How Chalkfly Helps Your Local SchoolsBy Amanda Lewan on January 2nd, 2013 /
Shopping for school supplies has never been much fun, but Chalkfly is creating a way to turn your shopping chore into financial support for your local schools.
A company with a socially responsible mission, Chalkfy.com sells everything you need from papers, pens, and other office supplies, and then donates five percent of your purchase to your local school teacher. If you don’t have a teacher in mind, Chalkfly will make a donation for you based on your zip code, that way you’re always supporting your local community.
“We saw this huge market for school supplies, but no one really gets inspired to buy them. We thought why not inspire and help make a difference every time,” said Co-founder Andrew Landau.
Chalkfly keeps shopping supporting local schools, while contributing towards education across the country. It’s a great way to shop for a purpose, not just for supplies.
“For us, we wanted it to give offices in Detroit the chance to purchase office supplies that makes a difference to a school or teacher right down the street,” said Ryan Landau.
Two Brother’s on a Mission
Andrew and Ryan Landau were born with the entrepreneurial spirit, starting their first company at just eight years old. By middle school they were catering businesses through their Carnival Extravaganza company that they then sold off in 2009.
The two brothers went their separate ways into the corporate world, Andrew spending four years working in different cities across the country for Google, and Ryan spending time at IBM in Washington D.C. They decided to move back to Michigan to launch Chalkfly out of Detroit.
Why Detroit? They saw a lot of opportunity and advantages for startups.
“We moved back here to be a part of the entrepreneurial renaissance,” said Andrew. “There’s no better place than an entrepreneur to start a business than Detroit. There’s a low cost of living, a great work ethic, and an opportunity to make a difference quickly.”
Since Andrew and Ryan started Chalkfly six months ago, they’ve grown through word of mouth marketing. Over 400 teachers have signed up and started benefiting from their site.
One of the biggest challenges they currently face is finding the best talent.
“The opportunity is so great here,” said Ryan. “Hiring and attracting young people is our greatest challenge. We want to retain talent here in Michigan.”
Changing the Detroit Perception
Andrew says he’s really seeing a change in perception about the city.
“There’s this turning point for people that are from Michigan. We are starting to understand the opportunity,” said Andrew. “This year, 2013, is the year for people to get in and grow quickly. We’re really excited to be a part of it.”
And really, when it comes to Detroit, it’s about creating opportunities rather than looking for them.
“If you’re thinking about starting, just do it. There are always excuses to wait. You’ll want to wait for a better idea or another opportunity to just do it. Just build it. There’s always going to be obstacles that come up,” said Ryan.
“Detroit has a ton of empty buildings. It’s either run down or there’s a ton of opportunity to create businesses. It’s up to us to try and make a difference, to do what leaders like Dan Gilbert have done.”
Find out more about their company and join the Chalkfly movement.