ROSLINDALE (CBS) – Every Monday and Thursday night, a father and daughter in Roslindale gather around their dining room table, and get to work – building a business.
Twenty-one-year-old Lena Harris and her 52-year-old dad, Jason, have spent the pandemic founding 195essential, a company on a mission.
“I think there’s a wave of businesses being created that have a purpose bigger than just making money,” Jason told WBZ-TV.
And that is certainly true of 195essential. After deciding to take a year off from Barnard College because of the pandemic, Lena wanted to find a way to make a difference. She and her dad settled on T-shirts as their vehicle.
“Our whole mission was really built around what is essential and who is essential,” Lena said.
They started with a line of T-shirts for essential workers, like nurses, doctors and teachers, and used the proceeds to feed those workers.
And now they’ve expanded, designing T-shirts that promote climate action and voting rights as essential. In all, they’ve donated about $20,000 to organizations that feed essential workers, fight for voting rights or plant trees. Customers, in fact, can choose which organization gets the proceeds from their purchase.
“Hopefully we can come out of this pandemic with some ideas as a country, but certainly as a family, about really supporting and promoting what is essential,” Jason said.
And for him and Lena, “essential” has also been building this business together.
“She knows what she wants,” Jason said of his daughter. And that means they have sometimes butted heads over business decisions, but he says he’s learned a lot from her.
“Now that she’s gone from a girl to a woman, she’s bringing me along as much as she can to understand some of the world from her perspective. And then I get to help her understand what it’s like to be an old guy,” Jason said with a laugh.
Lena, for her part, said she’s learned a lot from her dad about being an entrepreneur.
“Definitely, and I know he’s going to want that (video) clip,” Lena said.
If you want to learn more about 195essential (the number 195 represents the number of countries on the planet) or buy some of their products, visit their website.