Meet the Adams Sisters, Isabelle and Katherine, Co-Founders of Paper for Water
Tell us about Paper for Water.
Paper for Water is a nonprofit that raises money and awareness for the world water crisis through the art of origami. Over the last 8 years, we have funded over 200 water projects in 20 countries and raised over $2 million. Not only do we help bring clean water to people around the world, but we help empower local youth to make an impact in the world by volunteering with us. I think I am most proud of the fact that we have demonstrated to adults that kids have enormous potential to enact change, and it is important to give everyone the opportunity to make a difference in the world in their own way.
How did you and your sister get started?
Isabelle: When I (Isabelle) was 8 years old, and my sister Katherine was 5, we started Paper for Water, because we had recently learned about the world water crisis. We learned that girls our age did not get to go to school, because they spent their whole day hauling water. We decided that we could do something to help, so we took origami, an art form we had learned from our dad who is half-Japanese, and exchanged it for donations at a local Starbucks. Over the next two months, our tiny project, with an initial goal of raising $500-1000, raised over $10,000 and completely funded a well in Ethiopia. At that point we realized that we were doing something that was truly making a difference in the world, and we decided that we needed to keep working.
What’s it like working with your sister?
Isabelle: I would say that on the whole, working with my sister is really fun. We get to spend way more time together than we otherwise would, and now we have so many amazing shared memories of what we have done together. On a more practical note, working with my sister is nice because I always have someone to help me when I need it. Of course, we are siblings, so we are not perfect, but I do love working with my sister.
Are you and your sister similar or different? How does that help your business?
Katherine: My sister Isabelle is great at delegating and making sure everyone knows what they should be doing. She is great at public speaking. I (Katherine) enjoy speaking one-on-one with people and taking instructions. We have very different skill sets; however, we compliment and balance each other.
What is your favorite thing about your business?
I love how many wonderful people we get to meet and interact with.
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur who is just starting out?
I would say, if you have an idea just go ahead and start. And keep working. Perseverance is so important to your success. It is only after a lot of hard work that you can truly become successful.
How are you finding balance?
It’s hard to balance school, choir, friends/boyfriends, soccer, rowing, and Paper for Water, but my sister and I have learned to prioritize very well. We realize what really matters and try to always make time for Paper for Water.
Favorite Restaurant? Chick-fil-A
Favorite spot to hang out with your sister? In the car together
Favorite place to work out? White Rock Lake
Favorite product? Books (Isabelle) and clothes (Katherine)
Favorite road trip? Every year we drive to New Mexico.
Favorite song? Anything Shawn Mendes
Website URL: http://www.paperforwater.org
Instagram Handle(s): @paperforwater