Have you met Marilyn?
Nearly five years ago, when the artisans in Haiti began making jewelry, Shelley posted photos on Facebook asking friends and family to have jewelry parties. She also asked her mother, Marilyn, if she would deposit an occasional check or two from these parties so that the artisans could get paid. Marilyn agreed and was excited to help.
Originally, your party box was sent to you from Haiti. Shelley would pack up a few things, find someone leaving Haiti who was willing to stick the box in their suitcase and then mail it on once they got to the states.
After the 2010 earthquake things began to pick up. All eyes were on Haiti and people from all over the U.S. were looking for ways to help. News about Apparent Project spread and it quickly became evident that they needed to create some kind of warehouse/headquarters here in the states. One, single location that the jewelry could be shipped to and then distributed from there. By Christmas of 2010, Marilyn’s house had become that place. So much for depositing a “few” checks now and then!
All of the emails and inquiries were redirected to her and she took over the shipping. But, it didn’t take long before she needed help. Her house was overtaken by jewelry and the orders were coming in faster than she could get them out.
A few ladies from church came by a couple days a week to help out but it was still overwhelming.
As the months passed, it was evident that something needed to change. Marilyn was answering all the emails, handling all the bookkeeping and paperwork, as well as packing/shipping orders. She was doing all of the behind the scenes work to keep Apparent Project’s non-profit status up to date. She slowly began to hire her volunteers to help her on a regular basis. The Haitians were creating much needed jobs here in the U.S.
After 3 years of working from home, where every inch was covered with product, it was time to find an office space. And last summer, during the slower time for party sales, they moved into an incredible facility in Lacey, WA, just a few minutes away.
These are the wonderful group of ladies who process and ship your orders all over the United States and Canada. Just to give you an idea of how busy they are –
In the month of April this year, they processed and shipped 133 boxes. Each one packed individually depending on whether someone is having a jewelry party or working on a Fundraiser. The total items shipped from January – April was 44,424. Let that sink in – 44,424 pieces of jewelry in just a few months. And this is considered the slow time of year. That number triples and quadruples at Christmas time. These ladies are amazing! They work hard to stay organized and on top of things.
When you order a Party box or Fundraiser items and you send an email to email@example.com – your emails go to Marilyn. She works hard to answer your inquiries personally within 24 – 48 hours. Often that means late hours and hundreds of emails each day.
Last October, Shelley stepped down from the roll of Director of Apparent Project in order to focus more on Papillon Enterprise, the jewelry business that was birthed by Apparent Project. Marilyn was voted into that roll by the Board of Directors and has taken on even more responsibility. She travels back and forth to Haiti at least four times a year. On top of all of this, she handles all the web design and orders for Market Haiti.
Apparent Project wouldn’t run as smoothly as it does without Marilyn and her staff. I will introduce you to the rest of them in the near future…….