This article was originally published in the spring 2015 edition of the Growl. Read the full issue here.
The Shoppe was originally the brain-child of former board member Duane McDowell who has a passion for the band, a penchant for marketing, and a vision for "Spreading Far the Fame of Our Fair Name." Duane posited that there had to be some way to embrace the joys of being a NUMBALUM, wrap it up in some really kewl regalia and raise some much-needed capital for band programs in the process. His goal: WORLD DOMINATION (in a P&G sort of way).
The NUMBALUMS Board acted upon Duane's ideas and gave birth to hats and T-shirts. Ksjusha Povod's logo design won in a contest, and suddenly we had a line of hoodies, coffee mugs, polo shirts, and NoteCards (get it?).
When I joined the board in 2013, I just asked the question, "Why aren't we doing this online?" and the answer was: No one had that expertise and we weren't sure if the University would allow it. Never tell Cosmic Ray that. Duane and I, along with Liz Driskell, pummeled the...no wait...we simply investigated the options and implemented a plan. Duane and Liz developed a product line (along with input from various board members) and I sourced out the business details and developed an online store, which was hosted through the gargantuan efforts of NUMB webmaster Daniel Reck!
Since then, we've added the custom-framed jackets, capes, boleros, and drum major outfits in the name of our endowment: the Push On Fund. All proceeds from the sale of EVERY item in the Shoppe go into funding for band programs at Northwestern! The board has made every effort to keep our running expenses EXTREMELY low in order to maximize profits for the band. (Those expenses are currently less than 1 percent. Try THAT Kellogg!)
We launched the online NUMBALUMS Shoppe on September 1, 2014, and have had about 130 orders [as of April 2015], raising almost $5,000 for the band. Not bad for an organization that didn't even exist 20 years ago!
Interesting factoid: We have NO PHYSICAL SHOPPE! Much like the spirit of the band, the Shoppe only exists because we (the volunteers, board members, directors of bands, Alumni Association, and band staff) all work together in harmony to bring your merchandise safely from our vendors to your mailbox or doorstep. Trust me: IT AIN'T EASY but it IS a labor of love!
Duane, at 77, while no longer a board member, is still an integral, active dynamo on the NUMBALUMS Shoppe team! We are trying to find a few good people in the Glenview/Northbrook area who would be interested in helping out, so we can get Duane to take his lovely wife to visit their grandkids in Florida more often, instead of tracking down orders! Let us know if you are interested in donating a wee bit of time and energy for this most worthwhile cause!
Whether or not you can volunteer, we hope you keep your closet as purple as it can be, with the help of the Shoppe dedicated to your very specific SpiriNeeds.