August is Black Business Month and we’d like to introduce you to our member Andrea Barclay of Because One Matters.
What inspired you to begin your business?
After enduring the unbearable pain of losing my baby girl to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), I felt lost and hopeless. I questioned how the newfound joy of motherhood could be so quickly stolen from me. But eventually, my grief eased enough for me to start wanting to share my maternal desires and nurturing spirit in other ways.
With God’s help I pushed through my pain to find a new purpose for my maternal love. Instead of focusing on my own grief, I diverted my attention to children who had lost their families and placed in the foster care system. I discovered that the nation’s more than 437,000 children in foster care bounce from place to place with no sense of stability or belonging. People donated toys and other items during the holidays, but most of the children’s physical and emotional needs went unmet the rest of the year. That void needed to be filled so these children could feel loved and supported all year long.
Who was your first client?
I initially, with my friends and families help, sponsored a foster children through my church’s Christmas wish list. I was able to grant her everything from her wish list, but felt God prodding that it was not enough.
Where did you begin your business?
Because One Matters began in my home (my garage, two of bedrooms, my dining room and a sun room) – pretty much almost all of my home. In Fall 2019 we were fortunate enough to move into a storage facility which gave us more room to grow (at least that is what we thought). We have almost outgrown that space thanks to the generosity of our community.
What piece of advice would you tell your self when you started out? Any success tips you want to share?
I would tell myself that it is not going to be easy, but don’t give up. Don’t take it personal when someone (or organizations) tell you that you are a small fish or you are just too small for us to support.
I measure success based on the joy we bring to each child or parent that we serve. The smile on their faces when they receive a gift from us or attend one of our events is how I measure success. We have one young lady that we have supported during high school year and she is now off to college. We are so proud of her. Today (8/13) we received a text from her telling us how her move into her dorm went and how excited she is to be in college.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the relationships we have built with not only the kids but the foster parents, Gwinnett DFCS and the community as a whole. We have formed some great friendships at both the individual and organizational level.
Anything else interesting that you want to share?
I am so thankful for all the support we have received over the past six years. I am thankful for Gwinnett DFCS for allowing us to come along with them to support the families that they serve and I am thankful for the foster parents for what they do.
I am also thankful and appreciative of the Gwinnett Chamber. I have met some awesome individuals that I would not have otherwise met, and I have formed some true relationship through the Chamber.