Feeling like Santa these days, it's exciting to see all of the places that Matter Goods are going! Have recently sent packages to New Zealand, Toronto, Seattle, Chicago, New Jersey, Florida, throughout Louisiana and beyond.
It's also a thrill to see new goods mixed in, so glad that our notebooks and totes are ready (Swaddling blankets and rabbits are soon to follow)! It will be really exciting to make donations to our new and current partners after the holidays! I'm looking forward to spending the holidays relaxing with dear ones and I wish all the best to you and yours.
On a sidenote, I'm thinking about adding a 'no smokestack' logo to our packaging in the new year. I like thinking about that.. picturing all of the people that make our notebooks, totes, and birdies, in their lovely studios & workshops without any smokestacks puffing away.
Must get back to it, but I hope that you and yours enjoy your time together & thank you so much for your support of Matter! If you're still looking for gifts we have 3 days left to ship to arrive in time & 20% off with discount code 'GIVESTOMANY'. Happy Holidays & New Year from New Orleans!
August is BirdProject's birth month & Matter's Benefit Corporation birthdate! Three years ago I set foot in New Orleans for the first time, I never cease in looking back with amazement on how much has happened since then. Doing so, I better realize that I arrived here with an idea laid out on a piece of paper and a lot of determination. I brought that piece of paper with me to all of the meetings that I arranged around the city & still look at it from time to time as a reminder of how much you can do once you start organizing an idea.
As Matter has its first Benefit Corporation birthday, I am excited to be working on 3 new ideas that contribute to education and disaster relief post-Hurricane Sandy. They are currently up on Indiegogo to raise the money to make them a reality, please back us if you can or help get the word out. I so appreciate your help in turning these ideas on paper into real, live things that give back & in time for fall when they will be needed.
Each new product houses layers and layers of research, seeking producers, do-ers, & risk-takers for each part of the project. I am dedicated to working with those that are doing unique and meaningful work. I also think it's important to enjoy working with every person involved in each new project. My drive mostly lives in finding new solutions for the worst problems that we face today. Often, I think the solutions are basic, but our society often wants to overlook these answers, ironically they may seem too hard. My goal is to try to find the hope to move forward with each situation. Looking ahead, to future birthdays next topics are: wetland restoration, gun violence, and the preciousness of water. Thank you for helping me make it happen, I am ever grateful for your support and collaboration along the way & ahead.
Two products focus on different aspects of education needs, but that share one basic element that many students don't have, access. We will be donating to groups that provide access to books, help needed in learning to read & building confidence. Our first notebooks series serve as a place to build dreams, the most basic item in a dreamer's toolkit. They have letterpress covers and are made of beautiful, 100% recycled French's paper, powered by hydroelectric since 1922. We find a new donation partner with the "I have a Dream" Foundation for these notebooks. They provide mentor-ship for low income students from elementary school to college andy work with an entire class to give them all the help, access, & insights to the many possibilities that are available that they need all along the way.
The second focused on education is a beautiful linen napkin, this napkin is unique in that its design shows you how to fold it into a rabbit. When I saw this idea, I fell in love with the magic created by folding the napkin over your hand. Cécile Thalmann & Adel Kassem are the designers behind this lovely idea and are currently living in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Cécile's grandmother used to entertain her using this trick and she continues to play with this linen rabbit trick today. Building upon the benefits of play and reading, this linen rabbit becomes a reading buddy for children learning how to read. Using the power of imagination & invention, children see how a napkin becomes a toy, more and more important in our digital age. This product donates to a local one-on-one tutoring group, S.T.A.I.R. & First Book, who enable access to books for children nationwide.
The third idea, from paper to loom, is a blanket that will help with disaster relief. This idea was inspired by the needs brought by Hurricane Sandy. Hearing and seeing images of the immense devastation, imagining myself in the individual's shoes, made me want to give that person a hug. Also, hearing about the widespread power outages in the bitter cold and lack of access to basic needs inspired the idea for a blanket. Disasters hone down everything to the most basic human needs. The group that we will donate to for rebuilding is Architecture for Humanity. I selected this group because of their commitment to individuals and community needs as well as their focus on rebuilding for the long term.
So, on our third birthday, Happy Birthday to you & to Matter and may we make a meaningful difference for the environment and our communities. Big hug from me to you & great week/weekend ahead!
Yesterday I bicycled over to UNO with dear friends to hear the Dalai Lama speak. Points discussed were: Compassion, connection, equality, fairness, gratitude, peace, hope, unpretentiousness, appreciation, enjoyment, & laughing. I wish that the Dalai Lama could be global president.
He spoke often of dealing with things in life with a calm center, his analogy was like the sea - the waves on the top can be turbulent, but down below there is always calm. Also of not creating expectations, which lead to disappointment. I have tried to eliminate expectations over the years and have found to be so much happier without them.
One of the questions from citizens of New Orleans at the end of the talk asked, 'Do you have doubt and how do you deal with it?' His reply involved looking at problems from many perspectives, preparing yourself mentally for problems that will arise, and keeping your calm center. If your mind is at peace you can best consider varied perspectives.
He also laughed frequently during the talk, filled with such true joy and appreciation. So humble and wishing to be treated like a human, as we all are together he reinstated multiple times, we are people. Everyone one of us around the world is born from a mother and will one day die, no one is better than another. And that this should extend to all parts of the world, animals and the earth treated with respect.
Another great question from New Orleans was, "In a world with so many troubles, how do you remain an optimist?' He replied, 'There is no other choice.'
Thank you Dalai Lama for a wonderful gift, I hope that all of our world leaders will be more like you.
I was honored to be selected to be a part of the Neighborland + GOOD Ideas for Cities Initiative & part of the Better/Safer Biking Team this summer! Each team received $500 & a few weeks to spend on their group's project which started from Neighborland posts on city needs.
Our Better Biking project resulted in the Broad to Bayou Bikeway & the textable bike to bus directions app & website bikebusnola.com! See our presentation video at NOMA here on GOOD.. don't worry it's not too long.
More about our process on guerilla signage & bike to bus app: To begin we created a survey of 'hotspots' for people to name the troublespots found on their travels through the city. With these results we then visited each site to see how we might help. Many of the trouble points or 'hotspots' were at sketchy or stressful intersections. We also found that better signage to help cyclists avoid stressful streets all together would be a big help safety-wise.
This led to thinking of bikeways throughout the city. These bikeways could be better highlighted, promoted, and developed. We re-named the Jeff Davis Parkway 'Broad to Bayou' to better illustrate which parts of town this bikeway can transport you to. Traveling again to the 'hotspots' we listed the signage needed & were lucky to find artvertising on Magazine could make our signs beautifully, on reflective aluminum to boot! they are such a delight to work with!
The bike to bus app/website helps everyone achieve cross-town destinations more quickly. Lucky to have team-mate Joel Carranza [app developer & web-guru] on board, he was able to use the recently released RTA data for bus info! If streetcars could add bike racks [especially from mid-city] this could also be added to this new transport web. The app is not only for smartphone use, as it texts you the directions, making it accessible for more people.
Big thanks to GOOD & Neighborland for making this happen, absolutely happy to be a part of! See a full list of projects here. Also, one of my fave signs below, this was later voted to be changed to 'stressy route' to be a little friendlier to the younger folks..
and one of our early tests up in the LGD creating better communication for cyclists, equalizing the information given regularly to cars.
Also, we got tagged! We feel legit : )
New Orleans' Entrepreneur Week triple-filled NOLA with buzz & excitement from the generous kick off party at James Carville's home to the Water Challenge to the White House Forum to NOLAbound to Friday's grand finale event - the BigIdea, there was so much goodness going on, I can't wait til' NOEW 2013! Matter is thrilled to have been part of the BigIdea at Manning's - as 1 of 19 most promising New Orleans' startups. It was a pleasure to see good friends and meet new people there - as well as to compete for 50K! [Photo below: Ad for BigIdea in Times Picayune by IberiaBank]
Yesterday Matter was thrilled to attend Tulane's CPS Internship Fair - excited to meet all of the passionate students and I look very forward to hearing from you! Would be wonderful to work with you via our summer & fall internships - please see all of the open internship descriptions here.