I was looking for a specific item for a friend's birthday next year, and I happened along this awesome denim messenger bag:
Old used jeans, not going to be worn anymore, changed and re-purposed into an awesome messenger bag! This intrigued me to see more of the shop, and I noticed that Ashley makes all her products from otherwise unused items.
My favourite part about Transplant Trends (and the main reason why I just HAD to do this feature) is the reason behind the name. Ashley's sister, Liz, who is in her twenties, suffers from Renal disease, which is known as complete kidney failure. Liz has been on dialysis for four years, while waiting for a transplant. A matching kidney has been found, and Ashley has opened this shop to help raise money for some day-to-day expenses - like going to and from appointments, child care; those little things that people don't really take into account.
I sent a message to Ashley, asking a few questions about her and her creative business.
1. What made you decide to start selling your items?
Well, I have always made items like purses and jewelry for myself, and people have always taken the time to stop me and ask me about my pieces. When my family and friends began the process of fundraising for my sister's kidney transplant, which comes with a lot of uninsured expenses like travel, I felt a little helpless because I am a college student, so money is tight. I was carrying my Alice in Wonderland book purse, and I was stopped by a stranger who asked if I had made it, and when I said yes, she asked me if I had items for sale. I guess it just clicked for me that I could turn this hobby into something that would help my sister.
2. What made you decide to create repurposed or upcycled items, as opposed to anything else?
I love upcycling because of the history behind each item. When I made my Monopoly purse, the Monopoly money was very worn and folded and a little tattered. It was also missing several property cards, so it was not going to be played anymore. Here was this item that had probably hosted hundreds of games, and I like to imagine the happiness that that item carries moving into a new form where it becomes useful again. You just don't throw good energy like that away. I also can cut down on my personal costs by upcycling, which is so important when the goal is fundraising.
3. What goals do you have (if any) for your creative business beyond raising money for the transplant?
You know, I don't expect to raise millions of dollars from my items, but if I had a business goal, it would be to raise $2000 toward my sister's fund. Beyond the monetary goal, I have the goal of being someone people want to work with and want to recommend. I want to make people happy. I want my items to put a little bounce in someone's step and for them to get compliments with my item on.
4. What are five weird things about you that not many people know?
The five weird things is tough because I am a weird person! But here are some fun facts:
- I once worked as a phone psychic.
- I am currently studying to be an opera singer.
- I have a phobia of paper, however I am completely unfazed by my hot glue gun, even though it burns me every time.
- My sister jokes with me that I am afraid of the sun, but in reality, I just don't like the bugs and sweat and weather that comes with being outside.
- I cried during Toy Story I, II, and III.
- My boyfriend calls me Kitty for no particular reason. When I ask him about it, he just says "because you're my Kitty."
An awesome extra fun fact is that Ashley and I share the same birthday - December 22! I don't know what year she was born, so it may not be exactly the same, but I think that's pretty neat! And I don't like being outside for the same reasons! I even cried during Toy Story 3. And I've been trained to sing opera! I also thought the phobia of paper is interesting, considering that both of my shops heavily involve paper! It's like we're soul sisters! (other than the paper phobia... and the psychic job... and my nickname is not Kitty.) lol
Anyhoo, take a peek at Transplant Trends, and shop for a one of a kind, re-purposed item FOR A CAUSE!!! You can also "like" the Facebook page and spread the word!