#IAMCREATIVE Grant Winners: Where Are They Now?
Categories: Lifestyle

#IAMCREATIVE Grant Winners: Where Are They Now?

It’s been almost one year since we gave away our first #IAMCREATIVE Foundation Grants. Crazy, right? We can’t believe Re:Make 2016 is right around the corner, in addition to thousands of dollars in grants for our next class of #IAMCREATIVE winners to ignite their creativity. Who knows, it could be YOU!

But first, let’s hear from some of the amazing winners from our first class of #IAMCREATIVE Foundation grant recipients, and see what they’ve been able to accomplish in just under a year!

Ristina — Sugar Hippo Bakery

  • Created the business (set up the LLC, designed the logo, created the website)
  • Perfected the product (lots and lots of cupcake testing? Sign us up!)
  • Launched the business
  • Gave back

“When the check arrived in the mail, I immediately sprang into action (and also screamed!). My business partner submitted the paperwork to make Sugar Hippo Bakery an LLC. We also decided on packaging, which would be mason jars, enabling us to send delicious treats all over the country. We hired an amazing female graphic designer to create our logo that is the core of our brand. We created a website that would draw customers in with enticing images. And we baked, and baked, and baked. For a month we researched and tested recipes. Sometimes we loved them, sometimes they were an absolute disaster. We were covered in butter, sugar and flour, but I have never been happier.

“On December 1, 2015, Sugar Hippo Bakery was officially open for business. The past 10 months have been a labor of love. The business is not nearly where we want it to be, but we are on our way to spreading sweet treats and a sweet mission all over the country.

“Part of the mission of Sugar Hippo Bakery is to donate a portion of our proceeds to local shelters that are helping to support women and children. To date, Sugar Hippo has been able to donate $300 to Community Shelter Board in Columbus, Ohio. While that may not seem like a lot of money, I have never been so proud to sign over a check to such an amazing organization.”

Rabiah — UrbanTECHFashionistas

  • Taught students how to program (using Lilypad technology) and create tangible goods
  • Launched the urbanTECHfashionists business
  • Presented at the White House for DC Maker Convening with the Office of Science and Technology Policy

“’Ms. Harris, it worked! I really 3D printed my name! MY NAME on a keychain. I really didn’t think it would work!’ Tamiya screamed.

Over the course of the 2015-2016 academic year, I launched my urbanTECHfashion class where students designed and crafted goods. We created and decorated masks for our e-textile fashion show utilizing LilyPad technology. In the subsequent semesters, the products changed because my students changed. In the winter, our urbanTECHfashionistas business was totally launched and we made close to $100 selling keychains. (For keychains that sell for $1 to $2 a piece, that is a LOT of keychains sold!)

“In the spring, students really wanted to learn how to sew, so we sold pillows customized with puffy paint on top of Ankara fabric. We culminated our urbanTECHfashionistas experience school year with jersey skirts and dresses, sewn without a pattern on sewing machines.

“Being the recipient of the #iamcreative foundation grant was integral to the creation and continuation of the urbanTECHfashionistas program. As a result, I was able to attend Digital Harbor Foundation 3D Printer Training for Educators, and present at a DC Maker Convening at the White House with the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Confratute 2016 at the University of Connecticut. I was also invited to and attended the United States Patent and Trademark Office National Summer Teacher Institute.

“Thank you for the reminder and validation that my students and I are CREATIVE! #makerpride.”

Kristen — Havok Designs

  • Purchased a stronger laser-engraving machine which improved production time and expanded the company’s offerings
  • Invested in marketing and advertising efforts leading to features in Bunch, Trouve and Folk Magazines

“I immediately purchased our new, larger laser-engraving machine, and I was like a kid on Christmas morning when it arrived. This new machine increased our production and allowed us to make larger wall hangings and home decor items that we had never before had the opportunity to make.

“The rest of the money I knew needed to be put toward advertising and marketing. Our new marketing consultant helped develop the brand narrative behind Havok Designs. We created a marketing plan and constructed social media strategies that we can use on all of our social media channels, website and Etsy shop. And for the first time, we were able to advertise our brand and products with some magazines and online publications, including: Bunch, Trouve Magazine and Folk Magazine.

“Winning this grant has created such great exposure for my brand! People have congratulated me and have recognized me from seeing the announcements via Brit + Co, and now with the new application window being open for the 2016 winners, I’ve had other makers coming to me asking for advice on applying for the grant. It makes me feel really good to be able pass on what I’ve learned from this experience.

“I encourage anyone who has a strong passion for art, design and handmade to apply for this grant. It has done so much for my business and me, and if this girl can win, so can you!”

Jane — Walkinthese

  • Set goal to host popup workshops to teach people to paint and customize shoes
  • Worked with fellow creatives to come up with options for venues for dedicated workshops

“I can’t believe it’s been almost an entire year since I won the Brit+Co #IAMCREATIVE Foundation Grant!  [After school ended and] when summer rolled around, I set to work tying together some of the loose ends I had created throughout the year. My main goal was to host popup workshops teaching people to paint their own shoes, so I reached out to the TOMS Flagship store in hopes of hosting an event with them. However, TOMS explained that the events held at their flagship store were community events, meaning that the events were free of charge. This threw me off a little because I really wanted to test the market for shoe painting workshops and see if such a business model would help Walkinthese become more scalable.

“With my plans thrown a little off track, I started to research different options. I reached out to local creatives, such as Sarah Ku, who had experience hosting their own workshops, for advice on how to get started. This proved to be very insightful, so now I’m putting in more time and effort to researching different venues, event planning tips and workshop requirements, so that I can host my own shoe-painting workshops independently. Hopefully, I’ll be able to host my first event by holiday season this year!

“Winning the Brit+Co #IAMCREATIVE Foundation Grant has been an amazing experience all around. I’ve learned so much and met so many fellow creatives with similar passions. I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that things don’t always go as planned, but that’s totally fine. There are a lot of people in similar situations who love sharing their experiences, and all you have to do is reach out to them. If you have a passion for DIY, design or anything creative, I strongly encourage you to apply for Brit + Co’s #IAMCREATIVE Foundation Grant! And if you have questions, feel free to reach out to me as well.”

After reading these stories, do YOU feel inspired? Whether it’s your dream to own a company, expand a yes! or build a creative outlet for your community, the #IAMCREATIVE grant is ready and willing to support! In under five minutes, you can apply and win up to $15,000. Apply now! 

(Grant application window closes on 7/31/2016)