1000 Paper Cranes
Melanie is an installation artist whose artwork is based on origami paper cranes.
She was first taught to fold the paper cranes by her Japanese school teacher when she was in Year 3.
Her business is called Twenty Two Folds as that's what it takes to make a paper crane.
Melanie saw the connection people had with her art and knowing they could never own it, she designed gift packages.
Melanie aligned with charities when she saw an opportunity to use both of her skills, installation and making the paper cranes in volume.
I had to ask, "Why paper cranes Melanie?"
She said, "Don't you know the story of 1000 paper cranes?"
I then learned that an ancient Japanese legend states that the one who folds 1000 origami cranes will be granted their heart's desire.
The crane in Japan is a mystical creature said to live for 1000 years.
That's why there are 1000 in the collection. One for each year.
Melanie set out to fold 1000 paper cranes and it took 11 years to complete them.
As a young girl, her heart's desire was to get a new toy, but by the time she was 19 the toys weren't relevant.
At that age she was doing modelling, running her own business, playing basketball at a national level and was surrounded by amazing people.
Life was good so the cranes were packed away for a rainy day.
A few months later her Mum was diagnosed with cancer and it spread into her lymphatic system, so the prognosis was not good.
They were a positive family and fought the battle together.
Melanie witnessed her Mum's extraordinary strength at a time when there wasn't much hope, but fortunately she went into remission.
A few years passed and everything seemed to be going okay, but then came the phone call.
There was another huge tumour.
It was then that she knew what to do with her collection of cranes.
She got them out, painted them gold and mounted them in a huge box frame.
Melanie presented them to her Mum with the written message, "Make a wish".
The next day her Mum had an operation to remove the tumour followed by further treatment.
That was 14 years ago and her Mum has never been healthier or happier.
It was then that Melanie truly found the magic in the paper cranes.
The crane is a symbol for some of the deepest human desires:
With a wish carried in his wings, the folded crane has come to be recognised as the possibility of a miracle.
I asked Melanie how she knows that her paper cranes are the foundation for a business that will grow and she said, "It's simple. When you give the gift of a paper crane to someone who is struggling or suffering and you tell them that this gift is the hope for their future, they break down and cry. For people who believe in something, it has the power to motivate them to move forward. It inspires the joy of giving. This is a gift needed by so many people."
Just as a paper crane can symbolise hope, the act of learning how to fold these beautiful cranes puts people into action and impacts their lives.
Sometimes there is a story behind the business which deserves to be told.
If you have such a story please get in touch and see if we can help you share it with your customers or target market.