Where, what, when and how of Unicorn SPiT.
As a wide-eyed 17-year-old, Michelle Gordon visited Kansas City from Anthony, New Mexico then permanently moved to Kansas City when she was 21 to live with her older brother, Tony. Tony owned and operated an adult daycare center in Kansas City, Kansas. This was a place where our elderly and disabled community could go to get out of the house and hang out with other people. Michelle soon found herself spending a lot of time hanging out with the folks. She found a great deal of joy being around them. Noticing that some folks got bored during the day, Michelle decided to start having arts and craft days for her friends. They made several of the basic things you’d expect - macaroni pictures, hook rugs and the like. Michelle took note that the men didn’t seem to participate and just kind of turned their noses to the projects. Here is an interesting story about how an arts and crafts project for an adult daycare became an underground sensation.
One afternoon, Michelle found a desk on the side of the road and decided to pick it up and bring it back to the center for the men to work on. Wouldn’t you know it? The men were very interested in working with their hands again. They sanded that desk down and made it look new but naked. Well, Michelle is not a black and white person or brown in this case. She’s more of a "the more color the better, happy little cloud" type.
Michelle wanted color and lots of it. The folks refused to paint real wood. Everyone started coming up with ideas to get the color they desired. Everything from beet juice to powdered juice mix were tried. These things worked OK, but what no one expected was the way the lights came back on in the eyes of men at the center. Michelle noticed and began on a mission to get everyones lights back on. She brought more roadside jewels and got more men and women working on these fun projects. The more projects they completed, the more alive people became. People who once sat in the corner watching the walls all day were wanting in on the action.
One man still who stands out above all the others is Mr. Johnny Boone. Mr. Boone has severe multiple sclerosis and can’t hold a paint brush even though Michelle tried taping them to his hands. What she found is that while he could not hold a paint brush, he could use the side of his hand to manipulate the stains into fun patterns.
With this information arose the need for something non toxic and safe for the skin. Back to the lab again. Through several trials and errors, Michelle finally figured out a vibrantly colorful stain that worked, was safe to be used on the skin, smells like jasmine and helped the beautiful men and women find a part of themselves they’d seemingly lost, thus sparking the desire for art therapy inducing physical therapy as well. Many unique techniques were also formed to help her folks use their ABILITIES to create very unique abstract art!
Michelle found that people of all ages benefitted from playing with the yet unnamed product. From Michelle’s oldest son John, who has ADHD, to her friend's son Joe, with autism, men and women with dementia and alzheimers to an 80+ year old man whose hands didn’t work - everyone’s light came on. What a happy little miracle! Michelle’s heart and passion to see that look on peoples face became front and center.
Michelle continued working at the center until 2013 when federal budget cuts forced the center to shut down. This didn’t detract her from her mission. Now her love for refinishing furniture became a means to survive and feed her boys. She worked tirelessly to knock out and refinish as much as she could, perfecting her colorful stain, glaze and paint combo in the process. Not long after, people started to take notice of her one-off creations and were even more in awe of the color and the THREE DIMENSIONAL EFFECT she was getting.
In February of 2015 Unicorn SPiT™ was born! The demand for the color was greater than her furniture so Michelle decide to put down the sander and pick up the whisk.
Selling off most of her own furniture, electronics and anything else of value so she could give the world the first ever Functional Art Therapy CREATiVE JUiCE™, Michelle put every penny she had into buying supplies to brew her unique concoction. She spent countless hours on social media singing its praises and finally getting a fan base built up of SPiTTERS! as they affectionately call themselves. Throughout it all, one things still drives Michelle and that’s the light in peoples eyes when they use the product. Art therapy is and always will be the reason Unicorn SPiT exists.
From a fun arts and crafts project to a real life business that employees 7 people full time, Unicorn SPiT has become a family of loving, caring people who all have a like mind and love to help others. The mission for the company remains the same and that is hope, creativity, and healing.
While the business has become exactly that, Michelle still makes sure that the focus remains on that light. Each and every month Unicorn SPiT gives out complete sets to qualified people, schools, businesses and nursing homes in an effort to reach and heal more people. The outreach of love from those touched by Unicorn SPiT is sometimes the only thing that gets Michelle out of bed every day. She reads every email and letter personally and replies to them as she can. They mean the world to the SPiT family. It is after all, what SPiT’s about.