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Southern Fried Design Barn Receives Grant From Spanx By Sara Blakely Foundation

Jun 10, 2020

We’ve been tight-lipped on some good news around here, waiting for when we could spill the beans. We were recently given the green light to share and right now, I feel like we could all use some good news, right?!

It’s with great excitement, I share that Southern Fried Design Barn has received a $5000 grant from The Red Backpack Fund, an opportunity for small businesses and nonprofits to combat the Covid-19 crisis, made possible by The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. Southern Fried Design Barn is among the first Red Backpack Fund recipients to be selected.

As you may or may not know, the bulk of our business consists of wholesale orders. We sell to boutiques, hotels, travel stops, and other retail outlets across the nation, and they sell to you! We love meeting these (mostly) small business owners and setting them up with your favorite SFDB goods.

That said, we weren’t spared when the Covid-19 avalanche hit and forced most of these outlets to close, at least temporarily. Thousands of dollars in wholesale orders halted within a matter of days; income we rely on to pay our printers, our warehouse rental, utilities, not to mention ourselves, never came in. I say all this to give you a glimpse into what the Covid-19 crisis looked like for us… and I’m only scratching the surface.

Our small but mighty team here at SFDB has strategized and reached out; we developed new ways to operate to continue to make sales and develop community. We all gritted our teeth, boldly said, “we’re gonna make it” and I believe, by the grace of God, we are making it.

Things have not yet returned to normal but I believe we are on the upswing of this… as long as another wave doesn’t hit us in our biggest sales season of the year – Christmas. (I promise I’m not a pessimistic thinker, I just have to be realistic.) In you, we’ve had a fantastic group of followers and community that have supported us, and we can’t thank you enough! Every online order you’ve placed has MADE A DIFFERENCE. To our wholesale retail customers, THANK YOU for continuing to see value in our brand and products. Each of your orders MAKE A DIFFERENCE too.

I know you hear this a lot, but please know when you shop local, you are making a direct impact for people in your community and beyond. You are allowing the talented ladies who work with me to continue to have an income, helping me pay my mortgage, supporting our local printers, helping our retailers meet their financial needs and the domino effect continues!

I grew up in a small business family; I’ve known it my whole life, but running a business of my own has fully helped me understand the value of the “shop local” sentiment. Please continue to support your local businesses during this time. We are so grateful and encouraged by Sara Blakely and her generous donation, and to each of you for continuing to support our home-grown business. We couldn’t do it without you.

A formal press release went out today (I can’t believe I’m typing that, feels so legit y’all!), and we want to truly thank our friends Lucia and Lisa at The Change Agentcy for their support in helping us get this news out there! Here are a few snippets from the release that details this amazing announcement a little more…

Spanx Founder Sara Blakely said: “My hope is that this gift will help alleviate some of the pressures caused by this horrible pandemic. Twenty years ago, I started Spanx with $5,000 in savings, and I see this as a time to pay it forward. Small business is the backbone of our culture. I know what it’s like to be a small business owner, and I want to provide some relief to these entrepreneurs during this time.” 

Amy Kinslow, owner and designer of Southern Fried Design Barn said: “I have been a huge fan of Sara and her entrepreneurial spirit and business advice for years, and it’s an honor to be recognized by her and to be given this helping hand during such an uncertain time.”

Kinslow continued: “This money will help us continue to run daily operations and keep our employees on payroll. It’s assisting us in shipping our wholesale orders to small boutique businesses across the nation who rely on profits made from sales of our merchandise to meet the financial needs of their small business. We’re proud this grant is also driving financial aid to our local printers who have been with us from the start. Lastly, this money will aid in the payment of commission to 40+ sales representatives, 95% of whom are women, whose income comes, in part, from sales of our goods.”

About The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation

Since its inception in 2006, the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation has donated millions to charities around the world, focusing on charities that empower underserved women and girls. In 2013, Sara Blakely became the first self-made, female billionaire to sign the Giving Pledge, created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, promising to give at least half her wealth to charity. In 2020, Sara and the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation launched the Red Backpack Fund in partnership with GlobalGiving. Back by Sara Blakely, the $5 million fund supports the recovery and revitalization of female-owned businesses in the U.S. impacted by the coronavirus crisis. While many of the world’s resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed: Women. The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation is on a mission to support women and help them SOAR through education, entrepreneurship and the arts. Learn more at www.spanxfoundation.com.

As always, thank you for your continued support but especially thank you for your support over the last few months.

Much love and many thanks y’all,