COURAJ is an inspirational new brand that will be launching a Kickstarter campaign on Nov.7. Its taking a new and unique approach to the 1 for 1 model. Instead of giving a product with every purchase it is giving away an inspirational story of courage. Please check out the Q&A below with its founder Chris Duncan.
COURAJ (pronounced “courage”) is an Austin, TX based buy 1, give 1 lifestyle clothing brand and tool, with one mission: Help the people of the world show more courage. COURAJ spelled with a J, represents a journey of courage. When you buy, COURAJ gives away a story of courage. They aim to be a combination of a TOMS Shoes, LiveStrong, Hurley, Nike, and Red Bull, while spreading the virtue of courage.
COURAJ was founded by Chris Duncan. He says, “I was raised a poor country boy in Georgia with only 65% of normal hearing. We never had much, but my dad taught me to work my a** off. Since then I’ve earned a baseball scholarship, graduated college, and ran 3 businesses, while starting 2 of them. I’ve come to the conclusion that courage is what the world runs on and everything else follows.
It can buy anything, love, peace of mind, accomplishment, fulfillment, and even money. Everyone is trying create another way to help you make more money, but who is making an honest and true attempt to help you show more courage? My dream is to create a tool, in the form a powerful lifestyle brand, strong community, and support system, that will help the people of the world do just that. In 20 years I want to look back and say, “WOW, look how much positive change we have created, by simply harvesting the virtue of courage”.
- It helps us accomplish our mission
- Stories are one of the most powerful tools on the planet.
- Stories can inspire for a lifetime, even thousands of years as seen in history.
- The receiver can share the story with others, meaning 1 purchase can inspire many.
Cool things that make COURAJ standout
- The logo is called Lion Chief. Half Lion, Half Chief, with a star representing a dream.
- COURAJ will soon upgrade to giving away a book of 5 stories with every purchase.
- Every product comes with a Story of Courage Collectors Card. They are numbered and can be traded.
- COURAJ.com contains stories of courage from present day and history.
- The Dream Stream at Couraj.com is a new technology that allows the community to support and inspire each other.
- They aim to get into music, video, art, sports and technology.
Q&A with founder Chris Duncan:
Tell us about COURAJ, what personally made you want to launch the brand?
Sure, COURAJ (pronounced “courage”) is a buy 1, give 1 lifestyle brand with the mission of helping people show more courage in life. Courage spelled with a “J” represents a journey of courage, which I believe fits real life better. Think of us as a combination of TOMS Shoes, LiveStrong, Hurley and Red Bull, but with the message of courage.
I was born a poor country boy in Georgia, with only 65% normal hearing. The odds have always been against me. Since then I’ve earned a baseball scholarship, graduated college, and ran 3 businesses, while starting 2 of them. Straight out of college I landed a tech job in Austin, TX. I was #6 in the company, making $80k a year with 40k shares. People back home thought I had “made it”, but I didn’t feel that way. I wasn’t getting fulfillment from my work and wasn’t happy.
I learned a truth: The world doesn’t run on money, it runs on COURAGE, everything else follows. (Chris performs spoken word poetry about this here) Courage can buy you anything: growth, accomplishment, love, freedom, purpose, peace of mind and even money. If people would just show more courage in life, in the direction of their heart, they would enjoy it a lot more. So one night while meditating at Bull Creek Park, I thought, “I should create a tool that helps people show more courage in life.” At that moment, I felt the best, most euphoric and blissful feeling I had ever felt. It was 1,000 times better than any home run I had ever hit. It was totally different than when I received my first email from Mark Cuban. It was like someone put their warm hands on my heart and started massaging it. BOOM! COURAJ was born. I left my high pay and equity for a higher cause.
Talk a little bit more about the model for the brand. It is a one for one model, but instead of a product you give away a story, is that correct?
Correct you are sir, and soon we’ll expand into giving away a book of 5 stories with every purchase. Whenever I create, I ask myself, “What’s our mission? What tools can I create to give us the best possible chance of completing that mission?” Our mission is to help people show more courage in life. A buy 1, give 1 model gives us the best chance of doing that, while also getting the community involved. But please don’t mistake this as being our only value proposition or a marketing gimmick. It is only one tool in a whole toolbox of tools, that we will use to complete our mission. Why stories instead of a product? For a few different reasons:
- Stories make the most sense for our mission.
- I believe stories are the most powerful tools on the planet, because they spark motivation, which leads to creation, which leads to true change.
- Stories aren’t temporary. They can inspire for a lifetime, even thousands of years.
- The receiver can share the story with others, meaning 1 purchase can impact many.
What is the most valuable thing you can give someone? Hope. Imagine you are young boy, surrounded by people who have no aspirations and are always negative toward your dreams. Then one day, the COURAJ crew comes to town, gives a free speech and gives everyone a book of five stories. Now all of a sudden there is a buzz in town. If the people in these stories can do these amazing things, why can’t I? That’s when the impossible, becomes possible.
Are the stories given away from your personal experience or are they stories from other people? Are you asking fans and people to send in their stories?
We’ll get the stories anyway possible. The community can send in stories here, COURAJ may reach out to certain people, or we may tell stories from history. If we feel it can have an impact, we want it, it doesn’t matter how we get it or when it happened. We cannot feature every story, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. We encourage people to tell their stories and support each other on the Dream Stream at Couraj.com. It’s a new technology that connects our community and allows them to support each other.
What is the goal of the Kickstarter campaign, what is the funding going toward? Inventory? Growth? Can you give us an idea of some of the rewards that will be available?
We have a few different goals for the campaign. We aim to raise… $1 Billion dollars (followed by Dr. evil laugh) haha jk. We are aiming for $5,000, which will cover inventory and allow us to start generating cash flow. Everything after the $5,000 will go toward the goal I’m most hopeful for, the ability to start building a team. COURAJ is such a dynamic concept that we need a strong team to pull it off. We are adding value everywhere possible, but I can’t be everywhere and am definitely not talented everywhere. We need people who share our fire and can become game changers. I’ve done my part in getting us this far, now I want to build a team that can really create something special. The campaign itself is pretty sweet. It will run exactly like our company. We will sell our unique COURAJ wristbands, shirts and hats. Just like our business model, we give away a story of courage with every pledge and every product comes with a Story of Courage Collectors Card. We may be the first buy 1, give 1 Kickstarter campaign, I’m not sure.
What is your vision for COURAJ, what is the best case scenario for the brand in your mind?
My vision is for COURAJ to become a powerful tool, in the form a cool lifestyle brand, strong community, and support system, that helps people show more courage in life. We are starting in apparel, but will soon get into music, video, art, sports, technology and anything else we feel can be used to strengthen our mission. We want to empower a community and let the community breed leaders who can create snowball effect change. In 20 years, I want to look back and say, “WOW, look how much positive change we have created, by simply harvesting the virtue of courage.” I’ll leave you with a quote spoken from a mentor of mine named Elliott Hulse. It sums up how we will measure the success of COURAJ.
“The true measure of a master is not how many followers he has, but how many masters he creates” – Elliott Hulse
Grant is the founder of Causeartist, one of the most influential impact business platforms in the world. Since 2013, Causeartist has been read in over 200 countries. Grant has personally interviewed over 600 impact entrepreneurs from around the world, highlighting innovations in ethical fashion, climate change, ethical technology, impact investing, and sustainable travel.