The Crea Company is a faith-based organization formed to help launch creators and bring their business ideas to life. Founded by pastors Travis Lowe and Robbie Gaines, the company’s mission, “is a movement to make and believe that inspires hope.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lowe saw the need to refocus the organization as many people were losing “cleaners and restaurant workers,” and were “looking for side gigs to make extra money” he stated.

“Our original model,” said Lowe, “was to offer community groups [the opportunity for] maker classes—like, come make a doormat or planter—and have memberships. But COVID-19 made that almost impossible.”

In 2020, Crea developed a new model for its business: making personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to help local medical providers and offering the chance for others to create and sell their own products.

These efforts were able to help people like West Virginian Henry Shinn, 61. Shinn looked to Crea for support to start a business after experiencing challenges during the pandemic. With their assistance, he was able to launch the West Virginia Mail Chips, a company that creates wooden tokens in the form of wooden business cards.

Employment has been a struggle for many who live in West Virginia. The state ranks number six out of the ten states with the highest poverty rate in the United States, averaging at 16 percent.

Lowe’s hope is to help people overcome obstacles to beginning businesses like startup expenses, necessary tools, business coaching, mentorships, and relational connections.

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