First quarter update and Freely's donation to Polaris Project

Hi there, Friends!

Just wanted to let you know we are still here!! While it may seem we’ve been on hiatus - according to our [lack of] web activity and such - we have indeed been busy little bees!

Our biggest news since January is that Freely Collective

donated $2,850 to Polaris Project! 

From left to right: Sara, Rhyan, Julie, Aaron, and Melody at Polaris Project's office in DC

From left to right: Sara, Rhyan, Julie, Aaron, and Melody at Polaris Project's office in DC

This is why we do what we do, so thanks to all who supported us in 2015!

One of our clients from this past year works for Polaris, and he and his wife requested that the donated profits from their job go towards Polaris. We were so touched by their sentiment that we decided to donate all our 2015 apportioned donation money to Polaris Project. We thought that one large amount could be used in a more rewarding way than smaller, broken-up donations.

Our client, Aaron, generously arranged for us to meet us at the Polaris offices in DC in January to give us a tour. He showed us some of their operations including where the national human trafficking hotline takes calls to connect human trafficking victims and survivors to critical support. The hotline also serves to equip the anti-trafficking community with the tools to effectively combat all forms of human trafficking. But they do so much there including providing some direct services for clients (aka trafficking victims). Even with such incredible growth, Polaris has remained committed to providing direct services to clients in order to stay more connected to why they do what they do and to also stay informed at the ground level. It was very rewarding, and even motivating, to see the offices where such important work takes place.

Just some perspective for you - Aaron told us to keep their office location confidential because there are very powerful people and crime organizations that would do anything to harm the progress that Polaris (and other organizations) have been working so hard to make. That’s a big deal, but that’s reality. Thank you, Polaris Project, for your continued work in the fight to eradicate human trafficking worldwide! For all our readers, below is the tip line so save it in your phones should you need to call at a moment's notice!

Call 1-888-373-7888

  • Report a tip

  • Connect with anti-trafficking services in your area

  • Find training and technical assistance, general information, or specific anti-trafficking resources

And financially speaking, this year’s donation was the largest yet! In addition to making a large donation, we were also able to invest in some much-needed design software as well as marketing and promotional materials. All that to say, we’re growing - at a snail’s pace - but we’re growing! Thanks so much to all of YOU who continue to diligently support us! It doesn’t go unnoticed in the least.

We hope to be back to posting at least monthly or twice per month going forward, so subscribe to us or however it works! Hah! Also, please leave comments, as we’d love to hear from you about anything! ANYTHING, PEOPLE!!

xoxo, Freely

 

 

Source: https://polarisproject.org/

November Happenings

Don't forget!! Freely will be participating in the following upcoming shows!

November 14th  |  Mclean Bible Church  |  Holiday Show & Expo

November 6th - 8th  |  Old Lucketts Store  |  Holiday Market

** This event requires registration! Sign up here!

November 14, 2015
9:30am - 3:00pm
Mclean Bible Church

October Shop!

Hey y’all!

Time for a shop update! As we mentioned last month, we will be updating the items available in our online shop every month. This means items won't last long - so snatch  one up before they're gone!

This month, we're selling an adorable side table, fun fancy notebooks, and a gorgeous inky carrot painting! You may have seen that last little guy before - he's a favorite at our market events!

And speaking of those, we're excited to announce we'll be at The Old Lucketts Store November Holiday Open House & Flea!! We'll be there all weekend, November 6, 7, and 8 selling our furniture, artwork, and a whole line of wonderful holiday decor and gift pieces! We'll have more info on the event in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

And now, hop over to the shop and check out October's features!



Campbell + Martin Wedding

Just a few months ago, darling Gayle and Aaron heard about our work online and we're so glad they decided to reach out! Working with Gayle and Aaron was an absolute dream. They came to our first meeting excited and prepared with beautiful and charming design ideas that simply were a delight to create. The signage varied from acrylic to chalk to watercolor and pen-and-ink - an artist's dream to be able to dabble in different mediums while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic for a beautiful celebration! Their wedding was shot by the talented Jared Ladia and featured on Borrowed and Blue earlier this week! So we thought we'd share it here as well!

Let's start with acrylic. We framed several simple signs out of old fencewood, sanded them to their natural warm tone, and used acrylic craft paints in Gayle and Aaron's wedding colors: ivory and deep green.

Welcome sign! Photo c/o Jared Ladia Photography.

Sweet little Mr. and Mrs. signs. Photo c/o Jared Ladia Photography.

Don't forget to sign the guest book! Photo c/o Jared Ladia Photography.

Chalk. Chalk is a popular medium for wedding signs these days, but never have we seen a seating chart put together like this! Listing the names alphabetically but all together helped guests find their table quickly while still being a beautiful statement in the mix of all the wedding details. These seating charts are some of our favorite!

Chalk seating charts. Photo c/o Jared Ladia Photography.

And no wedding is complete without some yummy food and drink! Gayle and Aaron wanted to let their guests know that the majority of their menu was sourced locally from farms in Virginia and Maryland - which we think is such a fabulous idea! Go local!

Food and drink menus, yum. Photo c/o Jared Ladia Photography.

And finally water color and pen-and-ink. The table signs were scripted on a heavy cardstock in black ink with leafy watercolor detail added to play with the luscious greenery accenting all the tables. The combination of elegant, charming, and natural throughout this whole wedding really brought the space together!

Table signage. Photo c/o Jared Ladia Photography.

A few other dessert labels and directional signs were also created and can we just say these included signs for the s'mores bar!? Whoever invented s'mores for weddings is definitely onto something!

While these pieces were fairly simple to create and were backed by simple greens in a rustic barn, the signage really helped bring their elegant vision together. It was such a treat working with Gayle and Aaron and our favorite part is that they met while working for Polaris - a Washington DC-based organization actively fighting human trafficking in the US and around the world through social service, policy advocacy, and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center! Gayle and Aaron specifically requested that the portion being donated from their purchase be directly donated to Polaris and we are so thrilled to be able to do that!

Gayle and Aaron - thank you for your beautiful hearts, your service to others, and your partnership with us. Congratulations on your beautiful day! We hope you're enjoying Mexico!

 

xo,
Freely

National Creativity Day! A make-believe holiday!

I don't think there is any national holiday for creativity - like we need another occasion to guilt us into buying cards!  But let's pretend today is National Creativity Day and I'm writing this blog to raise awareness of our inner creative.  So, here is a peek into the mind of an artist, well this artist anyway...

I believe we were made to be creative because we were created by a Creator.  Not all of us are 'creative' if defined as 'artistic', but I think all of us have imagination,  envisioning things that are not and desiring to bring them to be...  whether it be having children, concocting recipes, starting businesses, writing books, building tools, composing music or creating art.  My husband has recently begun to pursue his passion for fine guitar building; he cannot stop thinking about it!  He doesn't even want to take a vacation for crying out loud!  Even though this puts a cramp in my 'gotta-get-away,' I love seeing him doing what he is so clearly made to do.

A small paper village starting to take shape...

Now guitars aren't really my thing.  I am an artist. Through the years I have dabbled in various media from watercolor to calligraphy, and even owning my own faux painting and mural business.  But I have always loved gorgeous patterned papers. I mean, who doesn't?  Doesn't everyone drool over the luscious sheets displayed at Paper Source?  But I never really had a good reason to buy all the ones I loved.  I guarded the sheets I had like they were spun out of gold. The first time I tore into one of my few sheets in order to use it for a collage, I felt like I was breaking the law!  But the patterns worked out so perfectly and working with the various colors and prints was so much fun, I was hooked.  I still treasure my papers and save even very tiny scraps for use on the next piece.  When a new order of papers arrive, I can't wait to unroll them and examine each one.  

Drool-worthy hand-made papers

The hard truth is just because you discover something you feel particularly called to or just plain love doing, doesn't mean it will be easy!  I think probably anything valuable we create requires some level of blood, sweat and tears.  Just like having a baby is one of the hardest things a woman will ever do, being creative in any realm is risky and difficult. You are taking something from your mind and heart and offering it up to others' scrutiny.

Cutting and placing

Art is so subjective.  I can recognize that something may take immense talent but remain completely unmoved by it.   A book or piece of music enraptures one person and bores another.  That is the nature of art.  The hope of course is always that everyone would love your work and give you nothing but affirmation, but that is just not reality.  I have walked through artist's studios and walked right past one person's work and then stood mesmerized by another's.  It is always a joy to connect with someone on taste, but it cannot be the reason you make art.  If it becomes the reason, you will be stuck trying to figure out what others want you to create and lose the joy and passion that made you want to create in the first place.

Paper Source bookbinding PVA (available here) is just the right binding agent

My creative process is full of joy and anticipation but also a battle with the voice that says "no one will like this.  It is terrible.  You are terrible.  Why are you even pretending to be an artist?" I have to constantly remind myself to live dangerously and keep going.  So, whatever your creative bent is, get out there and be creative, don't let that voice win!

The Prague Collage - available now in the shop!

- Julie, collage & fine artist for Freely Collective

Duda+Patrick Wedding

Yesterday, United with Love featured the wedding of Mr. & Mrs. Gregory Patrick and just a few short months ago, we had the pleasure of designing their wedding invitations and custom logo.  Emily & Greg had a sweet and simple theme with rustic and homemade elements and their style made the whole project a dream to be a part of. We got to mix hand drawn fonts with classic sans serifs in a muted grey and add a hand drawn map featuring some of their favorite Leesburg spots. The entire suite was wrapped in floral fabric bands c/o Emily herself and the whole package just came out so darling!

Full invitation suite. Photo c/o Jason Collins Photography.

Emily & Greg's wedding took place at Rust Manor & Nature Sanctuary so we wanted to play up the greenery in the gardens there, without being too floral. The stone manor is gorgeous so we think it was a great idea on Emily & Greg's part to include an illustration of it on the map! A few other Leesburg pubs and restaurants were included too - both a fun nod to historic Leesburg and a helpful information card for guests!

Illustrated map. Photo c/o Jason Collins Photography.

Finally, the other paper elements came together with a custom wedding logo designed by us and incorporated by Emily on her ceremony programs and guest welcome bags. A simple circle design with their names and wedding date surrounded by sweet leafy sprigs - simple and to the point (:

Custom wedding logo. Photo c/o Jason Collins Photography.

 

Emily & Greg, thank you again for choosing to work with us! It was such a delight being a part of your special day. You came in with a clear vision and a very pretty style which made the whole process so wonderful for us. We're glad you loved the pieces as much as we loved making them! Congratulations!!

 

xo,
Freely

Summer Update

Friends and Followers!

 

We hope you've enjoyed a fun-filled summer - we've been busy over here! Our many thanks to you all for your continued interest in our business despite our blog hiatus. While we’ve been slacking in blog posts, we’ll make up for with several projects that we’re excited to share with you. Stay tuned for future entries – we can’t possibly give it all away in one post!  Our hope is to stay current on the blog by providing updates on recently completed commissioned work, ongoing art endeavors, as well as the impact our company is making on the fight against human trafficking.  Please check back with us on a monthly or bi-weekly basis for a fresh entry. 

*SHOP UPDATE*

If you have checked out our storefront since reading this post, then you might have noticed we remodeled its format. Here’s what you can expect from the new layout:

  • 3 items for sale each month. We will feature three items – some unique, one-of-a-kind objects, while others might be part of a small batch production. Either way, if you want something in our store you’ll probably have to act FAST! These items won’t be there forever and the quantities are definitely limited. 
  • Each month we will have new items for sale! This is particularly exciting for us as artists, because it means we can let inspiration be our driver as opposed to purchase orders and inventory. 
  • Look for updates on social media. If you’re not following us on Facebook (Freely Collective, Inc.) or Instagram (@freelycollective) – give us a like and a follow!  We’ll update our social media to reflect what items will be showcased that month so that you can get a head start on the crowds ;)  We will also announce places we’ll be selling in-person and other home show events.
  • We’re still here for your commissioned needs! A big part of our business involves custom work for small businesses, bands, and brides – oh my! If you need a new logo, an invitation suite, or signs for your wedding, we still want to be a part of it. Visit our “Commissions” page for details on requesting work and to view a portfolio from past clients. 

*SHOP FEATURES THIS MONTH*

  1. Peacock Console – Now, this is a statement piece you can actually use!  This Mission style console would work great in an entry way or as a sofa table. It’s neutral enough that it could go almost anywhere, but bold enough to start a conversation.  This item is for pick-up in Herndon, but any special shipping arrangements can be made at the expense of the buyer. 
  2. Prague Collage – Julie has become masterful in her mixed media projects and this Prague piece is no exception. She somehow manipulates, cuts, tears, and places each piece of paper to build this beautiful city. She’s even been there, so she knows. It measures 12x24in. and is backed on Masonite board. This is a one-of-a-kind piece, people! So get it while it’s still here!
  3. Jewelry and trinket dishes – Brought to you by our very own Melody. These charming pieces could be used to hold your rings by your bed, spare change on the dresser, or salt in the kitchen! They make great gifts for friends or as hostess gifts. While there are several designs/sizes to choose from, inventory is very limited!

 

We hope you find this new format user-friendly and fun!  Speaking of fun, leave us a comment below with items you’d like to see in our monthly shop – we’d love to hear your ideas!

 

‘Till next time!

Freely - Sara, Rhyan, Melody, & Julie

Happy New Year

It is with overwhelming gratefulness (and a little tardiness!) that we write this update for you all. 2014 was an incredible year for us:  we dove headfirst into product creation and commissioned projects, made our first donation to International Justice Mission (IJM), hosted a launch party, premiered our website and online shop, attended the IJM DC Benefit Dinner, and made our first major donation to The Red Window Project.

We learned a lot about small business, working together, creativity under pressure, and generosity from you, our supporters! Late nights and lots of laughing make this endeavor very fun, but seeing the final numbers and the amount we were able to donate at the end of this year - knowing the many ways this donation is going to help transform the lives of rescued victims of slavery - makes this project so worth it.

Folks, we are so very proud to announce to you all that your generous contributions to our little shop allowed Freely Collective to donate $2,000 to The Red Window Project!

To make the event even more meaningful, I was able to sit down with Red Window Project US Director Mark Fischer and give him the donation in person. I first met Mark nearly two years ago when Sara and I flew to LA for the Freedom and Fashion conference. Mark sat on a panel for one of the workshops I attended where representatives from organizations directly involved in the fight against human trafficking answered questions about the industry and the financial means required for sustaining their inspiring work. I spoke with him afterward about the possibility of a small business partnering and giving profits on a regular basis. Mark has been an incredible encouragement to us and it was so rewarding to see him two years later, check in hand.

Thanks, Mark, for your support! Best of luck in your future endeavors!

Please see what Mark had to say, here. It's incredible to see the difference our contribution can make in the lives of these men and women!

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of this with us.

 

We have many exciting things in store for 2015 and are so looking forward to sharing them with you all.  Please continue to contact us with questions, commissions, and collaboration ideas!  We love new projects and working with creative people!

 

Here's to a new year!

xX The Freely Collective Team Xx

 

 

The Shop is Open!

Dear, dear friends,

The day is here.

Our online shop is finally open!! This day has been a long time coming and we have you to thank for it. This is such an exciting time for us here at Freely Collective as we navigate the ropes of starting up a business and plunging into the unknown. It’s been an amazing ride so far, with many ups and downs, a lot of guesswork, hours of meetings and brainstorming, and numerous late nights. And because of it all, one of our first big dreams became a reality this past weekend. 

We hosted the first Freely Collective Open House event in our home where we showcased and sold much of the work we’ve been creating over the past year. It was a huge success and encouragement to the four of us who have had this vision for almost two years. The desire of our hearts is to see people freed from slavery; and to watch the fruit of our work contribute to that end was a feeling that we will never forget.

Over the weekend we were able to sell everything from custom reclaimed wood headboards, farm tables, side tables, benches, and chairs, to stationery, notebooks, monogrammed canvases, one of a kind paintings, gorgeous collages, beautifully handmade frames, handmade prints, unique coasters, calendars, and so much more!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way and who came out this weekend to see what we are all about. Because of your generosity and enthusiasm for our cause, we are honored to be making a considerable donation to the Red Window Project in the Philippines this December.

What drew our heart to Red Window was it’s desire to truly recognize each girl that they rescue. They work with the women to know them individually; to understand their interests, their dreams, and their desires. And from that, they gather the resources needed to help direct the girls to lead lives that bring those dreams and desires to life, whether it is through scholarships for education, learning trades, or something else. It is their deepest desire that these women not only get their lives back, but also their identities. And this is our desire as well. We can’t wait to be a part of what Red Window is doing and we have you to thank for making it possible.

Thank you again to everyone who made this weekend as awesome as it was. We love you so much!  

God bless,

The Freely Team

photography by  Peter von Kahle, Northern Virginia Video Producer 

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

 This journey has been so fun for us as a team and to see the fruits of our labor actually pay off has been so rewarding and encouraging.  We are so proud to announce that Freely made its very first donation last month!! Thanks to all of you, we were able to donate $500.00 to International Justice Mission during their $1=$2 campaign meaning $1,000.00 was given toward the fight to end human trafficking around the world!

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$1=$2

Exciting things are happening in June, sweet friends!   We spent the last month working with PNC and setting up our business accounts to include mobile pay options!  Soon, you will be able to pay us by credit card either online in our shop or in person on our mobile swipe device. So get ready!

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Freely Collective, Inc.

Welcome to the Freely Blog! This space is going to keep all of our supporters, clients, and partners up to date with everything going on at the shop. This is the very beginning of a very big adventure for us and we want to be able to share all of our steps along the way with everyone invested in our success. We’d like to thank each of you SO much for being so supportive this past year. Though we are still very small & still very much in the beginning, we have come a long way from a year ago and we are so grateful for our friends, families, and prayer partners who have encouraged us to keep moving forward. Thank you!!

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