Theresa Lee, founder of the San Francisco bag company, Future Glory believes that business can help create social change. So, with every purchase, the company donates a portion of proceeds to local organizations that are dedicated to rebuilding women’s lives. Future Glory has provided support to a number of San Francisco organizations aiding women who have been victims of trafficking and domestic violence. The company’s paid apprenticeship program is also geared towards helping women in difficult situations get back on their feet. We asked Theresa more about her social mission.
Hi Theresa. Your business provides support to women’s organizations, why was that important to you?
I feel that women often times start out a step behind – we’ve always had to work harder to be on equal footing with men and I wanted to provide support to the underdog. I’ve seen a lot women struggle and wanted to contribute in the small ways I could.
Tell me about your apprenticeship program, what are some of the challenges your apprentices face entering or entering the workforce, and what do you hope the program does for them?
We hire from all different backgrounds but we like to reserve a few spots to provide training and job opportunities to those who are looking to get back on their feet.
“I’m hoping this program can help individuals be independent in this world, gain confidence and really develop the gifts and talents they were born with.”
Many of the apprentices may not have a lot of work experience so sometimes the learning curve is high which can present challenges in various ways.
I’m hoping this program can help individuals be independent in this world, gain confidence and really develop the gifts and talents they were born with. I also hope this opportunity can open more doors for them in their future.
Human trafficking is the single most lucrative industry in the world, and yet, it feels like it doesn’t get enough attention. Why do you think that is and how do you try and bring awareness to it?
Human trafficking is an uncomfortable or taboo subject to talk about so it’s not always a first choice of conversation. It was one of our first causes we championed and we never really shied away from talking about it. We’ve expanded our list of causes since our launch three years ago but people still ask us about the topic.
As a woman what were some of your own challenges that you faced starting this business?
One of the biggest challenges of starting the business was actually a self-imposed mental hurdle. You have to get over the many fears that will constantly come your way in the early stages: whether it be concerning yourself with peer approval, second guessing your entire business model or even wondering if you should throw in the towel or keep moving forward. Mental perseverance and an absurd amount of hard work will take you a long way.