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It’s All Good

They Are One organization

They Are One is in active partnership with this school in Bercy, Haiti.

The shift from the old year to a new one often brings with it a bit of introspection. How can I do more? How can I do better? Where should I put my energy and resources for the greater good? So it was true at It’s Cactus. With the passage of 2017 to 2018, we looked for answers to those very questions – and we found a few! As is frequently the case, the answers were surprisingly close at hand.

As it turned out, excellent opportunity was right in our own backyard. Salinas, CA is the action center for “They Are One,” a charitable organization which has local outreach as well as ongoing projects in Haiti. They conduct fund-raising activities year-round to aid and empower needy children in Monterey County as well as sponsor a faith-based secondary school for children in Bercy, Haiti. In partnership with Lifesong MBO, they not only deliver funds to supply hot meals, school supplies, and uniforms for the children, but also support teachers and staff with contributions toward their salaries.

In the words of Jackie Scott, Vice President of They Are One, “Our organization is all about empowering orphans in Haiti by connecting our community with their community. Our first priority is to build a long term relationship with the staff and children of MBO School in Bercy, Haiti. We do this by taking trips there to connect face-to-face and determine how we can best come alongside the leadership in the work they are already doing well. TAO:Local is the division of our organization that works with local vulnerable children and families in need ”

metal crosses hand made in Haiti

It’s Cactus donated crosses like these to They Are One to augment their fund-raising efforts.

How perfect – a match made in heaven! Opportunity to help our own community as well as school children in Haiti. With an idea budding, Casey contacted the TAO officers and proposed a donation of several dozen pieces of Haitian art from It’s Cactus which they could use in fund-raising efforts and reap 100 percent of the profits. Not only would TAO programs benefit, the plan would also give greater exposure for our Haitian artists and their work.

Done and done! They Are One posted their items on Facebook and the resulting sales have been fantastic! Additionally, they have sold items at church fairs with great success and interest in the art form has risen in tandem. Moments of introspection have thus paid off: Energy and resources are being forward for the greater good. And it’s ALL GOOD!

 

Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus


3….2….1…..Countdown to Launch!

 

Just making sure you can find us...

Just to let you know how hip and progressive we are, let me announce that we are launching a new website by way of a little story:

In April, Google announced that it would give organic ranking advantage to websites that are “responsive” to various user platforms. In plain English, this means that websites that can be viewed with equal easy on smartphones, pad, and laptops will have better placement in Google searches, though paid ads will remain at the top. Since It’s Cactus is now an online-only retailer and since our old – but beautiful! – website is not of equal viewing ease from phone to laptop, this spurred us to action! We have been working feverishly for months and we are now close, so close, to our new and improved look.

Should I go into detail about the work that this involves? No. Just consider it to be monsterous. It has included reading, learning, shopping, comparing, calling customer service, and spending hours on the phone with our guru, Dennis, of Clever Concepts. It has included trial, error, thinking and re-thinking, organizing and re-organizing, shooting hundreds upon hundreds of photos, writing copy, and inputting it all. Did I mention a significant cash investment? That too.

But it’s all going to be worth it. Soon you will be able browse “It’s Cactus” easily, whether at home in your jammies or on the go. There will be Haitian iron by the virtual (and veritable) ton, of course, but there will also be an incredible amount of other types of folk art – more than ever before. We have added a product zoom feature, lots of style photos and greater product search capability. There’s also a “Wish List” where you can save items that morph from “want” to “need.” And there are tools that we can use behind the scenes that will help us do an even better job of making great folk art available to you. It’s very exciting!

Even with the launch date now in sight, the new website will still be a work in progress. If there is something about a piece that you need to know, something that we have overlooked, or simply haven’t gotten to yet, PLEASE don’t hesitate to call or email. We’d love to hear from you. That NEVER changes!

 

Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus


Happy Earth Day 365!

"Children of the World Tree" by Winston Cajust, made entirely of recycled metal and proudly brought to your attention on Earth Day plus One.

“Children of the World Tree” by Winston Cajust, made entirely of recycled metal and proudly brought to your attention on Earth Day plus One.

Yesterday was Earth Day. I had failed to note it ahead of time and only realized when I had an email in my inbox from our garbage and recycling service with the subject heading, “Happy Earth Day!” I was caught with my pants down, so to speak, but found myself at a loss as to how to respond. It kind of seems like a day for school kids to read “The Lorax” in science class and follow up by dutifully filling cups with potting soil, gently pushing bean seeds under the soil to a depth of 1/2 inch, watering carefully, and anticipating the sprout. What does a middle-aged female such as I do to be observant? Send a note, written on recycled paper to my congressman, voicing my environmental concerns? Plant a tree? Make a donation somewhere? What kind of big deal is it, anyway, really?
Well, it turns out that it’s a pretty big deal, at least if you’re logged onto earthday.org. According to their website, “The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and establishment of the EPA soon followed. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.”
That’s all well and good. But I’ve thought it over and I’ve decided to play devil’s advocate here. I am of the opinion that Earth DAY is not a big deal at all. If we’re going to protect this planet we share, it’s going to take alot more than one day a year to do it. Earth DAY is a nice gesture, but we need to be thinking and acting pretty much 365 days a year. No breaks. No time off. Every one of us, every day.
I will make no pretense of being an “Earth Angel.” I am mindful of the impact of my actions, but I’m not perfect. One thing I am proud of, though is promoting our recycled oil drum sculptures through It’s Cactus. They are NOT part of a land-fill, they are repurposed as art, transformed from refuse into something beautiful. It feels good to hang recycled art in my home, and to share it as gifts with my friends and family. It feels good, because it does good. When you buy it, when you give it, don’t you feel it too?
What else shall we do? Walk to work. Take those shoes to the cobbler and have them re-soled. ┬áSpend two minutes less time in the shower. Shop the farmer’s market with a reusable bag. Today is Earth Day plus One!

 

Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus


Visit Us Online!

Casey in the new retail office of It's Cactus, your online source for the finest in folkart

Casey in her new office!

It is a fait-accompli: It’s Cactus, which started out as a brick and mortar store in Carmel, CA in the early 90’s, is now online only, operating strictly out of our Salinas warehouse. In February, this was an idea, quick to gel. Today, it’s the way we roll.
Or at least we’re starting to. This has not been a small task, and there’s still a good distance to go, especially in the way of re-vamping the website. Though you will continue to have unmitigated shopping opportunity in the meantime, we are only going to get better. Coming one

day in the not-so-distant future (July, hopefully) the website conversion will be complete, with

There's lots of recycled metal in the Salinas warehouse.

It is widely suspected that there is more Haitian metal in the warehouse than there is in Haiti. Care to count?

oodles and boodles of great folk art of every stripe. From Haiti of course, with new designs and creations in wondrous array, but also a much larger presence of our folk art from Latin America. It was in the shop, and locals had access to it there, but now it will have full representation online. Equal folk art opportunity for all – how great is that?
We’re also going to have what, in the biz, is known as a responsive website. (I confess to have learned that terminology….um……recently. Like last week.) That means that our website will be easily viewed from desktop and mobile devices alike. No more pinching and widening and shifting from side to side. You’ll be able to see every page in all it’s glory, no matter how or on what you choose to view it. Now, isn’t that a wonderful thing?
We’re pretty excited about it all. The wave of retail seems to be evermore about access and evermore driven by convenience. Our aim is to be all of that, convenient and accessible on a much broader scale, yet to remain the friendly, trusted, personable – and very fun! – purveyors of folk art you’ve always known and loved. Visit us online!

 

Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus

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