The Selling Factory and UF Hillel: More than a Business
Judaism, support, passion and purpose: four age-old best friends. Last May, founder and CEO of The Selling Factory Bradley Gamble and UF Hillel’s Rabbi Adam Grossman teamed up, whirled these inspiring concepts together, and set off an innovative idea in The Selling Factory – a collaborative workspace with a heartbeat right in the UF Hillel building.
The Selling Factory provides sales training and sessions for existing sales associates and interns, and also offers boot camps for students, startup business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to teach them the basics of selling, including how to sell themselves and sell their vision, whether it be a product, service, business idea, or any dream waiting to become a reality.
For one young entrepreneur in Gainesville looking for support to get her business off the ground, The Selling Factory helped fuel her drive. Erin Winick realized she had a passion for starting her own engineering projects and seeing them through from beginning to end. Rather than being recruited as an engineer right out of school, she wanted to further her path in entrepreneurship. In her fourth year of working towards her mechanical engineering degree, she combined her love of fashion, 3D printing, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) outreach to create Sci Chic: a company that makes its own science and engineering inspired jewelry, accessories, and educational materials for kids and adults who have a passion for science and engineering. She aims for her products to show that creativity, self-expression and enjoyment can be found in science and engineering topics, and she’s providing kids with products that she would have loved when she was their age. “I wanted to combine all my interests into one super-passion, and this process has been a realization of turning that passion into a reality.”
In October 2016, she came to the Selling Factory to help her grow her business. In five short months, including graduating in December, the Selling Factory led by Brad Gamble helped Sci Chic increase the company’s monthly revenue by 500%.
For Erin, the UF Hillel community’s Jewish values of support and a spirit of encouragement have made all the difference. That’s the thing about the Jewish culture – it has a way of forming a community of people who value passion, purpose, and dreams, combined with the pursuits of initiative, personal growth and perseverance. And all of these work together to pull the visions that we pine for, with the eagerness to make these visions real, into the lives we experience.
It’s no wonder that so many Jewish individuals start and sustain successful entrepreneurial ventures. Perhaps this is because we have an inherent or taught understanding, on a spiritual level, of how to seek and find the best of ourselves in all aspects of our lives, including our work.
“The biggest thing that’s helped me is the support I’ve gotten from the Jewish business community. It’s the feeling of connectedness and the eagerness to help each other succeed in our goals and dreams,” Erin says. “I think the immediate connection you have with other Jews is hard to get in any other ways. I am still amazed at the excitement and mentorship I receive when I reach out to other Jewish professionals in my community.”
This idea of “if one succeeds, we all succeed” has been around for a long, long time; it’s what Jews have acted on for thousands of years, and it plays a major role in how Jewish communities brought their relatives over to America in the first place. When our ancestors were trekking over here with nothing but family and hope, it was open arms and help of the Jewish community already living in the U.S. that provided the foundation for their accomplishments in business and within their communities, and it was hope and spirit that helped to sustain them through difficult and trying times.
All of this is tikkun olam; a Jewish tradition that teaches us it is a blessing to be able to do whatever we can to welcome and help those in need. It’s being a changemaker, both for the world and in the individual lives of others. It’s understanding the value of doing the right thing no matter the cost.
And UF Hillel’s partnership with the Selling Factory is putting this practice into action by combining Jewish historical ethics with the 21st century culture of technology and entrepreneurship.
Sometimes the lessons rooted in Judaism are exactly what entrepreneurs are looking for. And when we embrace this kind of community and support, there’s no limit to what our passions and sense of purpose can create.
It’s the Jewish legacy, and it’s what UF Hillel and the Selling Factory does.