After weeks and months of preparation, Friday arrived. With just a few hours to go, I wondered what would happen. How many people would come? Would they buy? Would folks get the connection between the cups and kids?
My friend Gary posted on Facebook “It’s going to be a HUGE success. Better than your wildest dreams!!!” I wanted to believe him. The last minute worry and anticipation was killing me.
I had no idea how right he was.
The show was to start at 6pm. At 5:30 folks began arriving. We weren’t even open yet so this was a good sign! At 6:05 a stream of people came in. By 6:10 twenty cups had sold. Twenty! By 6:30 another nineteen had sold. This thing was on fire.
Then something happened that I won’t soon forget. My friend Nancy wanted to introduce me to a family she had invited. They had come with their three adopted children to pick out cups for their birthparents. My heart swelled for them, their kids, and their birthparents. A friend came I hadn’t seen in a long time and told me for the first time that she was adopted. I learned another friend’s mom was adopted and how it has impacted her life. This happened time and time again throughout the evening. Friends came with their foster kids. Stories shared, hugs given over and over. This was the celebration of love shared with arms open wide that I hoped for.
As the evening wore on it became clear that it was a success. On multiple levels. Janice Halpern from MARE gave a compelling and succinct presentation about the work MARE does. We learned a youngster that had been photographed as a foster child by our own Beth Reynolds had been adopted. Two of my friends were considering going to the adoption party on Sunday.
Since Friday more cups have sold and I think we only have eleven left to sell. I was asked “why continue to stay open for the whole month if all the cups sell?” Because this is not just about selling cups. This is about awareness. That is why I didn’t want to sell cups online. You can buy anything online and it isn’t a meaningful experience. It doesn’t present an opportunity to walk into a space full of beautiful handmade work AND see a connection to young, hopeful faces of children seeking a family so desperately. They are forever linked in this project. Each person who goes home with their cup at the closing party will be bringing with them a memory of those faces, a keepsake of having done some good in the world with their purchase.
The other key piece I can’t stress enough is the supporting of artists in the pursuit of their livelihood. They will each be compensated for their labor. They deserve it. They’ve earned it. And perhaps if their cup sold before someone else who wanted it could purchase it, that person will contact them and they will sell additional work as well.
Greg and I didn’t do this alone. We had an incredible team of volunteers who made this thing sing come Friday night. We had Kickstarter backers who saw the potential and propelled this project past just a possibility. And what great cheerleaders from Facebook to email and texts, the support has been stupendous!
Will I do it again? Without hesitation, yes. We are already talking about next year. In the meantime we can finally rest. We did it! It worked. Beautifully. Whether you purchased, submitted work, gave advice, volunteered, donated goods, shared posts, interviewed or photographed us and the cups, I am forever in your debt for your role in making this is a success. This wouldn’t have been what I envisioned without all of you. I do hope you’ll stay involved. I look forward to making this even bigger next year. In the meantime lets make more purchases with purpose. I know I will seek them out and make my dollars do more work for good near and far.