RBL Gives: How I support my local community

By LYNN QUIRE

As a maker here in Louisville, Kentucky, I firmly believe in supporting my community, as my community supports me. I have always enjoyed volunteering and giving of my time. When I first started Reuse and BabyLou (soon to be RBL Sewing) in April of 2016, it was more of a hobby than a business. I was making household items to help families ditch disposables, such as reusable cloth coffee filters, tea bags, Not-Paper Towels, fabric produce bags, snack bags and more. The idea quickly took off, however, and I have grown to add a line of mama and baby items as well, and now you can find both lines on my website, as well as on Amazon Handmade and Etsy, and at Completely Kentucky in Frankfort and 50Lou Gifts and The Diaper Fairy Cottage in Louisville. I currently work out of my home, but in the very near future, RBL Sewing will become a maker/collaborative space and a micro-manufacturing plus workforce development training facility. My reusable and BabyLou lines will continue to be made by myself and a small group of skilled sewists, but I will be able to work with other small businesses, designers and future entrepreneurs to build the sewing community and provide jobs.

Even when I ran a not-for profit, I felt it was my duty to bring those supporting me around to supporting other efforts as well; so, in May, I created RBL Gives, an initiative to support small not-for-profit groups, especially those rallying around environmental and human issues. With RBL Gives, I will donate at least 10% of the net sales of my products from all online and in-person booth sales every two months to a charity that is nominated and voted on by my social media followers.

The first recipient of RBL Gives, winning 70% of the votes, is the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition. (See KSEC’s post.) My goal is to donate at least $200 to KSEC in August, and you can help me reach that goal by visiting www.reuseandbabylou.com between now and July 31st to purchase handmade items that will not only help you live more sustainably in your home, but will also help me help the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition. Beginning July 15th, I will be accepting nominations for the next charity, so be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to nominate your favorite environmental cause for RBL Gives.

 

Lynn Quire, Reuse Master Reuser and 2014 Best of Louisville Most Creative Business Person, was the Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit, Good Garbage. Using her 25+ years of experience in various aspects of business, including IT, HR and business management, she took her desire to create a greener Louisville, combined it with helping artists and educators, and introduced Louisville to its first, and only, center for creative reuse, where materials destined for the landfill meet art. Unfortunately, Good Garbage closed in September 2016, but in its short life it diverted 75,000 pounds of usable materials from the landfill, helped teachers access cheap and free materials, and kicked off the REUSE movement in Louisville by having October 20 proclaimed as Louisville Reuse Day and the Month of October declared Reuse Month by Mayor Greg Fischer. In 2016, Lynn, wanting to make it easier, prettier and more affordable for people to become sustainable in their own homes, created a line of handmade, all cotton, not-paper towels, not-sponges and fabric coffee filters through her business, Reuse & BabyLou, which is currently being changed to RBL Sewing. In just a short time, she has expanded her wares to include organic cotton produce bags, tea bags, and a line of custom baby items. She is always looking for ways to provide additional reusable items to replace those energy hog disposables. As RBL Sewing expands this coming year, it will become a micro-manufacturer for items beyond the Reuse & BabyLou lines, a sewing collaborative, and eventually a workforce development training center for sewists.

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