We got back from Uganda on last week November 2017, and we were scheduled to open up our store on Dec. 4, 2017. It was really hectic. Thanks to Kaleem Falzano, we was taking care of our store with inventory management. He was also babysitting our son, Buddy.
Also big shout out to Kevin Veilleux who helped with painting the walls, and putting up store furniture. Now I think about everything, I don’t know where we would be without you guys.
On the day before we were opening the store, few of our local RISD friends came and helped with the set up, signing, and other layout of the store. Thanks to Annabelle, Tyler, & Lilith. Without your help, dear lord we would be a mess. Holy moly.
And on Dec. 4, 2018, we did it. We opened up our doors in Thayer St. It was a surreal moment of my life. Lanna & I knew that this was beginning of a hard road where we were going to meet awesome individuals, leaders of community all across the world. After six months of store fully operating, I can say we have already met so many great current leader in the community. We are also meeting so many young upcoming community leaders who are destined to shape our future towards sustainable living.
One of the most rewarding part of this job is to see our customer’s impression of the store. Some walk into the store and think we are complete fanatic. The world is total shit and we are being way too optimistic. Than we get those customers who say “Oh its a great idea” but carry an urban outfitters bags in their hands, not knowing that the products they are carrying is contributing towards so much destruction to the planet & people. You want to punch them square in the but than you realize you can’t do that cause you will go to jail if you did. I am joking. On a serious note though, we tend to point finger at big corporation for running sweatshops, child labour, deforestation, etc. but don’t realize we are actually part of the problem. If a normal consumer was conscious about their consumption and voted with their dollars, it would cripple those corporation.
We were determined to walk these types of individuals and started brainstorming on ways to raise awareness. A big part of changing a person habit of consumption would be making them aware of the problem. We started an initiative of showing movies on Friday Night every week. Each month we should focus on a theme and show 4 movies per month. We started on February with Black History Month. It was a huge success. You know, this was a good way for Lanna & I to be more aware of various issues. We figured out a theme for each month. They are subjected to change.
We realized that by hosting these kind of events, we can make some real changes in the mindset of our community. We also did various arts & crafts. Below are the arts and crafts events we host this far.
- DIY Create Your Hedgehog – With used text books, we made hedgehogs.
- DIY Create Bracelets & Neckless with Magazines
- DIY Planter.
- DIY Veggie Tie Dye T-Shirt.
In addition to that, we did clean up on Thayer Street on Earth Day. We were able to collect 35 pound of trash.
Lastly, we get those customers who fall in LOVE with our store. It is so great to see their faces glow up as soon as they walk in. It is those customers we had opened our doors. We are so thankful for these believers who support us with so much belief, kindness and trust. Some even want to participate on ways to help with the movement.
It has been an extraordinary journey so far. We have 4 interns at the store and one temporary employe. Our team work hard to make a difference in the world, and we are only getting started. 🙂