Once again, it's Tulip Time in Holland, and we couldn't miss the opportunity to snap photos of the festival for anything! Randy and I walked through the addicting aromas of festival food, inviting energy of traditional Dutch dances, and of course rows of vibrantly colored tulips to find winding rows of artists displaying and selling their incredible work. My favorite was the booth by Lilypistol Leather that had hand-made leather bracelets. After browsing all the cool photography, sculptures, and other art I couldn't help but go back to Lilypistol Leather and buy myself some leather bracelets.
Stomach's growling, we left the craft fair and searched for some good festival food. We passed up fatballs for fried vegetables and corn dogs then decided to explore downtown Holland (and maybe even check out New Holland Brewing!).
But first, to learn more about Tulip Time and Holland, we sat down with designer Jenna Weiler, who co-owns Ambrose with her husband, Adam.
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Talking to Jenna, her energy is contagious and her passion and involvement with the local community is inspiring. For the last two years, Ambrose has hosted a T-Shirt contest for the Tulip Time Festival in which people of all ages enter their work. This year, amazingly, the winners were three high school students!
One of the most popular designs, the Tulipsaurus Rex (pictured below). Jenna told us that the T-Shirt contest is part of an effort to help make the festival more “hip” and bring even more locals into downtown, when they might otherwise stay away from the crowds hailing from all around the nation.
In the heart of downtown, Ambrose has truly made its mark on Holland. Jenna and Adam started the business with a mission to provide youth with the opportunity to explore the in-between of business and starving artist. Now, existing under the model of a social business, Ambrose shows what it’s like to do business while doing good.
In the day, they function as a collaborative design and screen printing lab and in the evening, workshops, networking events, and creativity take over offering the community an opportunity to explore art and design as well as business.
Ambrose, like many other social businesses popping up around the area, proves that you can support yourself as a business while still making a positive impact on the world. When your bottom line is social change, profit is no longer the goal, but the means.
For Jenna, art and creativity is a valuable part of growing because she sees it as “encouraging [us] to make mistakes,” which has been very personal to Jenna who “had always been the perfect student.” Like St. Ambrose, she hopes she can share her confidence and experience with high school students who are exploring career options as well as the arts in Holland.