MISSOULA, Montana, November 25, 2020 / --
New Collaboration Launched to Promote Missoula Businesses and Fundraise to Thank Missoula’s Health Care Workers
Missoula boasts a vibrant, small business community that is predominantly women-owned and led. A special report from the US Chamber of Commerce suggests that small, women-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by COVID 19 and the recession, and specifically states that “women-owned small businesses have less optimistic revenue, investment and hiring plans compared to male-owned small businesses.” 1
With the vast impact of coronavirus on her clients, this past March 2020, Karen Tempkin, a Missoula-based business and sustainability consultant, started a weekly call including a diverse group of local women business owners and entrepreneurs. Karen’s firm, Nimbletwist Consulting, guides primarily women-owned businesses to grow and thrive in a way that is financially, socially, and environmentally responsible.
“There is no question that COVID has impacted small, women-owned businesses in Missoula, regardless of size, industry, product, or service. It’s been heartwarming to see these business leaders come together every week to offer and accept support, collectively approach a wide range of issues, while simultaneously juggling the needs of their families, businesses, farms, and communities.”
Topics throughout the pandemic have included navigating the impacts of shut-downs, mandates, pivoting to eCommerce, federal and local financial relief, and more. The group evolved to help each other navigate these challenges.
Recently the discussion turned to how the group could work together to provide a specialized offering that would allow those connected to Missoula near or far, to safely purchase local gifts from their home, and share these Missoula-based products with others locally, as well as nationally. In addition, they wanted to thank Missoula’s healthcare workers, and encourage Missoula to continue the longstanding tradition of supporting local businesses that put the soul in MisSOULa.
“We’re always looking for new ways to collaborate with other local and like-minded businesses but it can sometimes be difficult to coordinate. This is a fantastic solution for folks who want to give something special from the heart of Missoula!” Noteworthy Paper & Press
Group member Brooke Blackler of Last Best Supply Co., a premier Montana-themed brand committed to supporting local artists while creating exclusive, high quality decorated products, was uniquely qualified to bring together this collaborative effort. Brooke cited serendipity and partnership as a catalyst to launch this Etsy-esque Missoula offering, launching a new website and brand called Soula Box.
Soula Boxes can be purchased in several ways:
1. Soula Box™ - These holiday gift boxes are available at various price points and product combinations, filled with local specialty goods, including catered food or local honey, meats or chocolate, local artists’ work, jewelry, masks, activity kits, kitchen items, wearables, and more.
The three methods of purchase are as follows:
2. The Soula Box COVID Healthcare Workers Fund is a special development needing immediate attention. This box was inspired by group member Oriana Turley, COVID nurse and founder of Medicine Mountain Scrubs.
“When I heard this box was being put together with catered fresh local delicious foods, fantastic gift products and being delivered to our healthcare workers, it revived my faith in humanity, after 8 long months of caring for COVID patients. Thank you Soula Box family!”
This gift-by-donation program for Missoula Healthcare Workers is a collection fund to purchase at least 250 holiday boxes for Missoula medical and health care professionals, who are on the front lines of COVID. We are fortunate to have a local healthcare system providing 24/7 care and support, as our COVID numbers have exploded. These care workers are exhausted and often underappreciated. With community donations to the Soula Box COVID Healthcare Workers Fund, the group will donate as many Soula Boxes as possible. There is an $8000 goal, to be raised by Dec. 31, 2020, and boxes will be delivered by Jan. 31, 2021, to Missoula hospitals. To donate directly to the fund, go to the Soula Box COVID Healthcare Workers Fund webpage.
Dates to know:
- November 28th - Small Business Saturday the website goes live!
- December 16th - Last day to purchase to guarantee delivery by Christmas
- December 31st - Last day of the donation drive for Healthcare Workers
- January 31st - Completion of SoulaBox delivery to Healthcare Workers
There is already an excited and early response to SoulaBox from locals. Dori Gilels, Owner of Damn Good Consulting LLC, learned about it from the group and sees it as a great fit for Do-Good Business, a project she launched late last year to help Missoula businesses create social impact initiatives that are good for business and the community.
“In the face of COVID, many local businesses have had to come up with creative and cost effective ways to survive and thrive. The Soula Box Holiday and Soula Box Healthcare Fund are products of a highly thoughtful and collaborative approach to doing business. These women are supporting each other, collectively showcasing their high quality brands and goods, and giving back in a meaningful and impactful way. It's perfectly Missoula."
Kate McIvor, owner of The Confident Stitch, also in the group, loves the idea. She and her employees have committed to encouraging their customers to support other small businesses for Black Friday this year.
“Sometimes supporting small businesses feels more difficult than just ordering from a big web warehouse. It seems like extra effort. The beauty of this box is that it makes ordering from a variety of small businesses a one-click transaction!”
Participating Businesses: Betty’s Divine, Posh Chocolat, Dr. Smith Botanicals, Montana Tees, Last Best Supply Co., Mountain Meat Shares, Bathing Beauties Beads, Hindu Hillbilly Honey, True Food Missoula, CREATE ART Bar, Noteworthy Paper & Press. The boxes are marketed and distributed by Last Best Supply Co., Gatherboard and Missoula Indoor Ads, Bonfire Branding & Communications, Medicine Mountain Scrubs, and Nimbletwist Consulting.
GatherBoard, MissoulaEvents.net, Missoula Indoor Ads