2018 Year in Review: Impact Report

Dear Friends, Family, and Partners,

These last 4 months were a whirlwind end to the year. It feels like yesterday I was writing to Options Care Clinic in South Africa to place our first order of cards in May. This was our first order, ever, and at the time I was terrified to take on 200 greeting cards. Since then we have actually sold well over 300 cards and have ordered more! That must be proof that having faith can take you past the places you couldn’t imagine on your own. After placing this order I also called our web designer and friend, Anthony Putrino. I told Anthony my idea and trusted that he could take the idea into reality. We were off to the races!

Sitting down to write out the business plan was not hard at all. I knew what I wanted to provide our partners and future customers. I wanted Branch Out Market to be the vehicle, bridge, or introduction between the artisan and the customer – or rather new supporter with every purchase. I feel even though we only officially launched in September we have made some amazing introductions through Christmas ornaments, baskets, and of course our beautiful dried flower greeting cards (or rather works of art).

In addition we have had so much support. My dear friend, Bev Pamensky graciously offered to coach me through the start up phase and provides not only solid business advice she also reminds me to breathe, have balance, and scratch the ideas that don’t work to move onto the next. She is a joy and a huge support.

Leading up to the holiday season it was discussed that Branch Out Market should try farmers markets and craft fairs. In a few short weeks we signed up for every market that we could drive to and would let us in! We did 26 markets in a 4 months. These are not one-person events. I would like to express a sincere and heart-felt thank you to my parents, aunts and uncles, friends, cousins, siblings, and extended network of volunteer support that came through to set up, break down, and most importantly learn where every item came from to properly introduce our partners to the world! It was so fun to listen to you all tell new customers about the orphans who benefit from Heart for Africa ornaments, the women who made our baskets in Guatemala, and Alfred and his team in South Africa with their leather items!

At the end of the holiday rush I sadly wasn’t feeling very full of the holiday spirit. I sat down before Christmas at the urging of a friend to do some math. This friend knows I like data and numbers so he told me to add up the impact. While I can ramble on about the stories of each partner and their individual impact I was not feeling like we had moved more than a few baskets and cards. I forgot about all the stories and people I had been introducing to everyone else. Somehow I had gotten too much into the retail spirit and not the holiday spirit. (Luckily that was short lived)

While it is not all about the numbers, and even one story of impact (see Ruth and Naomi blog) would be enough motivation I am pretty excited to share the final 2018 impact. These numbers were double and triple checked because honestly I didn’t believe them at first. This just goes to show that when you set your mind to doing something one person can really make an impact. And like I keep saying, “no one can go it alone,” I want to thank everyone who helped launch Branch Out Market with me. I’m so excited for 2019 and seeing where we all go together.

Sincerely,

Rachel McKinney

Founder, Branch Out Market

Year End Impact at a Glance:

1 Beautiful Website
9 Partners: Including Nonprofits and Artisan Groups 
Over $19,000 distributed to partners
Over 1,000 People positively impacted (half of those orphans)
Reaching over 4 Continents
26 Pop-Up Markets Completed 
2 Conferences attended (as speaker or exhibitor)

Thank YOU for the part of this story you played.
Everyone helped to make a difference!

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