Sporting a charcoal gray hoody from her own clothing line, Ashley Biden reflected on her experience launching a business, revealing in a talk to 200 local businesswomen last week that she will be bringing her popular apparel back to the market this August.
Biden first launched Livelihood Inc., in February, 2017, with 5,000 zippered sweatshirts that sold out far quicker than anticipated.
In a candid discussion at the April 8th Great Dames speaker series, Biden shared that her idea for her venture stemmed in large part from the death of her brother, Attorney General Beau Biden. She spoke about the pain she experienced following Beau’s death and her desire to make a difference in underserved communities in Delaware and across the country.
Biden, the executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice, shared her vision for her ethically conscious hoodie business as part of the Spring 2018 Powerful Conversation Series “Firestarters: Igniting the Spark Within You.” A portion of the business’ proceeds will fund grassroots initiatives that support economic opportunity.
Biden told the audience that her apparel company is “inspired by and gives back to extraordinary, everyday people.” Her self-proclaimed love for hoodies inspired her to design and launch her own company, which encourages people to “get involved in their own hood.”
After debuting at New York’s Fashion Week last year, hoodies by Livelihood became the second fastest product ever to sell-out on Gilt.com, an online website that sells apparel from top fashion designers. Biden described the importance of “starting small and dreaming big” and being prepared to take advantage of any opportunity that arises.
She has woven social activism with entrepreneurship to create a sleek, comfortable, and fashionable hoodie where a percent of the proceeds goes to serving under-resourced communities through Community Foundations. In addition, Livelihood’s interactive website encourages socio-economic empowerment by raising awareness about models of change across the United States that are evidence based and proven to reduce poverty. All hoodies are sourced and manufactured in the United States.
Ashley’s story sparked round-table discussion on creativity and entrepreneurship. Attendees included a diverse and powerful group of women and men from community organizations such as Girls Can Do Anything and the Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation as well as Jacqueline Means, Ms. New Castle Teen 2018.
Sharon Kelly Hake, president and CEO of the Great Dames, invited a few audience members to share their stories to encourage networking and highlight the importance of having a supportive community. The mission of the Great Dames is to “help women activate their Great Dameness with purpose and passion at work, in communities and in their personal lives.”
The event was held at Harry’s Savoy Grill and Ballroom attended by nearly 200 attendees. Biden revealed that her Livelihood Kickstarter Campaign will be released later this month to support the next production of her clothing line.
Biden’s talk kicked off the first of a two-part “Firestarters: Igniting the Spark Within You” series, which concludes May 7th with five local women firestarters who are creating and mobilizing communities.
Photos contributed by photographer Matthew Gadzinski