AOA Startup Grant 2018

The Relief Room

Startup2018 The Relief Room 1

Project: The Relief Room, an establishment in which people will be able to relieve stress by breaking and smashing recyclable items. The pieces will then be turned into art.

Who: Lisa Birmingham

Short bio
My name is Lisa Birmingham. For the previous 10 years, I was an expert in my field in the healthcare industry. I have worked with many people in the general public during difficult times in their lives. I have come to find in my experience, that we all struggle in our own ways through out life.

Upon a discovery I made while traveling abroad, a lightbulb had gone off years after my initial trip. During my vacation in 2014 to my home country in the Philippines, I came across a unique activity. It was a small business that allowed you to break and smash plates, bowls, tv's, monitors, and more?? I was intrigued and I had to try it! Every thing I had the opportunity to break and smash left me giddy with a feeling of empowerment.

Later in my life, about 3 years later, that moment of empowerment still impacted me. I was working at this time as a General Manager of a health practice. After taking over the office under poor management, it was a very difficult and trying time for me to redesign the company operations. I was having an exceptionally difficult day when that lightbulb went off. I remember sitting in my car talking to my fiancé as I played back that moment in the Philippines. I told him I would pay anything to be able to go back to that place of business and give it another round. It was then that the idea struck me. Why not bring that experience here?!

Startup2018 The Relief Room logo

A description of the proposed project
My idea since then has grown. Currently, I am now in the phase of putting this dream into a reality. The company is The Relief Room LLC.

I am opening up an establishment that gives our community the opportunity to relieve their stresses, and give back a feeling of empowerment. This project I am working on will take that initial activity and produce something even further beyond that.

Startup2018 The Relief Room 3

My company will be opening up a location that provides the activity of breaking and smashing recyclable items, later to be turned into works of art. I am looking to create a safe and controlled environment that allows our clients to take a whack at it. From that point of destruction we will be offering weekly workshop classes that will teach people how to take those broken items and upcycle them into mosaics, wall art, or sculptures.

Startup2018 The Relief Room 2

I am looking to create a space where we can honor our emotions and turn them into something beautiful. I plan on incorporating recycling as an everyday practice, as well as a new approach of how to turn that trash into treasure.

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How would the grant money help?
The opportunity to obtain a $2,500 grant would catapult our hard work into obtaining funds towards purchasing equipment for operations and obtaining a location to be able to operate this business.

Currently I have been taking Entrepreneurial Boot Camp classes through the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce. We have established a business plan, started developing a website, networked with other small businesses, filed for the LLC Articles of Organization, and started to collect donations for items that need smashing. Receiving a grant for our start up would be a game changer for us.

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