It’s been seven weeks. Seven weeks since NY/NJ - our home and the epicenter of the novel coronavirus - has been on lockdown.
Seven weeks of reflection, conversation, wondering what to do next. Most of our furniture & interiors projects were either postponed or cancelled, as most of our projects are in the hospitality & restaurant industry - an industry that has basically shut down altogether.
We realized at some point along the way, this was not about us - it was never about us. As a small business we are suffering, yes, but then again - so many people, human beings, families, children, are suffering more than we are.
Djivan called me one morning about two weeks ago, motivated as ever after watching the first two episodes of The Last Dance, about Michael Jordan, and said “What if we used our bay windows at ABDB Studios to make a billboard in support of essential workers and artists?
This was it. This kicked off everything you see today, and as the idea evolved, the priority immediately became: “How can we give back to those on the front lines? How can we give back to the communities that have shown us so much love? How can we stay aligned with our company values and use that as motivation to give back? What will we release to raise the money?”
The last question was the simplest to answer. We decided on The ABDB Cares Coaster Set in the colors of red, orange, yellow, and white, with 100% of the profits to be donated. We chose coasters because they are easily accessible by all of our customer demographic, they can be made quickly, do not take up much space in the home, and are still authentic to ABDB as they involve the same patented process we use to make our furniture, which includes embedding real pieces of wood - life - into colored resin, and finished in high gloss.
The colors we chose do have meaning. Primary colors are authentic: Red for health workers, yellow for happiness, and orange for determination & creativity. White was chosen for safety, the light at the end of the tunnel.
Djivan and I both have friends and relatives on the front lines, so giving back to the healthcare workers of NYC/NJ, and Chicago, where I’m from - was a no brainer. Djivan and I are small business owners, so doing something that would empower small business owners was a priority as well. Finally, when founding ABDB, Djivan was adamant about one of our major pillars being to give back to children interested in the arts - as he was - and provide an opportunity for them to explore their creativity and build their confidence in creating.
Once we had decided how we were going to raise money, and the direction we wanted to go with those donation dollars, the next step was partnering with organizations that we could donate to that were true to their mission statements, and doing really good work during these times. Luckily, a friend put us on to Frontline Foods, and we were able to connect with Free Arts NYC after some research and outreach.
Frontline Foods is the ultimate package of our first two goals: supporting the frontline and empowering small business owners. Frontline Foods mission is to save local restaurants who have been impacted by shelter-in-place orders, while supporting those doing battle on the frontlines. Frontline Foods is a grassroots organization that raises money from the community to pay local restaurants to prepare meals for the heroes responding to the COVID-19 crisis. And now that they’ve partnered with the international World Central Kitchen, they operate in 53 cities across the United States and have delivered over 225,000 meals to frontline workers.
Free Arts NYC empowers underserved youth through art and mentoring programs to develop their creativity, confidence, and skills to succeed.
Understanding that seven weeks have already passed, the battle is far from over. The unknowns of COVID-19 are still greater than what we know, and our hope that this initiative will grow into something great. The least we can do for those fighting every day on behalf of all, for those struggling to keep their dreams alive, and for those who have something to look forward to as they grow into adults - is to contribute in a positive way.
So grab some coasters! At the price point of $80, they are great dining room additions, gifts for Mother’s/Father’s day, and you can feel GOOD about yourself knowing that 100% of the profits from your order will be split and directly contributed to support Frontline Foods & Free Arts NYC.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.