In our second episode, I interview Darryl Carnley, the founder of My360Project.com.
Darryl has an incredible story of how he started My 360 Project, a humanitarian shoe organization, putting shoes on the feet of children around the world.
Text SHOES to 24365 to learn more.
Post in the comments what your biggest takeaways are, and be sure to connect with Darryl in the #TextGen Community.
Brought to you with ❤️ by the team at Rally Corp - Mobilize Your Mission™ with Rally.
Hey there. This is James with #TextGen. Welcome back to Episode 2 of our podcast. Today, I'm very excited to interview a client and a personal friend, Darryl Carnley. Darryl was one of the early adopters of our platform at RallyCorp and was very instrumental in helping us really identify what we were building and how we were going to go about building it. Darryl and I spent a lot of time together personally. I've got to know him over the years and have just really enjoyed our relationship. In fact, when he comes to town, we get together for coffee. In this particular episode, we're going to dive into Darryl's ''why''. He's got a very neat humanitarian shoe organization that he's launched. We're going to talk a bit about the ''why'' behind that, some of the opportunities that that has presented itself. We'll talk a little bit about how to use video different means that he does to create that sparkling vision, so to speak, in the mind's eye of the potential donor. Let's get started. I want to introduce you to my friend Darryl on Episode 2 of #TextGen.
Hey, everybody. Here with Darryl today, a good friend and a client of Rally. One of the things about Darryl that I love so much is he's just a down-to-earth guy. Darryl and I have had -- I don't know, Darryl. How many times have we had gotten together for coffee when you're in town, you think?
You know, at least a half, a dozen times. Something like that.
Oh, you think so, huh. Yeah. Darryl was instrumental in helping us early on. I think you're on the top first 10 clients we had, Darryl.
I think so.
I guess it's that...
You've [made] it sound like there were thousands of clients, but it was great.
Yeah, because I had big ambitions. But now we are, we're getting there. Anyway, with you, Darryl, it's been great to just sit [with] a down-to earth guy, getting to know you, your vision, and what you're working on. The purpose of today, Darryl, is just to get to know you, hear your story. We'll do a deep dive a bit into some of the technology that you're using with Rally. But really, it's less about that and more about what you're learning and how would you want to share with our community.
Get started. Yeah. Lead discussion. Tell us a little bit about your story and how you came to be.
Well, I'm going to try to keep it short. I was a pastor for 25 years, so that's tough for us. When we say we're closing, that's a lie.
That's right. Three closes.
Closing that thought to open another. Well, of course, my name is Darryl Carnley. I was born and raised in Alaska. My parents were missionaries. I'm a fourth generation missions kid. Dad went to Alaska back in the fifties and my earlier family got there early 1900s as gold miners, so a long time in Alaska. As I was growing up, I swore two things. I said I would never pastor and I would never live back in Alaska once I escaped. Bottom line is I pastored for 25 years -- 20 in Alaska, lived there for 43 [years]. Finally, came to the United, what we would call the lower 48s, which is funny, and pastored a couple of years in Idaho and then ended up in Phoenix. In the midst of all of that, being a mission's kid and closed over a hundred countries in my lifetime, I really was looking for a widget to go into countries and make a difference. We come up with a shoe idea that really is not new.
I mean, shoes have been around a long time. We've created the My 360 Project, which is a humanitarian shoe organization. It really is my ''why'' at this moment is to come in and put healthy fitting shoes on children. The uniqueness of our product is we teach people how to build it and create sustainable jobs. I'm a missions kid. That's what I do.
So My 360 Project. Look, you gave me one of these shoes way back when. I keep it in my office as a constant reminder of the work that you're doing. But why shoes?
Well, that's a great question. So many people -- as being a Christian people or you're not a primary mission in sharing the gospel or something like that, but that's fine. Why shoes for me is, I was given this fact some years ago by another shoe organization and they said that there was 300 million kids in the world who did not have a pair of shoes. There's another 1.2 billion kids who have inadequate shoes. Of course, growing up in Alaska, shoes are a must.
Yeah, that's a big deal.
It's a lot with 60 below without shoes or boots or mukluks or something. It was so interesting when I was given those facts, it just stirred me. I was emotional. When it was brought to me, I just knew. It was like this aha moment where, like Oprah talking about that aha moment. It was almost like I heard this [makes a sound], like, angels. It was like, ''This is what you're to do.'' Long story short, I was in New York City and at a meeting with the our organization. We were doing this big festival at Central Park. I told my wife, I said, ''I'm going to go down in the lobby of the hotel this morning and I'm going to meet someone from Nike.'' She said, ''Well, Nike's on the west coast.'' Man, I went down that morning and I met someone from Nike. Uniquely enough, his name was Wilson Smith. Anyone can Google him and see who he is. Wonderful Nike person. Been there many years, helped me meet a guy named Mike Friton. From there, Mike Friton and Tom Barron helped me design a shoe that we actually have done a lot of work on.
You actually have the shoe put together, but the shoe actually comes flat. I went to Mike and said, ''Mike, 300 million kids need shoes. We want to put people to work building shoes. We want to create a non-toxic charity situation where we're sourcing in country. It just started coming together now. It's been a heck of a process. That was in 2015. We started R&D in January 16 and did our first project in Uganda in January 17, I think it was. From there, we put about 8,000 pairs on kids in the world, 13 countries. [We] have a little build center here in Phoenix and a larger one in Vicente Guerrero. With people, we wanted to work with people that have been marginalized, those that have been rescued out of human trafficking, things such as that. We work with different ministries. It's happening. I think we have nine artisans working for us and working out with shoes.
Wow. You call it a humanitarian organization, shoe organization. But really, it's also sustainable. You use that word, too, why it's sustainable. Walk me through that. What makes it sustainable in that sense?
Well, the uniqueness of the shoe is the shoe gets sponsored for S35. You have a lot of people say, ''Well, why don't we just buy a $2 pair of shoes made in China? There's a lot of organizations that do that, and hats off to them. I love it. Again, whatever people can do to bring us to zero effect of every kid having shoes, do it. But we decided to set the price at $35. In the $35, it's based in the $17 to build the shoe, $8 to market it, $10 to deliver so that the shoe price, which is an average shoe price of a child's shoe in America is about 35 bucks, it gives us money inside of there to develop the same sustainability. But the $35 is people that are sponsoring companies. We're a non-profit, so we have rotary behind us.
We have churches, we have corporations. We just actually got a small partnership with the Safeco Insurance. Humana Hospital actually just came on board where people can match. But it's where people want to get involved with something. For instance, World Vision or Compassion people sponsor children $39 a month. Here, people can sponsor shoes 35 bucks a month and 12 children a year, of course get a pair of shoes. But in that, it employs people. People sponsoring the shoe then also then employs people to build it and gives us money to market it. But then, the uniqueness of this project is the $10. If they're a shoe hero, that goes into a travel account that helps us deliver the shoe around the world, or it's a fundraiser for someone to go on a humanitarian trip. I started mission trips when I was seven. If young people could go on a mission trip and serve...
And experience it.
whatever they want to call it. And they come into a situation, [it] shifts their homeostasis, changes everything in their life. It has a lot of components. But the sustainability is people sponsoring it and us going into country sourcing. Like Gloria, she helps source in Tijuana. We put money in the economy. We're not over there just giving something away; we're actually developing it where they're learning how to manage a business. People get micro loans, get their machine. We contract with them. It really is fun to watch nine artisans. We have two that are already beginning to build houses that had nothing, ones in their sixties has never owned anything in her life. She's working for us. She's bought her first piece of property. We're helping her build a house.
Darryl, you know when we did our strategy session together where we got on the whiteboard and we drew, and we talked about the different levels of giving and the way to create sustainable? I think in business, which a lot of organizations, really the bigger ones, get it. Again, that's obviously why they get a little bigger. But so much of the time, we have a scarcity mindset. We just think about the next donation to get the next thing done. What you've done, even the shoe itself, it grows and expands and that has some life built into it. It's more ruggedized than an American shoe because you're not on American soil, right? You're in different soil, down in Mexico, or even in Africa, in these different countries you're in. I think understanding the terrain and how to build a shoe that grows with the child and how to create stomping that's more sustainable, not just at the foot level, but really on a global scale, that's incredible.
Well, it's an easy build shoe. We have canvas.
Leather. I saw a lot of that.
We have different canvas that can be repaired. In fact, you'll go to places and they'll flatten it and they'll scrub it and hang it on there. I've seen it hanging outside where they have their laundry. But it's not the prettiest of shoes, but it's very functional. I actually have one here. This is called our ArtMox. This is another program we're doing where American or us here, the children or whatever, they design the shoe and make a wearable art. But the shoe actually grows out the toe. It'll expand out the rear. It also is expandable in and out from like a moccasin. And we call it the 360 ArtMox because it's built on a moccasin thought. It can go a few sizes. We don't declare how many sizes because, man, there's many countries. We've been in 13 [countries]. So many different types of feet. But it'll actually go in or out. It's kind of cool because you can be like, in Nicaragua, we have four sizes and we are able to put shoes on about six or eight styles of feet because it fits.
That's amazing. I'm always impressed just with your thinking, your strategy, really that sustainable growth that you've done. We've talked a little bit about the future, kind of your plans, so I want to circle back to that. But as you think about current day where you are today, $35 a shoe seems reasonable, right? There's a lot of Americans, a lot of people that would, I think, for $35, kind of see and get the impact. But what kinds of challenges are you facing as an organization when it comes either getting the word out or getting people to mobilize or act on your vision?
I think what happens is, is let's say we're having children sponsored for an orphanage. They can wrap their brain around that -- not eating, because so many organizations drew wells, you got to have them. You give food and medicine. Shoes, it's a new thought. People haven't really wrapped their brain around the need of shoes. Eleven million kids die before their fifth birthday, and a lot of those children die because of foot borne illnesses that you don't think of. If they had just a simple shoe, even a simple flip-flop, it would be different.
Keep it up the ground. Yeah.
Our challenge is everything a story. We've been developing story. We've been traveling all over. We were in Pakistan last February to look at the need of shoes there. It was mind-blowing. Of course, I designed the shoe for Africa, but as people begin to see the need, deeper need -- Mexico is more of where there's inadequate shoes. We have kids who don't have them and we give them. But this is really more of an opportunity. We wash the child's feet, put shoes on. As people begin to see it and go on trips, they realize, ''Wow, James, there's a need.'' "Darryl, I get it.'' So they come back and then they become sponsors or a shoe hero. It's easy to say, ''We need water'', because we know what that's like. It's easy to say, ''We need food'', and help. But when we start talking shoes, most Americans have about 20 or 30 pairs of shoes. They don't even think there's a shortage.
Yeah. It's really crossing the cultural divide and helping people, if you would, envision and understand to see it. They have to see it. Would you agree?
Exactly. The importance of having shoes in your life is amazing. There's a quality of life. There's this hope. In fact, The Prodigal Son that's in the Bible, when he came home, he had lost his shoes. They feel that because he was in the mud. What happens when you're in the mud? It says he came to his senses that he's in the mud. When you stepped in mud, your shoes come off. We suspect that he came home and got shoes. Well, the father would have washed his feet. When he had placed new shoes on his feet, he brought sonship back to him and hope. We put shoes on seat. It capsulates something in their minds. We were in Haiti, James, a few years ago when we first were doing this, started it. We were washing these little Haitian kids' feet, never had shoes, nothing. We're washing their feet, putting these socks and shoes on them. You wonder, that night, what were they thinking? What just happened? We washed their feet. It's so significant. Jesus did it. It's a powerful expression of safety. If you're going to meet a child and give them something wonderful, when you wash their feet -- we call it a holy pedicure -- it's funny how they light up. They're like, ''What's going on?''.
They get it.
It's healthy, it's safe. Then you begin to see the connection of having a shoe. I just had someone on my program not long ago from Africa. They were telling me about their first pair of shoes ever in their life and how they just felt different. They're walking with shoes for the first time. They're like 13 years old. They're just feeling like life is possible. We hope shoes bring hope. That's our point: to bring hope to children.
Darryl, I've experienced that firsthand. I've traveled and done mission trips myself and stayed in Africa. We arrived late one night with the Executive Director. The home that we were staying in the orphanage was real kind to have a little apartment built out for us. She goes, ''This is where our guests stay'', so we stayed there the first night. But it felt removed from the kids. We weren't able to see them. The next day, after playing with them, I decided, ''They don't need a bunch of people from America coming in and then sleeping on cots when most of them are on the floor.'' The environment was not as good for them as it was for us.
They were just trying to make it comfortable for us, and I appreciate that. I asked the director. I said, ''Would it be okay if we actually stayed on the floor with the kids or in the hall with the kids?'' I call it the hall. The next day, they were a lot more approachable. It was like the level of humility that we weren't just there, out of reach. We were there to live their life and be with them and meet them in a moment. We really meet them where they are in the dust, right?
Yeah. That's what when you wash their feet, you're humbling yourself.
And they get that. Immediately, it opens this connection with them. I find it so fun when I feel someone tugging on my finger or something. It's one of those little children. They're saying ''de nada'', they're saying ''thank you'' or ''Gracias'' or whatever country you're in.
I love it. The humility is a big part of approaching. I think that that is something that, as an organization, you get because you've lived it. For those of us that have been on trips, we understand that. I mean, I will not sleep on a mattress if there's people that are not sleeping on a mattress. I just can't do it. People need to experience that, and it's very experiential. We talked about video, different mediums to get to that. I know you're a big in social and video. Walk me through some of the video stuff that you've done to help get that story across in a very real and visual way, if they're not able to go with you on the trip itself.
It's funny you say that because now that we speak out -- like this next weekend, I'll be speaking at a church -- and one of the things -- and I just want to put a plug in for Rally. I know you're interviewing me. But one of the things that really helps us is when I'm there, like next week, I'll say, ''Hey, if you want to know more about our ArtMox Project, just text ARTMOX to 24365. When they do that, they can click on and they can watch the video about the ArtMox.
Yeah, pull that video.
It really ties people in. We love text-to-give for us, especially in front of a crowd. You can throw it out there and you can see people out there texting on their phone. The video/audio, my son is really good at it. We've really been putting together great stories, good songs with the stories. We took the band, Unspoken, down with us a couple of years ago. They gave us the rights to a few of their songs. Some of the videos have their songs. They went in as artists and they loved it. Just testimony. The Bible says you overcome by the blood of the lamb, the word of our testimony and not to make this a religious program, but it's factual. Testimony's everything.
Telling our story. Right now, developing some really cool stories from the artisans' perspective. Now, we couldn't have done that a few years ago because they were new to us. Now, some of them have been with us two to three years, so they can now come and say, ''Hey, if you become a shoe hero, this is how it's affected my life. Your $35 a month has done this for us, giving us a better life.'' That's what we're doing right now. That's why we really enjoy having text-to-give because it's such a simplistic way for us to say, ''Hey, text SHOES to 24365''.
Yeah. That's exactly right. It's really delivering text-to-give where they could click and make a donation, of course, but it's really about delivering video, moving them into Facebook, moving them into different mediums or certain networks where they can actually see, and feel, and experience, the story and have opportunity enter into it.
Then they opt in to our system. Like Giving Tuesday last year, we did a reverse text out to everybody. The reverse text hit. Within two minutes, someone had donated a thousand dollars. I'm not trying to plug. I'm just telling you. It was just like, ''Whoa, wait. That was a nice size gift.'' But it's telling story, and you said it. It takes time. You can't do something like this. You've developed new companies and it's great to say, ''Hey, this is what we're going to do. This is what we want to do.'' Even when you and I met a few years ago, I was still telling you what we wanted to do, why we're doing it.''.
I love it.
That's the fun part. Come and see. Get involved. Even people watching this, click on our website, take a look at what we're doing, go under TRIPS and go with us some time.
We call it ''Client Success Interviews'', Darryl, and I've done it with you. My favorite part of my job is to engage with folks and say, ''Okay, what are we doing right? When did you first find the value? What can we do better? Where can we improve? What do you need next? What's the challenges?'' Because we're technology people. We can build anything, right? We want to build the right thing, but it has to impact lives.
Exactly. Well, we're coming to our 20 minutes, so we probably...
I know. I'm impressed that you and I have done it. This is actually pretty, impressive that you've capped it at 20 minutes. Good job. Do you have anything that you want to close us out on and think through? How does someone get involved with you? I've got my information up, of course, with my short code to get access to my V card. Oh, there it is on your shirt. How does someone find you? My360.org
My360project.org. Go to the website. Take a look at us on Facebook. Like us on Facebook is great. That's really fun. You can go on our website, you can sign up to be in our mailing list. But more than anything, take a step of faith with us and become a shoe hero. You can go right on. It's real easy to click monthly and start sponsoring shoes. As you become that, then all of a sudden, you'll start getting pictures back of where your shoes are going. Through this crazy time of COVID, we still have been able to build shoes, get them around to different places, and we're still working because the need doesn't go away. I would just encourage people to take a look at us, go to the website and give us some response. Tell us what you think: good, bad, or ugly, because we want to get better. There's such a need, and our need is filled by people. It's just sponsor one pair of shoes. I don't need you to sponsor a thousand. If you want to, I'm not going to stop you. But just one pair of shoes a month changes a child's life. Twelve children you get to change in a year.
That's amazing. Our family is all about it. We're grateful for your work. Of course, you can text SHOES to 24365 as well and get a quick link to your website. So do that. You're in the #TextGen community. We just launched on LinkedIn and in Facebook. If anybody's in that group, they can reach out to you directly. What I would encourage is for other other group members to think about how ArtMox or the work that you're doing might impact them, because I know you and I talked about youth groups and different organizations, Lion's Club, different organizations that gather members around projects. This would be a great project for them to do together, especially if they have kids and teenagers or families stuck at home during COVID. Lots of ways to get involved with you. I'd love for people to reach out to you directly in the group and make your acquaintance as well. You've got a lot to offer to folks.
Thanks, my friend. Like I said and like you said, text SHOES to 24365. Bam. There it is.
Yeah. Love it. All right. Well, anything else? Any closing thoughts or is this it? Is this our second close?
There's a lot more to say, but I'm not going to say it.
Okay. Well, I was going to give you, like, three closes but we'll leave it at this. All right, brother. Great to see you again. Thanks for your time.
Thanks, James, for your time and what you do.
All right. You bet. Bye-bye.