Who are we?
Sun Cedar is a non-profit manufacturing organization that inspires and empowers at-risk members of the community—the homeless, felons, recovering addicts etc.—in a continuing effort to provide them a sense of purpose and restore their fundamental human dignity by offering them meaningful, paid employment. We absolutely believe everyone deserves a chance to work. We are people who love people, believers in the American Dream, optimists who trust in human nature. We believe that every person, no matter what their past, given the chance to work, can become functioning members of our society. We are you and I, we are your neighbors, we are your eccentric uncle who invents things in his garage, we are your brothers and sisters.
We are the folks who’ve fallen on hard times one way or another. We need employment but are turned away by most employers. We are ready to work!
Shine Adams and Zia McCabe are heading up this campaign:
Shine Adams, executive director at Sun Cedar, works in the Lawrence Community Shelter, studies Social Welfare and volunteers at the local Jail. He started Sun Cedar 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 these cedar trees. The products and budding concept were an instant hit. Shine was happy to provide his friend a few hours of work and to use up wood that would otherwise go to waste. Shine loves the smell of fresh cut cedar. Who doesn't?
Zia McCabe, member of international psychedelic rock band, The Dandy Warhols, community activist and long time friend of Shine’s, jumped at the chance to serve on the board of directors for Sun Cedar. Her social network, activism experience, positive attitude and boundless energy have proven to be a great asset.
What are we doing?
We are raising funds to improve the work environment for our cherished employees, increasing safety and productivity. We are a growing business that needs to: finalize our 501c3 status, beef up our insurance, upgrade our tools, expand our workshop, prepare for high-volume production and promotion of our market-tested, handmade aromatic cedar products. We are ready to move the shop to a larger location, provide more jobs and get these trees to market in quantity!
With better tools and the ability to devote more time to business management, Sun Cedar can grow from a budding non-profit business to a fully functioning production facility.
Our aromatic cedar trees have already found homes around the world. We use revenue created by our sales to pay a living wage to our employees who have been branded "unemployable" by most. With current work experience and updated resumes, our shop workers will eventually move on to other careers.
"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. Sun Cedar makes a difference for those who need a little help and encouragement.
Planet- What's more useful than healing the planet? We are providing an alternative air-freshener for those of us who don't want to fill their home or car with chemicals. Each tree 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.
How do we do it?
In Shine’s basement, we lovingly select the cedar most suited for each tree. We first stamp the image of the tree, then cut it out, sand it, drill it and apply vapor distilled, perfume-grade aromatic cedar oil. Finally, we select the best trees and wrap them for shipping them in 100% biodegradable, sustainably made, cellophane.
With hand-me-down tools and the help of a few part-time employees, we have perfected the design and method of manufacture. Now it’s time to scale up the production!
How You Can Help-
Your assistance will help in many ways! With your donation, we can afford:
- Tools - A professional level band saw is crucial to speed through this soft wood and an air cleaner/dust collector will increase workplace health and safety.
- Shop Space - Sun Cedar needs to move out of Shine's basement into a properly equipped professional facility.
- Marketing- We are ready to network. There are several trade shows nationwide which are full of potential wholesale contracts. We will attend two important trade shows in Oregon and California to exhibit our products to buyers. The more we sell, the more people we can put to work.
- Legal - Approaching this business with due legal diligence means hiring a lawyer, filing with the federal government and registering intellectual property.
- Leadership - Shine is looking forward to focusing on Sun Cedar full time.
What do you get?
We have reward packages for every budget. From Sun Cedar aromatic trees, vapor-distilled, perfume-grade cedar oil, a T-Shirt to cedar clothes hangers, unique trees customized by internationally known artists, even autographed photographs of Sun Cedar employees and a certification of spiritual enlightenment--pick the package that suits your budget and desires!
The choice is yours. Just look at our beautiful products:
Five Fresh Trees
What If We Exceed Our Goal? (stretch goals)
The further our fundraising stretches beyond our original goal the faster Sun Cedar 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 taking our tools, safety, strategy and products to an even higher level.
- New Products- The sky’s the limit when dreaming up what you can do with scrap wood. We have already designed a cedar shoe box , a wall clock (which comes in many shapes and sizes), stackable record crates and a rustic guitar wall-hanger to name a few. We’ve also started dabbling with hardwoods- producing beautiful rock maple slab cutting boards! We all know getting ideas into production costs money.
- Sales Strategy- Reaching our original goal will allow us to attend two well-known trade shows in Portland, Ore., and San Francisco, Cal. – With our push goals, we intend to travel and market our products in the renowned ‘NYNOW’ trade show in New York, and the 'American Made Gift Show' in Washington DC. Just one regular wholesale account with a large retailer could keep us hiring for a year. The more trade shows we attend, the better chance we have of finding the right retailers. (Or the right retailers finding us…)
- Saw Stop- Did you know there's a table saw that can NOT cut it's operator? This revolutionary tool manufacturer has developed a table saw that SENSES when you're at risk and hits the brakes before it can do any damage! This saw will not only provide peace of mind, but it will save us money on insurance. Its professional features compete with any other table saw on the market. Watch the "hot dog" video here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8EX7mt3ByE
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 2014. Over this past year we've also developed a variety of prototype designs and sourced the scrap lumber for future production. Last December, we built a website and generated enough buzz to break even over the holidays! We are quickly outgrowing our basement shop and ready to take our organization to the next level. With your support we are sure that this year, Sun Cedar will be improving the lives of many more employees and making many more happy customers.
We want to thank you for reading and thank our current supporters for the great time we have already had building Sun Cedar: Mike Caron, Director of Programs, Douglas County Jail • Warner Lewis, Executive Vice President, Director of Marketing- People’s Bank • Will Katz, Director, KU Small Business Development Center • Patrick Quinn, Author • Zia McCabe, Musician, Activist • “Wint" Winter, Former State Senator, CEO- People’s Bank • Fred Six, State Supreme Court, Retired
A very special thanks to our videographers, Tory Baxter and Jessie Buckley at Moonhead Visuals! Check out their website at: http://www.moonheadvisuals.com/
Risks and challenges
Risks and challenges
Space: The right shop will be safe, located on a major bus route and big enough for us to grow. Sun cedar is committed to finding the perfect spot which can take time. If we have a million prizes to send out, the basement will be mighty crowded! That's a challenge we're happy to accept.
Time: We have been generous with our delivery dates, For our international supporters, mail overseas may take longer.
Product: If we exceed our initial goal of $35,000, we will get right into development of new products: our cutting board, wall clock, clothes valet, and more are all in the works- all we need to do is fill our orders first!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)