Bryan Ware is the founder of The Crayon Initiative. As a student, Bryan didn’t enjoy the academic aspects of school as much as the artistic ones. Art was a passion of Bryan’s from a young age: an opportunity to express himself and do things his way. As Bryan moved through middle school and high school, under the direction of dedicated art teachers, art became a part of who he was. He found himself shifting from one interest to another: drawing, drafting, architecture, woodshop, and photography. But these interests had one thing in common: the Arts.
Always trying to push the boundaries of the ordinary, Bryan began his own company to find creative and artistic solutions to packaging problems. Not only was his career growing, but his family was growing as well. By 2006, Bryan’s business was going strong; he was married, and had 2 young boys. Life was busy at home and the family seemed to dine out often. With small children in tow, they frequented family friendly restaurants. At each establishment, crayons were given to kids to help them pass the time and keep them occupied while waiting for their food. Sometimes they would bring the crayons home, but more often the crayons were left on the table after his family had completed their meal.
One evening, in 2011, Bryan and his family were dining at a local restaurant in celebration of his 40th birthday. As the boys were coloring with crayons provided by the restaurant, Bryan was twirling a crayon through his fingers (a habit that had become part of Bryan’s personality and showed he was deep in thought) when he questioned out loud, “I wonder what happens to these crayons after we leave if we don’t take them.” Taking it one step further, he asked their server. Bryan was shocked and saddened to find out that any crayons put on the table, whether slightly used or not even touched, had to be thrown away and eventually ended up in the landfill. Bryan took those crayons with him that night. He was convinced that the life of restaurant crayons didn’t have to end there. It became his personal challenge to find a creative way to recirculate the endless supply of free materials and bring the Arts to children everywhere.
The wheels started turning.
The ideas started flowing.
The Crayon Initiative was born: recycling unwanted crayons into unlimited possibilities for children.