Joy W. is her name and “Be the Difference” is her clothing company. What is her brand you may ask? It’s simple — it is to inspire others.
“I want it to be a place anybody who purchases knows they are getting something individual,” she said. “They are getting something where somebody is concerned about them.”
Joy started Be the Difference LLC in 2014 after creating the “Work hard, snack harder” t-shirt. What originally started off as a joke turned into a small business she juggles in between her day job.
But she didn’t begin to realize the impact that her company had on people until she produced her second t-shirt, “Addiction Kills The Family.”
A woman who suffered from substance abuse inspired the t-shirt design. It was something she knew existed through TV and books, but it wasn’t something she had personally seen until that day.
“It broke my heart,” she said. “I know she couldn’t be the type of person when she was a little girl saying ‘oh I want to be an addict.”
Although addiction is usually associated with substances such as drugs and alcohol, she believes it can go beyond that.
“Anything, I believe, that takes away from family can be an addiction so I just wanted people to be aware of that,” said Joy.
And they were.
According to her, most of the buyers were mostly former addicts who looked at the “Addiction Kills the Family” shirt as a reminder of where they came from, how far they have come and what they didn’t want to go back to. For Joy, that’s all she could ask for.
“I want to make sure people are seeing something and are like ‘dang that can apply to me or somebody else,” she said. “These shirts [are] raising awareness to issues that we don’t like to talk about.”
Staying truthful and authentic through the clothing she sells is what Joy believes will help her stay successful.
“I would prefer to be unpopular in order to make a difference for at least one person,” said Joy.
Joy wants her shirts to serve as inspiration in her customers’ everyday life.
“It’s kind of like, I want you to start thinking more,” said Joy who hopes her shirts resonate in their mind. “We’ve been fed too much easy microwave things that we aren’t thinking anymore. My brand makes you think.”
But besides inspiring people, “Be the Difference” also helps others. The company donates 10% of every sale to Hayden’s Heart, a non-profit organization that fundraises to raise awareness about congenital heart disease.
“You can’t be an inspirational company without giving back,” said Joy, who has always donated to organizations.
Through the past years and especially these past months, as COVID-19 has affected many businesses, Joy has always kept a positive mind. She has used this time to reconnect with nature and “tighten up” things within her company.
But she doesn’t stop there. Joy also does YouTube lives every night where she’s connects with people from all over. On her YouTube-lives, she reads a quote from one of the three books she’s published which contain original quotes written by her.
What started as Instagram posts has now turned into another inspirational outlet. Although numbers aren’t of importance to Joy’s business, she hopes to one day go viral for one reason — to connect with more people.
“I feel like my purpose in life is to encourage people and inspire people out of any situation whether they admit it or not,” she says. “I want to go viral because more people can be touched, feel better or overcome things.”