Some of you may have heard us talking. Saying things like, "Exciting change is coming this year." Or, "We'll have to get back to you on that as we are in the midst of transition." OR, "We can't tell you what's going on until March, but its BIG."
Well, somehow it is March already. The time is now. The curtains are being drawn back. All is being revealed. Are you ready? Whew. Deep breath.
Welcome to the Year of the Non-Profit.
We are closing the current store location and moving to another space downtown. Yes, you heard that right.
We have felt very strongly called to do this since the first week of January. Believe me, it came as quite a shock at first, but we are now incredibly excited for what this means and the freedom that is in store.
"Tell us more," you say.
Well, get comfortable because there isn't a Cliff's Notes version of this story...
Our hearts are deeplydrawn to our poverty-relief and slavery-prevention efforts overseas as well as here in the U.S.
We long to be able to offer life-changing business training and development opportunities to more and more communities.
The hunger is there.
The market is ready for it.
Communities in Pakistan, Mexico, Ethiopia, Uganda, India and others are asking for us to come and teach.
Come and offer hope.
Come and bring knowledge of how to dream, how to rise above a cycle of poverty and undignified labor, how to create a self-sustaining wage that will provide for families and their educations and offer alternatives to sex-work, indentured servitude or child labor.
Others across the U.S. desire this model and we believe that as many who want it, should have it. The opportunity to help others create change for themselves and their communities is too good to pass up. We want to walk alongside other organizations similar to ours and offer what we have been learning so they too can bring this to their communities in a spirit of multiplication. We also want to encourage others to live a life that is actively pursuing justice and love both here and elsewhere.
As we look at this calling on our lives, this deep longing to serve and bless others, we realize that we have to obey it. Even if it costs us some things in the process. Nothing risked, nothing gained right?
This is the year of Bigger and Better.
The year of offering the little that we have and watching as it is supernaturally increased to become so much more than we could ever ask or imagine. We believe that we can join God in what He is already doing and see healing and transformation as a result. And we want you to come with us on this journey into somewhat uncharted waters.
We have considered what we believe is being asked of us this year. It is apparent that we have some deficits that will need to be filled if we are to walk this out. The first and largest deficit is in the arena of time. Beginning with a $700 investment, some incredible relationships, and a pop-up tent, Yobel has been able to grow to its current state. We are now managing a store front, an online store, a non-profit, 3-4 trips a year, 73 annual events, and two websites all with 3 staff members and the most amazing volunteers on the planet. Every year, the number of communities we impact and the amount of sales through our store and events has increased. However, even with all that help, it is still a lot.
Some of you may be aware that we have a for-profit 'market' side and a non-profit 'international' side to Yobel. In the past we have majored in the market and minored in the non-profit. That has enabled us to come to a place where we believe the market will continue to grow in a sustainable way without focusing on it in the same way.
In order to grow the non-profit side this year, we believe we need to open up our schedules in order to be free to pursue the opportunities before us. So we are restructuring a bit. Instead of spending our days focused on sales through a physical store-front location, we are taking our brand online and on the road. We will still offer local Saturday sales events in the new digs and be a consistent presence at events in Colorado, but the majority of our sales will now come from larger events, wholesale, and online markets. Our hope is that we will still provide an outlet for our fair-trade artisans to sell their wares as well as a place for our fellow Americans to purchase ethically, but in a quarter of the time. In essence, we are seeking a more holistic approach to all that is Yobel - both for-profit and non. In order to accomplish this, we will not only have to adapt our way of life but also move to a new home-base.
We will be opening up a new multi-purpose location downtown to better meet our organizational needs.
The new space will:
Serve as an office (dramatically reducing our monthly coffee bill) where you will be able to find Sarah, Donavan, Julia, and Kylie all consistently working in the same place! Crazy, yes?
A creative space for designing new products, dreaming of new ways to teach business implementation, get the word out and planning awareness events.
A collaborative community space to host events and draw our tribe together.
A warehouse area to store products that will be online in greater quantities and available for wholesale.
A Show Room where we will set up our retail products for sale to the public via weekly Saturday trunk sales & special holiday events.
We cannot wait to show it to you!!!
So what does this mean for you, our greater community?
Well, if you are a local, it means that you will be able to engage with us throughout the week with fun community events in our new home that are geared toward engaging our tribe. It means you will be able to shop with us on Saturdays, throughout the holidays, at events and online. It means that you may even be able to wholesale from us, host an event at your church or school, or even a home party should you desire to do so. It means that there will be more trips, more events, and service opportunities for you to be involved in.
If you are a volunteer, it means that we are going to need you just as much, but in different capacities. We will need events staff, designers, sales help, office help, web help, and more.
If you are out of town, this affects you the least and in the best ways! It means more online for you to choose from, more blogs coming your way, more opportunities to Come & See as you travel with us, more possibility of finding us at an event in your home town and fun opportunities to host home parties and awareness events. Exciting!
But regardless, we need you. We want you. We cannot move forward without you.
Another necessary component of this transition is that Donavan, Julia, and Sarah will each be raising portions of their salaries beginning in March. Yobel International has increased it's non-profit budget quite a lot this year in hopes of offering ourselves to others for the sake of seeing hope and love brought to many more lives. While the market has been sustainable as a business, it is not able to fund the non-profit efforts in it's entirety, even when giving 50% of it's annual profits away.
In order to impact our second deficit, that of financial resources, we would ask for you to consider joining us at our events and giving to us financially this year as well. This is not something that we ask lightly. However, we have a strong conviction about the importance and timeliness of the work we've been given to do, and we want to continue to include you in it. For some of our community, this may look like helping us fund our effort.
Our new non-profit website allows our community of friends and supporters to designate a donation or simply contribute to the general fund. You can give a one-time tax-deductible gift, or contribute monthly through Yobel International's new website while keeping up with what we are doing and where we are heading.
Thank you for all your support the past 5 years. We are who we are because of Jesus and because of you. We CANNOT WAIT to see all that is in store for 2013!
P.S. - We'll be having a pretty amazing moving sale over the next month in the boutique, including much of our sought after display materials. Bring your friends and spread the word for great deals on Fairly Traded goods! Check in on FB, Twitter, and our newsletter for specifics on sales and the new locale! Sales begin Monday, March 11th, 2013.