NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / October 31, 2022 / GoDaddy
Baltimore residents, husband and wife duo, and Empower by GoDaddy graduates Tyron and April Harper are the founders of Harp Vision, a wellness brand creating all-natural products that help to relieve pain and improve quality of life. Through the launch of their business, the Harpers are eager to create a better life for themselves and their two sons, Phoenix (age 6) and Kaden (age 16). But while most small businesses can struggle to get started, the Harpers face additional adversity - chronic pain.
"We both live with chronic pain. I have endometriosis, and Tyron has fibromyalgia," said April. "We wake up every day, pray, and get to work because we have to."
"I learned that my mother lived with chronic pain, and her mother had it, and her mother's mother had it. Now we need to make sure we can do something about it so we can break that generational curse," said Tyron. "My body's killing me, but there's still work to be done."
In addition to living with fibromyalgia, Tyron contracted COVID-19 when the disease was new and fatal for so many. He was very sick, and despite overcoming COVID-19, he continued to suffer from subsequent health issues. Tyron decided it was time to live life to the fullest. He started eating healthier and taking care of his body, which helped him to lose 100 pounds. "It was like COVID held up a mirror to me," he said.
Tyron also left his Baltimore City Public School teaching job and together, he and April decided to create products to help people "pour back into themselves." Their company makes and sells premium body scrubs, aromatherapy candles, bath teas and all-natural soaps, which the Harpers hand craft in their home. They started out by selling the products at area farmer's markets and pop-ups, trying to reach as many consumers as they could. But launching a business, being parents and working around the clock had its challenges and limitations.
As Tyron focused solely on the kids and their fledgling business, April worked two jobs both full-and part-time, seven days a week, in addition to her hours devoted to Harp Vision. At the same time, she enrolled in college to earn a bachelor's degree in business. April was squeezing in time for schoolwork during any free minutes she had. Not only were the Harpers working overtime to make products and fuel their business success, they were doing it under the duress of constant physical aching.
It's estimated that 20% of American adults suffer from chronic pain contributing to roughly $560 billion in health-related costs each year. In addition to chronic pain conditions, nearly 20% of American adults experience mental health disorders.
Launched in 2017, Empower by GoDaddy is GoDaddy's global social impact program equipping entrepreneurs in underserved communities with training, tools and peer networks to accelerate their journeys. Together with nonprofit partners around the world, Empower by GoDaddy works to understand local communities and the small business landscape to identify gaps and develop customized, neighborhood-based programs.
When Empower by GoDaddy expanded to Baltimore at the beginning of 2022, the Harpers applied. The 8-week program partners with local organization Impact Hub to provide entrepreneurs tools, resources and training to gain digital presence skills. The program confirmed for the Harpers that online sales could help make their business more sustainable, reach more people and decrease the number of in-person events required to grow their business.
"I feel like our customers come to us because we meet them where they are and speak their language," April said. "Shortly after our GoDaddy website went live, we got a message on social media from someone who had bought our product from a pop-up asking how she could get more. I quickly directed her to our website. Within a minute, she bought it from us. It feels amazing to convert a conversation into a sale."
In May 2022, April resigned from her part-time job to pursue growing Harp Vision.
"I worked hard for other people for a long time pushing their dream and their vision and now it's time to just push my own families' dream," April added. "It's not selfish to give myself energy for my kids. It's not selfish to give myself energy and pour it back into myself."
This summer, Harp Vision applied to be a kiosk vendor in Lexington M'arket, which is the country's oldest continuously running public market-a 240-year home for small businesses, and staple in the community providing fresh foods and locally-made goods.
"We recognize many people in the inner city may not have the time or resources to participate in self-care rituals. A shift to community care is necessary. Our goal by joining Lexington Market is to build a community that prioritizes health and wellbeing," said Tyron. "We're not only selling a product. We're helping people change their lives. You can't help your family if you can't help yourself."
Earlier this month recognized World Mental Health Day, and the Harpers want to remind Americans that self-care is not selfish. This is the time to make mental health and physical well-being for all a global priority.
"It is as simple as doing something big or small for yourself each day. You can't pour from an empty cup," said April. "That could be lighting a candle and simply being still for 15 minutes or taking an aromatherapy bath at the end of the day. We all deserve to feel well."
April and Tyron are featured in season four of Made in America, a GoDaddy YouTube docuseries that features small businesses participating in the Empower by GoDaddy program. As part of GoDaddy's commitment to fostering opportunity for all, Made in America's purpose is to further the company's mission by showcasing the stories of everyday entrepreneurs, intentionally focused on the disparity in opportunities and access to resources for underserved communities. The fourth season tells the inspiring stories of Baltimore entrepreneurs beating the odds.
Empower by GoDaddy Spotlight Series: By partnering with diverse local nonprofits around the world, Empower by GoDaddy aims to reach those who haven't otherwise had access by offering skills training, resources, and mentoring to help accelerate their business journeys. This article is part of the Empower by GoDaddy spotlight series that shines a light on the individuals who make this unique initiative possible.
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