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What Have You Inspired? Campaign aims to help community crafters near and far

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How do you inspire people? Would you consider yourself a person that others rely upon? Do you offer help, advice, money or simply a shoulder to cry on when times are tough for those around you?

Not everyone has the same kinds of ability to inspire others, but Michelle Froehle, owner of Love2Inspire, wants to make it easier for everyone to inspire someone else.

That’s the impetus behind her new “What Have You Inspired?” Movement.

The idea behind the project is to give men or women who need some help growing their dream.

Inspired movementFroehle is asking the Great Falls community to donate up to $6,000 to help pay for labor which would be provided by men and/or women from the Great Falls Community Rescue Mission to build new merchandise displays, signage material and solely for local craftsmen and women. That money will essentially help these people be able to put their wares on display in the new Love2Inspire store.

“By providing a safe and creative environment for local craftsmen/women, amazing custom displays, wonderful signage and traffic of over 6 million people annually, I’m removing huge roadblocks and hurdles to making their crafts a viable and successful business. This also will remove a major financial burden for these talented individuals,” Froehle writes on the IndieGoGo campaign page.

Froehle said as she gears up to move Love2Inspire into a new location, she’ll be having her traffic increase dramatically, and as such, her goal is to reach out and help local people who want to share that exposure with their handmade items.

She also wants to help people who are more-than capable of working but haven’t been able to find a suitable job just yet, either.

“Just because someone is at the Rescue Mission, people assume they’re there because they want to be, but most people aren’t, and maybe it is because of some wrong choices, but that’s neither here nor there,” Froehle said. “People forget that a lot of times people at the mission are in transition and are not planning on staying there, or here in Great Falls, but it’s hard to get a full-time job, or they have valid reasons why they can’t work 8 to 5 so they’re trying to pick up a few jobs then can do in the meantime.

“So, if I can hire three or four men or women and pay them $15 an hour for six or seven hours, that’s a really good paycheck for them and it might get them through another two months or two weeks depending on their circumstances. That’s better than doing this work myself, having some friends come and help and offering them pizza. I can do that, but it’s not changing anyone’s situation. It’s a short-term quick fix for me, but no one else,” she said.

Froehle said that the way she sees it, she’s not expecting everyone can be able to donate $100, $200 or $300 each. That’s why she’s set up her perks for those who donate as little as $2.

“Many people will say they don’t have the money, and I understand, we’ve all been in that situation,” she said. “And that’s why if you go on and look through the campaign, I try to do things you can do for $2 or $5. I try to think of it this way – if you skipped going to Starbucks for two days and didn’t get two large lattes, that’s $10 or $15 you can donate and that’s an hour of labor for someone right there.”

Additionally, Froehle has t-shirts, sweatshirts and other items with the “Inspired Change With Love to Create Hope” slogan on it for people who donate $15 or more.

Froehle added that this setup also helps alleviate a lot of the awkwardness that comes anytime money is involved when people are needing help.

“We’ve been through that where we’ve needed help and only through the grace of god and some amazing people willing to help out were we able to get through it, but when you’re in a situation like that, you have two types of people – there’s the people in your life you see every day who just all-of-a-sudden just disappear, or there’s the people who don’t know what to do,” she said.

Michelle and John Froehle. Michelle is a cancer survivor and owner of her own business Love2Inspire.
Michelle and John Froehle. Michelle is a cancer survivor and owner of her own business Love2Inspire.

Money seems to be such an awkward thing to talk about, like you have to ask, ‘well how much do you need? And nobody wants to ask that, but this kind-of alleviates the problem. It isn’t someone from the rescue mission asking for a job or a handout, it’s a thing where if you want to help out you just go on and donate toward it and you don’t have to say anything, but you know that the people who need help are getting it.”

In the section labeled, “The Impact,” Froehle asks people to think of a time when you felt like the odds were stacked against you.

“How difficult was that time period? If one person, one stranger would’ve been in your corner, how would it have changed your perspective? All it takes is one person to start a small ripple in the water. Just think of the wave we could create if our individual waves were joined together. We could change the world.”

Froehle said she has visions of taking this model, if it’s successful here, to other places and building a movement that will see people within the target demographic who need work getting the help that they need while at the same time lifting the community up as well. She said she wants to help crafters who create high-quality items, especially.

“I’m also hoping that this could turn into a long-term thing,” she said. “Then what I’m hoping to do is bring in other crafters, but not the retired ladies watching their grandkids and crocheting to make quilts for the fun of it. People like carvers or metal workers or any kind of crafter who makes high-quality stuff.”

Froehle said she pictures a situation where Love2Inspire will help these people by giving them a space hat has high traffic that’s well advertised across the area.

What we want to do is provide a space for them to sell their wares because I know what it’s like to be on your own, it’s expensive to go to trade shows and pack up your stuff to sell to a limited audience,” she said. “I want to be able to offer a place where people can bring their stuff and I sell it for them and do the legwork, the advertising and creating that buzz. For instance we’ve did a model search and we have a local photographer here who’s going to be donating her time for us and we’ll get some photos of things like you’d see in the Sears catalog, for instance, and then we’ll post it in our online store, which should be up shortly.”

To donate to the What Have You Inspired Project, check out the campaign page on IndieGoGo here, which will be up for another week.

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