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Entrepreneurs

A Modern Message In A Bottle

By Ashley Johnson, posted May 3, 2019
Retail CATEGORY WINNER | COMPASS BRACELETS SAMANTHA DUDLEY, owner & founder | YEAR FOUNDED: 2016 | EMPLOYEES: 3 | Photo by Terah Wilson
"We left 2 days late this deployment but we are floating across the Atlantic en-route. Deployment 2019. Today is St. Patrick’s Day we have decorated my workspace in shamrocks and dressed as leprechauns. Let’s see where this journey goes.”
 
This is the start of one Compass Bracelet’s story.
 
The next stop for this particular bracelet is in Durrës, Albania, where its wearer roams the streets and observes cultural differences all of which you can read on the Compass Bracelet’s website.
 
The point is to encourage connectedness and small acts of kindness. The Compass Bracelet is not like other jewelry. It isn’t meant to belong to any one person but to be passed on.
 
The website reads: “Wear it. Share it. Change the World.”
 
Each bracelet has a unique number that can be tracked on a map when the person who is wearing it logs on to the website and checks in using his or her number. There is the option to add a journal-like entry, photos and even use a hashtag with the unique number to track where the bracelet goes on social media.
 
Always looking for something she could do to leave the world a better place, Compass Bracelets owner and founder Samantha Dudley had the idea of the traveling bracelet upon seeing a piece of jewelry in the airport.
 
Dudley thought how cool would it be if you could track where it goes?
 
“Almost like a modern day message in a bottle,” she said.
 
Dudley had already been an entrepreneur, pursuing mostly food-based businesses with her husband, but she couldn’t get the traceable bracelets out of her head. So three years later, she decided to go for it.
 
Dudley makes each bracelet.
 
Compass Bracelets donates 50% of its net profits. Originally they donated proceeds to a different charity each quarter.
 
After a lot of thought, Compass Bracelets settled on the Dave Thomas Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for children waiting in North America’s foster care systems, as the recipient, recently forming an official partnership.
 
Compass Bracelets has evolved with a better, easier-to-use website and a new bracelet design that encourages impermanence by making it easy to snap off and share. Their next goal is to focus on retail.
 
Compass Bracelets can be found in select stores in the Carolinas, including Heart of Carolina located in The Cotton Exchange in downtown Wilmington. Its busiest location is a store in Colorado owned by Dudley’s brother and sister-in-law. This year they’re shooting to expand the retail market to 50 storefronts.
 
Another way they plan to grow their business this year is to designate brand ambassadors that can embody their ideals and share their bracelets far and wide.
 
“I get to create and form this community which is my perfect place,” Dudley said. “My favorite part is waking up in the morning and seeing where the bracelets have gone and what stories are being told.”

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