Participant Stories


Before coming to our program, Charlie hated his job in retail clothing. He also hated his step-dad, which degraded the relationship with his mom.  His lack of funds made moving out of the house impossible.

Through Carrot, Charlie gained financial literacy.  For instance, when researching his credit score, he discovered how his mom and step-dad had used his name without authorization on a bill but never paid it, destroying Charlie’s credit.  We navigated Charlie to mental health support and worked on the delinquent bill issue with him.  Charlie confronted his mother who refused to take responsibility for the credit issue.  At his request, our life coach found him deeply subsidized housing that he moved to, and he was relieved to live independently.

With the exposure, education and mentoring available in our classes, Charlie decided to create a microbusiness buying jean jackets and leather jackets from thrift stores. He and a class partner customized the jackets and then sold them for more than triple the cost of goods.  While iterating his business model, Charlie came to recognize it would take time to grow, and so he continued his work in retail, selling clothing. Now, though, he brought a new perspective to his work. He wanted to know about the manager’s background, how much freedom she had to market products differently locally versus nationally, what market research she had access to and what other factors drove her decision making.  His questions impressed her enough that he was promoted.  His view of working retail transformed because learning from another entrepreneur became part of his mission. His job became a lab for learning how to better run his own business – while getting paid to learn.

That’s a huge success, because keeping the job while building his own business has allowed Charlie to live independently.