DARIEN, Ga. — A passion turned into a purpose for Will Howell on Nov. 1, 2019. On that day, Howell's business, WillPower Ties, officially launched for the first time in Darien, Ga.
Will Howell, lives with cerebral palsy. He went in for a typical doctor's visit as he prepared to graduate high school. During the visit, the doctor asked his parents a simple question with no easy answer; What is Will Howell going to do after high school?
"We still didn't know exactly what he was going to do," said his mother, Melanie Howell. "The doctor said to us 'Well, Will's going to need more than a job. He's going to need a purpose.'"
The Howells were inspired by a sock company in New York called John's Crazy Socks, founded by a man with down syndrome and his father. After extensive planning, visiting manufacturers and setting up a website, WillPower Ties launched with the goal of helping others living with different abilities.
"Ties make me happy," Will Howell said. "Ties make me proud."
The business is a family effort, run out of the Howell's home in Darien. Will travels across Southeast Georgia to sell ties with his parents, and they also run an online store.
"Once everything's in a mailer, he and his dad can put it in the back basket of his bicycle and ride their bikes to the post office and deliver the ties that way," Melanie Howell said.
If you live in Darien, chances are you have seen Will Howell on his red bike at some point. The bicycle, called an Amtryke, is specially designed for people with disabilities to ride normally.
The goal in selling ties is to be able to give enough to AMBUCS, or American Business Clubs, to provide one Amtryke a month to somebody who needs it.
"We're measuring in Amtrykes," Melanie Howell said.
Another stated goal: to employ people with varying abilities as the business expands.
Will Howell is a self-described "people person," and his parents said the interactions he has with customers mean the world to him.
On the WillPower Ties website, Will Howell writes, "I hope when wearing a WillPower Tie you will be mindful of spreading joy and your enthusiasm for life with everyone you meet."