One of the tasks that I decided to delegate was the wedding cake topper. My best friends Rach & Christin took on the task. Rach found a handmade nest made with recycled materials and Christin was tasked with finding two birds to go in the nest.
In her search, Christin discovered the BirdProject. Founded by Tippy Tippens, BirdProject grew from Tippy's desire to help the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill. So, she moved down from New York to see how she could use her design background to make a difference. She then began the bird project- sculpting birds from Louisiana clay, and then covering them in black soap made by Sweet Olive Soap Works. The premise being that as you clean your clay bird, your little bird helps to clean you.
Gulf Restoration Network and International Bird Rescue. Also, the soap is vegan friendly and made with fair trade olive oil, glycerin, aloe, cypress scent, and activated black charcoal.
Once the soap is washed away, a small sculpture remains to “remind you of the natural world that still needs our help post-oil spill.” Sooo creative, right? I was super impressed by the concept and by the fact that my bestie Christin was able to find the BirdProject and even more impressed that she realized that the birds (minus the soap) would be great cake toppers!
Christin contacted Tippy because she wanted to buy just the birds and she didn’t feel right buying and wasting the soap. Tippy was eager to help with the charitable cake topper mission and actually donated two of her “prototype birds.” Since they were originals, I’m sure they were near and dear to Tippy’s heart, so I’d like to extend an extra big thanks to her. They've found a good home with us now :)
temporary tattoos and an uber soft BirdProject bamboo wash cloth featuring the project's trademark blue and black birds, which I carried as my something blue. All these items would make great bridesmaid and hostess gifts too!
The tattoos were a big hit at the wedding...
especially among the bridal party!
You can buy your own lovebirds, soaps, tattoos, and more online or at participating retailers in New Orleans, New York and beyond. More details are also available at Matter Design for Social Change, the parent company of the Bird Project.
Tippy launched Matter Design For Social Change as a low-profit limited liability company (L3C). L3C’s are a legal form of business entity in the United States that were created to bridge the gap between non-profit and for-profit investing by providing a structure that facilitates investments in socially beneficial, for-profit ventures while simplifying compliance with IRS rules for program related investments. In other words, L3C’s are small businesses that give back with creative solutions and projects. There are currently only 10 L3C's in Louisiana. Matter has just launched Rabbits for Reading, like the Bird Project, Rabbits for Reading uses tiny critters to promote a cause- only this time it’s literacy.
The Rabbits for Reading product is a napkin that folds into a Rabbit Puppet, or a “Rabbkin.” Twenty percent of profits from this project go to STAIR, a New Orleans based tutoring group that helps elementary school students succeed. The students involved with STAIR are in danger of academic failure and need this extra help to succeed. New Orleans' literacy rate is startling at a rate near 50%, with 1 out of 10 students graduating high school.
For this new product for social change, Tippy has teamed up with Cécile Thalmann and Adel Kassem, friends and designers based in Milano, Italy. Matter will create an initial “herd” of 500 Rabbkins in New Orleans, printed by Purple Monkey with eco-inks on fair trade cotton. If these sell well, the project will expand across the Atlantic and 20% will be donated to a correlating group in Italy as well.
As you can see, I underestimated my friends! It turns out that one of the most delightful (and unexpected) parts of the wedding experience was seeing how our nearest and dearest worked to support our mission. I never would have had such a perfect cake topper if it hadn't been for Rachael's sage advice or Christin's awesomeness and endless creativity. So, if you are feeling like you are the only one who can do it all, I hope you'll remember my happy helper birds :)