Phoenix Woodworking sells handmade items constructed with care by real humans in need. We believe that everyone deserves a chance to work, including those who have made mistakes, or need a hand-up. We hope that you will join us in supporting our shop, where our employees come before everything else.
Phoenix Woodworking is the first Public Benefit Corporation in the state of Kansas. All of our sales directly contribute to our community. 100% of our profit is reinvested in people, not given to shareholders.
We are doing this Kickstarter to expand our operation and grow our business so we can hire more people, develop and market new products, and expand our marketing reach.
WHO ARE WE?
Phoenix Woodworking is a manufacturing organization that inspires and empowers at-risk members of the community— the homeless, previously incarcerated people, recovering substance users, people in extreme financial distress, and others with extreme obstacles to employment— a continuing effort to help provide a sense of purpose and to restore their fundamental sense of human dignity by offering meaningful and fulfilling paid employment.
We employ people with extreme obstacles to employment starting over and members of work-training rehabilitation programs. --Clean and sober folks who need a chance to get started working.
All revenue in excess of normal operating expenses goes directly toward an employee Trust, an "Employability" Fund that will:
- Support individuals as they reintegrate into the mainstream workforce with services such as resume building and acquisition of necessary legal identification documents;
- provide goods such as appropriate clothing for job interviews;
- and provide technology such as smartphones, which are increasingly necessary to be hired, pay bills, check email, and receive work-related messages in today's increasingly tech-savvy, competitive society.
Giving a person the opportunity to work gives them the opportunity to become whole. In our society, working, when possible, is of utmost importance for one’s sense of self-worth and functional contribution to society as a whole.
Starting life over is not easy, especially when one’s options are severely limited by homelessness, recovery, or a criminal record. Any of these things can be incapacitating obstacles that severely limit one’s access to the basic resources that many of us take for granted. A sense of dignity and personal pride directly correlates to one’s own feelings of usefulness.
Phoenix Woodworking provides a stable foundation from which at-risk people can begin to turn their lives around.
Our phoenix stands for these three things:
RENEWAL The phoenix has returned from destruction a renewed creature, vibrant with new life.
FIDELITY Phoenix's commitment to our community— loyalty, support and the promise of renewal.
INTEGRITY The virtue of doing what we say and meaning it. We encourage our employees to walk the path of their own values and work with care in every step of the job.
Shine Adams is heading up this campaign:
As Executive Director at Phoenix Woodworking, Shine works as a Maker, Peer Advocate and Support Specialist with people seeking starting new, healthy chapters in their lives. He started Phoenix Woodworking when a friend shared his frustrations about being "unemployable" due to his troubled past. From a pile of scrap cedar in Shine’s basement, a great idea sprouted: One afternoon, with the tools he had on hand, Shine and his friend started making cedar air fresheners for friends and family to hang from their rearview mirrors to show support for the project. The products and budding concept were an instant hit, and now Phoenix has expanded our catalogue to include Enamel Lapel Pins, Cutting Boards, Cedar Magnets, and other hand crafted items made with care.
"Shine" received the 2016 Douglas County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award for his work helping formerly incarcerated people and the homeless reintegrate into the Lawrence community. He is also received the October 2013 National Daily Point of Light Award. The Daily Point of Light award was created to engage Americans in service: “points of light" - people who "act on their power to do good every day, using their hearts, hands and minds to help strengthen communities and solve persistent problems."
Check out some recent news about us here: https://www2.ljworld.com/news/general-news/2018/dec/29/new-company-resurrects-founders-dream-of-giving-jobless-people-a-second-chance/
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
We are raising funds and awareness to expand and enhance our shop for our people, increasing safety and productivity. We are a growing business that needs to:
- Bring our new products to fruition,
- Expand our marketing reach via gift shows, 1-on-1, and digital marketing,
- Upgrade our tools, prepare for high-volume production and promotion of our market-tested, handmade aromatic cedar products, enamel pins, and more,
- Retool the shop for larger product runs, provide more jobs and get our product line to market in quantity!
With some simple tools and the ability to devote more time to business management, Phoenix Woodworking can grow from a budding social enterprise to a fully functioning medium-scale production facility.
Our handcrafted aromatic cedar products and enamel pins have already found homes around the world. We use revenue created by our sales to pay a decent wage to our employees who have been branded "unemployable" by most. With current work experience and updated resumés, our shop workers will be free to move on to other careers, making room for others who have the need to renew and reinvigorate their direction.
We have started collaborating with independent artists like famous tattoo artist Cheyenne Sawyer, producing and marketing his designs on our new enamel lapel pins and wooden products. Scroll down to see some new designs ready to put into production.
"Nothing will work unless you do." -Maya Angelou
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
PEOPLE: Every person deserves a chance to feel useful. We all know having a job is a crucial part of being a whole person. Despite this, those of us who have made mistakes in our past, or face life-changing challenges are often overlooked by employers. Phoenix Woodworking makes a difference for those who need a little help and encouragement, and we add peace and value to our community at a crucial time when we sorely need positive stories to tell our neighbors.
ECONOMY: Small businesses unify communities and contribute to local economies by bringing growth and innovation. Small businesses also stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by larger corporations. Small businesses tend to innovate and affect change in ways that are only possible at a smaller scale.
PLANET: What's more useful than healing the planet? We are providing natural aromatic products for us who don't want to fill our home or car with chemicals. Each cedar product is 100% natural, sourced from scrap wood, rescued from the chipper, sustainable and compostable. This is a zero waste operation. We even chip our scraps to make our fragrant sachets. All Air Fresheners, Magnets, and Sachets are packaged in 100% compostable packaging.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
All Phoenix Woodworking products are hand made in our small workshop here in Lawrence, KS. We lovingly select the specific cedar most suited for each cedar product. In our rapid prototyping phase, we first laser the image onto the wooden blank, cut it out, sand it, drill it, add either a neodymium magnet or hemp twine to hang it, and apply vapor distilled, perfume-grade aromatic cedar oil. Finally, we sort and select the best products and wrap them for shipping in 100% biodegradable paper, or bioplastic packaging. Our pins are enameled, ground, and polished here in the shop too!
With hand-me-down tools and the help of a few part-time employees, we have perfected the prototyping process and methods of manufacture. Now it’s time to scale up the production!
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Your pledge will help in many ways! With your Kickstarter support, we can afford:
TOOLS : We currently have a well put together shop, but some of the tools are getting worn. We need to update the shop and train our employees on the safest equipment we can afford. We also need to start casting our own short-runs of pewter products. We currently have the rough metal work done here by a friend, and we enamel, sort, grind, finish, and polish at the shop, but with some fairly inexpensive equipment we could perform the whole process from start to finish in our own shop, on our own timeline.
OFFICE SPACE: We currently store all of our product, and do all of our shipping and other administrative work from Shine's living room, across town from the shop. This adds a huge cumulative amount of time to the entire process of running a business. We have permission to long-term park an office trailer outside the shop. How amazing would that be to develop products, make prototypes, and ship directly from the same place???
MARKETING: Phoenix has been attending small local seasonal gift shows here to great effect. We have found 10 regular local vendors by doing this, and making personal visits to potential sellers. If we can expand our circle by attending shows all over the US, we can grow our business and hire more people. The more we sell, the more good work we can do.
LEADERSHIP: This whole thing is all about giving folks a chance to work. With this successful Kickstarter, we will hire and train 5 new employees. With all of these Kickstarter orders, we will need to grow our workforce. We expect to be producing thousands of units for you, which means our shop will be humming with activity. All of these goals are only possible with the full-time attention of someone in charge. Currently, Shine is working full time elsewhere to pay the bills, and devoting all of his spare time evenings and weekends to keeping up with our current demand. This is a real challenge. With this successful Kickstarter, Shine will put his full focus on these goals, and make Phoenix a full-time operation.
We have reward packages for every budget. From Phoenix Woodworking aromatic cedar magnets and air fresheners, laser-designed cutting boards, t-shirts, enamel lapel pins, and more. We are partnering with local and independent artists on new products like our new Panther pin (Below) designed by Cheyenne Sawyer that is only available in limited numbers here on this Kickstarter.
The choice is yours. Just look at some of our beautiful products:
WHAT IF WE EXCEED OUR GOAL? (Stretch Goals)
The further our fundraising stretches beyond our original goal the faster Phoenix Woodworking can expand. We have set our goal as reasonably as possible, to get this show on the road. However, we could easily use twice that and take our tools, safety, strategy and product development, craftsmanship and creativity to an even higher level.
MORE EMPLOYEES: This whole thing is all about helping people, right? The more we sell on Kickstarter, the more new employees we can get into the shop. Community need is huge.
- Each week, approximately 10,000 ex-offenders are released and need work.
- A criminal record cuts the chance of callback for a job by about 50%!
- Without access to jobs and with nowhere to turn, ex-offenders and recovering substance users may return to risky behaviors. Recidivism leads to re-incarceration.
- Yet 93% of ex-offenders who secure work after release NEVER return to prison.
- That's where Phoenix Woodworking comes in. Let's take this on and help people get employed and get a safe restart on life!
- (Stat Sources: "Sequencing Disadvantage: Barriers to Employment Facing Young Black and White Men with Criminal Records." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 623. May 2009: 195-213; Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. Bulletin No. 248955, Prisoners in 2014 at 9 (2015); Administrative Office of US Courts; Second Chance Foundation.)
NEW PRODUCTS AND PARTNERS: We have a ton of new designs we would LOVE to get into production! Our favorite designer Cheyenne Sawyer has given us several hundred designs to make into pins, coasters, cutting boards, etc... . The sky’s the limit when dreaming up what you can do with scrap wood, enamel and metal. We are right in the middle of developing 3 new designs by Cheyenne Sawyer for pins, belt buckles, and wooden swag. If we make stretch goals, we can create these and more designs! If you are a designer, and want to see your ideas made into actual stuff, let us know!
SALES STRATEGY: Reaching our original goal will allow us to expand our geographic circle of gift show attendance. If we exceed our goal by $1000, we can attend shows outside of the Midwest. With our push goals, we intend to travel and market our products all over the US. Just one regular wholesale account with a large retailer could keep us hiring for a year. The more shows we attend, the better chance we have of finding the right retailers (or the right retailers finding us…).
REWARDS DELIVERY NOTE:
We've created generous delivery dates to accommodate for unseen events. We have also built up a back stock of product so we are ready for huge quantities of orders coming in!
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
With a small staff and very basic tools, we have been manufacturing and shipping our products since fall of 2018. Over this past year we've also developed a variety of prototype designs and sourced the scrap lumber for future production. We have a website and have generated enough buzz to almost break even a few times already. We are ready to take our organization to the next level.
With your support, we are sure that this year, Phoenix Woodworking will improve the lives of many more employees and make many more happy customers.
We want to thank you for reading and would like to thank our current supporters for the great time we have already had building Phoenix Woodworking (in no rational order):
Steve Lopes, Democratic Activist, Organizer, and Board Chair
Molly Crook, Retailer, Graphics, Photos and Design, and Board Member
Trevor Mowry, Filmmaker and Board Member
Tom Barker, Comix Guy, and Board Member
Dick Stuntz, President, USA Golf Assn. and Board Member
Charles Higginson, Editor, Board Member
Jenny L. Nielsen, Social Media Coordinator
Paul DeGeorge and Meredith Moore, Retailers, and Investors
Marty Schwimmer, IP Lawyer
Wes Smith, Truck Fan, and Board Member
Mike Neidenthal, Board Member
Hiten Soni, Psychiatrist and Investor
Bonnie Uffman, Coach, Activist, and Encourager
Mike Betson, Supporter and Believer
David Hawley, Board Member
Will Katz, Lawrence Small Business Assn
Patrick Quinn, Author
Zia McCabe, Musician, Activist, and Honorary Board Member
Wint Winter, All kinds of stuff, and Board Member
Fred Six, State Supreme Court, Retired
Melissa Wick, World Traveler, and Board Member
Gary Rexroad, Entrepreneur and Board Member
Chuck Cornelius, Pinch-Hitter
James Foxworth, Pinch-Hitter
Jess Teague, Human Being
Abraham White Weasel, Manufacturing Consultant
Anthony Jernigan, 'Go To' Guy
Mike Caron, Human Nature Consultant
Tufts/Batson, Fine Rodmakers and Brainstormers
Chris and Ava Crook, Models
Lisa Sali Samsa, Model
Cheyenne Sawyer, Rad Designs
Kristen Bell, Badass Human
Brick and Mortar:
~The Village Witch
~The Striped Cow
~The Peaslee Tech Training Center
Risks and challenges
Shine did a successful Kickstarter for his last company (Sun Cedar,) so he is well aware of the risks and challenges involved with administrative organization and order fulfillment. We have decided to give ourselves 31 days for order fulfillment, because we know how busy things can get. Our suppliers can get busy, too, so it is important to look ahead realistically. We have also decided our product selection very carefully. Everything you see here has been researched, and prototyped already, so we can be sure of exactly what it takes to produce.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)