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Getting to Know Callie’s Coffee: A Q&A with Callie’s Dad

At zulily, the imaginations of kids inspire us every day. So when we heard about Callie, a little girl who at just 7 years old came up with an idea to start a coffee company to benefit childhood cancer research, we just knew we had to share her story and her coffee with our customers. We spoke with Callie’s dad, Ryan Lentz, about Callie’s Coffee, a Seattle-based company which gives 100% of profits to the Ben Towne Foundation, a cause that we support as a company. You can purchase Callie’s Coffee for a limited time on zuilly. For more about making Callie’s Coffee part of your morning routine see http://vimeo.com/106194338

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Tell us about inspiration behind Callie’s Coffee?

Callie’s coffee was inspired by my daughter Callie when she was seven years old.  Our very close family friends lost their son Ben to an incurable neuroblastoma.  Our family had been witness to this completely unimaginable suffering and loss. And when something that can’t be happening actually happens, it has tremendous ripple effects.

The effect on Callie was that she needed to do something about it.  Just like a kid, right.  It wasn’t ok to just go forward, she needed to help.  So she came to me one day and told me she had this great idea to start a company.  She had noticed all adults drink coffee so she thought that would be a pretty good thing to sell.  She also said she wasn’t really interested in setting up a stand, like she and her brothers would sometimes do selling lemonade.  This time she wanted to start her business on Facebook.  Finally, she told me she would take all of the money she made and give it to Ben Towne Foundation, the pediatric cancer research foundation Ben’s parents had started in his honor. 

What did you think when Callie first started talking to you about her idea?

At the very beginning I was kind of humoring Callie.  We take walks together and Callie likes to talk to me about what’s on her mind.  So this time,  I thought she was dreaming up some scheme to make money so she could buy a roomful of American Girl dolls.  So I asked her what she was going to do with all the money she was going to make.  When she told me her plan to give everything to Ben Towne Foundation, it really stopped me in my tracks.  Right away, I knew this was something I would help her do.  It was the right thing to do. 

What has been the most rewarding part of starting Callie’s Coffee?

There have been multiple rewards.  We started Callie’s coffee as a family project and Mollie and I have had a lot of fun, and made some great memories with our three kids throughout this whole thing.  Then people began to respond to what we were doing, and that includes people we had never met before, living in far away places!  It was rewarding to think we might be able to make a real impact with Callie’s idea.  If we got enough people to join us, and just change the kind of coffee they drink, together we might be able to create an ongoing, sustainable source of funding for research.  Ben Towne Foundation is responsible for bringing some leading doctors to Seattle, and they truly are changing the way pediatric cancers are treated and cured.  It is incredibly rewarding to be a small part of their work.

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Perhaps most surprising is how personally rewarding this experience has been.  I set out to do something with my daughter, hoping we might do some good and teach her a few things at the same time.  But working to start Callie’s coffee has ended up changing me.  It is the first time I have truly been working for something that matters.  That aspect took me completely by surprise. 

What makes Callie’s Coffee so unique?

At Callie’s Coffee we work really hard to make sure we deliver a great product that gives to critical research being done right here in our own city (Seattle), and for the benefit of kids everywhere.  We know how seriously people take their coffee.  It’s a requirement that ours be best in class.  At the same time, Callie’s coffee gives people an accessible, everyday way to make an important impact for a cause that truly matters. 

Less than 5% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget goes to childhood cancer research.  That means funding to change the way pediatric cancers are treated and cured will not happen unless private philanthropy steps in.  Callie’s wraps giving into something many people do every day – drink great coffee.  By making it a part of that small daily ritual, we hope to invite many, many people in.  Together we can impact many lives.     

What’s in the future for Callie’s Coffee?

Our primary focus will always be to attract more and more people to Callie’s Circle – the group of people who have chosen to get their coffee delivered to their doorstep every month, so that their daily cup gives.  We have also found many businesses interested in switching to Callie’s.  It’s a pretty great way to bring giving to the front lines of a company’s culture – where it isn’t about writing a check once a year, or about a decision made behind closed doors.  This kind of corporate giving invites all employees, clients and stakeholders in because they literally participate in it.

One of the things we are most excited about this coming year is launching our kids 4 kids program.  Callie’s was started by a seven year old to help children with cancer.  So it seems natural to open things up so that other kids and their families can get involved.  We have started piloting this program and the kids have been amazing.  It is very moving to watch a young person take action and then realize that it really is possible for them to make an impact, even as a kid. 

Why did you decide to work with zulily?

zulily is a phenomenal company that has obviously been highly successful, broadly disrupting the category.  So I admire them as a business.  I also believe our brands speak to the same customer.  But the primary reason we are so thrilled to work with zulily is their dedication to giving, and in particular, their support of Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research.  Like us, zulily has recognized the critical work being pioneered in kids’ cancer research here in Seattle and the imperative to fund this work, so that we might progress toward a world without childhood cancer.

In Callie’s own words, what is your favorite part about Callie’s Coffee?

“My favorite part about doing Callie’s Coffee has been being able to give lots of checks to Mr & Mrs. Towne for the foundation.  I also have really liked to do really fun things with my dad and meeting really really nice people”.  I really love to get the nice notes and emails from people all over the place who say that they love our coffee and tell their friends about Callie’s.  People have been so nice and I think my favorite part about doing Callie’s Coffee is being able to give money to help other kids and the people.  Those are my favorite things about Callie’s Coffee”.  – Callie 

Brighten Up Your Space with These Lighting Tips

The right lighting can make a world of difference in a room. Just a few updates to your lighting and your space can look like new. Our buyers have put together some tips and a week of lighting events to help you brighten up your place. Check back all week for a new lighting event.

Chandeliers and Pendants

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Wrap chandeliers in ivy, silk flowers, raffia or other mixed media for a unique twist on this classic fixture. (zulily.com)

Table Lamps

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Use colored light bulbs to instantly accent the mood of your space (zulily.com-starts 9/21)

Kids Lighting

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Playful lamps encourage a soothing space for reading and relaxing before bed. Goodnight Moon has never been more fun! (zulily.com-starts 9/17)

Outdoor Lighting

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Use string lights and hanging lanterns to create the perfect porch, patio, fire pit or walkway for all your outdoor get-togethers. (zulily.com-starts 9/19)

Lamp Shade

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How to measure for a lampshade:

  1. Select a coordinated base and shade that share similar silhouettes (i.e. round bases work best with round shades).
  2. Measure height of the lamp base and diameter of the shade. The shade’s diameter should be less than the height of the base.

For drama, use contrasting silhouettes or an oversized shade. (zulily.com-starts 9/21)

Ideas for Happy Hour Hosting

Just in time to factor in to your Friday night plans, we have some tips, tricks and products to help you host the perfect happy hour. Can you say, wine and cheese please?

Put together an incredible cheese plate. Nuts and Bolts provides some great tips: http://zuli.ly/YBjZsX

Use a slate serving board so you can label your appetizers (zulily.com)

Try serving a beer flight to accommodate a variety of tastes (zulily.com)

Pour a signature cocktail like this Pear and Thyme Fizz from Camille Styles: http://zuli.ly/1uy719V

Try stemless wine glasses instead of traditional stemware (zulily.com)

Leftover wine post-happy hour? Pour it into ice cube trays to save for cooking or just to keep your sangria cold. See more tips from Wine Ponder:http://zuli.ly/1qKZswu

Funny Video Wednesday: Dad and Daughter Dance!

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Need a little boost to get you over the hump this Wednesday? Lucky for you, we’re starting Funny Video Wednesday. Check back every Wednesday to see what we’ve found on the web that week. This week, we’ve got what must be the best dad ever, dancing with his daughter to “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift. Now doesn’t that just make you smile?

5 Ways to Make Bedtime Easier

We’ve all played the bedtime dance with our kids. Put them in bed, they come out, put them in bed, they come out again, repeat. To help ease those bedtime frustrations and ensure everyone, even you, gets to sleep, try out one of these five ways to make bedtime easier. 

Keep monster spray handy in case of middle-of-the-night scares. Free printable from PINTRIEDIT:http://zuli.ly/Zg02I1

Get your little one a stuffed animal they can keep with them every night for comfort (zulily.com)

Calm down before bed with quiet time activities. 13 awesome ideas from Kids Activities Blog: http://zuli.ly/1tIgj5e

Put a spin on the bedtime reading with personalized stories (zulily.com)

Create a nighttime ritual and stick to it! You may even want to create a checklist. Or get a free checklist like this one from Get Snazzy: http://zuli.ly/1lTXk5x

Our Favorite Vitamix Recipes

We all love freshly-made home cooked meals, but who really has the time? We’ll let you in on our little secret, mom’s helper in the kitchen, the Vitamix. Say bye to chopping, dicing and blending and hello to healthy meals in a breeze. We’ve got them for a limited time only for only $299 plus free shipping. To get you inspired to use your new Vitamix, we’ve got our favorite recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and anything in between.

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Vitamix granola bars (a great work snack): http://zuli.ly/1ok0iLG

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Glowing green smoothie (get your veggies!): http://zuli.ly/1Ar8dwx

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Corn chowder: http://zuli.ly/1tF5d0Y

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Crab cakes: http://zuli.ly/1lNFcK4

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Jalapeno corn bread (spicy!): http://zuli.ly/1s3R8YK

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Chocolate ice cream (yes, really, ice cream): http://zuli.ly/1lNFel7

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Whole fruit margarita: http://zuli.ly/1s3RjU3

Countdown to TOMS – a Behind-the-Scenes Look

We can’t wait for TOMS to be back on zulily Tuesday 9/9!  Get the first look and see behind-the-scenes at the TOMS photo shoot on Mercer Island, WA. (Remember, LOVE the brand for a reminder: http://zuli.ly/Z91eNq)

HINT: Shop before everyone else on 9/8! Just download the zulily app AND turn on push notifications to get early access on Monday afternoon: http://zuli.ly/1qlPJMQ. 

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Behind the Scenes: On the Hunt for Product in Brooklyn

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At zulily, our buyers are constantly on the hunt for new and unique products to introduce to you. On one recent trip to New York, Sharon Pacaldo from our DIY team crossed the bridge to Brooklyn to see what’s new and exciting in the artisan hub. Stopping first at Brooklyn Flea, one of the most renowned flea markets in the country, Sharon found all sorts of new and novel products. She then headed over to the hip and industrial neighborhood of Dumbo to find inspirations at the specialty retail shops throughout this trend mecca. Take a look at some of Sharon’s favorite finds from her trip.

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Brooklyn Flea operates flea markets every weekend of the year, featuring hundreds of local artisans and designers.

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Jack from Art on Post-its, creates works of art with his sketches of homes, pets, people, autos, landscapes and more on Post-its.

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Susannah Tisue, founder of SKT Ceramics, creates whimsical pieces of pottery from their studio.

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These expertly-crafted canvas bags come from Brooklyn’s Bittle & Burley.

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Hand printed, one of a kind canvas designs from Sheepshead Design.

Top Five Fall Must-Haves for Girls

Updating your little girl’s wardrobe for the fall can be a bit overwhelming. So much to choose from and she must have it all! But fret no more because we’ve got the scoop on the top five fall must-haves that she’s gotta have. 

1. Infinity Scarves

Mom’s favorite accessory is now miniaturized.

 

Mint & Gray Ancient Horse Infinity Scarf, $7.99

2. Harem Pants

Everything old is new again.

Royal Blue & Orange Geometric Harem Pants, $9.99

3. Leggings

Find them in bright, geometric and tribal patterns.

Black & White Geometric Legging, $9.99

4. Tops

With heart and skull accents in lace and glitter, of course.

Periwinkle Lace Skull Crewneck Tee, $9.99

5. Jean Vests

Remind you of a time in your life?

Black Acid Wash Denim Vest, $15.99

Design Inspiration: Happy Home

Bright and inspirational pieces set the scene for one of our favorite décor styles, the Happy Home. Color, vintage-inspired design and lots of charm are the signatures of this style. Whether picking up one piece to add to a room or redoing your entire home, we’ve got some tips on how to bring this style to your abode.

Dining

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Here’s what you need to get the look:

  • Mix and match patterned plates and bowls
  • Glasses in assorted colors
  • Brightly colored napkins and placemats that pop

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Family Room

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Here’s what you need to get the look:

  • Inspirational canvases
  • Accent pieces and furniture in bright hues
  • Pillows that brighten up a room with fun sayings

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Playroom

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Here’s what you need to get the look:

  • Brightly-colored bean bag chairs
  • Have some fun with bright and cheery wall art
  • Function and whimsy with a playful side-lamp
  • Mix and match floral and patterned frames

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