On our recent trip to Milwaukee to exhibit at the Wisconsin Art
Educators Association Conference, we visited the James O. Wright
Center of Goodwill Industries of South East Wisconsin to meet with the
amazing people who assemble and ship Artterro kits.
We were blown away by the great job they are doing! Forrest had
visited before, it was Jen’s first time. Most of our communication
with them is via email and phone conferences, though, so neither of us
had seen them in the full swing of production.
Wow! What an impressive operation. The facility itself employs between
250-300 participants with disabilities or those in need of job
training skills, 20-30 work on our project. They handle all sorts of
jobs from assembling and packaging automotive parts to large scale
commercial laundry services. They also provide social and recreational
programming for participants, including art instruction! We were able
to tour their art room where we saw all sorts of examples of great
projects including colorfully painted rain barrels, and paintings used
for their annual holiday card fundraiser.
Assembling Artterro kits is a unique project for Goodwill and we are
thrilled to give participants an opportunity to learn job skills while
working with our colorful, fun materials. When Forrest moved
production out of her kitchen to Goodwill, we were a small side
project for them. All our kits and materials fit into a closet! Within
the last year, we’ve grown enough to have a dedicated work area
designated for us and a large storage area was created to house our
materials and finished inventory. There’s plenty of room to grow too,
the beauty of working with Goodwill is they can accommodate whatever
capacity we need. We now have an amazing production manager, Theresa,
who works full time our project, coordinating all the participants
with various assembly tasks.
All in all, we were really impressed, it truly feels like a perfect
partnership. When we started the company, having a sustainable mission
at our core was essential. We wanted to create products we could
believe in and build a workplace that supports our co-workers beyond
just a paycheck. It makes it all worthwhile when we see our ideals and
goals become reality!