Developing a Kingdom Centered Startup: An Interview with Lexi Grisanti
In the current global landscape, young people are stepping up to create businesses that impact the world in massive ways.
Lexi Grisanti is the founder of a sustainably driven startup company Sol&Co, which ethically produces clothing to provide support and jobs for women in impoverished nations. She has begun the process of creating a startup and learning how Christ leads his Kingdom within business and entrepreneurship.
A startup is a newly developed company where entrepreneurs work to create a good or service that has the ability to transform a market. Entrepreneurs who begin startups have little to no income and all of their hours, resources, and finances are poured into the vision of a company that they are passionate about. One of the most important aspects of missional entrepreneurship is possessing a Kingdom centered mindset and integrating God into motivation and action for your endeavors. Startups rely heavily on change, and having adaptability and confidence in the face of challenge grows you in immeasurable ways.
Before pursuing Sol&Co, Lexi was an art and business major at the University of Memphis. The idea for her startup came from prayer and trust in the Lord. The idea that sparked Lexi’s entrepreneurial career came to her on the World Race, where she witnessed firsthand the multitude of economic barriers that harmed the quality of life for the people around her. Financial and social turmoil caused a negative impact on the spread of the Gospel. Morally convicted about living alongside these people then returning home to America and forgetting their struggle, Lexi vowed to start a company that could combat poverty and bring God’s kingdom to Earth.
Lexi explains that while God has totally changed her heart toward her mission, she holds her entrepreneurial endeavors loosely, saying, “If God calls me somewhere else, my identity is not attached to my business or the success I am able to have through it. Even if all of my endeavors fail, I am still a Child of God and I am still loved wholeheartedly.”
Because of this, Lexi has the strength to run forcefully toward anything she feels is from God. After being led to develop her company and keeping this message at the center of her heart, she knew that Sol&Co would be the answered step in her journey. Christ’s strength is the propelling force behind facing any and all challenges she may face and He guides every move she makes both personally and professionally.
Through her love for people and the environment, Grisanti has been able to minister to a small team of women employees based in Nicaragua. She has partnered with a local seamstress to develop a sewing school that employs students in a nearby village. Many of the women in the village do not have enough money to buy feminine care products. This greatly impacts their ability to attend school and grow in their educational pursuits. By inviting them into the clothing production process, Lexi’s company has provided a way for her employees to support themselves, hear the Gospel, and use their skills to teach others to do the same!
Textile production is one of the most troubling industries in today’s society. Sweat shops are breeding grounds for human trafficking and international coorporations value financial gain over human life. Over hours spent attempting to source a manufacturer, Lexi realized that the world simply does not prioritize moral ethics or the quality of the environment. Thousands of these shops claim to be fair trade and ethically sourced, but the reality is a stark contrast. Digging deeper into a manufacturer's motivations and finding the truth about their production can be one of the most challenging facets of entrepreneurship through Sol&Co.
Sol&Co strives to stand above the mass corruption by putting their employees first, paying fair wages, and reducing the environmental damage caused by traditional fast fashion.
As Grisanti writes, “I wanted to be a company who cared about people and the earth above all.”
Since the emergence of the Coronavirus, Lexi’s business has taken on more innate challenges. Along with all entrepreneurs, the unexpected nature of this virus has been the largest obstacle to continually work around. Lexi has pivoted her business model as COVID-19 shutdown her production in China, re-pivoted as COVID-19 affected Central America, and continues to deal with the effects of the virus on her company stateside. Through it all, she has found strength in Christ being the ultimate provider and protector for both her employees, her company, and herself.
As for the future of Sol&Co, Lexi aims toward utilizing her company to distribute microloans, small amounts of money you can give to a person in which they pay back over time, to people who otherwise would never have the opportunity. Microloans can be a huge benefit for people in developing nations by filling in the gap created by a lack of access to capital resources, banks, or strong infrastructures.
Although Lexi is currently able to provide for the needs of her own employees, her desire is to one day expand her vision farther beyond the walls of her own company. Lexi aims to provide a path for other people to live out their entrepreneurial desires regardless of financial status by creating jobs that allow people the freedom to connect to their personal passions and divine calling.
No matter the challenges entrepreneurship may bring, Lexi continues to spread the love of Christ in beautifully impactful ways.