Growing up in Sieradz, Poland, Monika Wiela didn’t have much: no toys, no shoes, and very few clothes. “Even if I had money, there were no goods in stores anyway,” she says. So when an uncle sent a toy from the U.S., her eyes were opened in a powerful way—not only to retail, but also to possibility.
“That day, I realized that there was a world out there where these amazing things existed,” she says. And she couldn’t help but want to provide those things for others.
Skip ahead to a decade ago, when Monika immigrated to America. She soon sold her first pair of shoes on the internet and eventually founded Cherrymad.com, a successful internet fashion business.
But in 2012, a chance encounter with a homeless man sparked an idea. The man held a sign saying he needed shoes. She understood his lack. Monika returned the next day with footwear for the man, but he was nowhere to be found. Compelled to do more, Give Back Box® was born. The platform allows consumers to re-use the cardboard boxes from their e-commerce purchases to forward used clothing, accessories, and household goods to the nearest Goodwill® location.
Give Back Box® encourages environmentally friendly practices, in addition to providing an easy way for consumers to donate items to charity. And, as Monika knows, the gift of a single item could very well change a life.
Despite her formal education, Monika places less value on diplomatic achievements and is instead a firm believer in self-exploration and the constant pursuit of knowledge outside of institutionalized learning.
From an early age of seven, when she was inspired by Robinson Crusoe and begged her parents to let her campout in a nearby forest by herself for 7 days, Monika has since been fearlessly seeking out new adventures. As a child, she was never suppressed, but always allowed the freedom to chase her own dreams, some of which included introducing the KitKat bar to Poland and working for Johnson & Johnson.
Growing up on a lower-income farm in Poland, picking-up potatoes and milking cows, Monika recalls the first time she had the privilege of smelling Johnson & Johnson baby powder. She was so infatuated with the expensive fragrance that she promised herself that one day she would be a part of the American company. Realizing this dream is only one of Monika’s many testimonies of confidence and dedication. The moment she stepped foot in America, she optimistically seized every opportunity her hands could take hold of. Today, in addition to starting up Give Back Box, a progressive and contemporary method for donating to charity, Monika is also running her own online shoe retail company, www.CherryMad.com.
Her aspirations do not end here—she has only just warmed up. Monika expects that Give Back Box will be on its way to becoming a worldwide means for donating and helping the poor, as well as sustaining the environment, utilized by all online retailers and conceivably all consumers. Her work ethic, “follow your passion, not your money,” demonstrates that she is looking for something more than just business, but using her talents for the good of the world.
Everybody has the potential to do good and give back to the poor and the environment; thus, Give Back Box was created to help people realize this potential by making donating convenient and quick. Leaving home, but always carrying her childhood curiosity and optimism with her, Monika sees a rich myriad of vast potential in life that is still to be harvested and used—and she cannot wait to get her hands on it.
Read News About Monika
Winner of the BIBO Awards Los Angeles 2015 for Outstanding Entrepreneurship
Outstanding Pole Abroad 2015
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