We have been extremely frugal and economically cautious as one can be in starting our business. We have taken every project on one at a time, reinvesting every dollar that came through the door. We wore every hat, worked every role, without even pulling a salary yet - in order to minimize our debts and be able to pay our staff as high as possible. We thought we had prepared for everything, and had a rainy day fund to pull from for slower months. AND THEN the world turned upsidedown. I had never even heard of the word Coronavirus before February. And on March 16th, we were forced to close our doors on state mandate for social distancing. We paused all of our memberships as many in our community are struggling just as much. Currently the only revenue coming in is from donations for our livestream yoga classes on social media and prepaid gift certificates for future services - which is clearly not a sustainable financial plan to hold us over until this passes and our local economy strengthens once again.
We've pride ourselves in being able to say we self-funded our life's dream project. To say we did what others considered impossible. I thought we had overcome the hardest part of this journey. But now realize THIS by far is the hardest part. Asking for help. Asking for money! These are things we were taught never to do by our parents. We were taught to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and work our asses off until we bettered our situation. But there in lies the problem .. we can’t work! I now realize this is as far we can go it alone, as far as our dignified work ethic can take us .. and it’s time to ask for help. We would appreciate any bit of it, any share or mention of our story, any thought, any prayer, any dollar amount will so deeply be appreciated.
A little bit about our journey:
There was a night over a decade ago, Daniela and I were lying in bed having one of our many sister pillow therapy sessions, talking about how tired we were of watching our family struggle. Of seeing the people we loved the most stressed, overwhelmed and falling apart. Of watching our parents damn near work themselves to the bone to just simply survive.
We come from an immigrant family of some of the hardest working, honest and selfless people you’ll ever meet. People that live with integrity and would give the shirt off their backs to help someone in need. But we were ALL broke and broken! What the hell were we supposed to do?
We were told the poor can’t help the poor. You’ve got to make your moves in life and take care of YOU. The objective being - get out of the hood as best you can.
We’ve spent our whole lives witnessing what social and economic disparities have done to our community and lived it first hand. Watching everyone around us get sick and sicker.. working themselves to death LITERALLY. Cancer, chronic disease, mental illness.. trauma runs deep in our family - and deep in our hood. Daniela and I made a promise to each other that one day we would create a wellness center for our community- a place where ALL people of ALL backgrounds and abilities were welcomed with open arms. The mission of our center would be making a path of healing and wellness accessible to ALL PEOPLE (regardless of abilities, age, race, religion, gender identity and most importantly, socio-economic status) and no one would be turned away. The Wild Plum was born that night in our hearts - though we had NO IDEA how we would make it happen! We didn’t have money nor did we come from it. We knew bringing an investor on would mean profit would have to be at the top of the priority list. But we were trying to bring ETHICS into the business equation - and make IT our driving force.
Well here we are.. almost two years in to the biggest project of our lives thus far. Learning and doing everything humanely possible to build our Wellness Center on our own, with the limited resources we had. We didn't have much money but we had a lot of family and a whole lot of grit. Everyone pitched in. We watched YouTube videos, we drew our own blueprint because we couldn't afford an architect, we hung drywall, we grinded and stained concrete, we painted 3,000 sqft of wallspace, we laid flooring, we tiled our bathroom, we took every business workshop we could at the SBA, we read and researched until our eyes gave out. This while working full time and raising children, myself a single mother. We poured our heart and soul and every penny in our pockets to get these doors open.
We asked with humility and immense gratitude, for your help to keep them open.
Alexandra and Daniela Del Gaudio
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