no beaches and no large bodies of water to just relax and take in the sun. That’s definitely something we enjoy doing. But, you know, I guarantee you, after we leave Morocco, we’ll start missing Morocco and the amazing food we ate here and the people. It all changes, but right now, we love Nicaragua. It’s where we started, and we can’t wait to get back there.
You guys are constantly on the move and working all of your social media stuff. Does it ever seem like too much?
Jonathon: Yeah, we almost feel like we put too much on our plate, but we like it that way. You know, there’s never nothing to do. There’s always a massive list of things we could do to better get our name out there, to better expand our brand. We like it that way. We love it. It’s one of the reasons we chose it in the first place. To really push our limits and see what we can accomplish.
Quinn: Technology makes it a lot easier to be able to multitask and do all the things that we have to do. We have to be in certain places at certain times in order to do the things that we do. It’s a lot of work on our plate, and we’re excited for when we start putting together a team of young people who are passionate about changing the world.
So you’re looking to expand?
Jonathon: Yeah, we definitely feel its mandatory. As we’ve been growing and expanding, and as we’re trying to scale the business, it does get to a point where we’re not going to be able to do everything that we want to do. Something’s got to give. It will be really great to work with people who are passionate about it. We get applications for interns all the time. We’re looking forward to trying to see if we can integrate that into our business and make it happen.
What advice do you have for our club?
Quinn: You know, the thing with social media is that there’s always more to learn. So, the thing is just doing it and creating something for yourself and then learning, from the ground up, how to really grow, create, and expand what you’ve created. Really, that’s the best way, from our own experience, to understand truly what a business is looking for, what works for a business, and marketing on social media online. For college kids, for you guys, I would suggest trying to create something your own and trying to market it from the ground up.
Jonathon: The first thing is to make sure that you’re on all social media platforms. And if you are, the next step I would probably recommend is to try to get out there, get your name out there through networking, interacting with others that have similar interests. Try to build up your content and take it from there. Once you start doing it, the next steps become more clear. Before you know it, you’ll be running the world.
Want to hear our entire interview with Quinn and Jonathon? All you have to do is press play below. Also, make sure to check out their blog, lifeoutofthebox.com, and go to their online store, lootb.com