A personal story about the power of kindness
with Alyssa Kerbel, Founder of mini mioche
Back in May 2019, I went to New York City on a work trip. I was going to do what is commonly known in the industry as ‘desk-siders’, where you have an opportunity to meet with magazine editors to pitch them on your product in the hopes that they’ll write about it. It was my first time doing this, even though I’d been running mini mioche for over a decade and I wasn't too excited about the idea. I wasn’t in a great mental space at the time and I just wasn’t feeling up to it.
On the way to the airport, my Uber driver asked me where I was going and I ended up sharing with him how I was feeling (because that’s what we all do with our Uber drivers right?). He asked me if I’d ever watched the Ted Talk, Breathe To Heal by Max Strom. I told him I hadn’t but that I’d watch it while waiting for my flight (which I did). That conversation was my introduction to the concept of using breathwork to help ease anxiety and stress. I thought to myself later, what a kind thing that Uber driver did for me.
As I landed in New York and made my way into the City, I noticed my energy start to shift and by the next day as I headed out on my first round of desk-side appointments with Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire, I was already feeling better and lighter (the breathwork practice I had done that morning also helped). In those meetings I was able to share more than just our product but also my story - why I created mm all those years ago, how we do things as a company and why it matters. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that when you share something with love, passion and enthusiasm, that energy is contagious.
That evening after wrapping up my day of meetings, I headed out for dinner on my own. As I started walking, a totally random thought popped into my head: “I wonder if I could get a last minute ticket to see the show Hamilton tonight?” which was an impossible feat at the time. The theatre was about 15 blocks from where I was and the show was starting in 30 minutes. Of course it was pouring rain and I had no umbrella. When I arrived soaking wet at the theatre I found a huge line up about 40 people long waiting for cancellation tickets. It was not looking good for me - I was literally the last person in the cancellation line.
As the line of ticket holders standing in front of us started moving forward into the theatre, a man in the line turned directly to me and said “would you like a ticket to the show?'' He said that he had 6 tickets and only one person from his group had shown up. I immediately jumped into the line with him and two other women who he had already offered tickets to and as we went to enter the theatre I turned to the first person waiting in the cancellation line and asked if she wanted the fourth ticket (she later told me she’d been waiting in the line for over four hours). I couldn’t believe it – I was going to see Hamilton in NYC!
Inside the theatre the four of us asked the man (whose name was Marty) how he’d like us to pay him for the tickets. “Don’t worry about it" he said, "just pay it forward”. Marty gave all four of us total strangers free tickets to Hamilton.
After the show was over and I was leaving the theatre, Austin Scott (the actor who played Alexander Hamilton that evening) happened to come out the stage door and I got a chance to meet him, get my program signed and snap a pic with him – an amazing way to end a truly memorable night!
I left the theatre on a total high and every time I shared the story of what had happened with someone (which I did with pretty much anyone who would listen), I could sense that they felt a bit of that same feeling too. It was such a meaningful reminder of the incredible power in a simple act of kindness – the ripple effect that it can create. I couldn’t help but feel like the universe was sending me a sign.
The very next day I had a vision for this thing I started calling “The Kind Human Club”. The idea in its essence was a club for anyone who believes in the power of human kindness. I wanted to help people to raise the next generation of kind, happy, conscious humans. My vision included an online platform, community and a collection of KHC products (yup, I even shortened the name to ‘KHC’ right off the bat). I was on a mission to create a movement around kindness and within a week of the trip I had drafted a plan and written a manifesto. I shared it with my team and within a month of that, they had created a line board for the collection and samples of the product – in fact this photo is of my husband Mike wearing an initial KHC sample back in June 2019.
But then stuff happened. Life happened. Covid happened. Business became about survival and priorities and we had no choice but to put superfluous projects and my big ideas on pause.
One of the things I’ve come to realize through my 20+ years of entrepreneurship however, is that timing is everything and good ideas often need space and time to become great ones.
At the beginning of this year, we launched the Kind Human Club blog – an online resource to support parents in raising the next generation of kind humans. And this past November 13th, on World Kindness Day, we officially launched the Kind Human Club Collection with a give-back to Project Halo for SickKids and an initial fundraising goal of $10,000 (to date we’ve raised over $18,000 thanks to the support of so many kind humans)!
It’s hard for me to put into words how it feels to see this vision come to life and the incredible response from our mm community and beyond.
mini mioche has always meant so much more to me than just the products we make and sell. It’s about proving to myself that I can create something meaningful and successful and do it in a way that’s aligned with my values, even as we grow. It’s about pushing myself to take risks and overcome fear and obstacles and being an example of this for my children. It’s about having a positive impact on people and on the planet we all share. It’s about knowing that the better we do as a company, the more good we can do in the world.
As we head into 2022, we've decided to create the Kind Human Fund - a commitment to donate 1% of all mm sales directly to organizations and initiatives that inspire us, with a focus on non-profits that support children and help them thrive.
As John F. Kennedy once said “children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” My bigger mission now is to help support, protect and nurture that resource.