I knew from a young age that music would be my path in life. At 15 I got my first job at a concert venue in Detroit. Over the next decade, I grew up between the vinyl racks at record stores, packing boxes in major label mailrooms and selling merch on tour with bands that I loved.
The next chapter started with a video. A woman my age hears her own voice for the very first time while her husband films it, then uploads to YouTube. It inspires millions of people to click "share", and I press play. After imaging how different my life would be without ever hearing music, I did some research and found there are 360 million people with disabling hearing loss just like her. Most of them are in developing countries and can be helped with just hearing aids. Music is so important - it shouldn't be something that is dependent on status, age or location. I had to do something to help.
At the same time, my good friend Joe Huff had shared with me his realization that what matters most is what we do help others and how he had just left his prior company to focus on doing just that. Serendipity strikes again. With his background in fashion and my background in music we determined it was our responsibility to find a way to make those two worlds collide in a way that could truly help people around the world. We discussed the idea of empowering people by letting individuals know that each of us matters by showing how something as simple as one purchase could make a real difference. We met at my apartment and decided we were going to set out on an adventure to make Social Enterprise the coolest thing ever.
It was right then and there that he and I started LSTN at my kitchen table with the mission of changing the world through the power of music. We later moved ourselves and our new interns into a 200 square foot office. Our offices have now become trains, planes and automobiles as we now travel the world growing our small company. LSTN is a for-purpose company that connects individuals, families and communities through sound. For every pair of headphones we sell, we help restore hearing to a person in need through Starkey Hearing Foundation
In under 2 years, LSTN has been able to give the gift of sound to over 20,000 people through Starkey in the U.S., Peru, Kenya and Uganda because of your amazing support. We are just getting started and can't wait to see where it takes us next.