Some Times It’s Not about the Selling of Products, But about the Welfare of Community

Those of us who operate our own businesses do so because we believe that we have a set of products or services desired by consumers or clients, and if we judiciously meet these demands, we will be financially rewarded for our efforts. From the smallest entrepreneurial enterprises to the largest conglomerates, this is a (if not, the) primary component of our respective business missions. After all, few folks open a business with the ultimate aspiration of becoming bankrupt.

This holds true for Dogbotz Boneyard, LLC.  So, when I contemplate our subsequent six-fold mission statement, quite logically the first five points address our online business culture: high-quality resale products, the desire for environmental sustainability, education about vintage and collectible goods, excellent customer service, and an enjoyable online shopping experience.

Dogbotz Boneyard Mission Statement

  • To select carefully high-quality items for each product category: Artwork, Furniture, Home Goods, Metalwork, Playthings, Wearables, and Etc.
  • To serve as a retail venue for vintage, recycled, repurposed, sustainable, fair trade and collectible products for the continued well-being of Earth Mother and all her inhabitants.
  • To educate and inform customers truthfully about the origin, maker and condition of each item, if known.
  • To solicit customer feedback to improve presentation of goods, to modify product categories, and to provide excellent customer service.
  • To offer a playful and enjoyable environment to customers as they shop online.
  • To provide charitable support to the communities that we serve.

Yet, the sixth bullet point has nothing to do with selling products or generating a profit. In fact, the final aspect of our business mission focuses on the converse; in this case, donating money for charitable purposes. In a world dominated by advocates for corporate greed, by practitioners of a scarcity mentality, and by conservative politicians renouncing altruism as the proverbial financial opiate of the masses, some of us, whether small business owners or senior leaders of large corporations, still strive to be good corporate citizens for the communities in which we do business.

Cynics would say that we do this under the false pretense of portraying ourselves as beneficent so that those in our communities will be fooled into becoming loyal customers. “It’s all a marketing ploy,” nay-sayers decry. Well, I cannot, in truth, fully know the sacred or profane intent of other business owners or leaders when it comes to supporting charitable causes and organizations, but I can speak for my business and life partner, Dan Hartmann, and myself. We both came to embrace early in our lives the poignant yet undeniable reality that ours is a mortal journey and that at journey’s end neither of us wishes for a legacy that focuses merely on how many products we sold or how much profit we made, but rather on how we in a small way — or two or twelve — helped to enhance the well-being of Earth Mother and the welfare of the communities in which we thrived.

And so, we decided to support community-based nonprofit organizations that promote the care of Earth Mother and her creatures with 10% of our profits (as our business grows, we aim to increase this percentage, too). Environmental causes, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and animal shelters — these are the heirs of the joy and profit we receive in reselling artwork, vintage collectibles, and recycled or repurposed goods to others. After all, it has been our canine companions — Soot, Suds, Lucky, Drake, Blackjack and Mica, to name a few — who have in their unique ways taught us the unassailable qualities of companionship, playfulness, loyalty, alertness, devotion, protectiveness, unconditional love and how to find the humane in our own humanity. Their fundamental joy of being serves as the playful platform of our resale business Dogbotz Boneyard.

During our initial months of business, Dogbotz Boneyard supported Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization located in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, committed to ethical, compassionate and professional wildlife rehabilitation. In part from our donation, the staff and interns of Fellow Mortals were able during the drought of spring and summer to rehabilitate literally hundreds of orphaned animals (songbirds, squirrels, goslings, ducklings, cottontails, opossum, and others) and return them to the wild, healthy and ready to make a home prior to winter’s first frosty breath.  All this, and they even had time to conduct their second annual Wildlife Education Day!

In the last fiscal quarter of 2012, Dogbotz Boneyard has selected to assist the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit no-kill shelter whose mission is to place homeless animals into loving, permanent homes as well as to provide community outreach programs in order to secure a better future for all companion animals. I was fortunate to recently visit the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center and meet its executive director Amy Rowell and some of its feline residents. I was quite impressed that this organization, operating on only an annual $120,000 budget, has found creative responses to the threat of euthanasia and the challenge of overcrowding within humane societies, animal control agencies, and rescue groups throughout the entire state of Wisconsin by accepting animal transfers for care and placement, thereby saving the lives of hundreds of cats and dogs annually. In 2013, the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center hopes to renovate a large shed/shortage space so that it can house dogs (which are currently kept with foster families until adopted) and serve as a meeting place.

I have included some pictures I took while visiting the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Striving to be a good corporate citizen and in honor of all our communities, human and not,

Patrick Price
Dogbotz Boneyard, LLC


Painting: The Least Traditional Native American Art Form

When we first considered presenting Native American artifacts as a special collection offered through Dogbotz Boneyard, we weren’t quite sure whether it was wise to include artwork, especially painting. Though Native American painting remains a popular art form about which people have e-mailed us, painting, as it’s understood within the context of European art history, is not a traditional art form for most Native American cultures.

Yes, native painting traditions exist in many tribes, but unlike their European counterparts, paintings were almost always used as decoration for apparel (for example, paintings on leather war shirts) or other functional items (tipi covers come readily to mind). Or, similar to their European cousins at Lascaux and other prehistoric sites, many North American indigenous paintings weren’t portable, such as petrogylphs on a nearby cliff face or other large rock formation. Before European contact, Native American painting was endowed with a variety of ritual and social purposes by diverse cultural groups throughout the continent. That said, perhaps the greatest example is Navajo sandpainting, which was originally created for religious ceremonies or for spiritual healing purposes. Today, some contemporary Navajo artists have designed secular versions of sandpaintings that can be acquired as cultural art.

Many contemporary Native American artists have adapted Western European painting styles to portray the people of their own tribes as well as their tribal experiences and worldviews. Such artists strive to maintain the traditions and culture of their people and reflect the dynamic and sometimes painful changes that they and their respective cultures have endured. Though the techniques of these paintings are not traditionally Native American, the styles, designs, and subject matter reflect the artists’ tribal heritage, and many of them are stunningly beautiful and incisive. Consider Peyote Man or Fire Woman by Sioux artist Kathleeen Kills Thunder, Wisdom of Our Fathers by Navajo painter Fred Cleveland, and Anasazi Parrots by Cochiti artist Joe H. Herrera (see images below).

In addition, contemporary Native American artists cover the gamut of expression in all media, from the acrylics of Fred Cleveland to the digital artwork of French-Ojibwa artist Michael Pierre Price. And, that’s just in the field of painting, for similar diversity exists in the sculptural artwork of Six Nations sculptor Clifton Henry and Navajo ceramicist Tom Vail, Jr.

The challenges currently facing many contemporary Native American painters are the conflicts between the styles of purism and modernism and between paintings created by genuine Native Americans and those works produced by artists inspired by Native American culture. Thus, such questions as, “How much tribal cultural imagery must be maintained within a painting (or any media, for that matter) to be considered by collectors as genuinely Native American.” Or, “Can a painting of any subject matter in any style, regardless of its point of inspiration, be deemed Native American as long as the artist himself/herself is an officially, tribally registered individual?” To date, the debate on these topics continues to be discussed.

The following paintings (and I’ve added a few sculptural pieces) are available for sale through The Tribal Perspective exhibit at the Dogbotz Boneyard Gallery of Art:

All the best,

Patrick Price
Dogbotz Boneyard, LLC