Stacey Boyd didn’t always have her sights set on entrepreneurship, but she had a deep passion for children’s education – and the budget crisis sweeping the nation including her home state of California inspired her to roll up her sleeves and get to work.
“After founding the Academy of the Pacific and then creating Project Achieve, an educational information management system startup that led to working with World Economic Forum developing education and technology programs in Africa and the Middle East, I moved west to the Bay Area and started a family. I gave birth and became more excited about walking up the stairs to the nursery than hopping on a plane to Libya. I found myself attending yet another book fair fundraiser and thought, there must be a better way,” says Stacy Boyd in an interview with HER Magazine.
Her passionate creation Schoola was born in 2012. The purpose driven business supports schools by putting paintbrushes, baseballs and violins back into the hands of children. A handful of schools started by running clothing drives. Then parents began to donate their gently used clothing; the idea of helping children took off – spreading warmth into the hearts of tens of thousands of people. The former school principal turned business woman soon found herself running the company full time.
“I had just been cleaning out my daughters’ closets and thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if we were able to turn this thing that every parent needs to do multiple times a year into something that could actually raise money for their schools?”
Boyd began with just five schools in San Francisco but it wasn’t long before the company grew, now serving 30,000 schools across the country, with top earning schools raising more than $50,000.
“When it comes to Schoola, our challenge has been managing growth! We were in just 5 schools 3 years ago. Today we are working to put art, music, drama, and many other things back into schools across the U.S. and help organizations like the Malala Fund. We have moved warehouses several times over the past eighteen months to accommodate expansion,” explains Boyd.
In 2015, Schoola’s mission went global through their partnership with Malala Fund.
“Malala Fund supports girls’ education projects in the most vulnerable communities around the world. The organization works to ensure access for all girls to a minimum of 12 years of quality education, particularly in the Global South,” says Kelly Murphy, Director of Merchandising for Schoola.
Tens of thousands of individual donors and five prestigious clothing brands have already donated clothing to be sold on Schoola to further Malala Fund’s mission of removing barriers to a safe, quality education for girls in the most vulnerable communities in the world. Now another big brand, Athleta is stepping up.
“We are beyond excited to team up with Athleta. They are a wonderful community-minded company, and with their focus on women’s empowerment, it felt like a natural fit for Malala Fund,” says Murphy.
With thousands of items at up to 70% off it’s easy to look good and do good. For every purchase made on Schoola, 40% of the proceeds go directly to the school or organization the item was donated on behalf of.
The Founder of Schoola says the road to success has been bumpy, and while there have been moments where managing growth seemed like a big mountain to climb – Boyd has done it with grace.
“Whether it is in my industry or another, my advice to women is to just do it. Dream big, decide what you want to do and then just make it happen. We all spend way too much time preparing ourselves to be ready to do something when the reality is we are ready and we just need to take the first step. You are more ready than you realize,” she says.
Boyd believes one of the most fatal mistakes for an entrepreneur is trying to do it alone.
“Team matters more than anything, but you need to hire not just for smarts but for big hearts. We have a terrific team at Schoola that can solve almost any problem sent their way. They are tenacious, smart, creative and dynamic. They are also good, kind-hearted people. A company or organization with smart, creative, driven and big-hearted people – in combination with a compelling mission – will go far,” says Boyd.
Want to get involved? Start by cleaning out your closet. It’s as easy as boxing up your gently used clothes, printing a prepaid shipping label here and handing your box off to USPS.