An Interview with Jessica Bachus, founder of Dolls for Daughters and Kenzi’s Kids
Jessica Bachus is an Office Evolution member at our Cherry Creek location.
Dolls for Daughters works to improve the lives of children within Colorado. They provide new toys, as well as some basics like toothbrushes, coats, and books, to low-income children around the holidays.
We got the chance to sit down with Jessica to chat about her organization, as well as her best business tips!
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I’m Jessica Bachus, the founder and executive director of Dolls for Daughters and Kenzi’s Kids. We are a Colorado-based nonprofit that works to improve the lives of low-income children in our state. We do that by running three programs. Our largest program is our Dolls for Daughters and Toys for Boys toyshop where we provide Christmas presents, toothbrush and toothpaste kits, and more to low-income children during the holidays.
The Start of Dolls for Daughters
I actually started this organization in memory of my daughter Kenzi, who was stillborn January 23 of 2007. The first Christmas without her, I was looking for a way to heal. I came up with the idea of collecting new dolls for girls in our community who would go without. Since my husband and I couldn’t give Kenzi and her older sister Bailey dolls for the holidays, we called it Dolls for Daughters. From that idea 10 years ago, it grew into an idea of wanting to help boys and girls where their families could come free of charge and pick out gifts for the holidays.
How do you help those you serve?
Our organization believes every child deserves something new during the holidays. We provide only new toys; we’ve also expanded to include that every child receives a new toothbrush and toothpaste kit. We also provide a book to every child. We feel that ensuring having a book in a child’s home is really important and literacy is really important for children of all ages. And we have a resource center, so we work with agencies in the community to provide resources to help our families work their way out of poverty, whether it’s job training, selecting a nonprofit that will help them with that, or providing resources for clothing for their children, job placement, we provide flu shots with a partnership through Walgreens. WE also provide socks to every child who comes, and last year we were about to provide 1,200 winter jackets.
What's your favorite success?
I think our programming has a lot of success stories. We started our annual toy shop 7 years ago in Denver. That year, we served 2,500 kids with about 2,500 items. Last year, we launched two additional toy shops in the state. So we operated 3 toy shops in the state in one day. Those toy shops alone served over 5,000 children, and we gave away more than 59,000 items. In addition to what we do for our toy shops, we serve children in the state, so overall our number last year was serving 8,983 low-income children in the state and providing them with more than 75,000 new items to make their holidays brighter.
Best Business Tips:
Business Tip #1: Be Passionate
I would say if you’re starting a business or a nonprofit, I definitely run our organization like a business, is be passionate about what you’re doing. There are going to be days that are really hard, and if you’re a startup, days that are probably really lonely, if there’s 1 or 2 of you. Believe in the work that you do, because that’s what’s going to get you past those struggles and hurdles. If you’re passionate about it, it’s going to come through in every meeting that you have, everybody you talk to, every time you share about the work that you’re doing, people are going to truly know that you’re passionate about it and that has huge credibility.
Business tip #2: Set Goals
Definitely setting goals. If you don’t have something to shoot for, what is your reasoning for doing it? For us, it’s the number of children we’re serving and items we’re providing through our program. Depending on what that strategy looks like for small business or another nonprofit, I think it’s important to set goals. We have monthly goals, quarterly goals, yearly goals, and 5-year goals. I think those are important to have in the forefront of your mind as you’re working day to day, month to month, to grow your business.
Business tip #3: Have Good Personal Relationships
Personal relationships are huge in every kind of business, whether it’s big business or small business. Your name and your brand is your word, and you align yourself with businesses and people that fit with who you are and what you’re trying to create. That is really, really important. Sometimes you have to say no to something that seems really great and could potentially get you to the next level, but if they don’t align with your mission and your brand, then at the end of the day, that’s not good business.
Experience with Office Evolution:
I was looking for a new office a year ago, and I was fortunate to learn about office Evolution. Looking online at the resources they offered, having the office space, the convenience to use other offices, was really appealing to me. When I came in and took the tour, I personally fell in love with the space and Lisa, who is the office manager here. What I really loved is there’s someone at the front desk all the time. Our mail’s always being picked up, if a package gets delivered and I’m not here, Lisa can accept that package for me, and she’s just a great resources for me as a solopreneur in the nonprofit world. She’s really able to help me grow my organization and have a bigger impact. I love the office space, I love the community of people that are within the office. I’ve gotten to know several of the individuals and once they’ve learned about our business, they’ve been supportive on my organization, which is huge. It builds community. The conference space is a great asset, being able to use the large or small conference depending on our needs of our organization at the time. I really see it utilized a lot in our specific location. The kitchen’s always a plus. I know it sounds crazy, but to be able to bring your lunch and have it here and have the use of that space. And just everyone I’ve ever encountered, I’ve never had a problem, but if I had a question, it was easily answered. The whole system and premise is wonderful and is great for someone in my situation to be able to have an office to come to and be productive.
For more information about Jessica Bachus and Dolls for Daughters, visit her website at http://www.dollsfordaughters.com/
For more information about Office Evolution and how we may help you get an office for your business, visit our website at http://www.officeevolution.com/locations/cherry-creek or call 303-376-6225.
Written by: Office Evolution Cherry Creek
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