Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The book is out and selling like hotcakes!

Our book has been out for almost a full month!

Hard to believe.
We were able to print a short run just in time for the ReuseConex 2012, here in Portland, OR. And we sold out on the second day!
We are so excited that the book has been so well received and appreciated.

If you would like a copy of your very own, it is available in either print or digital editions at:

Print:

Digital (PDF):

Thank you everyone for your support! Our hope is that we will start to see more creative reuse centers popping up in every city around the world.

And as always, please comment here or email us creativereuseworkshop (at) gmail.com if you have any questions, suggestions, feedback, or comments.  We'd love to hear from you!

Best,
Alyssa and Kelley

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Recommended Resources - Your Suggestions.

Do you have any recommendations that we may add to our Recommended Resources page?  Please comment to suggest related blogs, sites, or organizations to check out.

Many thanks!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Setting Up the Retail Environment


In an earlier chapter, The Crazy Reality of a Creative Reuse Center, we touched on the unconventional nature of the retail environment in a creative reuse center. While not nearly as easy to organize as a grocery store, or even a big box craft store, you’ll want your store to be shoppable and navigable as possible.  Adding some structure and policies to the following categories can certainly help:
  • Flow
  • Sorting and Packaging
  • Pricing
  • Sections
  • Signage
photo courtesy of morguefile.com




To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Getting Started - Your Infrastructure


 The opposite of infrastructure is chaos. Setting up a creative reuse center is unpredictable enough by virtue of dealing with donated materials. Having systems in place will save your hide when you’re up to your ears in fabric, bottle tops, paper, and crayons.

photo courtesy of morguefile.com
While there are many elements to building capacity in your creative reuse center, we’ll stick to the basics:

·         Decision making
·         Staff/Volunteers
·         Programs
·         Administrative systems


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Solid Gold - Your Volunteer Team


That’s what volunteers are to an organization – solid gold. Volunteers can play a variety of roles at your creative reuse center. Depending upon your needs and the volunteers’ skill sets and interests, you can have many of your essential functions covered. Volunteers make it possible to accomplish your mission with little or no initial funding. And, when you’re ready to hire – you’ll have a pool of super stars to choose from that already know the organization, are committed to the mission, and are known to you.

image courtesy of morguefile.com


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Risky Business


image courtesy of morguefile.com
Belinda (not her real name) was a super star volunteer. She showed up regularly for her shifts and worked diligently stocking and organizing store sections. During a typical shift, she was cleaning up the wood section which was badly in need of organization. As she was moving varying sizes of wood to make them more salable, a piece with a sharp point fell, penetrated her shoe, and went right through her big toe. Apparently this piece of wood was balanced precariously between two other larger pieces. As they were moved, the sharp piece dropped to the ground. Belinda was new to town, worked as a nanny part time, and did not have medical insurance.

This unfortunate incident was indeed a wake-up call for us that mitigating risk doesn’t just mean having contracts, liability insurance, and criminal background checks in place.  It also means physical safety and well-being for staff and volunteers.


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Friday, July 6, 2012

All About the Money


Fundraising, Friend Raising, Crowdfunding, Corporate Donors, Individual Donors, Loans…all are ways of fund development for your creative reuse center.

photo courtesy of sxc.hu
There are some distinct areas of difference between doing business as a for-profit and a nonprofit organization. This is one of those areas. You can’t offer a return on investment for an interested donor as a nonprofit but in most cases, you can offer a tax deduction to friends, fans, and funders

If you decide to become a for-profit venture, you can look at bank loans, investor capital, Kick Starter, or other ways of getting the money together. Here, the opposite is true; you can’t promise a tax deduction, but you can offer a return on investment or other stake in your company.


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Creating a Buzz - Engaging the Community


There are multiple routes to reach out and touch the community. Creating a buzz is getting people to talk about your project. It’s communicating with the community in smart and engaging ways. You’ll know you’ve created buzz when you go to a neighborhood barbeque and nearly everyone has heard of your creative reuse center. They read about it in the local paper. A friend posted on Facebook. They saw your video on YouTube. A friend of a friend said “you’ve got to check this out!”. They are enticed and intrigued – and you have a captive audience.
photo courtesy of sxc.hu

To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Stakeholders - It takes a village to support a community-based organization

Your creative reuse center exists within a community. Having strong relationships with your community members is invaluable. The staff, volunteers, neighbors, sister reuse organizations, funders, participants in your programs, users of your services, retail shoppers, early adopters, environmental fans, arts fans, educators, and government officials all make up your village. They are otherwise known as stakeholders. They all have a stake in what you do: They help facilitate your development, are affected by your activities, and/or share the mission.

photo courtesy of www.sxc.hu
So, who specifically are your stakeholders? What are their needs and expectations? One of the first activities you and your advisory board will do is brainstorm an inventory of your stakeholders. You'll make a list of all the people who are invested in the success of your venture. Next, you'll prioritize your stakeholders.  Who on the list has the biggest stake in the development of your creative reuse center? Who has influence over its success? Staff, board, and volunteers are likely to be at the top of your priority list. So are funders and investors. 


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Facing the Inevitable – The Business Plan

We’re often asked if a business plan is absolutely necessary to get a new creative reuse center off the ground. The unfortunate answer is absolutely yes. It’s unfortunate because if your passion is to start a creative reuse center, you're likely to be more tapped into your right brain and taking on a structured business plan may not be your cup of tea. You may feel more comfortable with creative, free-form, intuitive, non-linear thinking. A business plan is about as left brained as a process gets. Think of it as your road map to success. For now, you’ll need to put on your analytical, fact-based, sequential hat. -- at least for much of the work 
photo courtesy of sxc.hu



To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mobile? Brick and Mortar? Online Exchange?


Now that you’ve created your Mission Statement, what type of venue will you need to fulfill your mission?  There are 3 main venue types we typically see in the world of creative reuse: Mobile units, brick-and-mortar locations, and online material exchanges.  Most creative reuse organizations typically utilize some combination of the three.  Choosing the right type of venue will help you to stay true to your mission.


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creating your Mission Statement


photo courtesy of sxc.hu
"If you don't know where you're going, it doesn't matter which way 
 you go."
Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland

The all important mission statement is the most foundational business planning you will do for your budding creative reuse center. It will encapsulate your purpose and identity.  It will justify your raison d'etre. It will inform all of your activities and programming. Having a carefully crafted mission statement will have a significant pay-off for the life of your organization. And, at the end of this process, you will know where you're going.


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Building Your Advisory Board


When you decide to move forward to open a creative reuse center, one of your best assets will be your group of trusted advisors. An advisory board is a collection of individuals that you choose based on the strengths they bring to your project. They may be friends, professional colleagues, people you admire in your community or even those you seek out through referrals or on boardnetUSA

There is a difference between a board of directors and an advisory board. At this point, unless you already have acquired 501(c)(3) status through the IRS, yours will be an advisory board. Unlike a nonprofit board of directors, they do not have governance or legal responsibility for your project. They are assembled to help you achieve your vision and act as your wise guides. 


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gameplan for Readiness


Okay, okay. You’ve thought long and hard about it and you’ve concluded that you’re right for creative reuse and creative reuse is right for you. You know that you’re passionate about starting a creative reuse center in your town, you have found some supporters and advocates, and you’ve decided what business model might work best for you. So, you’re ready to dive in, right? Well, almost…
photo courtesy of sxc.hu

Take a few deep breaths and visualize where you are and where you want to go. How are you going to communicate this vision to your community members? You should already have experience with this since you just completed your feasibility study. Think back to when you were talking with potential supporters. Were you able to develop an elevator pitch? That is, a clear and concise but genuine description of what you’re working so hard for? Were there certain phrases or words you used that really caught people’s attention?  


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Is Your Community Ready?  Your Personal Feasibility Study


photo courtesy of sxc.hu

What would be more mortifying than throwing a party and no one came? All the excellent planning and preparation falls flat if no one is interested in showing up. Generally we have good instincts and imagine that if we find something exciting and compelling, others do too. The problem with that logic is what psychologists call “confirmation bias”. People tend to hear or interpret information that supports their own beliefs. If I believe that creative reuse is the greatest thing ever, I may tend toward interpreting ambivalence as a positive response and even subconsciously screen out conflicting information. While creative reuse is the best thing ever, you need to find out if other people in your community agree.


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is Fiscal Sponsorship Right for You?

If you are following along at home and read last week's post, you’ve thought about your business structure.  If you’re leaning toward organizing as a nonprofit entity, there’s an option you’ll want to consider  --  fiscal sponsorship. 

Photo courtesy of  www.sxc.hu
According to the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors, “fiscal sponsorship means a nonprofit organization (the fiscal sponsor) agrees to provide administrative services and oversight to, and assume legal and financial responsibility for, the activities of groups or individuals engaged in work that furthers the fiscal sponsor’s mission.”  In other words, you can leave the humdrum administrative and legal tasks up to the sponsor and get right to focusing on establishing your creative reuse center.  And raising money.  As the sponsor’s project, you will have the benefit of their tax exempt status.  This means, right off the bat, you can offer tax exempt receipts for donations you receive from fans, friends, family, foundations and other folks. 


To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Nonprofit? For Profit? Hybrid?

Here’s where we get all businessy and start talking about establishing yourself as a business. After all, a creative reuse center is a legal entity that must be registered with the government and Internal Revenue Service. Since you’ve had an opportunity to identify your passion to start a creative reuse center, the time to tap into it is when things get a little dry and left-brained. 

Do you have a technique for keeping focused on your dream?  Use it!

photo courtesy of www.sxc.hu

To read the full chapter, please pick up a copy of our book:

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