It seems like a coincidence that I started my VGI Instagram account on February 16, 2015 and almost exactly 6 years later I reached 5,000 followers! One of my first posts was the illustration below by Heather Stillufsen of Rose Hill Studio. I don’t know Heather personally, but I believe most artists’ intention is to find a connection with people. This illustration really resonated with me as I had a dream to turn my passion for interior design into a career, which is why I reposted this on my feed early on. And, 6 years and 5,000 followers later, it resonates even more. Thank you Heather!

My goal as a designer is to work with clients to help them create a home for themselves and their families that they love. I have been so fortunate to work with amazing clients along the way. It has been these collaborations which allow me to create the work presented on my Instagram feed and to have a wonderful supportive community of followers.

A lot has happened to me personally, my community and our country over the past 6 years. As I have taken time to reflect on where I find myself in this moment, I thought about how I could acknowledge this milestone by giving back to my community.

As I looked around, I found an incredible organization, founded and run by a wonder woman. That organization is The Warehouse NJ and that wonder woman is Kim Sleeman.

Kim says what she does is simple – in my honest opinion that is a HUGE understatement. She coordinates with over a dozen agencies in Essex County helping people transition from homelessness by providing furniture and furnishings to her clients and giving them the power to create their own living environment. Kim meets with her clients to help them select donated furniture and The Warehouse NJ volunteers deliver and set up the furnishings in the client’s new home. One of her clients calls her the “furniture lady”, another says she is a “miracle worker.”

The Warehouse NJ | Kim Sleeman & Volunteers

Since establishing The Warehouse NJ in June 2019, Kim and her team have created homes for 117 formerly homeless people. She is currently working with community agencies who have a need to provide 200 more families with furnishings by Summer 2021!

I am so grateful for being able to pursue my passion and am paying it forward by volunteering with The Warehouse NJ and by donating 5% of the annual proceeds from my business to support their mission of helping to create homes for those who truly need them.

If you would like to learn more about The Warehouse NJ, please visit their website.

Home is where one starts from. – T. S. Eliot

Everyone deserves a fresh start.

With gratitude,