Guest Author and Bettendorf mom of four, Sandi Schrag recently sat down with Carrie Paschke to discuss her local business, Furnish Out. If you’re not familiar with this unique handmade furniture and home accessories business, mark your calendars and visit their next sale on August 24th & 25th, right here in Bettendorf!
Sandi Schrag: What exactly is Furnish Out?
Carrie Paschke: Furnish Out is a local business that exists to help fund a charity. Essentially, I travel to China one to two times per year and purchase handmade furniture and accessories from local artisans. Those items are then shipped to the US where we make them available to people here through a weekend sale, like a trunk show. After each sale, we keep enough of the money to cover the cost of the next round of furniture which is what makes the business sustainable.
We donate all of the profits to China Hope Foundation, which is a 501c3 run by some dear friends of ours working to care for orphaned children in China. I do not take any administrative fees for my work, nor do our friends who run China Hope, so every penny of the $61,000 we’ve donated to-date has gone directly to the children who need it.
SS: What inspired you to start this business?
CP: Our family spent 3 years living in China where I volunteered at a local foster home, and where I met and got to know the local artisans that I work with today. When we returned to the US, we felt led to do something useful to give back to the community that had so kindly embraced us during our time living there. It was through prayer and conversation that we landed on this idea to start a sustainable business that serves to not only provide financially for orphaned children in need, but also serves to support local artisans and provide people in the States with a unique furniture or accessory item for their home.
There’s nothing inherently ‘new’ about a business that supports a charity. I really just see myself as a link in a chain. It’s exciting to be a part of something that hopefully has been a blessing, and will continue to be a blessing, to some very deserving groups of people.
SS: Are these pieces all antiques?
CP: The furniture items are either genuinely old, anywhere from 50 to over 100 years, or newly constructed but made using reclaimed wood. The accessories, with few exceptions, are authentic antique pieces gathered from various places inside China.
SS: What is the most rewarding part of operating Furnish Out?
CP: It is very rewarding to be able to give money to China Hope Foundation to help support the orphaned children they serve each day. It is also very rewarding to help support the local Chinese artisans by paying them a fair price for their hard work. None of this would be possible though without the many family, friends and organizations that generously give of their time, talents and resources to help us do what we do. So I would have to say the most rewarding part is being able to serve alongside the wonderful people the Lord has placed in our path who play such an integral role in making this all happen.
For more information on Furnish Out, visit furnishout.com .
Mark your calendars for the next sale on Aug. 24th & 25th, 8am-4pm, at 2314 Spruce Hills Dr, Cumberland Square, in Bettendorf.
A special ‘thank you’ to our friends at Mel Foster for providing us with this great location!
Sandi Schrag has been married to her husband Kevin for over 16 years. Both originally from Kansas, they now live in Bettendorf. Sandi’s a stay-at-home mom to Emma (12), Adri (7), and twins Ian and Elli (3). When she’s not busy with her kids, she enjoys running, reading, relaxing with her family, cleaning/organizing, and traveling to new places. Sandi is the 14th of 15 children so she loves being with people… mostly!
Carrie is a native Texan, small-business owner and mom of 3 children ages 14, 12 and 8. She’s been married to her husband, Dan, for 18 years and his career has moved them everywhere from Raleigh to Beijing. They lived in the Quad Cities for 4 years before relocating to Kansas City where they currently reside with their kids and their Siberian Husky named Scout.
Carrie loves comedies starring Melissa McCarthy, anything having to do with Texas A&M, and traveling to new places with her family. She has a strange addiction to chapstick, and a secret hatred for both theme parks and cats.