THE 828 MOVEMENT “WEARING THE LOVE”
INTERVIEW WITH MARGOT SANDY
The 828 Movement is a powerful new brand whose mission is to honor the past and present and fight for equality by donating 15% of profits for underfunded urban schools in the U.S., while paying homage to significant moments which took place on August 28th.
828 is set to officially launch in February 2018 during Black History Month. Made in the USA, the color choice and 13 metal rings on each silicone crafted bracelet have a specific meaning tied to the movement and history of education equality. This is an opportunity as a consumer to support a cause and awareness so vital given the current social climate in our country. With its strong mission to focus on assisting struggling urban area schools and organizations through beautifully designed bracelets and apparel, it is a collection to be celebrated.
The founders, best-selling author Margot Sandy and Spencer Trafton chose 828 to honor August 28th, a significant date in American and Black history. August 28th, 1833: Slavery was abolished in the UK, which led to American abolition. August 28, 1955: Emmett Till was brutally murdered, which was a catalyst for the 1960’s Civil Right Movement. August 28, 1963: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream Speech.” August 28, 2005: Hurricane Katrina landed in Louisiana and the delayed response for relief predominantly impacted black communities. August 28, 2008: Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Nomination for President.
Margot Sandy is a product development engineer. She represents the ideology of going above and beyond. Sandy’s entrepreneurial enterprises include her travels where she has developed business workshops for Refugees and Migrants in Malta, entrepreneurial programs in Egypt, South Africa, and Canada and started a weekly program called Africa Entrepreneur Talks (AET) with a group of young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Her inspiration has proliferated across the globe leading to her current venture The 828 Movement. It is a blending of three pillars: history, fashion, and education. She has made the point to give back to a cause she holds dear to her heart. It is time to draw attention to social issues past and present in our country.
Margot Sandy’s intelligence, diligence, and can-do spirit have undoubtedly been the force in this enormous and thoughtful endeavor to make a difference in the education in our country. Her main ambition through this cause is to embolden this next generation to achieve success. In doing so, it is important to recognize history and provide a strong education in our urban communities. Our youth is our future and Margot Sandy may be the key to making it happen.
INTERVIEW WITH MARGOT SANDY
1. Why does The 828 Movement mean so much to you personally and what was the impetus to actually move forward with this enormous undertaking?
The 828 Movement has been an incredible undertaking, one that I probably could not have imagined at the onset. However, the deeper we get into this project, the more I feel like it is necessary at this time in our country to do something and give a voice / create a platform for those that may have been forgotten. There have been so many contributions to the fight for equality (past and present) and a lot of what gets lost today is the history of what got us here and the challenges that people are still faced with today. Specifically, in the educational system, there is still segregation along racial and class lines and it is an integration percentage that is, unfortunately, going back to the percentages of the 1960s in many areas of the country. So, when I see statistics along this nature, constant demonstrations that echo struggles that people fought for 50+ years ago and see schools that are underfunded in those very areas of protest, I want to do something.
On a more personal level, what keeps me going through this process (and what started this process for me) is the memory of my Grandmother, who passed away nearly a year ago. She was a community leader, teacher, college graduate and believer in the notion that all people are created equal and no matter what find a way to make things happen.
2. Where are the schools you are primarily focusing on and why did you choose them?
There are many schools in need across the US for funding. However, we chose to focus our first 15 areas of contributions on the first 15 areas where there were protests/demonstrations during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. If you go back to those areas today, you will still see a need for what people fought for a half a century ago. Our brand/products blend history, recognize the current fight for justice but also remain hopeful for the future.
3. How has your background and skillset helped you with this project?
My professional background is in New Product Development. I’ve spent over 10 years commercializing products for major corporations as well as working with inventors for my own business in areas that span from medical devices to toys to consumer electronics. Outside of creating new products, what gives me the greatest joy is helping people in some form and working with students. So, using a product in a way to make a social impact in education is something that combines many things that I care deeply about.
4. How have you been received by both the schools?
Our donation was incredibly well received by Carver High School in Birmingham, Alabama. There are a bunch of seasoned educators at that school that is committed to turning it around, which they’ve been given 2 years to do. Additionally, an overwhelming majority of the students at the school are at a low-income level and many will be the first to graduate from their families. So, outside of the monetary donation part of what we want to do with these presentations at these schools is to show a real-life example (someone that looks like them) that can offer a little bit of hope of what’s possible to dream beyond their current circumstance.
5. Do you have a team working with you? If so, how did you come together?
We have an incredible, dedicated and hardworking team at 828 Movement. We all crossed paths during our stints in the corporate world and all bring different perspectives to what we’re trying to build with our brand.
6. How have you influenced them and they you?
Part of what is great about our team is that we all came from different worlds, different upbringings, but we share a common goal of wanting something more and something better for not only ourselves and families but our country. Each of us has at least a decade of experience in Industrial Design, Mechanical/Electrical Engineering, and the Retail/Merchandising environment, so it is a fusing of different viewpoints. Also, what is great about our team is that we push each other, we can have open and honest dialogues about all kinds of things and ultimately come together to create a high-quality product that looks good, fits well and can make an impact.
7. Was there a time in the decision-making process of this project when you felt discouraged?
With any startup, new brand, new product there are always going to be challenging. Inevitably when you’re creating something new you’re going to make mistakes; you’re going to be faced with things you may not have anticipated. This is true even with our combined 30+ years in New Product Development. However, a trait that our team possesses is the ability to adapt and to keep the product and purpose in the forefront of the decision making.
8. What is the greatest hurdle you have faced thus far? Have you had to make any trade-offs?
Our greatest hurdle is simply getting eyes on our product and people connecting to our message. We feel we’re on to something big here and as soon as people see what we’re doing and that we’re sincere in what we want to do, which is create a brand that blends history, fashion and education to honor the fight for equality then we’ll be ok. We’re not only creating awareness about the problem but offering a solution and that’s how we differ from a lot of organizations out there today.
We have committed to producing this product in the USA. We could have easily gone overseas and had less of a personal financial commitment for this project. However, we decided as a team that this product would be designed in the USA, developed in the USA and manufactured in the USA to support these underfunded schools in the USA. We will not waiver from that commitment.
9. What kind of obstacles do you foresee in the future?
The biggest future obstacles are that there are so many schools and communities in need. When we surpass our first 15 donations, we’ll have to revisit the school selection process, get more people involved and offer another way for people to nominate a school in need. Of course, with great success, will come greater responsibilities and we will plan as much as we can for that.
10. What are you most proud of thus far and what do you hope to ultimately achieve?
Our first donation when I got to meet the wonderful principal, teachers, and students in Birmingham, Alabama and learn more about the school was a very impactful moment. It put things into perspective. It is by chance where we are born, who our family is and our surroundings and I want to make sure all students have access to opportunities. When there are tough days, I think back to those students in the classroom that should have the same quality of resources, books and other supplies that are needed for a quality education.
11. Tell me about the symbolism of your bracelets?
The silicone crafted bracelet has 13 metal rings on it to represent the past and the 13th amendment that abolished slavery. It has an engraved ring with “828” on it to represent some of the historical events that happened on August 28th (from Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream Speech” to Obama’s Democratic nomination as the president of the United States to many other important events on that date). Finally, there is a ring that represents a hope for the future. When you wear the bracelet, it means that you are part of a community of like-minded individuals who want to make a positive impact. It means you are committed to helping schools across America by improving the access to quality resources. Finally, it means that you believe that change is possible.