My Fortunista Necklace from BeautyGram in support of the GRIT Program in Calgary
I am a long time client of BeautyGram, a unique gift basket company that was created by Jennifer Ruparell of Calgary. These classy, feminine packages are an alternative to gift baskets or flowers for many special occasions. I send these little packages of joy out for different reasons to different people, and have sent an unusually high amount of them out in September.
I talked to Jennifer on the phone over the last order I placed and as the conversation evolved, she told me about the necklaces that she has made in support of the GRIT Calgary Society Program. This program proudly provides individualized education and therapies for children with disabilities. Here is more information on how BeautyGram got involved in this important initiative and how the fortunista necklaces are made:
Jennifer was kiind enough to send me one that is stamped DREAMS, which I wore proudly all weekend at the Dream Your Dreams Retreat in Canmore.
Field Law Community Fund Program and Fundraising Funky Leggings??
A few years ago, I was sitting on a patio in Canmore having a glass of wine with my friend Kendra, talking about ideas for a business. Carrie`s Closet was not on the radar at all for me, but both my friend and I had a desire to stand a business and we were talking about the elements that were important to us, and that also made us feel good about other businesses. The common thread for both of us was community, and giving back. Both of us were both heavily involved in our charities of choice at the time and we both had a desire to do more. The real question in the city of Calgary, is how do you sustain yourself AND give back with the high costs of rent, overhead, staffing and THEN purchasing a product on top of that – how do you make this work for everybody?
We did not solve the mystery that day, but I have since stood up Carrie’s Closet on a shopping trip to New York, and have never forgotten the community element. I say “yes” to everyone who asks me for silent auction donations, I sponsor some roller derby teams in Calgary and surrounding areas, and have also supported and sponsored some art programs as well. As a new business, I cannot do a lot yet, but when I can do something, I do what I can.
I have over the years, fundraised over $25,000 for the Liver Foundation through their Giver for Liver Program. Each marathon I participated in, I had to raise $6,000 at a minimum and I participated with a few events with them. The first year was the easiest The subsequent years were tougher, because people saw me coming J So I needed to be creative, so that I could appeal to people outside of my circle, instead of hitting up friends and family constantly. I often had several programs on the go, promoted them “gently” within my network, and this variety gave people the ability to do what they wanted, and what they could. No different that myself. My mandate for charities who ask Carrie’s Closet for support will never get a no. But I work within my means to help out in some way, shape or form.
What have I done?
I found out about the Field Law Community Fund on Twitter on the LAST day of submissions! I wrote up a proposal with lightning speed (not my preferred approach, but I did not want to miss my opportunity to participate). They offer up to $30,000 for a business idea that positively impacts your community.
I decided to ask for the funding to hire a developer to build an add-on to allow me to extend certain collections in Carrie’s Closet as fundraising opportunities. As mentioned previously, I have done lots of fundraisers, so I have definitely seen interfaces that work, and I have seen ones that don`t work --- so I am pretty clear on what I want and how I wish for this add-on to work. Web development at a minimum costs about $100 an hour. I am not a coder, but I am a Business Analyst in information technology, so I am in the “requirements gathering phase” to find a developer on the “Hire and Expert” page of Shopify.com (my ecommerce solution) so that I can map out the technical requirements with an interested, qualified person who is already familiar with the back end of my current ecommerce solution. The last thing I want is to pay for someone’s learning curve for a developer that knows code, but doesn’t know what I am already using, so I am sticking with their preferred developers.
Also, I have registered the trade name Carrie’s Closet Fundraising under my incorporation, so that I have a separate bucket to manage these activities. Taking that trade name to the bank is the next step to create a bank account.
I have started a “guerilla marketing” campaign on social media, as well as through my newsletter (via mailchimp) so that my current supporters know that I want to stand this up, and I have invited them to vote for me. I have two tweets a day going out at different times through social media to invite people who follow me to vote.
I started blogging about my progress so that interested parties can track my activity on this idea. If I am awarded this money, I plan to have this in operation before the end of the year. If one of the other participants win, then of course, no hard feelings! I will keep this moving a head, but it will take longer, as I will need to stage the development in accordance with my current budget (it may be the end of 2015).
I went on my home computer and voted for every single person who asked for money. There are lots of outstanding ideas, and nobody likes a spoiled sport.
- Vote, vote, vote!
- I need to open a bank account with my new trade name Carrie’s Closet Fundraising.
- I need to continue to source out the correct shopify expert and get an accurate quote to complete the budget portion of my business plan. Once completed, I will share it confidentially with Field Law so that they can use that to evaluate my application.
Thank you Field Law for offering such an exciting opportunity for all applications!