We’re 9 months into the existence of the BB Garden Style shop and Workshop Series and feeling like it’s time for an update on what we’ve been up to. Thanks are in order to all of you who have supported us in so many different ways – sending monetary donations, shopping our booth at Market 1023, shopping online from across the country, purchasing a workshop ticket, sending texts and emails to encourage us to keep on keeping on, praying for our discernment, sharing our story and events with others, and offering services/products for the shop and workshops. We can never repay you, but we’re forever grateful and passionate about the stewardship of your gifts.
So, what have we been up to since opening in June 2018? We’ve run our little corner of Market 1023 with the help of the Gabe and Robby and their team. From garden-inspired gifts, t-shirts, and bags to plants and gardening supplies, we’ve loved sharing our love of flowers and gardening with shop visitors.
We’ve had visitors come through to show their support and make purchases and we’ve hosted the first BB Garden Style Workshop in November 2018 with guest teachers Hitomi Gilliam AIFD and Holly Chapple. More on that later…but, here’s a sneak peek!
We’d love to have you join us for the next BB Garden Style Workshop on April 2nd with Francoise Weeks and Jenn Ederer! Francoise will be teaching Woodland Design and Botanical Haute Couture while Jenn will focus on sharing the logistics and business strategies she’s used to land and produce large-scale weddings and events. Proceeds will go to assistance and opportunities for local families and students.
This month we had the opportunity to move to a storefront space in Market 1023! The light is perfect and an anonymous donor provided us with much needed shelving. We couldn’t be happier! Thank you, secret flower friend.
Purchases at the shop and workshop thus far have gone to help with rent assistance, dental care, transportation needs, and educational opportunities (floral design and driver’s education) for our neighbors.
Along the way, we’ve had a steady stream of curiosity and questions about what we’re doing. So, we think it’s a great time to answer a few of the Frequently Asked Questions we receive. Hope this helps!
Is BB Garden Style a nonprofit organization? Why or why not?
BB Garden Style is not a nonprofit organization. We chose to open the shop and create the workshop series as a for-profit business even though the profits are used to help meet needs in our community. While we understand that this model means we pay taxes on the profits and it prevents donors from receiving tax credit for their contributions, we had a couple of reasons for deciding against creating a nonprofit organization. First, over these past four years we’ve become aware that the majority of help received by the families we know has been through government assistance or nonprofit organizations. We wanted to create something more along the lines of a partnership with these families – because that’s how our relationships were born in the first place, as friends. We want to work hard together with our neighbors in hopes of making a profit that will benefit them. Secondly, we weren’t interested in having a board of directors (as is the case in a nonprofit organization) because we want to meet the immediate needs and we want to meet those needs promptly without waiting for meetings and lengthy discussions. The specific needs we see as we go about our daily routines and our inability to personally provide financial assistance for each one are the only reason we created BB Garden Style in the first place, so we want the profits from our work to go to the specific needs we are aware of and be able to meet those needs promptly.
What specific needs are we meeting with the money raised by the BB Garden Style shop and Workshop Series?
To date, our profits have helped with rent assistance, dental care, car repairs, driver’s education, house maintenance, and work opportunities – paying members of the community for helping in the shop, working as team members for our workshop, and providing vendor services for a photo shoot which will be featured on Black Bride in 2019. We have plans to expand our assistance as we’re able with increased financial support. We’re currently aware of many more needs than we have funds to meet and many opportunities we could create for our community with additional support. We’re hoping for the chance to expand in 2019!
I’m still unclear on who you’re assisting. Can you be more specific?
We get this question a lot. The short answer is: It’s complicated. While we understand the desire for us to be more specific, we’re living and working side by side with the recipients of the assistance we’re providing. As a result, we are careful to respect the privacy of our neighbors and feel our assistance is a responsibility rather than a gift. That being said, we’re feeling it’s time to talk more about the reasons we found it necessary to start BB Garden Style. We’re hoping those reasons provide more clarity for those looking to support the project.
We moved to this neighborhood in 2014. It wasn’t long before we began to meet some of our neighbors and especially some children who were attending the local middle school which is located just a few blocks away. As we got to know these children and their families, we began to see some of the issues they were facing. This awareness eventually led us to start BB Garden Style and it continues to propel us forward.
The issues and needs can be boiled down to what we’ve seen in regards to the following :
- HUD/Public Housing (property maintenance, assistance application process, assistance denial, renter’s rights)
- Transportation (car payments, car insurance, driver’s education, a lack of adequate public transportation, car repairs/maintenance, car registration, consequences of owning a car that does not meet the size needs of the family)
- Employment (feasibility of living on minimum wage, job availability, job retention, job references, work conditions)
- Medicaid/Healthcare (healthcare providers, prescription providers, services, patient relations)
- Education (attendance, conferences, tutoring, opportunities, discipline, busing, extra-curricular activities, communication)
- Judicial System (juvenile detention, domino effect on families, discrepancies in policies, differences in representation/effect on cases)
How can I help with the BB Garden Style initiative?
There are a number of ways you can help. Here are a few:
- Shop at BB Garden Style in person or online. Each purchase helps!
- Share our story with a friend.
- Make a monetary donation which will be used to run the shop, meet needs directly, and create opportunities for education.
- Attend a BB Garden Style workshop OR sponsor a seat for someone who is eager to learn, but unable to afford a ticket.
- Check the BB Garden Style Instagram Page, click on the ‘Immediate Needs’ Highlight under the profile, and send us a message if you can meet one of the needs listed.
Links of Interest:
All images courtesy of Ten23 Photography