Lifting the Spirit: Community Involvement

DEMDACO colleagues setting up the holiday store at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. Patients get to shop for their parents with “DEMDACO Dollars.”

At DEMDACO, we strive to see business primarily as a human interaction, rather than merely a financial one. That is why our mission is lift the spirit. This perspective shapes us, particularly when it comes to community involvement. For us, community involvement is a part of our “why”, not simply something we’ve been able to do.

Like others, we follow the philosophy that, for a company, profit is like air. We need it to breathe, but it’s not the reason we live. Profit allows a company to invest in itself, and in its community.

DEMDACO colleagues in in our Minneapolis office making blankets for Sharing and Caring Hands, a local nonprofit that helps the homeless.

Community involvement is an important way we measure whether we are lifting spirits. It might be with a financial donation to an organization or a product donation for a fundraising event. It’s also the way our colleagues use their community time off (CTO). Each year, every DEMDACO colleague receives CTO—two paid days off to volunteer at the organization of their choice. It is one of the ways we believe best demonstrates our Lift the Spirit mission. Both the DEMDACO colleague and the organization benefit.

What are some ways you are involved in your community? How are you lifting spirits where you live, work, and play? Please Comment below and start the conversation.

Winter Show Review

(l to r) Paul Morrison, Customer Services Manager; Kerry Cusato, Divisional VP – OneCoast; Frank Davis, VP of Sales; Lance Hart, President

What a wonderful time we had at the winter shows with all of our colleagues, customers and partners! Thank you to everyone who stopped by one of our showrooms at the AmericasMart in Atlanta, the Dallas Market Center in Dallas or the World Market Center in Las Vegas.

Dave Kiersznowski, Owner, offering a toast and thanking everyone at our 20th Anniversary Kickoff.

We kicked things off in Atlanta with a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark our 20th anniversary in the gift industry. In honor of our company mission, we have chosen lift the spirit as our theme for this special celebratory year. That evening, our owner, David Kiersznowski, proposed a toast to our colleagues, customers and partners who have made our 20 years possible. A huge thank you to everyone who joined us. The evening felt like a fun reunion as we celebrated with former colleagues, current and former artists and many others.

Kansas City artist Seth Jones creating art featuring the work of Blood:Water

We’re also grateful to continue our partnership with Blood:Water.  Blood:Water is a U.S. based relief organization that partners with local African organizations to address the HIV/AIDS and water crises.  We currently have a space in our AmericasMart showroom that gives customers a place to rest and be introduced to the work of Blood:Water.  Stop by and visit if you’re there.  AmericasMart Suite 685.

Best Visual Presentation Award in Dallas (l to r) Frank Davis, VP of Sales; Jonathan Jones, Cultural Conversation Leader; Jim Lugannani, VP of Leasing – Dallas Market Center

At the Dallas Market, we were humbled to receive the Best Visual Presentation award presented to exhibitors with fresh, innovative and creative displays.  We have one of the best showroom design teams in the industry and we are grateful for the amazing work they do.

Willow Tree artist, Susan Lordi, signs her piece, For Always.

Although we were welcomed to Las Vegas by rare thunderstorms, that didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits as we finished up the show season at the World Market Center. Our friend and Willow Tree artist, Susan Lordi, was on hand to sign her tender new piece, For Always. Susan is always a highlight of our shows, and we appreciate our customers who waited in line to meet her.

We’re working hard this spring and look forward to seeing everyone at the summer shows!

Lift the Spirit Awards

At DEMDACO, our mission is to lift the spirit.  We strive to do that with our colleagues, partners, and products.  For the past several years we’ve gotten feedback from our OneCoast sales partners on customers who are lifting the spirit in their communities.  At the end of each year we’ve awarded the lift the spirit Award to each of these customers and made a donation to a local charity of their choice.  We are happy to announce the 2016 lift the spirit Award winners.

Please visit these retailers if you live in their area.  🙂

The Cross Eyed Owl in Valatie, NY
The Lighthouse Gift Shop in Seward, AK
Linda’s Halmark in Knoxville, TN
Reny’s in Newcastle, ME
Nemacolin Woodland Resort in Farmington, PA


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Lift the Spirit Cards

card-packetsmWe invite you to share a message to lift a spirit.

We created this little set of cards in the hopes that they would do just that.

The Lift the Spirit cards are hot off the press. We’ve already heard that our friends at the print shop kept a few extras to share with their friends and family. That’s an encouraging sign that they are already out there lifting someone’s spirit.

Our team here at DEMDACO will be posting our experiences in sharing the cards. We hope that you’ll tell us your stories too! Please leave a comment.

Lift the Spirit

by David Kiersznowski, Owner and Chairman

Willow Tree artist Susan Lordi (with her mother) signing product at the Atlanta Gift Show.
Willow Tree artist Susan Lordi (with her mother) signing product at the Atlanta Gift Show.

lift the spirit. It seems like such a simple statement; it’s almost one of those “who could argue against that” types of statements. But in reality, for most of us (myself included), it’s not an easy statement to live out. At its core, the statement “lift the spirit” is about giving. Giving of one’s time, of one’s concern, of one’s care, of one’s love. “Lift the spirit” asks us to forget about our own lives for a bit, and try to somehow make someone else’s life a little better for a moment or a period of time.

At DEMDACO, lift the spirit has been our compass setting for many years. It informs our product development teams as they create gifts for life’s many moments. Products that lift the spirit can do so in both moments of joy and moments of sadness. They can comfort a friend who has recently lost a loved one, and they can celebrate the birth of a new child. Both are moments where we might want to care for someone’s heart and soul.

The Giving Shawl
The Giving Shawl, a giftable hug.

But lift the spirit is not simply a product compass setting for us. It also helps us seek a way of doing business; one that recognizes that business is not simply a financial endeavor. It is first, and foremost, a human endeavor. And so we should care about the nature of our interactions with all of the people we work with, both within our own company and those who are partners from other companies. We should seek a mutuality in our work that promotes flourishing for all.

Ronald McDonald House.
Kansas City colleagues using Community Time Off at the Ronald McDonald House.

The good thing about a compass setting is that it helps you even when you’re not directly on course. The reality for all of us is we tend to wander at times. A good compass setting allows us to recalibrate when we’re off course. That’s what lift the spirit does for my colleagues and me at DEMDACO. We know we make mistakes every day. We know we don’t always treat people as kindly as we should. We don’t show as much care as we should. There are so many ways in which we could be better…could do better. But our tag line, lift the spirit, helps us make daily recalibrations in our world. So while we fail as often as we succeed, we take a bit of comfort in knowing that we believe in our compass setting, and we try daily to follow it…to lift the spirit. We hope it’s an idea that might be of encouragement to you as well.