Starting from Scratch

Posted by Shalynne Haas on

I wanted to share a little behind the scenes perspective on why I'm pursuing this profession and how I got here to this point of starting up my own Creative Reuse business. It's a story, so get comfy...Thanks so much for being here :)

When I was a wee freshman in college at UNT taking my basics, I was struggling to decide which degree to pursue. I was so fortunate to receive scholarships and grants to pay for school - otherwise I may not have gone at all... so I chose a direction that I thought would make me the happiest, and that direction was Art and Design. I started in Communication Design and it quickly became apparent that I was not made for graphic design or the extremely competitive nature of the program. So I switched to Interdisciplinary Art and Design studies and it was a great match! I was able to try out lots of different studio classes and mediums - drawing, watercolor painting, ceramics etc. as well as a bunch of cool art history courses and some that focused on Art as therapy and communication tools for kids. I didn't know what I wanted to do or "be" with my art degree, but I knew it was important for me to have a creative outlet in my work, whatever it would be. 

I'm passionate about the healthy development and well-being of children. I deeply believe in the phrase that children are the future (duh) and their innocence and excitement and wonder for life should be nurtured and taken care of. I know how much creating art and crafting as a kid - and being provided the materials and freedom to do so - made a positive impact in my younger years. After being in school for my first couple of years and learning more about myself and what I wanted to do, I decided to begin looking for opportunities to volunteer or participate in events and things that would give me more experience with kids outside of babysitting, which I did throughout high school. 

Here enters SCRAP! Ya'll I was so extremely excited to find this place. It opened in Denton in 2012, the year before I graduated and I KNEW it was my opportunity to "try on" a career that focused on children and art. I began volunteering shortly after it opened, made some amazing creative connections, and the beginning of my love affair with Creative Reuse was born... the concept of a thrift store specifically for arts and craft supplies was mind-blowing. And in addition to the store, they had classes, workshops and camps for kids. I volunteered for events running a table for Make-and-Take crafts, and helped with summer camps and birthday parties. It was a terrific introduction to Creative Reuse and I gained a lot of great experience hanging out with the kiddos. 

Flash forward a couple years and I finally secured a paid position as a Reuse Specialist (a cashier, I was a cashier). But a couple of months later, our Education Coordinator moved on to a public teaching job, and that role needed to be filled. So you bet your butt I stepped up and thrived in that role! After 2 years in that position, there were some life changes and a need for more money (womp womp). So I took a hiatus from working at SCRAP only to come back a year later as the Donations Manager and THEN ALSO the Volunteer Coordinator. I still love working with children, but I found firmer footing in my new roles (cause I really like talking to adults too haha) and just really connected with "the stuff". I loooove organizing, categorizing, merchandising etc. and I really shined as the Donations Manager (or garage troll as I liked to call it :) ) Unfortunately, and this is a BIG unfortunately, SCRAP Denton didn't survive the pandemic, and I spent my last week of work liquidating everything and closing down the shop before my cross country move to Boise, ID.  

When I got to Boise, I got a job as an Office Manager for a really neat B certified, natural spring water company and gained more experience than I could have anticipated. I learned how to operate a fork-lift ya'll. And also Quickbooks.

Unfortunately, again, I had to aid in liquidating and shutting that business down too. Ugh covid.. 

But it forced me into a corner where I really had to look at my life and say WHAT DO I WANT? WHAT SHOULD I DO? WHO EVEN AM I? I've never been driven by money though I know it's necessary, and I honestly just don't like to work haha. So I knew I needed to figure out something that would fill my pocketbook AND my soul. And amongst all the brain spinning, I had a conversation with a friend that sent me the epiphany I needed. When was I most at peace with the work that I was doing? What job have I had that I didn't dread going to every day? What was I constantly talking about or sharing with others? Ding ding ding! CREATIVE REUSE! 

And so, in April of the year 2021, in conjunction with the full moon in Aries (yes, I am an astrology loving, tarot card reading, crystal toting, practitioner of the mystic arts - hence the name and logo I've chosen to represent my brand) I made the decision - I will start my own Creative Reuse center in Boise! 

So here we are. In these baby stages. Making it happen. 

My whole life, I've grown up shopping at Goodwill, garage sales and other thrift stores for clothes and such; and I always loved the thrill of the find. I was also shopping second-hand out of necessity though because we didn't have a lot of money. But it wasn't until I found SCRAP that the sustainability aspect of it really clicked and hit home too. And now I buy practically everything second-hand - or at least start my search there - not because I have to for lack of funds (though saving money is always cool), but because engaging in the Circular Economy is THE WAY TO GO for a more sustainable future. And arts and craft supplies need an avenue in the second-hand stream. There are many amazing creative reuse shops and centers around the country and I believe there should be many more! There's definitely enough stuff to go around..  

Sustainability, accessibility, community and creativity are the ingredients that make up Cat's Eye Creative Reuse. I want everyone to be able to buy art supplies and express themselves creatively. I want the community I live in to benefit from this kind of resource and connect through shared passions. Like, I seriously give a sh*t about this!  

I could go on... I'm very excited. But I'll save some things for future posts :) 

If you've taken the time to read this and get to know my journey more, you are so special to me! Thank you thank you thank you. 



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