Release date : July 2, 2019
In this episode, I sit down with Amy from I Am Love Project, an organization that brings self-love and caring for others together by hosting monthly wellness events in support of local charities.
Janelle: Hello and welcome to the Adoring Winnipeg Podcast! My name is Janelle and I’m the host and owner of Adoring Winnipeg, a web-based resource of local businesses within Winnipeg. On this podcast, I’ll be interviewing Winnipeg business owners, getting an inside look at what they do and why they do it. On today’s show, I’m welcoming Amy from I Am Love Project, an organization dedicated to raising funds for local nonprofit organizations.
Hello Amy, thank you for being here.
Amy: Hey Janelle, thank you for having me.
J: First, can we start by just introducing yourself and explaining a little bit about what I Am Love Project is?
A: Absolutely so I’m an entrepreneur, a yoga teacher, a community advocate and also a mom. I graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Human Ecology background, as well as a little bit of Marketing and HR. About 8 months ago I created the I Am Love Project. I believe that everyone is worthy of love, should be loved and feel loved regardless of age, colour or gender and through love we inspire, empower and create change within the community. We create the chain of love where there’s no beginning or ending. We organize fundraising events to raise donations to support nonprofit organizations, schools and our community. Every month, we release a new crystal intention bracelet and host a pop-up event where all proceeds are honoured to a charity who’s making a huge impact within our community. Besides our monthly initiatives and fundraising events we have throughout the year, we offer I Am Love Yoga Program in different schools and charities. This year our focus is to collaborate with more charities, businesses and individuals, to use our bracelet as one of their fundraising platforms.
J: That sounds like a lot of interesting things you have going on. I want to touch on a few of those and get to know a little bit more about them, so, you mentioned bracelets, where did this idea come from?
A: Well, I kind of needed to create something that was tangible, that represents love and that’s how I came up with this idea. Our bracelet is the chain of love, no beginning, no ending, love is continuous, so it’s a cycle. It has an intention and it represents the charity. The design of the bracelet and stones come through meditation, believe it or not, a big part of my life, and we currently have grade twos and grade fours, as well as other volunteers every month, making the bracelets. They’re awesome kids and they love to give back and they love to help out. We take this opportunity when we connect with them to let them know which charity they’re supporting and how appreciative we are for them to give back 10 minutes of their time every month. A main part of us reaching out to schools and getting kids to volunteer is to instill the importance of giving back and how they can inspire and empower other individuals. So when we’re there, we would as them, “With the proceeds of $20, if you were to go to the dollar store, how many items can you buy?”, and they would say “20”. Then I ask them, “With the 20 items, how many people can you give them to?”, they say “20”, and that’s right! I tell them their health is super valuable and don’t forget how many people you’re helping by making just one bracelet. A dollar can go towards an apple for those living on the streets, a dollar can go towards the box of crayons for West Broadway Youth Outreach, or a dollar can go towards Christmas Chocolate Advent Calendars for Inspire Community Outreach, so that impact of a dollar is huge.
J: That’s very amazing, it’s such good lessons for everybody and it sounds like you’re doing such a great thing for the community and the students. So how can we get access to these bracelets?
A: Currently, we have them at Radiance Gifts on Corydon, we have them at Oxygen Yoga and Fitness Studio, they are also online at www.iamloveproject.ca, Miller’s Meats’ Headmaster location and we also sell them at The Forks Trading Company.
J: Awesome, thanks! So the pop up events, you mentioned those, so what are those all about?
A: That’s a continuation of that chain of love. So with your $20, when you come to our event, you get that free 1 hour class. Then we have Freshii, that’s been on board with us for the last 8 months actually, they provide breakfast for all the attendees, we have Cranked Energy that provides Cranked Energy Bites and local businesses continuously reaching out to support by donating gift certificates or their services, or volunteering at our events. At our events, we don’t require you to buy addition raffle tickets to claim these prizes, or to win these prizes, but instead it’s our local businesses saying thank you for giving back.
J: That’s so great, so much thought put into everything that you’re doing. How do you get your tickets for something like this?
A: They are online at our website, iamloveproject.ca
J: Also, I’m curious to know, how do you choose which organizations you’re going to be supporting?
A: Two weeks ago actually, we started a new account where we want the community to participate in how we collaborate or who we collaborate with for 2020. So the submissions and how to submit is all online on our website. Just write a submissions, follow that criteria, and we will select from there.
J: That’s a great way to get the community involved in even another step, which is awesome.
A: Right, we thrive on increasing that community engagement, volunteerism and most of all, spreading that love and we continuously think of ways to bring the community together. So this is actually a great new initiative that we have going on instead of I Am Love Project, or myself, choosing these charities, we can have kids, or different schools, or even organizations, or businesses choosing a cause that they want to support.
J: We touched a little bit on the bracelets and the pop up events, are there other ways that we can help support?
A: There are lots of ways! The bracelets for sure, coming to one of the events, or even purchasing a support ticket. At our events we have sponsors every month that purchase 10 tickets where we can in turn donate them to other charities. For example, the last couple of months, we’ve had West Broadway Youth Outreach coming out, Inspire Community Outreach, Big Brother Big Sister, so those are always important. We like to extend that fun in making yoga accessible to everyone. You can donate a prize, it can be a $10 gift certificate, you can donate you services, or even following us on Instagram and bringing awareness to our charities. Knowing that there is a Mood Disorders Association Turning Pages Program where, maybe you know someone down the road where you need those tools and resources.
J: That’s great! to move on a little bit, as you and hopefully our listeners know, we asked on her social media if any of our followers had any questions for you. We did get one question in here from @blairdavida and she asks “When did you decide to start the I Am Love Project”?
A: Eight months ago. Prior to this, I was a manager at H&M for about 4 years. Keeping the story very, very short, I decided to call it quits. Ever since that, I decided to volunteer and that’s where I saw that funding gap for these smaller charities. Through volunteering and wanting to link businesses with charities to host a third party fundraiser, I noticed that you need to have that drive and passion and motivation in order to support a charity. So that didn’t last very long, then that’s how I came up with the whole I Am Love Project. I started to think about that bracelet and then how to sell that bracelet. But then I had a goal of wanting to raise $1,000 minimum every month. I was like, well, you’re not going to sell enough bracelets to make that much money so, what can I do? And then, yoga popped up, I linked the two together and we’ve been doing that for the last eight months!
J: Well it looks like you’ve had a ton of success with this so congratulations, it’s such a great thing that you have going on. I want to thank you for all that information and move into a portion that’s maybe a little less formal, get to know you a little bit if that’s okay, with just some little quick answer questions. This is so we can get to know the person behind the brand, get to know you a little bit more. We can ease into it a little bit with something that still falls on the business side with, what was your favorite part about running this business so far?
A: Being able to support our community and knowing that a little goes a long way. I’m not a big organization where I have the capacity to donate 20, 30, 40, 50 thousands of dollars, but having that extra $2,000-$3,000 for a smaller charity is a huge impact. That can provide meals for about 3,000 people, that can provide a Spring Break outing, a week of outing for many youth programs, so again, it’s that a little goes a long way.
J: I can only imagine how busy you are with everything involved in running this so I’d like to know what motivates you, what keeps you going?
A: I would say, my daughter. She’s been a superstar, she’s been supporting me since the beginning of the I Am Love Project. It’s top of mind to her. She talks about it at school, she gets very excited when we go out to volunteer, she gets excited when we go to her school and makes the bracelet and sometimes I would drop her off at my parents and she would say “You don’t have to come in, you could stay the car” I’m like “How come?”, she’s like “I want you to go do I Am Love Project”. I know a lot of people would use other kind of figures as a source of motivation but currently, she’s that drive behind me.
J: That’s great, so the next one I was going to ask is who inspires you, but does that kind of fall into the same one or do you have another business owner or something like that that kind of inspires you?
A: I would say everyone, I don’t have anyone in particular, Oprah’s always a good one, Gabby, Brene Brown, I don’t know if you read her books but they’re inspirational. I’m very sappy, I like to follow quotes and what not. Another source of inspiration would be my old self and how I ran my life previously. I learned from all those hardships and all the obstacles and that really inspires and motivates me.
J: Do you have a favorite thing you like to do for your self care? It’s a big thing right now and I’m sure everyone wants to know!
A: It is and I think self care kind of falls on different things. Everyone has a different way of self care, but for me, I think the most important thing is recognizing that you need that care. Not necessarily doing something about it, but that awareness piece, knowing that you’ve been working 50 hours and your body is telling you that you need a break and recognizing that sign. Not so much like “OK, I’m going to go for a drink” or “I’m going to go to the spa” but really, that meaning behind it. Why did you need it, instead of going back to that same circle. It’s because I worked that 10 hours extra so I need to stop because this is what I’m feeling, these are my sensations or these are the emotions and I need to do something about it. I don’t necessarily go out or really go to the spa or anything, I like staying at home to get that moment to myself and maybe sometimes clean because I have OCD.
J: Finally, what is one thing on your bucket list? Just a dream bucket list, a big fun question to end it off.
A: A fun question, well, I’d like to go on our first family vacation very, very soon. Alyssa wants to go to Disneyland/Disneyworld so I want to make that happen. Second thing on my bucket list, is to spread love across cultures, across borders as it should be.
J: Well, thank you so much for spending time with me, is there anything else that you’d like to add that we haven’t touched on? You can also give out how we can find out more information about you, all your social media handles, that kind of stuff.
A: Alright, so for any tickets, bracelet sales, it would be through iamloveproject.ca. Instrgram handle is @i_am_love_project. I encourage you guys to follow Instagram as we showcase our journey and also what we do on a daily basis. Through there, you might be inspired or you might have an idea as to how you can give back. We’re continuously working with different businesses to solidify ways on how to give back and again it can be as simple as donating a box of cereal to a $10 donation, a little goes a long way, it truly does.
J: Awesome, well than you so much, it was great learning about your business and everything you do so thank you so much for your time!
A: Thank you!
J: That’s a wrap for today, I hope you enjoyed listening! Please make sure to subscribe, give me a review, and I hope you tune in again next time where I’ll be speaking with Sarah from Temple 23 Winnipeg. until then don’t forget to head to my website at adoringwinnipeg.com to find local businesses and find me on Instagram and Facebook @adoringwinnipeg.