TREE + LEAF

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Shop Local: Collected Thread

Dusty GilpinComment

In the upcoming weeks, we're just going to highlight some of our closest retail family. After our previous post about the case for shopping local, we thought it would be a good idea to shine the light on a few businesses that are impacting their community, providing quality products, and running honest businesses.

The first, is quite literally one of the closest businesses in proximity and as family; Collected Thread.

Adam and Lindsay Zodrow with sons Finn and Noah.

Adam and Lindsay Zodrow with sons Finn and Noah.

Honestly, as I type this up, I wonder what to say. How do you quantify in words the value of your best friends? How do I try to communicate with you how near and dear the Zodrow family is to my heart? And with that, how do I encourage you to shop in their store, Collected Thread?

I'm not sure, but here's an honest attempt:

I've know Lindsay for about 7 years, she was one of our early clients when we had our printshop on Rockwell Ave. and our friendship grew through my involvement in the Plaza District and my mission to make Kristen Vails my wife. Needless to say, as I began to build a family, I grew extremely close to Adam and Lindsay. Their relationship has been a blessing and encouragement to Kristen and I as we've walked through the first few years of our marriage.

Adam is a man I would consider a brother. He has an admirable love for his sons, his faith, and his community. Almost weekly, we get breakfast together to discuss the state of the world, advise each other about marital drama, and review action movies. Notably important is his love for education and the well-being of local schools. He is an excellent husband and he is a wonderful father two his sons, Finn and Noah.

I've been blessed to have Lindsay as a neighbor for over 3 years. Her sons are in our store so often that they are mistaken as my own by customers. Noah (the oldest) has made friends with everyone on 16th St. and his energy makes a triumphant entrance when he visits! Its humbling when I get overwhelmed with the day to day tasks of the store and then see Lindsay conquering the same tasks with Noah in a fit and Finn in her arms. I can't explain how tough and patient Lindsay must be to run her store and raise her kids at the same time. It's incredible.

Collected Thread is an extension of Lindsay. The creative atmosphere, the quality handmade items, quirky t-shirts, and a plethora of kid's items all show her distinct personality and interests. I've told many people before, if I am on the hunt for a gift for my wife, Collected Thread is the first place I go, and not out of bias or proximity. Her selection of inventory is one of a kind, that rivals that of any boutique in hip cities like Austin, San Fran, or Portland.

Oklahoma City is very, very blessed to have Lindsay and her shop here. We must acknowledge that Lindsay started her business in the Plaza when Oklahoma City was not cool and when the Plaza wasn't hip. She is a pioneer in OKC retail, she supports other local businesses, and is involved in her community. She is a champion for keeping this neighborhood diverse and works diligently to keep the Plaza a sustainable community that benefits visitors and existing residents.

Today, just for fun, we're going to giveaway a sticker pack to the first 30 customers to shop at Collected Thread! Go by and buy! Any purchase of any size will receive a Keep OK Friendly, Home Sweet 'HOMA!, and Love Thy Neighbor sticker! Also, one of the 30 will win a $25 gift card to Collected Thread!

Have fun! Shop Local!

The first 30 customers at Collected Thread on Satudray, Feb. 18th will receive this sticker pack and a chance to win a $25 gift card to Collected Thread! Boom!

The first 30 customers at Collected Thread on Satudray, Feb. 18th will receive this sticker pack and a chance to win a $25 gift card to Collected Thread! Boom!

Urban Botany, Community, and Education

INTERVIEWSteven SilvaComment

Living up to our leafy moniker, we've partnered with a local school to build raised bed vegetable gardens. For this project, we worked with local businesses, sourcing lumber from Forest Building Materials and soil from Minick Materials. These projects are an investment in the place we live. We're happy to do them, but they're not free. If you want to help out, follow the link at the bottom! But before the jump, here are the thoughts of one of this project's pioneers:

Guest Blog by Josiah Biles, Odyssey Leadership Academy Biology Teacher

My name is Josiah, and I teach at Odyssey Leadership Academy, which, if you don’t know, is a private school in downtown OKC. For the last 5 weeks, we have partnered with Tree and Leaf for our Urban Botany class, which I am teaching. It has been such an honor the last few weeks to get to hang out at Tree and Leaf with Dusty and Steve, these guys are the real deal when it comes to community and fostering interactions between locals here in OKC. When I first mentioned I was teaching an Urban Botany class, I didn’t expect Dusty to so generously open up his backyard and time to a group of high school students who wanted to learn how to garden. I remember sitting at local coffee shop District House hashing out the details, and thinking how much of a privilege it is as a teacher to have the opportunity to get my students outside the classroom actually learning how to garden, learning from others in the community. 

FOSTERING INTERACTION

I think what is beautiful about having middle and high school students interacting with small business owners in the actual, physical community is that it highlights a much needed, yet lacking, aspect of education. Namely, the role the community has in the process of education. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a kid. However, for some reason, we have come to believe that warehousing kids in a brick building for 7 hours a day, completely isolated from the life of the greater community, is somehow going to lead to students who easily integrate and make contributions to the society from which they have been so drastically removed.

I find this ironic and sad, not just for the students, but for the community. There is something special about being actively involved in the education of young people, which the majority of adults completely miss out on.

LOOKING AHEAD 

The challenge I will end this with is this: how can you as a community member get involved with your local school? Find the closest one to you and think about ways you can support them not just financially but with your time, expertise, and life experience. It takes a village. 

Thanks again to Dusty and the whole Tree and Leaf staff, it means the world to us to partner with you guys.

Cheers, Josiah Biles, OLA

In order to help fund this project, we've printed these Cultivate Community Ts. These are available for both online shipping and in-store beginning Tuesday (2/14). Link for purchase is here.  Proceeds will offset student fundraising costs, and help us pay for supplies, maintenance, and events revolving around this space throughout the year. Thanks to Josiah and OLA, and, as always, thanks to YOU for your continued support!

The Case for Shopping Local

Dusty GilpinComment

You've heard it before - I've said it before. So why does it need repeating, really?

As a retailer and business owner for 10 years, I've learned to navigate the highs and lows of retail trends. It doesn't take a long tenure in business ownership to realize things like; January is slow, December is busy, etc. These things are obvious - plan and store for the slow seasons. These practices are as old as time; proverbs and fables warn us of the folly of improper preparation.

I'm not the type to boo-hoo when we hit a slow season. I grew up in a family where 'pulling yourself up by your bootstraps' was second in nobility only to the faith we practiced. My father was an entrepreneur, my mother was an entrepreneur, both my grandfathers were entrepreneurs; we're seasoned when it comes to running small businesses and having perseverance through the hard times.

However, as much as I should know the importance of local spending, I still forget. I need a reminder every once in a while of why spending my buck at Forest Lumber is more important than spending it at Lowe's - and I love Lowe's. I stood in the coffee aisle at Wal-Mart grocery store yesterday and bought a can of Folger's coffee - I should've gone to any number of local coffee shops and bought locally roasted grounds. I get it - I slide into the same habitual slope of convenience too.

So, what? Frankly, that $10 is a one-millionth (or less) of a drop in a bucket to Wal-Mart and Folgers, while that $10 is a dearly important to the local roaster and coffeeshop.

Don't worry, my shop and the others aren't going anywhere. We're trekking along and doing our best to crank out new products and events that will entice you to visit our spaces and bring you into our communities - but it is slow. It's just as important for us to work our hindparts off during the slow season to earn your dollar - we're not exempt from working for it by any means.

I just want to share this reminder that local shops are hitting a really slow season (one of the slowest in a very long time), and the importance of spending local is more than just providing an artist their rent. Spending local is the best way to sway your economy, politics, environment, and culture. Spend a buck in a big box and only 40% hits your local economy. Spend that dollar in a local shop and almost 70% gets recirculated in your community if not more.

These infographics have been shared a ton, but they are awesome - and the numbers have sources. Give them a look-see or share them if you're inclined. As always, thank you for your patronage - I will always be grateful for our customers and I'm equally as grateful for customers of other small community driven businesses.