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
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.