What I believe this world needs is more people who genuinely want to do good. People who are selfless & willing to go out into the world and get involved instead of just talking about it. That is why I am extremely excited to have Mercedes Smith, the founder of the non-profit organization, Care More as my latest #HerStory feature. This beautiful soul created Care More with a mission to get active in the community through community clean-ups, restoration initiatives and more.
Get to know more about Mercedes below.
Tell us a little about the inspiration behind starting Care More
I currently live and work in the city of New York and constantly see men and women in their expensive attire walk pass the homeless individuals as if their invisible. And when they did interact with them, it was as if they were disgusted by their presence. So one day I made it my mission to say hello, offer words of encouragement and/or give something small to every homeless person I encountered. From there, I decided to carry small care packages in zip locks in my purse and distribute them during my commute. When I started telling my close friends about it and how moving the experience was, they all wanted to join in. And that’s how Care More came about.
You also have a background in Public Relations, how has that helped you with starting your own organization?
The reason why I fell in love with Public Relations was the mere fact that it gave me the power to share a story with the masses. PR has taught me how to craft a relatable, heartfelt message that resonates with the audience who receives it. It’s a beautiful thing when used correctly.
3 WORDS TO DESCRIBE MERCEDES AS A BUSINESS OWNER
DRIVEN | PASSIONATE | RESILIANT
Once you decided to bring Care More to life, what steps did you take to make it happen?
First thing I had to do was define the organizations mission, goal and purpose. My friends were interested because they physically saw how passionate I was about giving back but I needed to figure out a way for the world to comprehend Care More’s purpose as well. So I remember spending hours staring at my computer screen trying to figure out the right way to tell the brand story.
After that, I needed a logo. Being the “wait on no one” person that I am, I decided to design it myself. So I put my 2 undergraduate courses of graphic design to use and created a bold yet simplistic logo that makes a statement.
From there, I created the concept and mapped out the logistics for our very first “Packed With Love” initiative where we delivered over 100 care packages to the homeless men and women of NYC. I created an Eventbrite, set up the GoFundMe page and the organizations social platforms, and then decided to share Care More with the world on September 8, 2014.
What have you learned so far about starting an organization with such a strong purpose behind it? Any mistakes you've made & learned from?
When I first started this organization, I vowed to do everything stress-free and with an open heart and mind. That promise has brought so many amazing people and opportunities into my life. So during these 8 months I definitely learned how setting the tone for your life, ultimately sets the tone for your business.
I've also learned that I can’t always do things on my own. There comes a time when you need to call on others skill-sets and expertise to help push your agenda forward. It’s OKAY to receive help, don’t be afraid to ask.
Starting a new brand of any kind can be overwhelming, do you have a mentor or resource that you go to for advice and tips?
I don’t have one specific mentor but I definitely take bits and pieces of advice from a handful of individuals such as my amazing family, boyfriend, friends and even my coworkers. But when all else fails, I turn to God for clarity and guidance.
Where do you see Care More in the next 5 years?
In five years, I see Care More helping the less fortunate in all 50 states. I envision Care More being a platform for change and a vehicle that moves the world into a better state. I would love for people to no longer look at cleaning up a community or donating for the homeless as charity or volunteering. I pray that paying it forward and simply caring for others becomes so embedded into others hearts and souls that it becomes second nature.
What advice would you give a young woman currently wanting to start a business that supports an amazing cause?
Do everything from your HEART. It’ll get stressful at times but always remember why you started in the first place. Never forget your WHY. That’ll keep you grounded, focus and moving forward.