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The Culturist Union

A multifunctional coffeehouse, community gathering spot, local artisan marketplace, and digital membership platform.

$51,300
pledged of$50,000 goal
174
0Days Left

Project Description

Opening in Savannah, Georgia early 2022.

etched woman with green leaves

A multifunctional coffeehouse & artisan marketplace

The Culturist Union (TCU) is a multicultural hub for inspiring artists, activists, writers, entrepreneurs, influencers, and dreamers alike. This multifunctional coffeehouse will serve as a community gathering spot, local artisan marketplace, and digital membership platform, empowering entrepreneurs, creatives, scholars, and professionals to network, develop, and collaborate.

3129 Bull St Savannah GA 31405

TCU promotes diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness. TCU is where you go to grab a cup of coffee(or tea), get some work done, embrace the ambiance, engage with your friends or colleagues (or meet new ones), purchase locally Black-owned products and sundries, host public or private events, and gather the knowledge and resources to build and expand. We are the community!

How Your Contribution Helps

Unfortunately, due to a lack of access to capital for African American women, approximately 61% of African American women are obligated to self-fund their start-up costs. Through various fundraising efforts, we have raised $85K. Funding has been obtained through our initial iFundwomen crowdfunding, grants, tenant improvements, a small business loan, and personal capital. TCU is 90% complete!! As we prepare to open its doors, we need your help to actualize the vision. Please support our efforts to raise the 10% ($17K) required to complete the TCU project. We believe in the power of community!

The Culturist Union activities and event pop-ups

Our Mission

The Culturist Union is a village-minded space where good vibes and social change intersect. Where we go to pause societal pressures while simultaneously challenging ourselves to go deeper and think bigger. Where art, business, politics, and healing amicably co-exist. Communities like TCU are where the change we’ve been waiting for ignites from the inside out.

 

 

Three Black women in Savannah GA 31405

 

The TCU Experience

TCU serves as an incubator for local and visiting entrepreneurs, creators, and professionals. Creators are sojourned in an authentic space that allows effortless creativity. Imagine an environment brimming with custom art, good vibes, and neo-soul. Take a step back in time, reflect on future projects and ambitions while consuming a cup of brain fuel (coffee) in the indoor or outdoor courtyard. TCU will launch our digital membership platform in Spring 2022. Membership includes monthly business educational workshops, a TCU playlist, virtual ‘Office Hours’, and events. This will enable inspiring and functional entrepreneurs to develop, polish their craft, and network creating valuable goods and services to cycle back into our local economy.

TCU value propositions

Two Black men at coffeeshop in Savannah

Our New Location

Elbi Elm in fron tof The Culturist Union

The Culturist Union's  Inspiration 

A’LELIA BUNDLES/MADAM WALKER FAMILY ARCHIVES/COURTESY THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Madam C.J. Walker (born Sarah Breedlove) was an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the first self-made female millionaire in America. Inspired by African American businesswoman Annie Turbo Malone, Walker invested $1.25 to create her own version of "The Great Wonderful Hair Grower”, hair care accessories and straighteners. Additionally, Walker trained and employed approximately 40,000 men and women, profiting over $500,000 in her final years.

Madame CJ Walker
Portrait of Madame C.J. Walker from Biography.com

In August 1917, Walker hosted her first annual convention titled, “The Madam C.J. Walker Hair Culturists Union of America”. Walker advocated for African American female entrepreneurs to employ their influence and financial independence in an effort to affect social and political change. Inspired by Madam C.J. Walker’s vision, The Culturist Union created a safe space for people of all merits to come together to create, cultivate and collaborate. Together, we will make the world a better place—present and future.

Contribute to The Culturist Union 

From the beginning, we knew this was something that we did not want to embark on alone. By tapping into the hearts and minds of like-minded members of our community, together, we will ignite a chain of positive change. Your generosity will enable us to steward this project and  “Take Up Space” together.

All funds contributed will support the completion of our space’s build-out, acquiring equipment, inventory, hiring, and paying an equitable and livable wage to our employees.

 

Meet Our Founder

As a proud alumna of Howard University and the Savannah College of Art and Design, Elbi Elm discovered her passion for managing creative spaces and building communities while using self-expression as a change agent. Elbi founded The Culturist Union to equip creators with the necessary support, developmental opportunities, and confidence to improve their craft and their community.  Elbi is a United States Air Force disabled veteran with 15 years of leadership and human relations experience.

headshot

Additionally, Elbi has served as the Diversity Marketing Advisor and board member for several nonprofit organizations where she functioned as a spokeswoman in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Elbi successfully completed the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute fellowship. The completion of the fellowship positioned Elbi as a strong advocate in support of policy changes for females in Georgia. Elbi won best pitch of Savannah’s SCORE’s 2019 BizPitch competition and was selected for the American Express “100 for 100” program. Elbi has featured in several local and national publications including Savannah Morning News, Essence, and Black Enterprise.


 



 

The Campaign FAQs

 

 

 

Fil and Ilesha Graham
04/03/2022
Swag Surfing (6 months Weekly Sips)
$250
Katie Griffith
04/03/2022
Monetary Contribution
$30
03/31/2022
Soft Opening VIP Party invitation
$150
03/31/2022
Soft Opening VIP Party invitation
$150
Jeff Kole
03/30/2022
TCU Exclusive
$5,000
03/29/2022
Weekly Sips (3 months)
$100
Tiffany
03/29/2022
Monetary Contribution
$20
PStewart
03/28/2022
Monetary Contribution
$50
Marcus Thompson
03/28/2022
Swag Surfing (6 months Weekly Sips)
$250
Lindy Krakowiak Weimer
03/28/2022
Soft Opening VIP Party invitation
$150
Monetary Contribution

Back us because you believe in us<3

41 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
Weekly Sips (3 months)

One free drink of choice every week for the first 3 months of opening

This Reward includes a Virtual Shoutout:) 

1 Left
19 Supporters
Select this reward
150.00 USD
Soft Opening VIP Party invitation

Enjoy VIP access during our Soft-Opening Party!

 

This Rewards Includes:

Two tickets to our VIP Soft Opening

Live Music 

TCU Beverages, Nibbles, & Nosh

Meet the Owner/Team

Virtual Shoutout! 

 

15 Supporters
None available
250.00 USD
Swag Surfing (6 months Weekly Sips)

Get a drink of your choice once a week for the first 6 months we're open! 

This reward includes:

A TCU Swag bag 

A Virtual Shoutout

 

3 Left
2 Supporters
Select this reward
500.00 USD
Weekly Sips & Swag (1 year)

Get a drink of your choice once a week for the first year we're open! 

This Reward includes: 

A TCU Swag Bag 

Virtual Shoutout

4 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
750.00 USD
Sips, Swag, and Celebrations! (1 year)

Get a drink of your choice once a week for the first year we're open! 

This reward includes: 

Two tickets to VIP Soft Opening 

A TCU Swag Bag

A Virtual Shoutout 

 

 

4 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
1,500.00 USD
Rent & Take Up Space (Outdoor)

Rent out our outdoor courtyard space for 4 hours. (50 people) 

This Reward includes 

TCU Staff member

TCU Beverages, Nibbles & Nosh

Private Entrance/Exit

$25 TCU Marketplace giftcard

Virtual Shoutout! 

Backers have until 1-15-2024 to use reward*

 

3 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
2,500.00 USD
Take Up ALL THE Space -in/outdoor rental

Rent our entire space for your own private event for 4 hours

 

This rewards includes: 

Both indoor and outdoor space holds (80 standing/50 seated)

TCU Staff Member

TCU Beverages, Nibbles & Nosh

Virtual Shout- Out

$50 gift-card to TCU marketplace

 

Backers have until 1-15-2024 to use reward*

 

4 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
5,000.00 USD
TCU Exclusive

Get a drink and pastry ($5 value) of your choice daily for the first year we're open! 

This reward includes: 

A Coffee date- One free drink of choice per month for a friend

A TCU Swag Bag

2 Free Tickets to our VIP Soft Opening 

A free membership to our digital membership- one year

$100 gift card to TCU marketplace 

A Virtual Shoutout

A menu item named after you

 

 

 

1 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward

Rewards

Monetary Contribution

Back us because you believe in us<3

41 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
Weekly Sips (3 months)

One free drink of choice every week for the first 3 months of opening

This Reward includes a Virtual Shoutout:) 

1 Left
19 Supporters
Select this reward
150.00 USD
Soft Opening VIP Party invitation

Enjoy VIP access during our Soft-Opening Party!

 

This Rewards Includes:

Two tickets to our VIP Soft Opening

Live Music 

TCU Beverages, Nibbles, & Nosh

Meet the Owner/Team

Virtual Shoutout! 

 

15 Supporters
None available
250.00 USD
Swag Surfing (6 months Weekly Sips)

Get a drink of your choice once a week for the first 6 months we're open! 

This reward includes:

A TCU Swag bag 

A Virtual Shoutout

 

3 Left
2 Supporters
Select this reward
500.00 USD
Weekly Sips & Swag (1 year)

Get a drink of your choice once a week for the first year we're open! 

This Reward includes: 

A TCU Swag Bag 

Virtual Shoutout

4 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
750.00 USD
Sips, Swag, and Celebrations! (1 year)

Get a drink of your choice once a week for the first year we're open! 

This reward includes: 

Two tickets to VIP Soft Opening 

A TCU Swag Bag

A Virtual Shoutout 

 

 

4 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
1,500.00 USD
Rent & Take Up Space (Outdoor)

Rent out our outdoor courtyard space for 4 hours. (50 people) 

This Reward includes 

TCU Staff member

TCU Beverages, Nibbles & Nosh

Private Entrance/Exit

$25 TCU Marketplace giftcard

Virtual Shoutout! 

Backers have until 1-15-2024 to use reward*

 

3 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
2,500.00 USD
Take Up ALL THE Space -in/outdoor rental

Rent our entire space for your own private event for 4 hours

 

This rewards includes: 

Both indoor and outdoor space holds (80 standing/50 seated)

TCU Staff Member

TCU Beverages, Nibbles & Nosh

Virtual Shout- Out

$50 gift-card to TCU marketplace

 

Backers have until 1-15-2024 to use reward*

 

4 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
5,000.00 USD
TCU Exclusive

Get a drink and pastry ($5 value) of your choice daily for the first year we're open! 

This reward includes: 

A Coffee date- One free drink of choice per month for a friend

A TCU Swag Bag

2 Free Tickets to our VIP Soft Opening 

A free membership to our digital membership- one year

$100 gift card to TCU marketplace 

A Virtual Shoutout

A menu item named after you

 

 

 

1 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward