At 22, Beth Doane launched Andira International to import exclusive European fashions and style into the United States. After several years observing widespread child labor and human rights violations in the fashion industry, Doane founded RainTees as a social business in 2008. With its’ focus on education and reforestation, RainTees exists for one purpose, so that children will not be forced to make a choice between working in factories or going to school.
Now in 30 countries around the world, RainTees donates school supplies to children, then features their artwork on teeshirts, apparel and accessories. When any RainTee teeshirt is sold, a tree is planted in a critically endangered rainforest. In 2011, Doane added a pen-pal program to RainTees, connecting at risk youth around the world with a support system. Most recently, Doane wrote an award winning book, “From the Jungle,” featuring the artwork of three Central and South American children. As with all RainTees products, a tree is planted for every book sold.
With the launch of RainTees, Doane also reconfigured Andira International’s business mission. Now called Andira Consulting, the firm brands, develops and markets products, events and personalities in the sustainable market space.
Indeed, Doane’s transition from runway to reforestation has positioned her as a sought after speaker with engagements including the United Nations, Google and TEDx. Featured as Los Angeles Magazine’s “Outstanding Women of the Year Nominee,” Doane’s work was also showcased alongside Michelle Obama’s in the book, “100 Making a Difference,” by celebrity photographer John Russo.
For women that want to do something, to create a career that makes a difference; Doane’s life is a blueprint in following your passion.
Vicki Godal (VG): What is a typical workday for you?
Beth Doane (BD): Every day is so different. My office is wherever I may be in the world so sometimes I am working 20 hour days on a project site or campaign run from my office in Los Angeles and other days are spent hiking through forests or meeting children in incredible places. This is work too - but those are the best work days I have.
(VG): How did you start this project? What was the first meeting you set up to make it grow?
(BD): I took a huge leap of faith when I created RainTees. Today, people ask me all the time how I did it, how they can follow their dreams and make a difference too. I think everyone can follow their passion, it's just about knowing the right steps to take to go from "passion to profit."
My first meetings were with my friends, and my friend’s friends. I listened to people that believed in me and could see what I was trying to accomplish. I paid very close attention to what was working and what was not working in concepts that were similar to mine. Along the way I failed at many things, but I also learned to turn my adventures, and misfortunes into opportunities no matter how heartbreaking they seemed at the time.
(VG): How has it evolved?
(BD): RainTees has planted more than 30,000 trees and donated school supplies to children in more than 20 countries. I also founded the RainTees Pen Pal Program, which connects thousands of at-risk youth in developing nations with support from RainTees fans around the world.
(VG): What is the most important thing you can share with others about trying to start their own career in sustainability?
(BD): You have to follow what you are most passionate about; that's the most important thing. I think everyone has a passion. Everyone has a dream. What's so exciting about the field of sustainability right now is that you can literally create your own career as there are so many incredible new ways to make our lives, our companies, our products and our technology better, more efficient and more sustainable.
(VG): Did or do you have a mentor, a board or anyone guiding your actions?
(BD):I have a business partner and a team of colleagues that have supported my vision throughout the years.
(VG): What's the best piece of advice anyone's given you so far?
(BD): Don't give up.
(VG): What's the absolute best thing about what you do?
(BD): Knowing that even small efforts can make a massive difference in peoples lives.
To learn more about Beth Doane and RainTees, go to http://www.raintees.com.