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Heart & Soul Blog

Thoughtful Thursday: Meet Donovan Smith

Alyson Campbell

Meet 13-year-old Donovan Smith. As you may have seen on The Queen Latifah Show, multiple news broadcast networks and many celebrity shout-outs on social media, this young entrepreneur is the creator of Toil and Trouble Bath, a soap and bath business that sells products all handmade with love and care by Donovan.

Donovan started his soap-making business when he was just 10 years old to donate portions of his sales to the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico, the organization that helped him and his mother transition out of homelessness by providing proper housing and employment.

As a Navy veteran, Donovan's mother Casey Smith had difficulty finding work because of a service-related disability, which ultimately led to the loss of her home in Georgia. Donovan and Casey still remember the times there was no electricity or hot water, having to live in a garage, and having to sell Casey's car just to buy food.

After a few years, Casey and Donovan finally found an opening at the Henderson House shelter for female veterans in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they resided for a few months until they found an apartment. 

Once they found a new place to call home, Casey started homeschooling Donovan. Lucky for him, he enjoyed his schooling - English and reading being his favorite. Casey noticed that Donovan also enjoyed his arts and crafts so she taught him how to make old-fashioned, hand poured soap. This led to the fruition of Toil and Trouble Bath.

Donovan quickly fell in love with soap making and began creating soaps in the shape of delicious foods such as hamburgers, donuts, macaroons, and teddy bears, as well as traditional block soaps.

His soap business landed Donovan his own booth for Toil and Trouble Bath, at a local crafts market. As business began to thrive, Donovan started donating portions of his sales to the Henderson House while also donating 310 soaps each year to Project Stand Down & Hands Up, a project dedicated to assisting Albuquerque veterans.

But serving meals for countless shelters, dedicating his life to philanthropy and donating his earnings was not enough for young Donovan. With his hard earned money, Donovan donated blankets, diapers, toothbrushes, along with many other necessities to the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico. He would always ask shelters what they needed, and their answers were always one thing: soap.

Donovan started donating 30 to 50 soaps a day, but as business and demands grew the workload became unmanageable for Donovan alone. He would have had to make 150 soaps per week on his own to keep up with demands.

However, instead of putting a damper on his years of hard work and philanthropy, Donovan made the decision to close down Toil and Trouble Bath so that he could dedicate enough time to produce and donate soaps to meet demands.

The business may have changed, but Donovan remains determined to reach his goal: donate a minimum of 7,200 soaps this year (which averages to roughly 600 soaps per month).

In order to help keep up with the costs of soap making, Casey set up a GoFundMe page for Donovan.

“People helped us and now I want to help others,” Donovan said to People Magazine. “It’s my way of saying thank you.”

Check out the full story here: http://www.people.com/article/donovan-smith-teen-entrepreneur-makes-soaps-homeless-shelter

If you're interested in Donovan's work and progress, follow him @ToilandTroubleU on Twitter or visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/toilandtroublebath/timeline?ref=page_internal

 

Happy Thoughtful Thursday!

 

With love,

The Heart & Soul PR, Inc. Team