I knew there had to be something more to life than squeezing a few hobbies into my free time, and more to work than making rich people richer. So my fiancé and I quit our jobs, sold all our stuff (including our condo and cars), got married, and left the country with no plans and no set return date. We learned a lot while traveling the world on a shoestring budget but two things bubbled up to the top of my mind when we returned broke and needing a career reboot. The first was that I’d realized it is possible to work for companies and causes you care about. The evidence was everywhere because everything is (or can be) designed, so I just needed to get picky. The second was that as I designer I had a lot of influence over businesses and consumers, and with that power comes a responsibility (in my mind at least) to use that power to make the world and people’s lives better. So I set out to run my business and provide my services in way that felt more regenerative than extractive. Where that would lead, I hadn’t the first clue, but I was ready to find out.
The business we (my wife and I) started was a “sustainable brand design studio”, now called Modern Species. We started out working with small, local businesses who focused on social justice, health and wellness, sustainable food and other causes that we felt good about contributing to with our design super powers. Overtime we found a niche in sustainable products and developed a deep expertise in sustainable design and the natural and organic food space.
Fast forward eleven years and we’re still focusing on the same basic mission (helping sustainable product brands launch, evolve, and grow) but we’re expanding beyond design services to also build a learning community called Evolve, and toying with the idea of launching some of our own mission-driven products.