The Smile Life | The Founder's Story
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    "Our goal is to create products with a purpose to give simple essentials to at-risk children in need while inspiring YOU to live your life to the fullest."
    - Kyle Lawrence, Founder of The Smile Life
     

    "I was born in Newport Beach, grew up in Costa Mesa, CA surrounded by the massive surf apparel industry in my backyard. My grandfather owned a popular Men's and Women's clothing store for over 20 years before I was born. Ironically, I think he actually closed the store the year I was born.  But I grew up listening to my family' horror stories, the success stories, the do's and the do nots of running a business, shared style advice, etc. I was always fascinated with the retail and clothing industry.  I had friends who's parents had started successful clothing businesses, some who actually sold in my grandfathers store, I was always inspired by their story and the pursuit to success through following a simple passion.  But I never envisioned starting a clothing company because of the saturation in the market and the difficulties in starting a business.

    After graduating high school, I went on to play volleyball at The Ohio State University.  There I actually studied Hotel and Restaurant Management. I got a great job out of college managing restaurants at a luxury resort and then at a luxury business hotel.  The hours, no weekends, lack of a social and family life began to take a toll on me a little bit.  I started to look for other opportunities.  My Dad, actually both parents had always instilled in me the importance in giving back no matter what I did.  I kind of ignored it growing up, but I always knew that I was happiest when I helped others, whether I was coaching volleyball, feeding the homeless on church trips, building shelters down in Tecate, or just giving a little money here and there to charity.

    A couple summers ago, I made 1 hat for myself. It had the word SMILE on it.  The word "SMILE" was so relevant in my life at the time in the hotel industry. It was a constant subject brought up in restaurant meetings and it was something we constantly reminded our staff to do. Sounds simple right? I really learned the importance and the impact a SMILE can have on a person, a guest, anyone! I wore the hat around that Summer, people loved it, they wanted to buy it, but I only had one.  A good problem to have, my only solution was to make more! 

    So I made a short run of 50 hats to sell to friends and family.  After making them and selling a few to friends, I kind of had a realization that this could be my opportunity to start a business and give back at the same time.  But who would I give to? How could I build a revolutionary brand around this silly hat? I started to think what builds a REAL smile.  After a days of thinking and a few hours of lost sleep, I narrowed down two factors to a clean and genuine smile: Confidence and Teeth. Many of us are very blessed with both, but not every one is.  Even people here in The United States.  I figured the group who needed a "Smile" the most were the youth who were in poverty, broken, homeless, unstable and lacking confidence.  I always loved working with children and observing their development from my experience coaching volleyball, different volunteer work and of course helping my brothers grow up. But how would I help them out? Easy, Donate a portion of our sales to support organizations that we trust and are currently making a difference in the lives of these kids.

    So from that time on I set out to start a brand that would inspire people to wear something for not only how it looks but for the potential impact it can have on someone else's life. A brand that has quality and well designed products with a purpose to build confidence in the at-risk youth starting with oral hygiene and eventually provide mentorship and work experience opportunities.

    -Kyle Lawrence, Founder

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