Sevenly was built upon the idea that “People Matter”. This includes everyone from the people that benefit from the money we raise, to the people that support the charities, to the people that keep Sevenly moving. This is the first film in a new series called, “Sevenly People”. The series will focus on individual team members, who they are and what they do. The first in this series is of Nick Jacobs, the buyer.
Nick has a very simple yet profound quality about himself, which is his ability to recognize the possibility in every situation, whether it's doing laundry at the laundromat or losing a job. That quality coupled with his natural craving for adventure has taken him across the world. If you ever have the opportunity to cross Nick’s path, make sure to treat him to a coffee and ask him to tell you the tale of how he went from shopping for a used washing machine and ended up on a hippie reservation.
After interviewing Nick, we realized there was a lot of amazing things he said that didn’t make it into the video. Here’s some of those excerpts, beginning with his decision to travel the world after leaving his job of 10 years.
We all talk about recognizing opportunities. Here I was, I didn’t have any debt or fixed expenses: no car payment, no kids, no mortgage. I could go be unemployed anywhere I choose. That’s what kind of started the whole thing. I figured I’d take a month and go to Australia to see some friends.
After coming back from Australia, I knew I wasn’t ready to go back to work. I wanted to string my travels out as long as I could. I went home and sold some things on Craigslist and EBAY, saved up as much as I could, and started plotting places to go.
Self portrait San Jose, Costa Rica 2009
I always wanted to go to Buenos Aires I have no idea why. It’s just one of those places you pick in your head, like, ‘I’m gonna go there one day.’ I was looking for a place to stay, and I’m reading reviews about this apartment and this girl said, ‘I stayed here when I went to cooking school’ and a lightbulb went off (to himself) ‘You like to cook, why don’t you go to cooking school?’ (laughs). So I followed that rabbit hole and the cooking school tuition with room and board ends up being $10 under my planned monthly budget. It was too perfect. It was a Wednesday, I sent the email, got approval the next day and like that I’m wiring money to this random agency in Argentina. Who knows if it’s even real. Friday I was gone, it was super fast.
“All the real things, the things that make us human and the things that build communities... they’re all the same.”
Australia was great, but it was also pretty safe; the food wasn’t too different, the language was the same as home. I never got out of my comfort zone. Getting to Argentina, it was a different lifestyle entirely. There was just so many things that I wasn’t ever around, things that kind of made me uncomfortable. But I thought ‘I’m here, I’m gonna experience everything with everybody.’
Filming for Nick’s “Sevenly People” video, Newport Beach, CA
Surf Trip Punta Mango, El Savador 2007
When you travel it’s always like: where did you go? What was the craziest thing you ate? What’d it smell like? What was so different? And those are good questions, all those things are very real. Once you cut past that, it’s not that different. All the real things, the things that make us human, and the things that build communities… they’re all the same. You can miss out on so much if you focus on the differences cause they’re right there on the surface. It takes a little bit of work to dig into the commonalities. But they are there. I love to break things down and see what is making things tick. To do that, you’ve got to slow down a bit.
Hiking Lost Coast, CA 2012
“This is an environment where not only do the people outwardly matter but inwardly as well. The employees matter. The brands that we work with matter.”
You hear it a lot, with this explosion of philanthropic based brands and products, ‘you give but you don’t give enough’ or ‘you only give because it’s good for your PR’. But you’re still giving, you’re still doing something good. It’s frustrating when people marginalize anybody that’s trying to do something good. There are so many things that are bad and worth complaining about. But giving to people? Helping? Let’s applaud all of it in every single way. Let's focus on the good, let’s not deter anybody from doing good because they’re worried they can't do ‘good enough.’
Value isn’t just defined by having the lowest price, or the highest quality. The modern consumer is finding value in the story behind the product. They want to know if it was hand crafted, was it made locally, was it made ethically? People are asking these types of questions now. Soon we will be demanding these things and if you haven’t adapted and you haven’t adjusted then you’re not going to be around anymore.
Filming for Nick’s “Sevenly People” video, Grand Canyon
Sevenly says ‘People Matter’ and they mean it. This extends to the organizations they work with and the lives they help to improve. It would be easy to stop there. But this is an environment where not only do the people outwardly matter but inwardly as well. The employees matter. The brands that we work with matter. Take a brand like Stone and Cloth. This guy Matt (Matthew Clough) was on a backpacking trip up Mt.Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and had a porter named Benson helping carrying his supplies in his rucksack up the side of the mountain. As he’s getting to know Benson he learns that he makes the equivalent of less than a dollar a day. That’s not even enough to put his kids through school. This guy’s doing back breaking labor climbing the tallest mountain on the African continent and that’s his job, he's doing it with a smile on his face and his kids won't even be able to get an education.
“Lets focus on the good, let’s not deter anybody from doing good because they’re worried they can't do ‘good enough.’”
Matt gets home and says ‘I gotta do something. What skills do I have?’ and he knows how to sew so he designs a rucksack, not too different from the one Benson was carrying. He names the rucksack ‘The Benson’ and Stone and Cloth is born. It’s this brand where every bag that you purchase helps put a kid through school in the village in Tanzania where Benson lives. It’s very specific giving and it’s a real thing. Their slogan is ‘carry and education. You buy a backpack and there’s gonna be a kid in school for a month. That’s pretty cool no matter where you buy it. But now you buy it from us (sevenly) and you put that kid through school and then maybe you also feed a kid in the Philippines for a month, it’s a pretty amazing thing to do. -Nick Jacobs
Instagram - @nicksimonj