Partners Participates in Bizarre Bazaar

Combining a love for trendsetting design with a community of crafting enthusiasts, the Bizarre Bazaar, sponsored by the Illinois Chapter of IIDA, provides a place where local artisans and industry professionals come together to display and sell handmade wares at the start of a busy holiday season. Or, in the case of some of Partners By Design’s finest, it’s a way to direct this community’s attention towards a more global focus.

On the evening of November 17, excited crowds waited in long lines outside the Herman Miller showroom at Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart to support many professional craft-makers and DIY aficionados, but a dedicated group of PBDers saw the event as a way to bolster the charity work of COME UNITY. As a nonprofit organization working for almost a decade to provide clean water and educational resources to East African communities in need, COME UNITY first came to the forefront at Partners after a lunch and learn presentation from architect Kaitlyn Korber, who serves as a volunteer and member of its board of directors. “We believe in empowering communities. Whether through basic needs, education or sustainable income initiatives, we work alongside communities and utilize their resources to create opportunities for self-sufficiency,” said Kaitlyn. “It’s easy to look at people who look, act, or speak differently and make assumptions about who they are. When we take down the boundaries that seem to divide us and instead form community, together we realize that the issues our world faces today are humanities issues as a whole.”

Armed with homemade candles, screen-printed pillows, metal-crafted ornaments, and personalized handwritten notecards, the committed group of PBD volunteers organized for months in advance, and donated all materials, crafts, time, and effort to COME UNITY. They were even able to—very quickly—sell out of handmade beadwork created by members of the populations that COME UNITY serves in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia. By the end of the event, they raised almost $800, and will be hosting a PBD-based bazaar this week to offer the unsold items to employees who were unable to attend.

As one of the chief organizers of this office-wide effort, architect Sara Gotschewski was familiar with the Bizarre Bazaar as a venue to display hidden creative talents in an already creative industry, but recognized this year as an opportunity to take it a step further. “I enjoy taking advantage of events like these to help support organizations that are trying to make the world a bit better,” said Sara. “Individually it showcases what we can do when we come together, and the best part is that the money raised can go a lot farther, and can truly make a difference.”

bizarre bazaar table display

   Bizarre Bazaar table group