Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thank You!


Lately I’ve been amazed by all the support and help UA has been receiving from friends and family. Here are just a few people who we couldn’t do without! Thank you to…

Our family, especially Grandma who tells everyone she can about UA, our Aunt Angie for her fantastic support and enthusiasm, our cousin Steve for talking to us about non-profits and corporations.

Our friends and co-workers, who have put up flyers at their jobs, volunteered to work on our website, translated a flyer into Spanish, and gave us brilliant suggestions.

The community for spreading the word about UA, congratulating and encouraging us, and suggesting new agencies and organizations for us to reach out to.

Uncovered Artistry is truly on its way to accomplishing our mission to help domestic violence survivors discover their "inner entrepreneur," empowering them both emotionally and financially. Thanks so much to everyone who has encouraged and helped us!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

“Buy” a Donation to Prevent Domestic Violence

Uncovered Artistry has officially opened shop! Available for “purchase” on our website (www.uncoveredartistry.com) are donations to prevent domestic violence. You can buy a $10 donation to Uncovered Artistry to “Provide a Survivor with a Loan to Start Her Business.” Your donation will help Uncovered Artistry provide micro-loans to its artisans. Micro-loans, which are small loans that range from $25-$300, give artisans the initial capital they need to start their businesses with Uncovered Artistry Boutique. You can also purchase at $25 donation to a domestic violence shelter. The “Give a Victim a Place to Stay” donation will support a domestic violence shelter, which provides temporary housing, counseling, and support for domestic violence victims.

These two new donation options are Uncovered Artistry’s first step to selling online. We are currently in the process of reviewing artisan applications and are hopeful that our shop will soon be filled with beautiful artisan work!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Support Domestic Violence Awareness!

Uncovered Artistry needs your help!

If you would like to put up Uncovered Artistry flyers at your local church or other community organization (such as library, college, post office, coffee shop, etc), please email uncoveredartistry@gmail.com for your copy of our flyer!


Beacause of help from all of you, Uncovered Artistry will be able to spread awareness about domestic violence.

Peace,
Sarah

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Spreading Peace


Uncovered Artistry Boutique was founded on peace.

Uncovered Artistry will promote peace by focusing on the individual. Since survivors will be able to improve their lives financially and emotionally, they gain peace within themselves, which will impact their families and the entire community. Likewise, raising awareness about domestic violence victims will encourage understanding.

The stereotypical domestic violence survivor is a white, lower class female who is abused by her white male spouse. However, domestic violence can affect anyone no matter their sex, age, race, socioeconomic background, or sexuality.When an individual understands the struggles of another, he or she is less likely to make judgments and to commit violent acts of his or her own.

In this way, understanding between individuals promotes peace within communities and in turn within the country and the world.



Some more thoughts on peace...

Sisters and brothers, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace.
-2 Cor. 13:11

History will never change because of politics or conquests or theories or wars; that's mere repitition, it's been going on since the beginning of time. History will only change when we are able to use the energy of love, just as we use energy of the wind, the seas, the atom.
-Paulo Coelho

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
-Martin Luther King Jr.

We can all take responsibility for helping to bring about change, and keeping our friends and colleagues safe from domestic violence.
-Charles Clarke

Everything is changeable, everything appears and disappears; there is no blissful peace until one passes beyond the agony of life and death.
-Buddha

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our Progress


Uncovered Artistry is proud to boast some small victories. After being awarded the Projects for Peace grant, Angie and I focused on creating a website for our non-profit and getting the word out that we were looking for artisans. Angie did a great job writing a press release (see an earlier blog post for Angie's advice on writing your own press release), and we were featured in our local newspapers.


We want to give out a big thank to our community, family, and friends for their support! We have received so many words of encouragement.


^Our "desk" (ie dining room table) full of letters to domestic violence safe havens and churches around the country.

We are still on the search for artisans. Once again, if you know anyone who has suffered from domestic violence and who creates some sort of artisan work (painting, quilting, woodworking, knitting, etc), please refer them to our website (www.uncoveredartistry.com).

Be on the look out for new products (all made from domestic violence survivors) on our website very soon!

Peace,
Sarah

Monday, June 14, 2010

Resources (that really work!) for Writing a Press Release

Uncovered Artistry is looking for domestic violence survivor artisans, so we decided to use the local newspapers as a way to reach out to many individuals. When I first took on the task of writing a press release, I thought it would be a short two sentence blurb. I did a little research and found that I was a bit mistaken. Here is the final press release that I sent to local newspapers:

Local Winnacunnet Alumni Receive Grant to Start Non-Profit to Aid Domestic Violence Survivors

Sarah and Angela Spoto, alumni of Winnacunnet High School, received a grant to begin a non-profit online boutique called Uncovered Artistry that sells the artisan work of domestic violence survivors.

Hampton Falls, NH June 9th 2010—Sarah and Angela Spoto, twin college students and alumni of Winnacunnet High School, received a grant from Projects for Peace to start a non-profit online boutique that sells solely the artisan work of domestic violence survivors. Uncovered Artistry Boutique will sell products that range from fashion accessories to bath and home d├ęcor.

Over a year ago, the girls began their first small business selling jewelry online. The experience they gained from this business has helped them begin Uncovered Artistry.

“We loved the jewelry business, but we both knew that we wanted to take business a step further and use it to help and empower others. That’s why we created Uncovered Artistry,” said co-owner Sarah Spoto.

Uncovered Artistry is committed to helping domestic violence victims overcome the emotional and financial burdens of violence. By selling the work of only domestic violence survivors, the boutique offer artisans a friendly and convenient way to sell their work. Uncovered Artistry Boutique acts just like any other retailer and purchases the work of artisans at a fair price.


The online store’s mission is to help domestic violence survivors discover their "inner entrepreneur," empowering them both emotionally and financially. From this, said co-owner Angela Spoto, “we hope to promote peace in the lives of the artisans and our customers.”

About Uncovered Artistry Boutique:

Uncovered Artistry Boutique, operating out of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, is a non-profit online boutique that sells the finely crafted work of domestic violence survivors and distributes the products throughout the country. The business has two main goals. First, it provides an outlet for domestic survivors in America and Canada to sell their artisan work, thereby providing them with financial independence and personal confidence. Second, Uncovered Artistry educates their customers about domestic violence in order to raise awareness and eliminate stereotypes. Angela and Sarah Spoto are founders and owners of Uncovered Artistry. They are residents of Hampton Falls and attend Lake Forest College near Chicago.

Contact:

Angela and Sarah Spoto

Uncovered Artistry Boutique

PO Box 503

Hampton Falls, NH 03844

(603)793-1582

uncoveredartistry@gmail.com

www.uncoveredartistry.com

I used this website (http://www.free-press-release-center.info/sample-press-release.html) to help with writing the press release. It breaks a press release down into core components and does a good job of detailing what each section is about. It also gives sample press releases. I also found this article (http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20090710-BIZ-307109997) very useful as it gave valuable information regarding press releases. And finally, here is the article, based on my press release that was published in local newspapers: http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20100611-NEWS-6110360

Happy writing,

Angie

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Do You Hate Violence?

We do!
Please support our new non-profit boutique called Uncovered Artistry. All work is created by domestic violence survivors.

Support us by...

Visiting our website:

Website

Adding us:

Twitter

Blog (here!)

Facebook


We are two college students, studying in Chicago but living during the summer months in beautiful New Hampshire. We are dedicating this summer to creating and establishing Uncovered Artistry Boutique. Uncovered Artistry Boutique, operating out of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, is a non-profit online and catalog retailer that sells the finely crafted work of domestic violence survivors and distributes the products throughout the country.

The business has two main goals. First, it provides an outlet for domestic survivors in America and Canada to sell their artisan work, thereby providing them with financial independence and personal confidence. Second,Uncovered Artistry educates our customers about domestic violence in order to raise awareness and eliminate stereotypes.

Thanks for your support!

Sarah and Angie
Uncovered Artistry Boutique
La SuaVoce Designs

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why we started Uncovered Artistry in the first place

The universe always helps us fight for our dreams.

-Paolo Coehlo


It was just after my sister and I had discovered the power of Fair Trade (trade based on a fair wage, no child-labor, healthy working conditions, and usually environmentally-friendly products), micro-loans (read Angie's post for more info), and social entrepreneurship.

We realized that business didn't have to be that big, scary, masculine world of corporations and greed. Business could in fact change the world...for the better. The Projects for Peace grant was the opportunity we needed to make our ideas reality.

So why domestic violence survivors? At first, we wanted to sell the artisan work of American women who were in financial hardships. We wanted to empower women. And we wanted to empower women in our own country. For as much as we love the idea of empowering women from far-away countries, the hardships of women in America were never clearer to us.

After sharing the idea with our family, our dad asked, "Why just women? Why not men too?" Eventually, we settled on the idea of providing domestic violence survivors the opportunity to be empowered through business and art. Domestic violence survivors who are women and men, young, old, heterosexual, homosexual, and who come from rich and diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.

If you know of an individual who is a domestic violence survivor as well as a creator of beautiful artisan work, please have them visit our website at www.uncoveredartistry.com and send us an email at uncoveredartistry@gmail.com for an artisan application

Peace,
Sarah

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Is Micro-finance?

This was the question I was asking myself when my accounting professor mentioned it in class. I did a little research and came across Muhammad Yunus’ book Banker to the Poor. Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank, which gives microloans to the poor. So if you are interested is eliminating poverty, empowering individuals, and spreading peace, here are some things you should know about micro-finance:

What is a micro-loan?

Let’s start with dictionary definition: a very small, short-term loan at low interest, esp. to a start-up company or self-employed person. (dictionary.com)

Micro-loans vary in size depending on the individual’s business, how many loans they have already taken out, and where they are from. For example, a woman in Bangladesh might receive a $25 micro-loan to begin a basket-weaving company. A stay-at-home mom from New Mexico might need a $200 loan to buy a sewing machine. Micro-loans are unique because, of course, they are smaller than traditional loans. Poor individuals cannot afford to take out large traditional loans. Micro-loans allow them to borrow just enough money to start their business. Because the loans are smaller, the poor are more capable of paying them back.

What prevents the poor from acquiring loans from traditional banks?

Grameen Bank and other micro-finance institutions are not traditional banks because they are willing to lend money to the poor, individuals who often do not have credit or even steady jobs. Traditional banks (think of the bank you probably use such as 5/3 or Bank of America) are not willing to lend to the poor because the poor are traditionally seen as unreliable. However, as Yunus argues in his book, the poor are very reliable. They understand what is at stake if they do not pay back their loan. If a basket-weaver does not pay back her loan, she won’t be able to feed her family, send her children to school, and provide them adequate shelter.


How does micro-finance empower the poor?

The real question is: How does entrepreneurship empower anyone? Micro-finance institutions lend the poor capital to start their own businesses. People who have traditionally been denied loans can now become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is empowering because, first of all, you are the source of your own success. Your business’ success is reliant on you, and when your business is successful, you feel successful. Entrepreneurship is more powerful than charity. Imagine the difference between a women who receives $20 as a charity and a women who earns the $20 herself. The women who earned her own money is more likely to work even harder to earn more money. She will feel empowered.

What does micro-finance have to do with Uncovered Artistry Boutique?

First, Uncovered Artistry will give micro-loans to an artisan who needs the fund to start his or her artisan business. Giving micro-loans allows us to support domestic violence survivors of any economic status.

Second, we encourage entrepreneurship! We hope that our artisans feel empowered because of their talents. Our mission is to help domestic violence survivors discover their "inner entrepreneur," empowering them both emotionally and financially. From this, we hope to promote peace in the lives of the artisans and our customers.

If you know of an individual who is a domestic violence survivor as well as a creator of beautiful artisan work, please have them visit our website at www.uncoveredartistry.com and send us an email at uncoveredartistry@gmail.com for an artisan application.

Angie Spoto
Co-founder of Uncovered Artistry Boutique