How a 99 Cent store created a crew of Rockstars...

Jennifer Boonlorn

Posted on September 25 2013

The other day I drove past the 99 Cent store that Bob and I went to seek out materials for the Mannequin Is Our Muse event -- the event that would spark the concept for Soul Carrier. 


Who knew a cheap dollar store in a seedy part of town would be the starting point of what has become Soul Carrier? 


It was four years ago that we were pounding the pavement of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Home Depot and then the 99 cent store to seek inspiration and ideas for our mannequin.  At first our ideas were pretty wild - Bob was going to saw the mannequin in half and re-assemble her as a chair or maybe spider woman, we thought about a photo-copying dollar bills and paper-maching her -- but decided we didn't want to get in that much trouble to make a statement.  As it was, I got pulled aside by Westcor (the owners of Scottsdale Fashion Square where the event took place) because they were concerned about our "mannequin" -- they felt we were trying to make a statement about the KKK or Muslims since we covered the face of our mannequin with rugs - NO!!!! It was merely avant garde art! No statement on either subject matter! Geeze, Scottsdale - let's try and and not be so vanilla for once! Another moment in time, where Bob and I almost stopped talking -- since in a moment of weakness I changed our art piece without his knowing, to try and appease Westcor - but he convinced me to take a stand for what we were creating and came to the mall with a sewing kit and sewed the mannequin back up. Sorry about that Wilkinson ;-)))


But back to the 99 cent store, as soon as I spotted the woven placements and rugs, I grabbed as many as I could and started making a huge quilt on the floor of the dollar store. -- the material reminded us of Nick Cave's work -- an exhibit Bob and I had just checked out at SMOCA…and in that very moment in time Soul Carrier began to form. 


A lot of people have joined me in the quest to make Soul Carrier a reality. Some have come for a portion of the ride, some have gone their own ways, some have inspired me to hit "reset" and go back to the drawing board, some have made me look deep inside seeking the courage to confront my own demons and fears. But every person I have encountered on this creative journey has impacted me one way or the other, and I am so grateful for the entire experience -- the good, the bad, and even the ugly.  The brand wouldn't be what it is, without having to wade through some of the crazy or rather insane hiccups I have encountered -- life, and this creative journey, is teaching me that rarely are things linear, and the assumption that it will be a straight shot to the outcome we have our hearts set on is kind of unrealistic. One day I am going to write a book because the list of characters and escapades belongs on a show like "Curb Your Enthusiasm". 


However, lately I feel so incredibly humbled and grateful by all those that want to join my "team" and share in my vision to make this brand a huge reality. I have teamed up with my friend Sarah Boumis -- a ROCKSTAR business strategist who is helping me put into place systems and whip the business side of Soul Carrier into shape. Sarah can problem solve, organize and come up with a solution for every one of the "snares" we seem to encounter. Working with her is pure bliss, and I feel like there is nothing this girl can't conquer, work through or figure out. She is my "business whisperer" ironing out any business kinks that seems to come my way and being the ultimate guard dog to my vision. 


Then I have a crew of 4 interns who continue to amaze me week after week with their ideas and their commitment to Soul Carrier. Amanda, Ariana, Kacie and Gabriella -- we ADORE YOU!!!!


My friend Florent is helping me re-code the back-end of my website, pouring in a tremendous amount of late hours as Sarah and I ask to see fonts changed, social media icons made smaller and the entire flow of the website reworked. Working with Flo is awesome, not only does he get my vision, but he genuinely believes in what we are doing and he is going above and beyond in what he is delivering on. Putting up with our ever-growing list of to-do's on Basecamp. The new and improved website will be up in a few months -- absolutely no pressure Flo ;-))


I have been Face-timing with my friend Ryan to help me figure out potential sourcing and do a little "due-dilligence spying-ahem-homework" on potential manufacturing contacts. Thank you Ryan for being so in love with all things south of the border! 


That is what is so amazing - people really believe in me, believe in Soul Carrier, believe in what we are creating and trying to put out into the world. 
Thank you for the deepest place in my soul to EVERYONE who has given a piece of their soul to make my dreams come to fruition, to make my vision a reality and to make this brand come to fruition. To say it has been a journey is an understatement, but the ride has been made sweeter by the awesome souls who have decided to join me. 
As my boy Avicii says:
"Feeling my way through the darkness

Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start..."

I started at a 99 cent store and ended up with the coolest group of rockstar-team players. Here is to creating something we are really proud of! 



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