I recently read an article that stated, “An increasing number of social entrepreneurs have come to realize that moving from ideation to success often requires going beyond the usual, the traditional, the expected. They need to shake things up, turn ideas upside down and infuse their solutions to challenges with a creative twist.” The article went on to talk about the inherent difficulties associated with new start-ups and moving them from ideation to success.
The article had amazing and timely relevance for me as the founder of IntoWishin’ Arts. A little over nine months ago, we began this journey with our earliest supporters. From early on, family, friends, and our local community lent emotional support and provided the financial seeds that we are still growing from today. Those loved ones, along with hundreds of strangers heard our story through our crowd-funding campaign. The energy, excitement, and dollars it created was overwhelming. We were hooked on this mission for good.
Since then we’ve done a lot of good. Together, we’ve raised awareness about looking for the creative talent and “possAbilties” inherent in everyone. We’ve hosted FREE monthly art workshops for dozens of adults living with disabilities in our hometown. We’ve attracted nonprofit and corporate partners that offered to help us grow and deliver on our mission. We hired our first part-time art instructor and have worked with other talented team members in social media, film, and photography who are generously working for snacks and gas money because they were attracted to our mission. And soon, yes soon!... we will open our online store featuring t-shirts designed by adult artists living with disabilities.
Which brings us to the difficulties. We’ve definitely learned from some mistakes. Namely, the pace at which we are able to deliver on our (very wide) vision from the start and managing the expectations of our very passionate audience. Over the last months, our original ideas have bounced up against complicated issues of unresponsive vendors, interstate commerce, as well as employment and insurance liability issues that vary widely from state to state. Frankly, time is also a huge obstacle managing this start-up from our kitchen table, part-time as we make a separate living for our family income. We’ve had to adjust our short-term vision.
Two lessons have come from all of this.
One, we have simplified our plan to grow IntoWishin’ Arts. Two, we have learned the value of passion and persistence and to NOT give up on our dream of making this a national, if not global business. Lastly, we need to also manage expectations of our valuable supporters. Oops, we’re doing it again, that was actually three lessons learned. (for those counting) J
Our simpler plan today focusses on generating revenue and long-term sustainability through two sales channels. Consumer online sales, and corporate sales of t-shirts designed by adults living with disabilities. These two channels of selling which focus on a single product line will support our social mission of providing income to some artists with disabilities and FREE art workshops for others.
We’re currently seeking companies, corporations, and other organizations to source their custom designs and t-shirts through us. We’re excited to have found a nonprofit t-shirt printer and order fulfillment partner that provides skills, work, training, and income to adults living with disabilities. So, when your organization partners with us, their t-shirts can be designed AND produced by adults living with disabilities providing income, employment, and validation to this population. We’re happy to announce that we have received our first custom-design t-shirt order from a local teacher group where Henry attended high school.
Our online store plans are coming along as well. We’ve lined up nine artists to promote during the first 90 days, and we hope to have it live by October 1, 2018… eleven months since we first went public with this life-changing idea.
Every day since we first began has truly been as Henry says, “a great day for anything,” and we are blessed to be able to pursue this passion-filled enterprise of change. It’s taken a bit longer than we expected, but we’ve made a lot of progress and we are still being blown away regularly by the support we have received.
Thank you for that support! Please continue to follow us on social media, spread the word (especially to adults living with disabilities) and encourage others to do so.
Jim, Henry, the Weidert family, and the IntoWishin’ Arts team.
“It’s a Great Day for Anything!” – Henry Weidert
Hello IntoWishin’ Arts supporters,
We started off with a little inspiration and an idea for a business start-up. We crowdfunded to see if anyone cared, and you came through with flying colors! In 60 short days we raised over $18,000…enough to start the business we first envisioned. A business that will help us fulfill our mission to give adults living with disabilities the opportunity to practice and explore their creative "possABILITIES" and increase personal independence through the arts.
Well now its a new year and thanks to you, we have a new business to start up. It’s still very much a “kitchen table” business. We raised enough for a start-up, but we have a way to go before we build our first gleaming headquarters on the hill. This coming year, we’ll do our best to reach out to as many creative adults with disabilities, develop some great products to sell, and we hope you follow our progress. We’ve already decided to dedicate the entire crowdfunding revenue to artist outreach, creative workshops for adults with disabilities, and building our online store. We have made contacts and plans to conduct workshops in at least six cities throughout the United States and our store plan is already in progress.
After that, we’re on our way to building our eCommerce web site featuring new designs every month! Starting later this month, our goal is to feature 3-5 new artists’ designs each month for our retail audience to purchase. Our annual goal is to feature 35-60 new designers on products ranging from t-shirts, caps, beanies, home goods, wall art, and greeting cards. Please stick with us and cheer us on, give us feedback and share our products with your social circles.
We can’t say “thank you” enough to all of the wonderful people who contacted us to support our mission during the last two months. We heard from adult artists living with disabilities, art and special education teachers, caregivers, police officers, non-profit and business leaders, news reporters, international bloggers, and most of all, over 100 financial backers. During the process, we gained 611 friends on Facebook from 23 countries, and dozens of states. Honestly, its been overwhelming and we’re grateful for each and every one of you. You’ll be hearing from us soon as we organize this business and begin to reach out to those who requested more information, or involvement.
The IntoWishin’ Arts Team
“It’s a Great Day for Anything!”
They say inspiration comes from somewhere outside ourselves and, as the original Latin word inspirare suggests, “breathes life into” us.
Well I guess that the parking lot of our local grocery store qualifies as “somewhere outside myself” and the idea that was inspired there has certainly breathed new life into me.
My name is Jim Weidert. I’m a 53 year-old Fine Artist, Entrepreneur, Product Developer, Marketer, and Designer with almost thirty years solving Marketing problems for Fortune 500 companies and my own business start-ups. My 22 year-old son Henry has special needs. At least that’s what I used to think. Now I know better.
When Henry was a Sophomore in High School, his art teacher sent one of his drawings into a statewide art competition, and guess what. He won! Ever since Henry was very young his Mom Linda and I knew he had a gift. We have constantly been amazed at his creativity whether it be art, music or simply his take on life. This we thought was just another example of that gift. Turns out it was much more.
It was a few days after Henry accepted his art award that we were loading our weekly purchase of groceries into the family van. Our youngest son noticed a disabilities parking sign in the stall next to us. He shouted from the back seat, “Dad, is this the place where people with possibilities park?”
The idea of POSS-ABILITIES was brilliant. Henry’s not a guy with disabilities, He’s an adult with a ton of creative possibilities. And we know a whole community of people just like him who could grow and become more independent because of their gift.
That was the moment that IntoWishin’ Arts was born.
IntoWishin’ Arts is a brand new art and design publishing company. Our goal is to support as many adults living with disabilities as we can. It's kind of like how Special Olympics supports disabled athletes except this is to support disabled people who are creatively inclined, or maybe even have yet to discover their creativity.
IntoWishin’ Arts will hold workshops for adults with disabilities all across the country. From those workshops we will generate hundreds of designs, paintings and poems that we will turn into products like T-shirts, home goods, greeting cards, and decorative Art that we’ll sell on our online stores.
We’re doing this so that disabled adults with "possabilities" can earn an income through their creativity.
Each of our artists will receive royalties on products sold featuring their work. We’ll also give a portion of our proceeds to nonprofits that provide creative opportunities to adults with disabilities.
We know that there are thousands of creative adults in the world just like Henry who could be gaining some independence and earning some income with their abilities and talents. These are the people we want to find and help.
We’re just getting started! You can play an important part too!
To find out more and to see how you can become a founding partner of IntoWishin’ Arts, please click this link to our IndieGogo page.
Jim Weidert is an Entrepreneur, Product Developer, & Marketer who has spent almost thirty years getting results for Fortune 500 and his own companies. In 2008, Jim helped grow a media entertainment start-up called “delight!” magazine to a national circulation of 1.3 Million homes. Along with his wife Linda, Jim enjoys parenting his three boys, one of which is the inspiration for his most recent start-up... IntoWishin’ Arts.