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Traverse City Startup Story: Announcing Our Charitable Partner and Revealing a Unique, New Service

Several months ago we began documenting our Startup Story in a post in which we shared the mission and values of our new business. As a refresher, they include:

  • To build a brand that is lovingly designed and handcrafted in Michigan, and reflects our passion for design and the great outdoors.
  • To create things that empower and inspire people, especially kids, to be creative, imaginative and have fun while immersed in nature.
  • To prioritize quality and craftsmanship in everything we do and make.
  • To offer our customers only products that we’re proud to wear and use ourselves. In other words, what we make must be what we love.
  • To tap into, and work collaboratively with, the expansive network of creative and inspiring entrepreneurs in this region. We want Life and Whim to be an honest, open and uplifting platform that helps others grow and prosper.
  • To continue to create and build places and experiences, like the Fairy Trails, that empower kids and families to spend more time in nature. We believe that the great outdoors inspires greatness in people of all ages.
  • To build a company with a social mission to help others, especially kids who may not have access to support or resources, cultivate a love of nature and explore creative pursuits. We will do this by donating a portion of proceeds from every purchase to a cause that embodies our mission, and we – and those who work with us – will continue to devote our own time and resources to help those in need.
  • Finally, to never compromise our values.

We explained that we are (humbly) motivated to follow in the footsteps of global brands, like TOMS, and local brands, like M22 and Hagerty, to try be a positive force in our community.

Today we’re announcing that Challenge Mountain, in Boyne Falls, Michigan, will be our charitable partner during the first 12 months of our new business’ operations. We will be donating 3% of our yearly profits to Challenge Mountain.

Every year, almost 2,000 kids and young adults with a wide range of physical and cognitive disabilities visit Challenge Mountain to do something that at one time may not have seemed possible – enjoy rigorous outdoor sport and recreation. Challenge Mountain got its start as a place to teach people with disabilities to ski, and has more recently added year round programming, including kayaking, sailing, swimming, biking and Spirit Day Camp.

Challenge Mountain is a relatively small operation in the grand scheme of things, but its impact is huge in terms of helping people enjoy aspects of life that many of us take for granted. All of its programming is centered on having fun, making and sustaining friendships, building confidence and independence and most importantly, fostering positive and hopeful expectations for living life with a disability. At Challenge Mountain, participants gain personal fulfillment through a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of acceptance which translates positively into their everyday lives.

All of this is accomplished on a budget that is primarily funded through funds raised through the sale of goods at Challenge Mountain’s resale shop in Boyne City. With your help, we’re hoping to be able to make a meaningful donation that will allow Challenge Mountain to further its mission and make its services available to more people.

We’re also excited about the prospect of making more than just a financial contribution to Challenge Mountain. The organization relies heavily on volunteers, with more than 150 individuals contributing over 17,500 volunteer hours annually. We are also planning to spend time at Challenge Mountain as volunteers throughout the year, and hope to be able to recruit others in our community to volunteer as well. For those interested, we’ll be sharing additional information over the next year about ways to get involved.

At Life and Whim we’re passionate about encouraging kids to find joy in the great outdoors. That’s why we’re proud to work with an organization that empowers kids to achieve more than they – and perhaps anyone else – thought possible.

More Fun, Style, and Elegance at Outdoor Events Across Northern Michigan

Over the last couple of months, we’ve revealed bits and pieces about the acquisition and renovation of our new pop-up shop, “Susie Q,” that we’ll be using as a retail and event space at upcoming events like the 2017 Fairy Trails opening party on June 3 (more details to come).

What we haven’t revealed yet is the fact that Susie Q will be serving another purpose as well. In addition to serving as a retail space, Susie Q will also be used as a beautiful and completely unique mobile bar space at outdoor weddings, corporate events, and wherever else that fun, elegant parties are happening!

While Susie Q comes from humble beginnings, she’ll be a real stunner following her makeover. She’ll feature beautiful floors, marble tile backsplash, Arkansas Cedar butcher block countertops, multiple seating areas, a beverage cooler and refrigeration – and much more! In other words, she’ll be fully loaded and ready to party.

Our vintage camper mobile bar will be the first of its kind in Michigan, and will be available for events beginning this June.

At every event, we’ll arrive with professional bartenders and a unique bar setup that is fully stocked with the everything hosts need to impress their guests at outdoor events in Northern Michigan. Hosts provide the alcohol – we serve it in a fun and exciting environment.

On a case by case basis, we’ll also be renting out Susie Q to customers who want to provide their own bartending service, or to use the camper as a backdrop for photo shoots.

And Susie Q won’t be on her own for long. We’ll soon be starting renovations on a second camper that will have its own sense of style, and that we hope to get into service by the end of the summer.

Given the growing popularity of outdoor weddings and other forms of outdoor entertaining in Northern Michigan, we’re really excited about this opportunity to bring more style, more elegance, and more fun to events across the region!

All of the details about our mobile bar service will be available when our new website launches next month. Until then, if you have any questions, please contact Jay Harrington at