Update: Backpacks of Hope

Written by: Patrick Keiser, Corporate Trainer & Recruiter 

An organization’s core values can sometimes be seen as nice words, but unreflective of the company itself. However, when OneCoast speaks into a desire to make a difference in the community, this is truly embodied by the company and its employees.  This summer’s Backpacks of Hope initiative was a perfect example of how an organization working together can make a tremendous difference in a community.

Through the Backpacks of Hope initiative, OneCoast worked with Ethel Kight Elementary school in LaGrange, GA, Nathan Adams Elementary in Dallas, TX and Wendell P. Williams Elementary in Las Vegas, NV to provide backpacks and school supplies for the schools and students.  While backpacks, pencils, markers and glue can seem like basic necessities within a classroom, they are often not provided by the school, and are the burden is left on the teacher or student to provide.  In many areas, this means the classroom goes with basic school supplies.

The response to this year’s initiative was absolutely incredible.  In addition to receiving extraordinarily generous donations from our vendor partners DEMDACO and C.R. Gibson, OneCoast employees donated thousands of dollars of supplies at each show. This year, we also set up an online Wishlist which people could purchase from and send items to our showrooms. In creating this, we figured this would allow people to participate without worrying about filing up their luggage when they traveled to the show.

What we didn’t account for, and were blown away by, was the number of people who typically don’t attend one of the shows, but still wanted to participate. This gave them an avenue to do just that.  Prior to the beginning of each show this summer, we received notifications that the donation bins within the OneCoast and DEMDACO showrooms were already full, and the showroom managers were having to store the extra supplies elsewhere. Not a bad problem to have.

With school starting back up over the next several weeks, these schools are just beginning to see the impact of our donations. When our supplies were dropped off, many hugs were given and tears were shed demonstrating the power of the donations on these schools.  Ethel Kight Elementary has since used our donations for their annual Back to School Bash to provide supplies to students. Wendell P Williams Elementary was also able to provide brand new supplies to all of their new teachers’ classrooms.  By alleviating the burden put on educators to provide supplies for their classroom, we can allow them to focus their energies on providing exciting educational opportunities for their students.  In this way, OneCoast is making an enormous difference in these communities.

WILLOW TREE® Themes of Healing and Hope

Blog post written by Karen Lordi, Creative Director for Willow Tree

With strong themes of healing, comfort, hopefulness and remembrance, Willow Tree® is a product line that people turn to in times of loss. This is also often an entry point into the brand. Dealing with loss or struggling through adversity are personal reactions that people experience in many different ways, so Willow Tree artist Susan Lordi has created and carved multiple interpretations of these powerful emotions over the years.

The first Willow Tree piece that Susan carved was Angel of Healing. Susan used a small fragile bird as a metaphor for the vulnerability of our inner feelings. She worked on this piece very intuitively, leaving much room for personal interpretation. This piece, from the original January 2000 introduction, embodies the timelessness of Willow Tree.

Courage was first introduced as a donation piece for the Susan G. Komen foundation. It was sculpted to celebrate the triumphant spirit, inspiration and courage we call upon to face challenges in our lives. When the donation program ended, Susan re-carved and re-introduced this piece because it was so frequently requested as a symbol of strength and courage in the face of adversity.

Angel of Hope holds a candle, perhaps to guide one through dark places — to illuminate one’s hopes and dreams — or to thank someone for being such a shining light. Hope is a small playful figurine holding aloft a wire balloon in which the word ‘hope’ is written. The sentiment, “Hope lifts us up!” expresses the joyful exuberance of a child. This piece continues to be much requested by families who are going through a healing process with a child.

The figurine Healing Grace is a more mature piece… a woman with her arms and hands crossed over her heart. A woman who, through time, meditation, prayer, support of family and friends, is coping with a difficult situation or healing after adversity. In Susan’s words, “This piece is about making room for grace. We encounter things that might not, on the surface, seem like blessings; but if we wait — be patient, hope, trust — they might become our biggest strengths that we can draw upon.

Evidence of the ever-increasing importance of the Healing & Hope category is the small angel, Remembrance, the #1 top-selling unit SKU from 2014 through 2016. The gesture of this angel, the importance of her title and accompanying sentiment, and her highly carved surface design and gold-leaf heart, reflect the strength of the connection that consumers make with this highly emotive product line.

In 2016, Susan introduced two new pieces to broaden the offerings even more in this meaningful category. While different from each other in scale and form, Vigil and Tapestry carry a similar intention and feeling.

About Vigil, a tall, elegant figure holding a candle, Susan says, “I wanted this to be a strong message of hopefulness and healing, with attention on the gold flame. An upward vertical emphasis, in variations of gold and white. I wanted her whole form to glow, to give a sense of an inner light. Vigil can be seen as a welcoming piece as well as a bereavement piece; a healing piece, a serene piece, a piece of comfort and mindfulness.”

Tapestry is a small, intimate piece encrusted with gold leaf. Susan’s story about this piece. “This piece is very much about healing. Her gesture is protective. While carving the relief pattern on her dress, I just kept carving… I wanted to push the message further, so I kept going, surrounding her with nature and everyday objects—metaphorical of a life well-lived. The carved icons reflect our connections to those we love. Our story is one we share with others, all woven together, as in a tapestry. When we lose someone special, our shared experiences and memories become all the more precious to us.

Tapestry and Vigil

Tapestry and Vigil Figurines

There are many other Willow Tree pieces that communicate healing and/or hope… a tree, a prayer, Blessings, Heart of Gold, Angel of Caring, Hero and Love. It is Susan’s hope that by providing this variety of expression, customers will find a piece that speaks clearest to them, based on their own personal experiences.

2016 Print and Pattern Trends

Looking for the fall and winter 2016 prints and pattern trends? We’ve got ‘em! Here’s four trends that have got our attention for the upcoming season.

PLAID

We have to admit…we’ve got a thing for plaid! From home decor to fashion accessories, this crisp, classic pattern is always on trend for chilly weather. No matter the color combination, plaid is the perfect staple for fall and winter!

plaid-1

8 Oak Lane – Red & White Woven Brushed Throw

Mud Pie – Hudson Plaid Ruana

C.R. Gibson – Decorative Gift Box Set

STRIPES

Stripes are making a statement this fall and winter! Whether they are thick, thin, vertical or horizontal; stripes are always a classic staple. Talk about variety! Stripes can range from a classic two-toned pattern or an array of bold hues to fit every personality and style.

stripe

All For Color – Navy Stripe Brooklyn Diagonal Zip Cardigan 

Studio M – Snowman Stripe Art Planter

Mud Pie – Coarlie Terry Dress

FLORAL

Florals aren’t just for spring anymore! Beautiful, bold bouquets are blooming their way into the color months ahead. Color trends like burgundy, cobalt, mustard, rust, emerald, and amethyst blossom for the season bringing florals from fresh to earthy.

floral

Sloane Ranger – Vintage Floral Weekender

DEMDACO – Black & White Floral  Cutting Board Set

Mad Style – Heart of Flowers Color Me Cushion

HOUNDSTOOTH

This menswear-inspired textile is a traditional and trendy pattern that is here to stay! Houndstooth has taken on a fresh and feminine spin for the season. This simple pattern helps add a bunch to basic solid staples!

houndstooth

DEMDACO – Houndstooth City*Wrap

Mud Pie – Belle Bow Houndstooth Top

Mad Style – Houndstooth Leggings