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What to do when your target market is in prison?

What to do when your target market is in prison?

As the Executive Director of Epic Beauty, a Non Profit that exists to champion the purpose and value of women everywhere, I find that prisons and strip clubs provide unique entrepreneurial challenges. 

A question that I ask myself when developing a new strategy or campaign is a well known quote by Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive. Then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

So when I am talking with a woman incarcerated, in a strip club or even on the street, I watch her face closely, looking for a spark in her eyes, digging for a hint of something that makes her come alive.  If I can identify that spark, I can identify her needs.  In business, this would be the Eureka moment of understanding a client’s motivation.

In the Fall of 2019, while developing a campaign to build awareness and raise funds for Epic Beauty, we began with this simple outline.

Campaign Strategy

Identify Need - $28,000 for Pink Bibles & Curriculum

Build Team - invite volunteer leadership to design a 4 month campaign

Promote - utilize avenues of social media, e-mail, influencers and small events

Remind - tight schedule of communication

Inspire - gather stories and testimonies

Engage - share more personal stories

Thank - inform donors of progress & successes 

Celebrate - invite everyone!

Although the goal for 2020 was increased awareness and a budget of $28,000, the real need for the women we serve was HOPE.

How do we translate and flow strategy, goals, money, and e-mails into hope? 

The EPIC 2020 Vision Campaign was based on this statement:

Epic Beauty isn’t a program, it’s not a facility or a storefront.  It’s a movement.  Epic is a small army of women determined to provide a million small touches of radical kindness to women in need with the great love of Jesus.  Love breaks unhealthy cycles and changes lives.

Question:  These women who live with their backs constantly against the wall, the poor, disinherited, incarcerated, abused and left behind, how do we talk to them about hope when  all they’ve known is fear, pain, injustice and abuse…?  

Answer: A million small touches of radical kindness done with the great love of Jesus. 

Every business has a lot of complicated factors in play. For Epic Beauty it takes an empathetic and strategic entrepreneur to begin the process of infusing hope into the hopeless and identifying and igniting a spark of life into the lifeless.  

As enthusiastic, well trained and prepared as our team is, there’s only one true source of hope and life. *Proverbs 23:18 - There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.*    Armed with that truth, we pray, gather the tools needed, find dedicated team members, build ongoing relationships with the prison officials/stripclub owners, and purchase cases of pink Bibles and curriculums that teach on value and purpose.  

And we go.  Just like in business, we go when we don’t feel like going, we go when other people stay home, we go when the odds are against us, we go even if they might not let us in.  We still go. Because for us, HOPE blossoms in the fertile ground where love has done its work and pain has been recognized and dealt with.

The answer here, in this non-profit arena  is basically the same as any other business.  Our eureka moments of success come when we meet the need of a woman in pain. We’ve seen and heard them and responded with a million small touches of radical kindness.  We have made a connection and respectfully built on moments of trust.  We have done it all with the great love of Jesus. We can offer them the one thing that will fill their deepest need.  

It’s problem solving at its finest.   

- Kim Gomez

For more information on Epic Beauty, visit them here.


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