Community Partners with ‘Furnish Out’ to Help Children in China
When Carrie and Dan Paschke, Bettendorf, went souvenir-hunting while living in China from 2011 until 2013, they had no way of knowing that their fondness for hand-crafted furniture would someday turn into a successful Quad Cities business that funds a charity. And certainly, they never would have imagined that this business, Furnish Out, would someday be embraced and supported by both the Quad Cities community and area businesses.
As part of the business, Carrie Paschke now makes regular visits to China to buy unique, handmade furniture and home accessories that her business resells in the United States. The Paschkes then donate 100% of the profits to China Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization which provides support to orphaned children. “In China, we buy the furniture and other items from two local businessmen we met and built relationships with,” Carrie said. “From the very beginning, I knew there would be a market for their work in America as the quality is extremely high and the designs are very unique compared to what you can purchase here in the Quad Cities.”
Furnish Out will hold their next sale of this unique, handmade furniture and accessories over the weekend of August 27 & 28 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, at 2304 Spruce Hills Dr., Bettendorf. “Past sales have been held at our home and at a warehouse donated by Bob Walters Homes,” Dan said, “but this time, the kind folks at Mel Foster Co. have donated the use of a retail space in Cumberland Square.” Furnish Out’s business model is to hold two event sales per year rather than have a full-time, retail storefront. “This allows a sustainable income stream to help fund China Hope’s activities in China, but also allows us to keep our costs low, which in turn generates more profit to be given away,” said Carrie.
Mel Foster Co. is just one of many companies that have given generously to Furnish Out. “J.M. Kata Handyman Services has been extremely helpful,” Dan said, “and so has Kistner Reclaim Services. They’re happy to make any last-minute repairs that might be needed. Apex Logistics, the company that transports the furniture from China to the United States, provides their services at cost. These discounts and donations are important to the cause, since they reduce expenses and allow us to send as much money as we can to the orphans.”
Artisans and Orphans
According to Carrie, the two businessmen they work with in China, George and John, both employ teams of skilled artisans. “The artisans use new or reclaimed wood to create or remake headboards, tables, armoires, cabinets, chairs and more, all by hand,” she said. “As China modernizes and people move from the countryside to the city, many old villages are torn down to make space for more modern accommodations. The artisans we purchase from go into these villages and reclaim many large doors, wooden beams, window lattices, and other beautifully carved pieces of large wood that make up the raw materials for their creations.”
While in China, Carrie volunteered at a foster home and met many orphaned children. Most had special needs or were awaiting surgeries for pre-existing health conditions. As Dan’s expatriate work assignment with John Deere in China came to a close and they were returning to America, they asked themselves what their family could do in order to remember the lessons they learned in China and also to stay engaged in the culture they grew to love. The idea for Furnish Out was a great way to combine Carrie’s newfound passion for furniture design with her desire to continue serving the orphan children in China. This “philan-trepreneur” concept is proving to be a sustainable model to have an ongoing way to raise funds while providing goods or services that people enjoy.
So far, Furnish Out has been able to donate over $20,000 from the first two sales. This money has been used to fund life-saving and life-changing surgeries for various orphan children under China Hope Foundation’s care. “Even $100 can be the difference between getting a good start and living with a serious health issue in China,” Carrie said. “We are excited about the possibility for Furnish out to be able to continually help better kids’ lives in China, pay Chinese artisans a fair price for their work, while providing a great product to the people of the Quad Cities.”
For more information on Furnish Out, call (563) 508-1498 or visit www.furnishout.com. Be sure to ‘Like’ Furnish Out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/furnishout/.