3 Inspiring Stories That Show How Much Love Goes into a Small Business

Running a business is a labor of love. There are highs and there are lows, and when it comes down to it, you are bound to your business, for better or worse. For many of our merchants, their business is the apple of their eye in which they have invested countless hours and dollars.

In honor of Valentine’s Day today, we wanted to showcase a few of our merchants with truly unique stories. These are stories of love, sacrifice and passion. They showcase the experiences that helped these merchants shape their brands and define their success. From two competition water skiers that fell in love to an entrepreneur that designed a special type of gum for his daughter, take a look at some of these inspiring business stories and feel the love!

Miami Nautique

This international water sports business that was born out of love. Now married for over 20 years, Kim and Henrik Laursen started out as competition water skiers, who traveled the world and trained together. After realizing their mutual love for water sports, they decided to go into business and Miami Nautique was finally founded in 1998. Since then, it has since grown into much more than just a retail business. It’s a boat dealership and a cable park as well! “Both our relationship and our business was truly founded in a boat, and through our love of waterskiing,” Kim said.

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This passion spreads further than just the founding story. “All of our employees share the passion of being on the water as well,” Kim said. “They are not only highly trained technicians, but also water sport athletes. Each and every team member truly loves the water sports industry and spends their day spreading that love worldwide. This shared passion is what sets us apart from other retailers in our industry. We don’t just sell boats, water skis, wakeboards and surfboards, we match clients with equipment that improves their lives and builds lasting memories on the water.” That’s some love story!

Nomadic State of Mind

Passion, sacrifice and family are the roots of this merchant’s business. Chris Anderson began his business journey in the late 90s making rope sandals from the back of his 1969 Volkswagen Bus. “I had to be very frugal, which meant not taking a paycheck for 7 years, making my residence my vehicle, making my residence, vehicle, and warehouse the same,” Anderson said. “The bed I built in the van became a host for sandals, and for many times more than I should have, I slept on boxes of sandals. I ate, slept and breathed sandals for the better part of 8 years.”

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Since then, it has grown into a successful eco-friendly footwear and apparel company that employs over 45 people (family included) and sells sandals to 23 countries. “The motivation that really drove me in the beginning was to make a difference in a small community in Nicaragua, and perhaps the most magical gift that happened along the way is the tight relationship that I developed with my family because of this business,” he said. “I brought in my family and some friends that I have known since I was 9-years-old. I talk to my sister, mom and dad almost every day. Sure, maybe the beginning of the conversation is about "business," but that constant contact is the most loving gift the universe provided to me.”

Real Good Gum

The love between a father and daughter is unlike any other. That’s where this story begins. Real Good Gum founder, Edward Bradfield, noticed his daughter was having some serious medical reactions to the artificial flavors and chemicals found in many foods. He found that her favorite snack, gum, was filled with many unnatural ingredients, such as xylitol and styrene-butadiene rubber. He called these ingredients “gunk.”

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Bradfield even created a Glossary of Gunk, outlining the potentially harmful ingredients that may be hidden in gum base, and vowed to create a new gum comprised of only simple, healthy ingredients that would also be fun enough for kids to chew. The result was Real Good Gum, a fun-filled brand that makes chewing gum with enormous bubble-blowing potential and only five organic ingredients.

**Know some other businesses with great love stories? Comment below with their story and we’ll check it out! **