Now With These Palms ~ Poem by a young single mom September 06 2016
NOW WITH THESE PALMS
With these palms I held the phone that gave the news...
He was not to come back, he said he would only return to pack.
He left a bruise on my heart, leaving me with my sadness and to deal with all the madness
So with the sleeves of my sweater I wiped away my tears, that did not make me feel better.
Soon enough with these fingers I held a test that said positive,
yet I could not allow myself to remain positive and optimistic.
I lost it, pushed to the point of going ballistic...
Then I felt you grow inside my womb.
I quickly resented wanting to be 6 feet under laying in a tomb.
I fell more in love everyday as i sensed your presence.
You were a true little blessing, God sent me the greatest present.
Now with these palms, now with these palms,
I hold yours, they are so sweet, a divine treat.
And with the sleeves of my sweater
I wipe my eyes and I blink twice.
I am so thankful that you are here, you have made me feel so much better.
With these fingers I felt your fragile body
There is no way I would allow anyone to hurt your body
because you came from my body.
You are mine to love and to hold.
I'll be the one to mold you.
- Susan, a mom of 2
"Zab the traveling otter" EXPLAINED! May 30 2016
WHY SEA OTTERS?
We're all about honoring the sacrificial and courageous love of mothers. We picked sea otters as our mascot because they are local Cali animals and they embody 'mama love' so well :)
WHAT DOES THE HASHTAG "ZabtheTrotter" MEAN?
Our mama otter has 2 pups: Zab & Lulu.
(Trivia: The name 'Zab' came from our founders Allen & Ayaka's daughter: Eli-ZAB-eth. And 'Lulu' from their last name.)
You can customize the otter pillows and take them on your daily adventures!
.... we call them the "traveling otters" a.k.a. "Trotter"!
Snap a photo of your otter in your favorite place and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #ZabtheTrotter #LulutheTrotter #EPAotter :)
We love it when you share with us how you see the world, how you spend your day, what excites you, where you live and visit, etc.! Our team here in East Palo Alto enjoy seeing where the otters travel after they leave our studio.
#EPAOtter GIVEAWAY! April 18 2016
Download "Zab the EPA Otter" coloring page HERE (or click on the image above).
Color it, cut it out, and take Zab with you wherever you go!
Post your adventures on Instagram using hashtag #EPAotter for a chance to win one of our amazing prizes.
3 winners will be selected on May 1 to receive "traveling otter" pillows that are customized to look like your coloring. (Grand prize winner gets a regular pillow, and 2nd & 3rd place get the smaller ornament version.)
Print outs can also be picked up from EPAShop in the "Kid's Corner": 900A Willow Road, Menlo Park CA 94025
Looking forward to seeing your posts!
We are on CBS news! March 02 2016
Watch the video below. Shoutouts at 1:56 and 3:19!
It was an honor to chat with a #mamapreneur Sheryl. Thank you for spending your morning with us. Let hope rise in East Palo Alto, one solo mom at a time!
Team Christmas dinner by BrokenDishes December 14 2015
We were blessed by the women of BrokenDishes who transformed our shop into a fancy restaurant with beautiful table decor, dessert table, kids' craft table, and 3-course meals. WOW!
Holidays are the busiest season for retail business. So this was a very precious treat for our team and our volunteers.
Grand opening of EPAShop! October 17 2015
We're beyond thrilled to announce that we finally have a building that can house all 3 of our micro-businesses:
EPAShop - a boutique thrift store that provides clean, fashionable, and affordable items for the local community
EPAMade - handmade goods to honor mama love
EPAShip - logistic warehousing service for small businesses
This is a huge milestone for us, as we've been dreaming up this idea since 2013 and operating in the "pop up mode" over the past 2 years. EPAShop was a Saturday street sale with popcorns for kids. EPAMade was a group of nomad artisans screen-printing under the scorching sun and sewing in a borrowed space with supplies that we had to pack up at the end of every work day.
THANK YOU / GRACIAS to everyone who came to the Grand Opening!
It was a lot of fun meeting new customers, neighbors, and friends to celebrate this special day together :)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Well, it's important to mention that our shop was built by MANY hands.
A few months ago when we first signed the lease, the space looked like this:
Then we had a build out day with an amazing group of friends, including big kids!
We wanted our shop to be bright, clean, and welcoming. So all the walls were painted in white.
A friend built us a POS counter that can accommodate customers on wheeled chairs.
And we began to move in...
This was our first day working in the new space!
We had artsy mamas come and decorate the windows...
And a family of creatives built us the coolest work tables...
Friends from EPA built the changing room...
A volunteer group made the studio more organized and functional...
Another group built curtains...
We installed window decals that our friends printed for us...
Dreams DO come true.
Our lives CAN change.
LET HOPE RISE in all of us!
From NYTimes article The Shaky Moral Compass of Silicon Valley:
"... thinking about how to give back, and solving intractable problems like homelessness, can be a lot more difficult than coming up with a good idea for a start-up. Especially a start-up that is 'making the world a better place.' "
We hope that EPAMade can be the 'leveled ground' in the Silicon Valley where both the rich and the poor can come together as peers to learn, work, grow, and have fun. #letHopeRiseintheSiliconValley
Heartbreaking article on EPA housing crisis May 13 2015
Heartbreaking reality of housing crisis on EPA residents... while Facebook opens their massive campus nearby.
"My Home" - music video about East Palo Alto April 27 2015
Music video "My Home" by H20 ft. Freddy Flopez.
More articles on housing crisis April 07 2015
"Eat Uni Save Kelp" Explained! April 07 2015
Some of you have asked us about the meaning behind our "Eat Uni Save Kelp" T-shirts.
Here is a short article that explains the relationship among sea otters, sea urchins ("uni" in Japanese), and kelp... and why sea otters are so important!
Another article about how kelp can protect the health of oceans... and us!
So, remember to be like the sea otters and eat sea urchins (uni) that destroy kelp forest.
Give it a try next time when you're at a sushi restaurant or a fancy restaurant that serves food with that gooey orange stuff.
This is the neighborhood right next to East Palo Alto where many of our friends live... and are losing housing.
“It’s very hard. Children don’t have room to play, and one doesn’t have enough space either."
"People are seeing their neighbors leave. People are seeing investors buy up those properties in the hopes that a Facebook person will come and purchase them for a higher amount of money.”
“To build affordable housing on land that is so incredibly expensive on an economy that’s on fire here, it’s like a double whammy to actually create affordable housing."
“Where I live is probably 10 miles from some of the most prosperous corporations in the world. And some of my neighbors will not necessarily make it through college.... My children and grandchildren will not be able to stay in this community."
"If we are going to have a healthy sustainable economy, we have to find a way to house our workers.”
Garage rent for $1000/month [video] March 19 2015
For those of you who aren't familiar with the bay area housing crisis, this is what many of our artisans face as single moms. And this is why we're passionate about job creation in THIS neighborhood for THESE precious women & their children.
According to the US Housing and Urban Development (HUD), people who live in structures not meant for human habitation, such as storage sheds, unconverted garages, shacks, bus stations, etc are considered homeless. There are more "hidden homeless" in our communities than we know.
“Honestly, I always thought homeless people were panhandlers or people on the street that were hungry and cold and drug addicts and alcoholics — who didn’t want to do anything for themselves. I work and make decent money when I’m working. I think part of the reason why I became homeless is because finding work and daycare and transportation and everything just combined made it impossible for me to keep a roof over our head.”
Hotel 22 [video] February 05 2015
Custom t-shirt orders for local youth January 15 2015
There's something special about being able to do something positive for your own neighborhood. It's been exciting to do CUSTOM ORDERS for the local organizations & schools in East Palo Alto.
First order was for a basketball camp hosted by Jeremy Lin Foundation for the children in Bayshore Christian Ministries on September 13, 2014. We screen printed on t-shirts that were provided by Adidas, who sponsors Jeremy Lin. It was cool to see the Adidas logo printed on the sleeve in black ink, just like the designs we printed on the same t-shirt. We're doing legit jobs over here!
Second order was for BCM's robotics club competition on November 1, 2014. We were impressed that these kids are learning how to build their own robots. Good job, team Robot Spartans!
Third order was for Eastside College Preparatory School Girls JV basketball team in January 2015. They sent us a sketch of what they wanted on their team gear, and we turned it into vector images on a computer. We tested various shades of maroon colors to see which one stands out the best on black sweatshirts. Each sweatshirt was personalized with a number on the front and nickname on the back. We had fun printing everyone's unique nicknames. :) Have a great season, Lady Panthers!
If you want us to print your gears, check out our CUSTOM ORDERS page for how to order!
History of EPA & Silicon Valley [article] January 12 2015
Amazing write-up on East Palo Alto's history, but even more poignant is its reflection on our future!
Tax Exempt, Why Yes We Are! December 21 2014
Yesterday after returning from the mailbox, one letter made me sing and dance a new song. We received a friendly letter from the IRS. (Compared to the usual unfriendly annoying letters from the IRS we receive) This letter started with these words:
We're pleased to tell you we determined you're exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3)...
It sparked a spontaneous dance and original song that I'm sure Ayaka and Elizabeth are glad will never leave the privacy of our home.
We started this journey 2 years ago when I decided to quit my job at BloomReach and invest the majority of our time to test the theory that marginalized communities needed people focused on creating jobs. We liquidated most of my savings (~$60,000) and figured that this would give us about 6 months to test this theory by covering our personal expenses and capital to pour into the business concepts. We found an amazing partner in SF City Impact and they introduced us to our co-founder Amanda Phelps and thus TLMade was born!
After 18 months, 4 social enterprises (TLMade, TLClean, TLMunch, TLThrift), and overwhelming support from local non-profits in the Tenderloin, San Francisco Economic Development and Tenderloin Economic Development Projects, we decided it was time to take the next step.
The vision for job creation had to be explored in a second community in need. East Palo Alto was on our hearts. Although no longer the US murder capital, East Palo Alto is plagued with generational poverty, a poor education system, and major economic challenges. After two fundraising events we are ready to start our first two businesses, EPAMade and EPAShop. The last step was getting official non-profit and tax exempt status.
We've completed this milestone which solidifies the foundation for the start of our venture into East Palo Alto. I do hope you join with us on this journey!
- Allen Lu
South Bay Launch Party November 15 2014
Finding a space in EPA October 19 2014
Housing prices are skyrocketing in the Silicon Valley. Rich folks from overseas are buying properties in East Palo Alto for investment while the local residents are losing their homes that they can no longer afford.
In the midst of all this, we started praying for a space, knowing that it would take a miracle to find something within our budget.
In August 2014, we met Ben & Kat who had just purchased a property in East Palo Alto and were looking for someone to rent the extra space. We told them about EPAMade, and guess what Ben & Kat said? "You guys can use the garage and another roofed area for a small rent fee if you are willing to clean and fix them." Wow, what a generous offer! We almost cried.
On October 19, 2014 we cleaned up the space with the help of many kind friends who love East Palo Alto.
It's still in progress, but we are now a step closer to seeing our dream come true!
SF Launch Party October 18 2014
Mother's Day Pop Up [photos] April 30 2014
We're having a pop up shop at 2 locations on Mother's day.
Come on by and shop to support the young mothers in EPA!
May 11 Sunday
Let hope rise in EPA March 24 2014
"At the Jubilee it shall revert.
You shall not wrong one another, but fear your God, for I am the Lord your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
And if your brother has become poor and his hand wavers [from poverty, sickness, or age and he is unable to support himself], then you shall uphold (strengthen, relieve) him, [treating him with the courtesy and consideration that you would] a stranger or a temporary resident with you, so that he may live [along] with you."
- Leviticus 25