Amber Ferriman and I, Shannon Townsend, are dedicated animal lovers who will do anything to help stray and homeless pets in Humboldt County. Last year, Amber had the idea of using her professional photography skills to make a calendar to benefit non-profit animal rescue, Companion Animal Foundation(CAF), which has been serving Humboldt County for over 17 years. We began brainstorming calendar themes and decided on "Pinups and Pooches" because we knew of several local beauties who could be models and we both loved the idea of pinup models posing with rescued pups! Here is a link to a media article featured in The Times Standard Newspaper on last year's calendar: http://www.times-standard.com/article/NJ/20161203/FEATURES/161209948
The funds raised from last year's calendar were donated to Companion Animal Foundation's mobile veterinarian clinic fund; a project working to provide a mobile veterinarian clinic to rural areas of Humboldt County for spay/neuter and vaccine services. We are both dedicated to decreasing the number of stray and unwanted pets in our community and believe that providing as much access as possible to spay/neuter services is an essential component towards saving more lives. CAF is already working in overcoming boundaries in pet education and resources by partnering with a mobile vet clinic that visits tribal lands and they are working to expand this program by purchasing a large mobile vet clinic that can visit not only tribal lands, but target areas in our community where services are lacking. Because many of our rural communities are located greater than 50 miles from a veterinarian clinic we believe in bringing these services to these communities to be absolutely necessary. CAF is currently over halfway towards their fundraising goal of $110,000 to purchase a completely outfitted mobile veterinarian clinic and has been exploring volunteer options with local veterinarians who are interested in giving back to our community by donating one day a year to staff the mobile vet clinic, enabling us to bring these services to outlying areas on a regular schedule.
I met the printing company representative, Gordon Bernard, at the Humane Society of the United States Conference last year in Las Vegas. I liked the look of their printed calendars and they have done several for animal rescues throughout the nation. After requesting price quotes from several local businesses as I prefer to use local vendors, Gordon Bernard was by far the cheapest and most professional option to choose from. We were very happy with the look of last years calendar and we now have a relationship with this business and plan to work with them for many more years to come.
Amber and I spent countless hours in planning these photo shoots, coordinating the rescue dogs, selling the ad spaces to sponsors, editing the photos, formatting the calendars, communicating with the calendar printing company, and advertising the calendar release. All that hard work paid off and Pinups & Pooches was a great success. CAF sold over 225 calendars at $20 each, generating a net profit of over $2,500. Initial startup costs of $9.00 per calendar were aided by sponsoring contributions from businesses and memorial ads. The calendar was featured prominently on the front page of the Times Standard Newspapers Lifestyle section and was displayed for sale at several craftsman fairs, Arts Alive events, at select businesses and of course at CAF's thrift stores in Sunnybrae and Blue Lake.
This year's calendar is going to be even hotter. We have decided on men and rescue cats and kittens, aka "Cats and Casanovas", a name that was thoughtfully provided by one of our handsome and creative models. And after doing this once before, we have gained a significant amount of experience and insight. Our goals this year are to print almost double the amount of calendars as last time (500!) and to have significantly more advertising and memorials. Additionally, we are hoping to offset some of the initial investment (roughly $1.50/calendar) of graphic design by having a volunteer work with us towards making a "print ready" calendar file to provide to the printing company. We are looking at startup investment costs of between $5-$7.00/per calendar, depending on how many months we choose(12-14) and if we can provide a "print ready" file to the printing company ahead of time; profiting potential moving towards $4,000 and up! We started shooting in April and have surprisingly found that the cats have been easier to work with than the dogs! As you can see from our sneak peek video, each month will have a theme. We already have a strapping lumberjack and a handsome bookworm and there are so many more shoots to go! Surfers, musicians, rockabillies, biologists....there are so many awesome cat-loving men in our community that we can't help celebrating them all. We will continue our photo shoots through the end of the summer and order the calendars in September.
Risks and challenges
The risks associated with this year's calendar are minimal. Last year's calendar was a success and we sold over 225 to folks in and outside of Humboldt County. This year, we expect our calendar to be even more popular as it becomes an annual thing.
The challenges associated with this year's calendar are similar to last year's. We need to stay on schedule in order to have every month's picture ready to go. To address this we started shooting a month earlier than last year and have already finished four successful photo shoots and have the remaining shoots on schedule. Our current timeline has us ending our shoots in early August. Last year, we were not able to provide a "print ready" file to the printing company, which costs us approximately $1.50 more per calendar to produce. This year we are actively recruiting for a graphic designer to help us cut this cost entirely, enabling us to donate even more funds towards CAF's mobile vet clinic. Additionally, we are hoping this kickstarter addresses the challenge of initial investment costs as last year we had to pay a significant amount upfront, approximately $9.00 a calendar, to have the calendars produced without knowing if anyone would buy them. This year we are building off of last year's calendars success and notoriety and we know we can sell more than 225. We are currently approaching more business's to sell our calendars upfront before the holidays so we can hopefully sell out by January 1, 2018.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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