When ApParent Project began to take off a few years ago and Shelley started promoting the jewelry parties, she asked her mom if she would be willing to deposit some checks stateside for her. Marilyn agreed. No big deal, right? Little did she know how much of an important role she would play.
Originally, the jewelry came directly from Haiti. When I ordered my first box in Nov. 2010, Shelley shipped it to me from Haiti. Basically what that meant was, Shelley had to find someone who was flying out of Haiti and was willing to take a box of jewelry home and then ship it to me. It took a few weeks and oddly enough - my original box went all the way to California and then back across the country to me.
During this time, they were working out some logistics and every other box I have received has come from Marilyn in Washington. The jewelry parties took off like crazy and they soon realized that they needed to have a "warehouse" here in the states so that it can get into the hands of the people willing to sell it for them a lot faster.
So Marilyn makes several trips to Haiti each year to visit her daughter and all of those lovely grandchildren, of course. But also to load her suitcases up with jewelry! Shelley also ships things to her throughout the year as well and those who visit fill suitcases also. Marilyn was excited that I was going to bring my own stuff back this time so I would quit bugging her for it! Ha!!!! She is one busy lady!
On any given day, her living room looks like this:
"I've been up to my eyeballs in AP stuff for over 2 years now. I keep adding "helpers" but the work load hasn't decreased yet. Right now, there is grace to do what I'm doing. And I LOVE what I'm doing... building an infrastructure that will sustain what God is doing. I have had the most amazing people come alongside me to help! We now have 4 paid staff in WA (part-time) & some volunteers, plus me!" ~ Marilyn
Meet some of the staff:
This is Keri the "Warehouse Manager" and packing / sorting / labeling, etc person
This is Sandy, the "Shipping Manager" alias expert at packing our custom and any other orders
This week Marilyn posted some photos on Facebook that gave some insight into her "post office runs". This is just a SMALL part of the process.
Boxes of bracelets from Haiti
These boxes are emptied and then sorted into other boxes ready to ship across the U.S.
"Our "normal" Party box contains 100+ items. Our "large" Party box contains 150+ items. And, now we have the fundraiser bracelet boxes going out like crazy."
"My average post office run depends on the time of year. This Fall was absolutely crazy. I think my record was 33 orders in one day - but that included Market Haiti (lots of individual item orders) and Apparent Project (full boxes.) Right now... during the slow time, there are at least 2 post office runs per week, often 3. It is rare to only have 5-6 boxes. I often have 2 luggage carriers full of boxes - maybe 12-15 boxes, plus a large bag of small MH orders & the paperwork I carry to keep track of what orders were sent."
Postmaster George and Marilyn
Like I said, this is just a small part of the process! I wish I could got to Washington for a week and follow her around like I did Shelley! It would be so much fun to help out with this part of it too.
Marilyn and I are going to collaborate in the next few weeks and I'm going to continue to blog about her side of things here in the states. I am excited to learn more and I hope you are too!
Until next time.......