Nancy Keeler was a finalist in the 2014 Great Social Enterprise Pitch. Keeler continues to be an advocate for social enterprise in Lancaster as well as a dedicated volunteer for ASSETS Lancaster. Here, Keeler reflects on her experience bringing her dream to life through Will & Whimsy, in Lancaster City.
I’m an entrepreneur at heart – always having the desire to create something from nothing. Growing up I was often encouraged to not just do well for myself, but to do good for others. I’ve learned now that that is called social enterprise. That is what Will & Whimsy is. A business that is built to be both profitable and impactful.
In short, Will & Whimsy promotes healthy lifestyles and leisure for women through handcrafted lingerie, loungewear, and specialty goods. (That’s the profit). It also supports organizations on the front lines of assisting women out of prostitution. (That’s the impact). I feel we can accomplish this in three ways.
First, Will & Whimsy is an alternative to what is in the market now. We are a lingerie company that creates products for women by women with every piece made by hand with the goal of making women look good and feel good. Women are more than what is available in most stores. Will & Whimsy allows you to have more options in what you wear, to support causes that are dear to you, and to help change mindsets around womanhood.
Second, as we grow, Will & Whimsy will provide employment opportunities at living wages for women who might not otherwise have access to them. Realizing that a shift in cultural mindsets will take time, we got antsy and realized we could have a tangible impact on specific people’s lives by providing them with a good salary.
And, finally, there are a lot of great organizations on the front lines assisting and supporting women transitioning out of prostitution. Studies consistently show that over 80% of people in prostitution would leave if they could. Will & Whimsy promotes healthy lifestyles and freedom for all women, and each quarter we support an organization doing this work with 10% of our profits.
Often people ask me how they can get involved with Will & Whimsy. The best ways to support Will & Whimsy is to buy our products for yourself and for your loved ones, tell your friends about us in person and online, and subscribe on our website for all the latest products, deals, and information on organizations we support. Check Will & Whimsy out at www.willwhimsy.com.
By Nancy Keeler[ssba]