Each week in October, to celebrate Women’s Small Business Month, we’re featuring a woman-owned brand we love. This week’s spotlight is on Spoonful Apparel, a company based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, that donates 50 percent of its profits to provide meals for children in need.
Susan Elwer started the company in 2017, and since then it has created more than 66,000 meals for kids in 18 states. Spoonful Apparel aims to create 100,000 meals by the end of 2019. Pillars of the business include online retail; events like Minnesota’s Walk to End Hunger; and corporate apparel partnerships with businesses, including Land O’Lakes and Cargill.
Elwer started the company because she saw an opportunity to change an unfortunate reality: in the United States, according to Feeding America, one in seven children may not know where they will get their next meal. For perspective, the sale of just one Spoonful Apparel T-shirt creates 27 meals.
Food insecurity is a pain Elwer knows personally, having grown up in a single-parent household that relied on welfare for housing, health care and food. Memories of her mother’s meticulous money management, and longing for a different “normal,” came rushing back to her in 2016 when, while working as a preschool classroom assistant, she learned that a student had been going without lunch for three months. She volunteered to make his lunches until the school could coordinate local resources to do so, and the experience motivated her to do more.
Elwer worked another year at the preschool while launching her company. Last fall, she chose to pursue the business full time, enabling her to do more pop-up markets and business development. Between December 2018 and May 2019, Elwer’s work was featured at Rose & Loon, a unique retail concept in Roseville, Minnesota, offering individual makers a place to build their brands.
Spoonful Apparel is a brand that’s whimsical and friendly, conveying a sense of abundance, with a direct connection to the meals the company creates through sales. We think it’s a brilliant brand, and we believe in what it’s doing in the world. VJ bought shirts to show our support, making a positive impact in Colorado Springs. Check it out – the new fall collection is live today!
Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.