045 – Bob Dalton – Creating a Mission Driven Company

045 – Bob Dalton – Creating a Mission Driven Company

Bob Dalton is the founder and CEO of Sackcloth & Ashes, a mission-driven company that gives a blanket to a homeless shelter for each one purchased. He shares his motivation for wanting to become a social entrepreneur and reveals the personal story that inspired him to action. Bob and Elliot discuss the exciting road ahead for Sackcloth & Ashes, how Bob balances a busy work life with his family life, and how you can support whatever cause calls to you. Listen in to learn some valuable tips for becoming a social entrepreneur – and learn the advice Bob would give his younger self when he was just getting started.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[01:30] – Introducing Bob, his journey, and the meaning of Social Entrepreneurship to him

  • 02:05 – He was involved in the nonprofit world and seeking his purpose
  • 03:00 – Around the same time, his grandmother and brother passed away; it took a toll on his mother and she lost her home and strained her relationships
  • 03:30 – She started drinking, sold everything, and moved to Florida; she thought her aunt would take her in but she didn’t so she slept on beaches and benches
  • 04:05 – The way he viewed homelessness totally transformed; he used to be judgmental towards people on the streets
  • 04:50 – He called homeless shelters and they all said they needed blankets; he was familiar with the 1-for-1 business model like Toms shoes
  • 05:05 – His model donates one blanket to a homeless shelter in the buyer’s neighborhood; he wanted people to know they were making a local impact
  • 06:10 – A quote on a coffee cup sleeve that said, “What are you waiting for?” inspired him to get moving and start the business
  • 06:40 – He found someone to sew the blankets, drove around selling them, hired a photographer; and in 2014 the website went live with 20 shops
  • 07:25 – His business strategy was to post on IG 1x/day; he got creative and set themselves apart
  • 08:50 – They got featured on Instagram’s IG account the day before Black Friday; they grew 20,000 followers overnight and were able to leverage IG influencers

[09:25] – The impact the company has had on his life

  • 10:00 – He knew a large social following would get the attention of big corporations; in 2018 they pivoted into the B2B partnerships world
  • 10:25 – They launched their “Blanket the United States” campaign and partnered with Subaru; now companies all over the U.S. are a part of the campaign
  • 11:30 – He’s on a plane almost every week to go to homeless shelters around the U.S.; they pass out blankets and food with celebrities and executives
  • 12:00 – People get to learn the solution to help homelessness around the U.S.; he learns daily and is at the forefront of solutions

[12:45] – How Bob balances work and life with all his travels

  • 12:55 – He’s still trying to figure out the balance; he wants to create a great home environment where he can be present intentionally
  • 13:30 – He sets time aside for himself and his family; he and his wife have organized the “personal” and “us” days
  • 15:00 – He’s the determining factor for whether the business grows the way it could

[15:35] – Social entrepreneurship tips

  • 15:45 – Don’t do “cause marketing”; instead, make sure you’re marketing a cause
  • 16:35 – Use your platform to bring exposure and support those who are doing the work

[17:33] – Advice for his younger self

  • 17:35 – Trust your gut, don’t listen to too many voices or opinions; mentorship is good but be cautious and test everything
  • 18:10 – Be true to yourself; consistence is stronger than resistance

[19:40] – How to support

  • 19:40 – Look homeless people in the eyes and acknowledge them; cultivate compassion for real people with real stories
  • 20:00 – If there’s a cause you want to support, pick up the phone and call the people in your community that are already doing something about it
  • 20:20 – Sackcloth & Ashes blankets are available for purchase; when you buy, one will be given to your local homeless shelter and you can fill the box with shelter items
  • 21:30 – There are ways to continue sharing and spreading the blanket love through Sackcloth & Ashes

[21:50] – What’s ahead for Bob

  • 21:55 – He’ll be speaking, expanding into corporate partnerships, staying educated, staying solution-focused, and spreading a message of dignity and respect
  • 24:30 – Share eye contact and acknowledge the state of our reality and the homelessness in it

3 Key Points

  1. As a social entrepreneur, understand who is the true hero.
  2. Trust your gut and continue to move forward.
  3. Collaborate, join a cause, and support it!



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