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When the impacts of COVID-19 began to set in, Shine The Light On founder Eli Brown experienced two weeks of absolute panic. Stores weren't paying bills. Product wasn't shipping out. But Brown is an entrepreneur who thrives on challenge and quickly found a way to pivot during the pandemic.

Shine The Light On is a company with a purpose. Their clothing, which features thought-provoking designs and messages, is aimed at sparking conversation, building community and shattering the stigma around mental health. Beyond sharing stories, they share the proceeds from every item sold, donating a portion to mental health organizations around the world.

When faced with the challenges that COVID-19 were having on his business, RBC client and company founder Eli Brown quickly pivoted Shine The Light On from making t-shirts and sweatshirts to making face masks. “They were sold out everywhere,” he says, after looking for masks while grocery shopping with his girlfriend. He saw an opportunity to step in.

The actual production of the masks was relatively simple – the company had the machinery and the material already. Within a couple of days of brainstorming they had a prototype, and a product on the shelf a week later. “It was quick, but it was one of those things we had to get on with right away,” says Brown. “People needed masks. We couldn’t wait.”

The challenge then became how to bring the company’s mandate to the masks. They partnered with Neal Brothers – a Canadian snack food brand – that works closely with Community Food Centres Canada. “Neal Brothers opened my eyes to what they are doing in the community. So we decided that one dollar from every mask would be donated to Community Food Centres Canada,” says Brown.

Shine The Light On is now on track to donate $100,000 to their cause – a goal they expect to achieve within six weeks of the start of production.

What’s more, one of the many wonderful outcomes of the company’s pivot is that they have been able to create jobs. “When this first started, I thought I would have to let people go because retail stores are closed,” admits Brown. But through this process, we have actually been able to hire because we’ve needed people in packaging.”

Shine The Light On is providing a product people need to feel secure, resources to help feed those in need, and new jobs in a suffering economy. They are truly a “shining” example of how innovation and compassion are combining to make a difference during a difficult time.

RBC clients across the country have been stepping up to face the COVID-19 crisis with courage, generosity and compassion. Discover other stories of how clients are making a meaningful difference during this difficult time.

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