Being a business owner is a dream to people of all kinds. Whether its opening a bakery, construction company or a law firm, there’s no limit to what you can dream up. It is no easy task but for some it’s a life-long goal that nothing can stop! For some, even the loss of their sight would not get in the way of their vision! Don’t believe me? How can someone overcome such a traumatic, life changing disability and still manage to start a successful business you might ask? Well keep reading to learn more about a couple of the many dedicated and hardworking visually impaired entrepreneurs working today.
Blind Entrepreneurs and their Success
No matter the level of difficulty, “Limitations are self-imposed.” At least that’s how the Carvers feel! Barry and Debra Carver, both blind, turned a passion into a source of income when they began their own at home family business. Based online, the Carvers own and operate MountainCrafted.com. An online store for many different all-natural products including, aromatherapy, bath products, essential oils and much more!
Tucked away in the foothills of the Appalachian and Smoky Mountains in North East Tennessee; the Carvers find inspiration for their product line from the natural beauty all around them. “Nature and all natural are not just a saying to us, they are a way of life and centuries old traditions we strive to uphold.” But how do they operate without being able to see? With the help of accessible technology and their own capabilities, they have mastered their process. They first got started by utilizing screen reader equipped computers to research and learn about creating their products and what is necessary to operate a business. Additionally, when preparing and making their product line, they use the I.D. Mate to help them stay organized. The I.D. Mate is a product scanner that allows you to create your own labels and scan products to identify what they are looking for.
Barry and Debra love what they do and despite the difficulties that accompany their visual disabilities, they will not stop working to achieve their goals! To find out more about Barry & Debra Carver, we urge you to visit their online store, Product Blog and Facebook page.
Two Blind Brothers:
Another inspiring story starts with two brothers, Bradford and Bryan Manning. While out shopping one day, they split up in the store and planned to reconvene once they had finished. When they finally met back up, they came to realize they both bought the same exact shirt! So, what’s the big deal, it’s just two brothers who have the same taste in clothing style, right? Wrong! Both Bradford and Bryan are blind. At a young age, both brothers were diagnosed with Stargardt disease which causes a loss of central vision over time. They bought the same shirt not because they liked how it looked, but they both made their decision by touch. Just as many visually impaired people do, they used their hands and found the softest material they could.
Afterward, they came up with the idea to create a casualwear clothing company that focuses on one’s sense of touch and feel, not sight. Taking it a step further, they use their profits to help fight blindness. To them its more then a business, but an opportunity to raise awareness and help blindness; a cause very near and dear to them. They named the company Two Blind Brothers and it didn’t take long to explode into a success. Based in Dallas, the Manning’s make their full line of shirts and hoodies at the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind, employing only blind and visually impaired people. In order to assist the workers, the machinery they use is fully equipment with all necessary accessibility features.
To dedicate their full attention to the new venture, Bradford and Bryan quit their full-time jobs and got to work. They still use their previous work experience to bring in an extra source of income by doing a few side jobs and inspirational speaking. But its not about the profit to them. They only work extra, because all their profits are donated to Foundation Fighting Blindness, to further their mission of helping combat blindness.
The brothers began by going through thousands of fabric samples trying to find the softest and most comfortable one. The next step was learning how to make the shirts, another detail they didn’t know much about. They were able to find someone to make their first samples that they tried on, measured and altered until they had the perfect fit. Once they felt they had it, they made a couple hundred shirts and began selling them online. Using their personal experiences, they told their own stories as a marketing tactic and oh man, did it work! People loved the sincerity and cause behind the company, and they’ve been growing ever since! The brothers officially launched the company on May 19, 2016 and in just 2 years were able to donate over $200,000 towards retinal research. For more information please visit their webpage and check out all they have to offer!
So, what do you think now? Still think just because someone has a disability means they cannot overcome the obstacles life throws their way? Well think again! Now more then ever, visually impaired individuals are showing their strengths and proving that their disabilities are no match for their abilities! Let these success stories inspire you to achieve your own dreams and no matter the case, always remember to love life!