Community Spotlight: Sanni Baumgartner of Community

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When asked what she loves most about Athens, Sanni Baumgärtner’s answer is simple and beautiful — “I feel loved here.” It’s no wonder, then, that when the German expatriate, boutique owner and founding member of the Athens Fashion Collective opened her shop downtown, she decided to call it Community.

The Athens fashion scene has grown considerably over the last five years, offering more and more diversity and opportunities to get involved. Already in 2015, we’ve seen My Athens’ own fashion show, Process, in March, Olives and Wax’s June event at Cine featuring garments repurposed from old clothes and Tinkypuss’s DIY-inflected, crop top-studded event at Little Kings this summer. And Baumgärtner has been a driving force behind that growth.

 

 

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Her space, located atop the downtown Jittery Joe’s, houses some of the most beautiful vintage, clothing and accessories in town, and Baumgärtner has been making an effort recently to showcase other locally made goods, like apothecary items and gifts, as well. But what sets Community apart from other local boutiques is its support for local designers. Baumgärtner’s vision is to create a space for designers in Athens to make and sell their work—creating a sustainable way for artists to practice their craft and provide unique, beautifully hand sewn garments to the public.

With Community now established as a leader in the conversation about fashion in Athens, Baumgärtner is looking outward. Her next project is Georgia Sewn, a campaign to connect Georgia designers with businesses making everything from fabrics to buttons to zippers, all in the Southeast.

“We have an emphasis on sustainability and creating the possibility of people connecting within the region. Maybe that could eventually help lead to the development of a regional garment industry,” she says.

In partnership with UGA’s Wilson Center for Humanities and Arts, Georgia Sewn is plotting a spring event that will include not only a fashion show, but also an expo, featuring regional sources for all kinds of materials used in the garment industry and pop-up shops from local designers.

Through Community and Georgia Sewn, Baumgärtner lives her values, thinking big-picture about how to make fashion in Athens sustainable and blazing a trail toward that vision. It’s only right that she feel loved here, and considering what she does for the community, it comes as no surprise.

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Photos by Ella Ferguson. Written by Zelda Speight.

What Do We Do Over Here, Anyway?

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This summer has been a flurry of activity as My Athens approaches our third anniversary of creatively celebrating the city we call home.

Yesterday, we began bringing on new team members for the fall, and talking with them about all the things we’re working to accomplish has us reflecting on who we’ve been and where we’re going.

Since January 2013, we have been working to unite and celebrate the people and features of this city and the love we all share for it. It started with a gallery show, showcasing images from dozens of local photographers, and has grown to encompass events like fashion shows, our blog, merch and the community we’ve built of nearly 15,000 Instagram followers and counting.

If you’re interested, you can read more about our values and mission here.

We look to give back to the city, both by building community and by supporting the important work of our nonprofit friends. In just two and half years, we’ve contributed $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity and Community Connection of Northeast Georgia. It feels great to love on our city this way, plus it gives us an excuse to make our friends pose with enormous novelty checks.

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To everyone who has been a part of what we’ve done these last few years, this is what you’ve helped us create. Whether you’ve styled hair for our models at fashion shows, hashtagged your photos with #my_athens, bought a t-shirt or simply been a member of our audience — you’re supporting not only a storytelling platform that gives everyday Athenians a chance to celebrate their Athens but also a social enterprise that seeks to unify and lift up our neighbors.

We have so much in store for the fall that we can’t wait to share, including an October event that we can barely hold our tongues about. We’ll be formally announcing that on Monday. You’ll also be seeing us popping up — literally — around town this fall, hitting the streets to meet members of our community and shower some of our favorite local businesses with some love.

Meanwhile, we want to thank you, Athens, for helping us flourish these last three years and enabling us to keep telling stories, create experiences and love on this city. We’re so glad to be yours.

(And if you see our new executive director Rachel Bailey around town, say hi and tell her what you’d like to see from the organization!)

Community Spotlight: Creature Comforts

Today, Creature Comforts was named best brewery in Georgia by Thrillist, and we couldn’t be more, well, thrilled! Creature Comforts has been a a great partner and a huge asset to our community since they opened a year ago. In March, they hosted our Process fashion show, and their generosity allowed us to raise $5,000 for Community Connection and Habitat. We love you, Creature Comforts team!

To celebrate, here’s our interview with Chris Herron and Katie Beauchamp of Creature Comforts from February 2015.

Good beer, good people, and good conversation are all part of the Creature Comforts experience.

We sat down last week with two of the five founders of Creature Comforts to talk about the startup of this successful brewery and why they chose our precious Athens for its home.

Katie Beauchamp, office and tour manager, and Chris Herron, the company’s CEO, attended the interview and shared the story behind what makes Creature Comforts unique. Their love of the brewery was contagious but what was especially intriguing was their passion behind its potential. They see Creature Comforts as an outlet for the community and a way of providing Athens with a comfortable place to connect and meet new people.

After moving himself and his family from Connecticut, Chris had a big task ahead of him—forming a business plan to help Creature Comforts become successful. Chris described how his experience has been nothing less than exciting, and he has big hopes for the future of the brewery.

His love of the brewery became especially apparent when we asked him to describe what makes Creature Comforts so special. According to Chris, the brewery is “a place of comfort that brings good people and good vibes. Especially in a place like Athens, Creature Comforts creates a community of people that are eager to get to know each other”.

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The creation of Creature Comforts was graceful from the start. Terrapin paved the way for a devout craft beer following in Athens and the addition of another brewery could not have had better timing. Snow Tire happened to be going out of business at the time they were searching for the perfect location, and after the renovations, the building was completely transformed. Chris was confident about Athens and describes the final decision to create the brewery here as mutual.

“I feel like as much as we chose Athens, Athens really chose us too,” he said.  Its close proximity to Atlanta, home of a giant university, and “incredible local community” led Chris to believe that Creature Comforts could really thrive here.

As for the reason behind the passion, Katie and Chris want to be a source of encouragement for people in the local community. Chris described the team as “naturally curious” people, which led them to their modo “crave curiosity.”

According to Chris, “crave curiosity originated from our belief that if you crave curiosity you’ll find things you’re happy about. If you find things you’re happy about, you should pursue them, and when you are able to enjoy the things that make you happy you can enjoy the comforts of life. This is where the brewery comes in and creates that comfortable place to get excited about pursuing these dreams.”

In order to act on their goal to benefit the Athens community, the Creature Comforts team has created weekly Wednesday night events called “Get Comfortable”. They teamed up with Community Connection to use these events to spotlight nonprofit organizations that work towards alleviating the issue of homelessness in our city. The profits from each “Get Comfortable” night go to the different NGOs, and the events also help connect these wonderful organizations with community members who might want to get involved.

Another exciting event coming up on March 22 is a collaboration between My Athens, Taste of Athens and Creature Comforts to put on a fashion show at the brewery. The proceeds from the show will be used by Community Connection and My Athens to continue to support our incredible city.

We are really excited about this opportunity! Be on the look to for more information about the fashion show to be posted soon!

Written by Meg Taylor. Photos by Ella Ferguson.

Help Wanted!

CREATIVES assembleMy Athens is looking for fellow Athenians who share our love for this city to join our growing organization. Whether you’re a student, a hobbyist or looking to get your feet wet, we’d love to have you. All we ask is that you have a passion for celebrating this wonderful town. This is a growing, learning, collaborative effort. We want to share it with as many people as we can.

Want to get involved but don’t quite fit within any of the descriptions below? Reach out to us anyway! Who knows — you could be the piece we didn’t even know we were missing. Contact Executive Director Rachel Bailey at Rachel@myathensis.com and tell us about yourself!

Click the title of the role you’re interested in to jump to its description:

Blog Manager
Section Editors
Regular Contributors
Contributing Photographers
Graphic Design Intern
Marketing & Events Intern

[Editor’s note: In some of these applications, we ask you to include story ideas. If you send us some as part of your application, rest assured that you will be the first person we ask to work on it, no matter what.]

Roles | Editorial

Blog Manager

TASKS

You’ll work closely with our executive director, Rachel Bailey, to plan content (primarily covering fashion, food and the arts, for now) and assign it to contributors, or to junior editors. Writing articles yourself is also an option. You’ll coordinate with Social Media Director Austin Steele to get photos produced to go with each story. And you’ll be asked to come to weekly editorial meetings with the team, where we’ll drink too much coffee, laugh about the crazy stuff we saw this week and develop new story ideas together. We plan to produce three stories a week for starters.

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We’re charting new territory here, but we think this will take about ten hours a week.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Send an email with a cover letter telling us a bit about you and some work samples (if you have them) to rachel@myathensis.com. Please include in your letter a couple of ideas for stories you’d like to see written. Finally, please include a link to your Instagram account.

Section Editors

TASKS

We’re looking for three Section Editors to work on our blog team, with a loose focus on fashion, food and the arts. Section Editors will work closely with the Blog Manager and Executive Director to plan content, assign it out and coordinate photography. Section Editors will be asked to take part in weekly editorial meetings where we’ll bounce around story ideas, offer each other helpful feedback and, if we’re feeling snacky, eat donuts.

TIME

This will vary depending on how much you choose to write vs. assign out, but it’ll hover around 5-8 hours a week.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Send an email with a cover letter telling us a bit about you and some work samples (if you have them) to rachel@myathensis.com. Please include in your letter a couple of ideas for stories you’d like to see written, and tell us where we can find you on Instagram.

Regular Contributor

TASKS

Want to write for us but need some flexibility? As a contributor, you’ll be kept in the loop about available assignments and invited to write for us when the mood strikes you. We’d also love to hear about ideas, events and people you’re interested in covering and help you get access when needed. Contributors are welcome at and encouraged to attend editorial meetings and can flex their level of involvement according to school schedules, etc. We’re looking for at least two stories a month from our contributors.

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This can vary from week to week, leaving flexibility for you to work about school schedules, other projects, etc.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Send an email to rachel@myathensis.com with a brief cover letter telling us a little bit about yourself, including what sorts of topics you’re interested in writing about. Include some writing samples and story ideas, if you’ve got ’em. And don’t forget to tell us where to find you on Instagram!

Contributing Photographer

TASKS

Contributing Photographers will be asked to submit photos on a regular basis. These can be from around town, from events you attended, anything that fits with the My Athens brand and can be worked into our stream of images in Instagram. We will also assign you shoots from time to time, to create visual content to go along with stories. You’ll get to collaborate with writers, gain access to cultural events around town and reach our fast-growing audience of nearly 15K.

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Weekly time commitments will vary depending on the number of available assignments and active contributing photographers. That said, we’d like our Contributing Photographers to submit images to us once a week.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Send a brief cover letter, some work samples and a link to your Instagram account to myathenssubmussions@gmail.com.

Graphic Design Intern

TASKS

We are ramping up our production of graphics in a big way! We’re looking for someone social media savvy who pays attention to trends and developments in graphic design. You’ll help up build images for social media, posters, the occasional MailChimp template and (every once in a while) ads.

TIME

This will vary depending on the season, but it’ll hover around 5-8 hours a week.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Send us some info about who you are and what programs you like to design in, along with some work samples and a link to your Instagram, at rachel@myathensis.com.

Marketing & Events

Marketing & Events Intern

TASKS

The Marketing & Events Intern will work closely with the Executive Director to plan events like pop-up merch shops, food-centered parties and fashion shows. You will also be responsible for helping keep the flow of information about events, sales, etc. moving. You’ll help draft press releases, reach out to strategic partners and do a little copywriting. This role is a dynamic one!

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About 10 hours a week.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Shoot us a cover letter to rachel@myathensis.com and tell us about any relevant experience. Please remember to include a link to your Instagram.