As kids, we enjoyed hide-and-seek, scavenger hunts and searching for hidden treasures left behind on sandy beaches. That same sense of curiosity and exploration can lead to our biggest breakthroughs as adults. Opportunity rarely comes by and knocks you in the face. Instead, it requires us to peek around corners and seek it out, often in the least likely places.
Jessica Mindich is a Greenwich, Conn.-based entrepreneur in the jewelry business. People in this line of work are often “heads down,” working on the intricate details of their craft. Jessica, however, took the time to be “heads up.” She was open-minded to fresh ideas and new possibilities, which led to an explosive shift in her business.
With unbridled curiosity, she stumbled upon a program in Newark, N.J., that was focused on getting guns off the streets. Newark mayor Cory Booker had launched an effort that paid cash for firearms turned in to the city — no questions asked. The program was gaining traction and collecting thousands of firearms (and getting them off the streets), but it faced two big challenges: It lacked enough funding to continue in full force, and storing thousands of illegal firearms was becoming a real safety issue.
Jessica could have glanced past the article and gone back to work. After all, she wasn’t in the firearms business and didn’t live in the Newark area. But she saw an opportunity to help the community while driving her business. She scouted a new opportunity.
Jessica approached the mayor and offered to take the stockpile of firearms off his hands. Working with local authorities, the guns were sorted, cataloged and melted down — ready for reinvention. She then launched a new line of jewelry called Caliber, which was made from the metal of recycled weapons. The jewelry line offers pieces from $150-$5,000, each proudly displaying the original gun’s serial number and its origin: Newark. Demand is high, and gun violence is reduced with each sale. Also, 20% of every dollar goes immediately back to fund the buybacks for the Gun Amnesty program in Newark. She’s now working with community leaders to bring the program to Detroit.
In addition to driving real social impact, her business has grown dramatically from her creative insight. Even though she was enjoying strong momentum before the new line, she refused to become complacent and had the courage to try something different and unique.
Jessica was on the hunt for new opportunities, and her willingness to embrace fresh ideas led to her big breakthrough. That same groove will also lead to yours. Look at the world around you with childlike wonder, and you may just discover your own high-caliber opportunity for change, growth and success.