I was going to find some very impactful photo to use here, perhaps even one of my bruised up arms or jaw. The thing is, that is very rarely what one sees when they look at a woman who is being abused. You see exactly what I've shown you here. A smiling, caring, devoted wife and mother, a successful career woman, maybe even a cheerleader. Ocassionally you will see a woman who looks sad, downtrodden, poorly taken care of, tired. You may overhear something, or see a wince when she's grabbed too tightly by the man with her, or as she gingerly sits down. But by and large, you will see a normal looking woman, and you will have NO IDEA what hell she is enduring or the mental gymnastics she may have done, trying to sort out how to get away.
Having been a dispatcher, a financial planner for eight years, and a woman for all my life, I have heard more stories than I care to recount, from women who have lived through abuse. I have had the privilege of working with many of them to actually accomplish LEAVING, and one of the over-riding themes is financial control, and fear of having no money or job opportunities. Often, women who are abused are kept out of the work force and/or do not have access to money to leave. We want to change that.
Our goal is to grow Sunshine Alchemists & Soap Co into an employer of as many women as we can afford to pay. In addition to money for bills, there are other obstacles to employment that most corporations care nothing about. Trauma causes symptoms like anxiety, unexpected startle reflexes, fear, the inability to process information correctly, and even the inability to control one's emotions until an "appropriate" time. Women with children who are fleeing from abuse are also often put into positions where they can scarce afford to work because of the costs of child care, or they work hours that keep them away from their children most of the time. For already traumatized children, and the women themselves, this causes further damage.
We have a vision of a workplace that is compassionate, understanding, and flexible so that these women can do more than just pay the bills. We'd like to see them, and their children, thrive.
The reality is, it will probably be at least a year before we hire even our first employee, but we've got a start on it, and we'd like to speed things up. In the meantime, sometimes it just takes hearing of a possiblity to plant the seeds of hope. Will you help?
Sunshine Alchemists & Soap Co is a fairly new company, less than one year old, and basically operated by my children, and me. Even so, our products are fabulous (organic, high quality, quirky, fun) and we are experiencing much success. We are on course to grow into several retail locations this year, as well as continuing our online and festival business. That is lovely, and we can get where we're going that way, but it would be SO AWESOME if you'd join us in our venture. Examples of our work and choices for donation rewards are at www.SunshineAlchemistsAndSoapCo.com
Currently, all of our production is by hand. Literally. Each batch of oil and lye is measured out individually, each batch of butters are melted down and whipped up with a hand mixer, bath bombs and bubble bars are mixed and hand molded. Maintaining the artisanal quality and beauty of our soap and body products is of utmost importance, and that isn't changing. However, in order to efficiently produce higher quantities and get to the point where we can afford to employ others, there are some VERY helpful pieces of equipment we'd like to purchase... this is where YOU come in. :-)
Tier one of our plan comes with a total price tag of $3,038 before tax. In this phase, we will purchase a 6 quart KitchenAid mixer, a loaf soap cutter, soap drying trays, a manual bath bomb press, retail merchandise countertop displays, a 10" graphic wall for shows, and pay for our LLC registration.
Tier two is, of course, more ambitious. $11,524.25 before tax. This phase takes everything up a notch. A metal, commercial grade soap cutter, a commercial grade 8 quart KitchenAid, a pneumatic bath bomb press and molds, a 20 gallon lye tank, a 45 gallon oil warming tank, a pot tipper, a pot dolly, a floor scale, a tank scale, a pot mixer, larger molds etc. Basically everything we need to kick the quantities up by increasing the speed that the materials are ready to use. (It takes a long time to batch oils and lye for separate soaps and get them at the right temperature. This equipment won't change our beautiful soap, it will just make it faster for the base materials to be ready to be transformed.)
Finally, we would like to be able to afford entrance to some of the more expensive shows out there. I'd like to allocate $3,000 to show fees. All in, our whole projected capital outlay is $18,000 before tax.
Right now, we have an opportunity to go into a co-op that has several locations. We would need to rapidly increase our available product to meet that demand. Pretty much now. I have been working since I was 12 and am no stranger to hard work. It doesn't hurt my feelings, and I love a challenge, so one way or another we will get this done, but some of what you see above? Would SURE help out.
While I can't promise the future, these are our goals and needs. It is possible that you would contribute here and we would fail. That would suck, but not be the end of the world. Alternatively, it may take us a couple of years to reach our goal of being an employer. We may stall out as just a family business. I'm only telling you this because I don't want anyone to donate and feel they've been gyped if things don't go as planned. So. Worst case scenario, if you choose to donate, you will get some fantastic bath and body products and help one woman and her kids make gorgeous handmade body care for everyone to enjoy.
But... if this thing goes the way it is looking like, we could collectively build something really cool. Something different. Something that helps lots of women and their kids while also giving all of us access to non-toxic body care.
I want to add, not to play on anyone's sympathy, but to play on everyone's sense of HOPE. I have been through domestic violence. I got out.
It is not just possible, but it is LIKELY, that if we provide an avenue, there WILL be women who will walk down the road to freedom. I know there are many righteous causes and ways to be of service, but for whatever reason, this is what has been placed in my heart to pursue, and I intend to pursue it. Will you join me? I would be honored to have you by my side.