Mar 13, 2019
We often contemplate the origins of our clothes and shoes, but
purchasing with purpose even includes notepads, sticky notes, pens,
and paper. Jillian Ryan is the founder of the Marie Mae Company.
She joins us to discuss the tremendous social impact you can have
by purchasing items as simple as office supplies.
Things You Don't Want To Miss:
Meet Today's Guest.
- 00:54 - Jillian Ryan is the Founder and Creator of the Marie Mae Company. Her company provides
invaluable business training for entrepreneurs around the world. By
purchasing Marie Mae's office supply products, you're contributing
to the education of students at the Marie Mae Business School.
The Jillian 101.
- 8:30 - Jane grew up in Texas where she graduated from Texas
A&M. She ended up working in Washington D.C. for ten years with
an international business consulting firm. She was a political risk
consultant, and she helped businesses overseas to navigate the
nuances and risks associated with business in an emerging
A Change In Direction.
- 9:46 - While helping big businesses operate in Africa, she
witnessed these enterprises wanting work with small, local
businesses, only to reach a dead end as local entrepreneurs lacked
the necessary skills and resources to partner together. She decided
to discover the means and training necessary to run a business in
rural Africa. It started as a side project, and her goal was to
provide a business bootcamp for local entrepreneurs. However, she
needed funding, and selling office supplies was a way to pay for
How Marie Mae Works.
- 12:00 - Basically, for each product you buy, Marie Mae provides
one hour of training for a local entrepreneur. It started as a side
project, and quickly grew into a full-scale operation.
A Big Break.
- 13:52 - The next year FabFitFun approached Jillian
about providing them with 250,000 boxes of stationary. Suddenly,
Jillian was scrambling to figure out how to scale her
What Does Marie Mae Sell?
- 18:04 - Their main focus is practical and professional gifts.
They produce notebooks, stationary, and artisan-made goods, and
they work a lot with corporate businesses, and of course, their
products are ethically-sourced. Marie Mae even has their own
quarterly subscription box.
How Does The Training Work?
- 21:20 - Jillian worked with so many high-powered bankers,
lawyers, etc...and so many of them wanted to volunteer. Jillian
wanted to provide local entrepreneurs in Africa with business
training, and she saw an opportunity to enable her corporate
partners to share their expertise. Thus was born the Marie Mae
Business School, and business professionals train entrepreneurs
with the skills needed to run a successful business.
- 30:04 - Jillian reflects on the early days of Marie Mae and
shares strategies and products that just didn't work. Oddly
enough, some of her flops turned out to be best-sellers
later. Remember, business is about perseverance.
- 41:30 - Jillian seeks to equip her entrepreneurs with practical
skills. General business concepts will only take you so far, so
Marie Mae seeks to contextualize their lessons for their audience.
Jillian shares how she was able to train a sewing cooperative in
Getting To Know Our Guest:
- 45:05 - Jillian shares her desire to learn Spanish and travel
through space to the fantastical locations featured
A Memorable Moment:
"It's the power of perseverance. It's one of the things I try to
drive home. People might be smarter than you. People might have
come from a better background, but you can always win in a
- Jillian Ryan
To visit the Business With Purpose website, click the