If you’ve followed us on social media, you know that until recently, Little Poppy Co. operated solely out of a corner in our basement where we hand-made, packaged and shipped every single bow ourselves. That worked out great until, well, we had more than a few hundred subscribers. Since we’re now in the thousands of subscribers, (THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!) have you ever wondered how we fulfill all those monthly orders?
As business owners, we started Little Poppy Co. because we wanted to make life a little easier for moms. But as we grew, we wanted to find a way to share our success with others. We looked for opportunities to get others involved and initially our close friends and family helped, but eventually even they were burned out! We looked at new options like hiring other moms, partnering with manufacturers or even getting production help outside the country. Nothing felt or worked quite right until recently.
Just months ago, we formed a partnership with Utah Correctional Industries, a division of Utah’s Department of Corrections. Creative thinking, right?! Specifically, we partnered with UCI’s Textiles, Clothing and Sewing Services in Gunnison, Utah, close to Lindie’s hometown. The more we learned about UCI, we were blown away. UCI works with dozens of businesses and agencies to provide a variety of product lines and services, including office furniture, printing, textiles, silk screening and embroidery. There are over 700 Utah inmates that participate in the program, which helps inmates learn productive work habits and skills that increase their employment prospects when they are released.
Since we have close relationships with a few people who have served time in jail (getting personal now), we knew this program offered select inmates an opportunity to work, develop skills, and earn money for their loved ones. It has been an awesome fit and a great opportunity for us to give back to the community. Overall, we feel the quality of our products speaks for the success and value of the program.
As parents, we believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to improve their life – no matter what their present or past situation looks like. Our partnership with UCI not only supports our business model, but we hope it helps this unique group of people develop skills and self-worth that will help them in the future.
Q: We know what you’re thinking. It must be cheap, right?
A: Actually, we pay UCI a fair and competitive price for those working on our behalf. In addition to our partnership supporting the program overall, inmates are compensated through the program. They can use these funds to support loved ones at home or for restitution.
Q: So, do all prisoners have to work in the UCI program?
A: Not just any inmate can participate in the program. A chance for inmates to earn money is a privilege. Working through the UCI program is available only to inmates in good standing, who have proven themselves through consistent good behavior.
Q: What’s it like working with inmates?
A: So, the first time we visited the facility in Gunnison, Utah, it was a little bit like a scene from Law & Order – the big barred door, being buzzed in, the door shutting loudly behind you. Not your typical work environment. But throughout the tour we were not only impressed with the facilities, but had a great experience meeting inmates who were enthusiastic about the opportunity and so respectful. Needless to say, that’s not what we were expecting! But, we’re glad they proved us wrong. After meeting them first-hand, we felt even better about the partnership.
Have a question? Just ask. We’d love to talk more about it. [email@example.com]