One day, Chicago entrepreneur Adam Hyman was looking at the entangled wire hangers stacked perilously high on his shelf closet and decided it was time to dispose of them. Moments later, they were a jumbled mess on his floor. Wanting to do the environmentally responsible thing and recycle them, Hyman couldn’t find a metal recycling container and ended up taking them back to the dry cleaners.
It got him thinking. With all the environmentally-friendly products readily available in today’s market, shouldn’t there be a cardboard hanger that could go out with the daily newspaper and other junk mail?
And so the idea for TreeHangers was born.
“I’m sort of a “go for it” type of guy,” said Hyman. “I subscribe to Hillel’s maxim, “if not now, when.” There’s nothing I enjoy more than the creative endeavor in whatever capacity it may be, and I was energized by the possibility of developing a new product from concept to commercialization. I resigned from my sales job and went full speed ahead with my idea.”
Designed to provide eco-conscious consumers and retailers with a durable, sustainable, and visually appealing alternative to traditional garment hangers, the patent pending, stylishly simple, uniquely earthy hangers are made from recycled paper, soy based inks, and all natural glues.
“The amount of waste produced from the disposal of consumer products is staggering,” said Hyman. “By producing the hangers from recycled paper, we promote the conservation of our namesake.”
Hyman’s advice to others looking to follow their entrepreneurial dreams is do your research and find a mentor. “Most entrepreneurs, I’ve found, have very generous spirits and are more than willing to share their knowledge, offer advice, and even open up their network to you.”
He also stresses the importance of learning to deal with rejection and setbacks. “…See them as part of larger process, a process of growth and development. There are many insightful and inspiring books to cultivate this. One of my favorites is Failing Forward by John Maxwell,” said Hyman.
There is no typical day for this new entrepreneur.
“I usually have a set agenda on my calendar for the day, several things I want to accomplish to keep the momentum,” said Hyman. “I check to see if any orders came in. I could exchange e-mails with my manufacturer about shipping or logistics. Often, I have meetings set up with prospects, but sometimes this is all done online. I do a great deal of networking, attending Chamber of Commerce events and those of other business oriented organizations. There has been a lot of shipping of samples to retailers. Last week, I visited several Whole Foods to meet with the buyers of their Whole Body department. And then, there are days spent researching prospects or potential business partners. It really varies.”
Giving back to the Jewish community also occupies a good chunk of his time. Hyman recently participated in a JUF Hurricane Sandy Relief Mission to New York.
“At the risk of sounding falsely magnanimous or grandiose,” said Hyman. “One of my dreams is to eventually have the capacity to give back substantially to the Jewish community and the community at large. This is really the ultimate vision for any business endeavor I undertake and one of my prime motivators. I’ve got a long, long way to go before reaching that mountaintop, but that’s the goal. For me, I suppose you could say that it all boils down to tikkun olam and I try to find ways through business, in whatever modest capacity I can, to participate in that.”
For more information and to purchase your own TreeHangers, visit http://www.tree-hangers.com.