Earlier this year I was invited to be a Brand Ambassador for the Snow Leopard Trust. Running a business takes a lot of time. And like most entrepreneurs, I don’t have a lot of extra time. Between the kids, and water polo practice and the business and high tide, this lady is pulled in a lot of directions. But something stopped me in my tracks unexpectedly this year... it was Snow Leopard tracks! I didn’t see it coming. No one ever sees the Snow Leopard coming..this is very, very typical of this beautiful creature. Here's how it all happened: I was at HPMKT last April (2019) and I saw a gentleman gingerly floating around the outskirts of my showroom. He was quiet, unassuming, and I say this with my warmest heart - he reminded me of my favorite science teacher in high school. The one that made things explode, and bubble over.. I said hello and invited him to come in and look around. That was a moment that changed the course of my year. On my intention board for 2019 I had written: Use my Platform for Good. Products with Intention. And at this point, I will formally thank the universe for delivering.
The thing is, Snow Leopards don’t buy things, they don’t decorate, and the people that are in the field are not my exact target demographic. This was an opportunity, a challenge to share the importance of protecting, guarding beautiful creatures in danger on our planet. We have voices. We make decisions as makers and as consumers and this was an opportunity to use that collective power for good. So Design Tribe, I call on you to join our army of fabulousness.
It’s an alliance that is purely for giving back. Our brand makes things and sells things. We bring things to market with intention. This year, we begin by creating products that have the power to support good causes. It’s kind of exciting and I can’t wait to see where this goes.
I started with the leopard print shown here.
click here to book an appt with aviva at High Point Furniture Market
And yes! It was selected for TRENDWATCH! Hooray! We will be launching this at the upcoming High Point Market. We are now working to put these new designs up on our website and part of the sales will go toward supporting the Snow Leopard Trust.
Click here to go to website.
By the way, we just had our annual dinner last weekend. I stayed in the most adorable Airbnb that the trust organized for me. It turned out to be an artist home - (thank you again universe!) and I was in a cute house filled with paintings, brushes, and color test… so essentially, I felt right at home.
I painted at the Seattle zoo by the Snow Leopard area for all the patrons and guest that were attending the annual fundraiser. The cute thing was is that the zoo was closed for this special event. We were like VIP at the Seattle Zoo! Just us and the penguins and snow leopards, and the rest of the animals.... how amazing is that?? And there I was.. painting!
We had dinner, a silent auction, and we roared. It’s a powerful thing to have a room filled with voices and hearts that have one objective: to save something beautiful. And in this case, I think we can all agree that the snow leopard is a sight to behold. And with all our combined efforts we raised over $150,000. Hooooray again!
Shannon Koszyk, Robyn Barfood and a beautiful volunteer
Snow Leopard Trust Ambassador
Personal and Professional Coach
Wildlife Consultant and Educator
"Save the tiger, save the World"
AS: How did we meet?
RB: We met at the Snow Leopard Trust main office in Seattle. You were visiting to discuss being a Brand Ambassador for the Trust. Being an educational and awareness Ambassador for the Trust myself, I was excited to meet you! A few staff members and board members and I invited you out to lunch and that is when we figured out that we were "Snow Leopard Besties!" Crazy awesome fun conversation ensued and we realized that we are members of the same tribe.
AS: Why are we hanging out right now ( at the dinner?)
RB: We are hanging out right now at the Woodland Park Zoo attending the Fall Dinner fundraising event for the Snow Leopard Trust. The Trust is dedicated to conserving and preserving snow leopards in the wild through innovative and creative efforts that promote the coexistence of snow leopards and humans. The Trust is a non-profit organization and was named one of the top charities of 2018 by Charity Navigator. We are here to help promote awareness of this magnificent animal and raise funds to continue the amazing work done by the Trust. You are being ever-so-fabulous and doing real-time art for the guests to witness and bid on later! And of course, there are sparkles involved via shimmering gold flakes fluttering around and landing onto the paint. Together, we are shining bright, as two snow leopard besties do, and empower guests to be part of saving the gorgeous snow leopard from extinction.
Salem, the snow leopard Ms. Robyn works with at the Wild Felid Advocacy Center in WA. (a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to being a sanctuary for exotic/wild cats)
AS: why snow leopards?
RB: Why snow leopards? Have you seen them?!? They are gorgeous!! So fluffy and those striking blue/green/grey eyes?!?!? Too captivating for words. And that tail!!! As long as their bodies, super fluffy and it keeps them toasty warm as they wrap it around themselves like a scarf. But, besides all of that amazingness, it is because they are an apex predator and important to the balance in nature. There are only between 4,500-6,000 left in the wild, so we need to continue our noble work and make sure they do not disappear from the ecosystem where they play an intricate role. And simply, why NOT snow leopards?
Bayara Agvaantseren, Director of Mongolia's Snow Leopard program and founded Mongolia's first dedicated snow leopard conservation NGO.
She co-founded our Snow Leopard Enterprises handicraft program and led efforts to create the Tost Nature Reserve--Mongolia's first Protected Area for snow leopards (an accomplishment which won her the 2019 Goldman Environmental Prize). I was lucky enough to interview Ms. Bayara and learn more:
AS: May I ask you to introduce yourself
AS: What do you do as the snow leopard trust foundation?
BA: I work as a country program director in Mongolia. And I also act as Executive Director of the snow leopard foundation in Mongolian NGO. And for people that might not be familiar with snow leopards and the organization
AS: How could somebody be most impactful for your organization
BA: Yes, it starts with small things. You can share information on snow leopards.Because there is so little information out there about these beautiful animals that are endangered and very rare. The other thing I would like to say to people is to be conscious of wildlife-related products and another thing people can help us is to support us and donate to us and what we do so we can make great things in the field.
Ms. Bayara in the field
AS: What do you see that American women and women in your country have in common
BA: We see things very clearly I would say. And because we are mothers we just feel more responsibility and we see the future.
AS: If somebody is on their journey and they don't quite see the exact path, what is a bit of advice for them when they are fighting for something? Something difficult - as you have fought for.
BA: I would just like to suggest to them to believe in themselves and what they are doing. And it will come out. And make alliances as you can. Like we have done here.
AS: Would you be open to me to come visit you in your country?
BA: Yes, of course, we would love to have you.
AS: May I take a picture with you? We are wearing the same type of shirt!
AS: Thank you for coming to the United States to share your words I appreciate you taking the time to share with us.
Click here to shop Snow Leopard pillows at Aviva Stanoff use code sparkletunity15 - a percentage of all sales go toward supporting the Snow Leopard Trust
Every day is an opportunity to do good. Doors open up when you give. I did not think I had time for more. But I did. As soon as I made time, I realized I suddenly made some new amazing sparkly-eyed friends - they are filled with purpose, inspiration, and are heroic in their relentless gentle fight to save these beautiful creatures. I feel in a very small way, I am helping. I have joined an army of fabulousness. You can join us you know. It's super easy. We come in peace, but we are fierce, strong, and gentle all at the same time. You can be part of the fight. Your one small effort of caring, adopting, donating, can be very, very powerful and impactful on this beautiful planet. Join us - together brighter.
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