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Social Entrepreneur, Matt Johnson Leaves Finance Industry to Start Project: Living Well

Learn how Matt Johnson launched his social enterprise and why the path to entrepreneurship isn't always "puppies and rainbows."

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“We launched one of our first products in partnership with Startup America Partnerships on IndieGoGo.com, with a wearable, Latin America inspired water container called the Calabash. It was discovered being worn by a 19 year old kid living in the Guatemala City Dump named Henry. A true, real life hero.”

“Today we have surpassed our goal and we’re now going into production and we’re seeking wholesale and retail distribution channels, and are developing a (legitimate) B2C e-commerce platform. Ultimately, our vision is to see the Calabash on store shelves at REI, Whole Foods, Erehwon, Moosejaw and others before rapidly expanding our product offering.”

“We’ve grown organically without the funding of VC’s or outside investors. And have brought on an advisory board that includes advisers from TOMS Shoes, Imago Design Studios, Advance Humanity and more.”

Best Success Story:

With the odds stacked against us and our model as a theory, the first time we tested our model we sold out of a limited run of PLW branded t-shirts within hours. And even more remarkable, was hearing each story of how the individual committed to changing the world.

Biggest Startup Challenge:

Funding. The social business landscape is relatively new, particularly here in Chicago. We’re continuing to explore methods of raising capital; and currently our project is on a crowdfunding site to raise funds for one of our product lines.

#1 Tip for Entrepreneurs:

It’s not always puppies and rainbows, despite how great the vision is.

Editors Note: After launching the startup on the popular crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo.com Johnson and co-founders surpassed their lofty goal and went on to gain media coverage on Trend Hunter, Techweek, Startup America Partnership, IndieGoGo and many others.

Connect with Project: Living Well on Twitter and Facebook.

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Photo Credit: Matthew Johnson; Source: Built in Chicago

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