Justin and Jamie Perkins, owners of Columbus, Ohio-based Holy Moses Hair are leading and leading from a deep, longstanding conviction that they wanted their business to have a meaningful stake in the lives of kids who would otherwise suffer economic and sexual exploitation. Here’s their story in their own words.
Profile of Courageous Leadership: Holy Moses Hair
We always knew we wanted to do this
Our partnership with Asia’s Hope isn’t an add-on or afterthought. We always knew we wanted to do this, to use our business to help orphaned kids. And we knew about Asia’s Hope’s reputation for integrity and we really liked their family-style care model. So this was a part of our DNA, woven into the fabric of Holy Moses, written into the business plan.
Before we had a lease, before we had any customers — before we even had a name for the shop — we’d committed to give generously and consistently to help kids living at risk of exploitation. When an opportunity meets a calling, you don’t ask whether you can afford it or whether it makes business sense. You just make it happen.
Their passion matched ours
We knew about Asia’s Hope, and had heard amazing things from some of their other supporters. Because we knew we were investing in a long-term relationship, we wanted to meet with them and to really find out what they do, why they do it that way and what a partnership would look like. From our first meeting, we were confident that these were the guys we wanted to work with — their passion matched ours. And their model made a lot of sense.
We had a lot of options: Asia’s Hope was really different
There are a lot of organizations helping orphaned kids around the world. Each one has a different strategy, a different focus, a different vibe. We did enough research to know that not all models are equal. It’s easy to do more harm than good. We had a lot of options and we didn’t want to hitch ourselves to something that we’d later have to pull away from. It helps that the Asia’s Hope main office is in Columbus — we can just drop in if we want to talk to them about anything.
Before we traveled to Thailand in the summer of 2017, we already knew that Asia’s Hope was really different — they’re culturally sensitive and strategically sound. They hire local, indigenous staff, and they create orphanages that function as families, not institutions. From the moment we arrived, it was just so clear that this is an organization that truly values kids and works hard to create environments for them where they can thrive.
These are some of the neediest kids in the world
Spending time with the children at Asia’s Hope, you’d never guess that these are some of the neediest kids in the world. We met kids whose parents were murdered, or were serving life sentences for drug trafficking, or had simply abandoned them. We visited impoverished hill tribe villages like the ones the Asia’s Hope kids come from, and we heard stories of the kinds of exploitation orphaned kids from those villages face — slave labor, sex trafficking — some of the worst things you can imagine. But the kids at Asia’s Hope were thriving. They were succeeding in school, learning music, playing sports, enjoying the kind of life we want for our own kids.
And we get to share the joy with our employees, clients and friends.
When Asia’s Hope offered us the opportunity to take on the financial support of one of their homes in Thailand, we jumped at the offer. We knew that it was important to us not only as business owners but as parents to offer our kids the opportunity to be involved in something this important, even if it means limiting our own personal finances for a while.
Holy Moses supports 20 boys — all of whom were living without hope and without a future before Asia’s Hope rescued them. We know their names, we know their life stories, and we’ve shared meals with them. We’ve committed to supporting them throughout their childhood and helping to make sure that they can get a college education or vocational training as they transition to independent adulthood.
Our own kids were thrilled this year to visit kids their age that they’ve helped support. And not only that, we get to share the joy with our friends, clients and employees.
Everyone who works for or comes into our shop is in some ways a stakeholder in our partnership with Asia’s Hope. So whether they know it or not, if they’re a friend or client of Holy Moses, they’re already supporting these 20 kids in Thailand.
As we succeed, those kids in Thailand succeed as well. But the opportunity to help doesn’t start and end with a great haircut. We’re offering ways for our clients to give directly and for our employees to give part of their paycheck to help us meet our commitment to our Asia’s Hope kids. And over the next few months, they’ll be launching new and creative initiatives to spread the word — and the blessing of knowing that together, we can do something really meaningful, something truly satisfying.
To learn more about Holy Moses Hair, visit their website.