It has been 7 years...
Now that we have met and exceeded our original goal of funding Resmi and Jasper to attend school, we have wrapped up Jackets for Jasper retail sales. Other than bulk orders for teams and organizations, we have closed up shop. (Why?)
We want to share our accomplishments - none of which we could have achieved without the tremendous and unwavering support of the J4J Village - our customers and donors who have made this entire journey possible.
We are excited to share some of the most interesting or quirkier facts and stats!
14 Children Sponsored
It started with Resmi in November, 2011, when we agreed to sponsor her education at the end of our 2-month trip in Nepal.
Then, Jasper was born in 2012 and we knew we wanted to sponsor him too. We created Jackets for Jasper to help us fundraise so that we could meet the financial requirements of the lifetime educations for these two children.
In 2015, Jasper's parents brought Komol, Jasper's cousin, into their family after a family tragedy. And then there were 3! And our J4J Village came through, and we were able to secure funding for his education, too.
In 2017 we partnered with Her International so that we could fund Nepali girls in a remote part of Nepal to attend school. Since then, we have committed to funding the lifetime schooling of 11 additional girls.
Together, Jackets for Jasper has funded the lifetime educations of 14 Nepali children. Amazing what quitting your jobs and travelling to Nepal will do to your own life and for a bunch of kids half a world away. Thank you!!
65 Homes Rebuilt
If you have been following our story since 2015, you will recall that during April of that year a series of devastating earthquakes rocked the eastern portion of Nepal.
Of all the families we know - either directly from our travels in Nepal or indirectly through our manufacturer or shipper or families of the people we know - none escaped the destruction and all lost their homes.
Our J4J village immediately stepped up to donate. In the end, together we funded the rebuilding of 65 new homes, the purchase of 100's of blankets, over 2500 kg of food and water and paid for the rebuilding of the roofs of an entire village.... Plus a whole lot of other small stuff that really added up to make a huge difference for the affected families.
We have met the people in Nepal that you helped and we have visited them in their repaired or new homes. It wasn't just houses that were rebuilt, it was hope.
We Manufactured over 6,000 Jackets and Vests!
It started small in 2012 - only 100 jackets in 15 colours. But once the North Shore News published an article about our endeavour, we realized that we needed to make a lot more.
And we did! First we made Women's Embroidered jackets, then we branched out into Hoodies. Then we added an XL and XS size to Women's and Men's.
After 2 challenging years of design and prototyping, we finally manufactured Men's and Women's vests and introduced XXS and XXL sizing.
We also made over 10 custom team orders for BC cross-country ski teams and local businesses.
All together, we manufactured 6,248 jackets and vests! (Well, Rajan and his team manufactured them, to be specific: we barely know how to sew on a button). Every single one of those items was delivered from Nepal to our home, "J4J HQ" and quality-checked before delivery to you.
We Offered An Entire Rainbow
Once we learned that our jackets and vests were being manufactured from roll-ends and remnants (many of them chosen in the dark), rather than suffer from the inability to replicate colours again and again, we celebrated the fact that we could not. We were able to offer hundreds of unique colours!
With any one roll of fabric, we could only ever make between 5 and 40 pieces.
Over the years, we offered our jackets in 54 distinct colour groups, and although you might not have been aware of it, we have used 397 different fabrics to manufacture our colourful jackets.
Excluding the Team orders, the most popular colours were for Women: Turquoise, Black, Royal Purple, Teal and Crimson. For Men, the most popular colours were: Black, Royal Blue, Grey, Navy Blue and Coleman Green.
One of the things that would make us very happy was when we would "nudge" someone away from Black and into a new colour that they'd never tried before: no one ever regretted it and we'll bet it still makes them happy to wear, especially on a grey day.
We Shipped All Over the World
One of the things about evolving into having an online web store is that we were now able to make our jackets available not just here at home in North Vancouver, but also around the world.
With jackets being so light and squishy, the cost to send one overseas was not prohibitive. Our jackets are being worn in Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Within BC, J4J is being worn in some places that some of you may not be as familiar with including Agassiz, Blind Bay, Canoe, Denman Island, Falkland, Grindrod, Heriot Bay, Lund, Mill Bay, Naramata, Okanagan Falls, Pouce Coupe, Quesnel, Rossland, Sointula, Tobiano, Vananda, and Wells. A whole alphabet of BC towns and cities are staying cozy in our jackets.
We are also proud to have shipped our jackets to every single Canadian Province, and the Yukon Territory.
In all, we've counted 159 cities around the world, and we are thrilled that there are people wearing Heart-Warming Down Jackets in so many places.
So Many Volunteers!
Over the course of seven years many people have kindly assisted us. It is not an understatement to say that without all this generous assistance, we could not have kept this business going as long as we did.
Before we made our announcement about our plans to close, we sat down to put together a list of people who had donated their time or who provided us donations-in-kind that helped us run this business from our home. The list kept getting longer and longer!
In the end, we sent thank you cards by mail and email to 165 people that we wanted to especially acknowledge for their assistance (and if we missed you we apologize - and some of you have moved and we got your mail returned to us). We are so grateful for your generosity.
Wow! Those Small "Credit Card Fee Donations" Really Added Up!
Once we started taking orders online through a proper web-store, we were finally able to accept payment by credit card. This made it very much more convenient for you and for us, but we quickly realized how costly convenience is.
At pop-up shops, we brazenly asked customers if they would consider donating $3 to cover the fees we pay to the credit card company for the purchase of one jacket.
Later, on our website, we put in a probably-annoying pop-up to ask the same question about a $4 donation.
Much to our surprise, the overwhelming majority of people opted to donate this small amount, and we are thrilled to report that the total of all these small donations have added up to an amazing sum of money that would have gone to the credit card conglomerates instead of Nepali kids.
With the funds slowly collected over the last 5 years, we have been able to fund the equivalent of an additional 16 person-years of school! So, thanks to all of you who chose to add this little donation to your orders: a little really does go a long way.
A Heart-Felt Thank You
And now as we wind down, we again send a huge thank you to all of you who decided to buy a jacket that could make a difference. As they progress in their education, our goal is to update you throughout the years with how the kids are doing in school and in life (on our website).
The children, their families, the manufacturer and his tailors: they all send their heart-felt thanks to all of you.
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Other interesting tidbits that you may not know or remember...
- 4 J4J customers have hired Kamal as their trekking guide in Nepal!
- In the wake of the Nepali national election in 2015, the border to India was closed in protest to all imports from India. This created a desperate fuel crisis, that prevented the factory from manufacturing for several months
- We funded the conversion of the factory to back-up battery power and low-wattage machines and lights - so they could work even during regular blackouts, called "Load Shedding". (You will be happy to know that the Load-Shedding has now been replaced by reliable power as of 2 years ago - thanks to a newly elected minister who is not corrupt). Rajan no longer needs to rely on a gas-fuelled generator to run his factory.
- Six days before the first earthquake, Kamal (Jasper's Dad) had moved away to Malaysia for work. He was so far away from his family during this crisis and he was being terribly mis-treated and cheated. We had to help him purchase back his passport so that he could break his contract and return to help his family find/make housing 3 months later.
- We were able, with a specific donation from a J4J supporter, to fund the surgery to fix a woman's arm that was crushed in a building collapse in the Langtang Valley.
- With fund from a few very generous and kind donors, we built a sanitary toilet and brought in water to a friend's village after the earthquake - the local spring migrated after the earth-shaking and villagers now had to walk over a kilometre to fetch water.
- One generous person donated funds to purchase livestock in the wake of the earthquake, when our friend's animals were crushed in their shelter. We purchased 2 goats and they have since had babies and more babies, resulting in over 8 more goats! This provides tremendous financial security to the family.