We had the good fortune of connecting with Ava and Sophia Paley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ava and Sophia, every day, we talk about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Over four years ago we asked our mom for new tap shoes.. it was fall and dance classes were starting soon and our feet had grown over the summer. She was confused because she thought she had just recently bought us new shoes. Instead of marching over to Capezio she decided to make us clean out our closets to see what was lurking. One hour later, we were sitting in what felt like a volcano of too-small leotards, tight-fitting tap shoes, old costumes from recitals and worn out ballet slippers. We realized, at that moment, that instead of throwing all of these little treasures away, that we should do “something good” with it all. We came up with the idea to start an organization that sends donations to dance schools around the world that are in need. Donate2Dance was born and we were on a mission to help dancers in need. To date, we have helped over 50,000 dancers around world. We believe that every dancer deserves the chance to dance — we send dance shoes and dancewear and costumes to dancers in need and this in turn, has changed the trajectory of many dancer’s lives.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
We are two teenagers running the biggest dance donation organization in the country. Now, Ava is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin and Sophia is still in NYC as a junior in high school. Even though we are a part we are working on Donate2Dance together with the help of many amazing volunteers. Throughout the 4 years we have learned by trial and error. Shipping is expensive -we have had to raise money for UPS and Fed Ex. Recently, we used $400 of our own money to ship donations to Tanzania to a program very in need. When the boxes arrived we were told we owed hundreds of dollars in taxes and duties?! Who knew? We definitely have learned the hard way! Everyday is a new lesson!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We are from NYC…. There are tons of amazing restaurants .. Pecora Bianca is our favorite and its now on the Upper West Side.
We love SOHO and just walking the streets that are filled with cute coffee shops and galleries.
We see alot of Broadway because we love dancing and musical theater.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We are grateful to our parents who have guided us on our mission. They have taught us the importance of giving back and at the same time, taught us about running a charity, setting up a GO Fund Me and applying for grants. Donate2Dance is a labor of love for our entire family. We sort, ship, research, outreach and provide donations to thousands of dancers! We are also very grateful for the support of Capezio, PrimaSoft, Bodywrappers, Pirouette of Huntington, Illumination Dancewear and many, many, many generous manufacturers and dance stores that consistently donate NEW dance goods to us ,,,always!