Pronounced “REE-BLOOM”, our name has a double meaning!
The first is a word play on the Latin prefix “re” which means “again” or “back to the original place.” Most of the organizations we work with are doing well in their physical space, but may need help transitioning their businesses to an online space. We’re here to help these businesses bloom again, hence “re:Bloom.”
The second meaning is that “re:” is typically used in email subject lines to denote a response. The “re:” in our name pays homage to the fact that we were founded as a response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
re:Bloom was founded in Pittsburgh, PA, in April of 2020 by Abbey Mui as a response to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. Our founder was helping her mother’s small business grow their online presence when she realized that her mother wasn’t alone. Many small businesses struggled to pivot online in the digital age, which was only exacerbated by the pandemic.
As a result, we put together a program that would help traditionally underserved communities, such as women and minority-owned small businesses, to overcome the technology gap. We understand that businesses come to us with varying backgrounds and resources, so we seek to find technical solutions that are tailored to the business needs, budgets, and technical abilities of each organization.
We started in Pittsburgh and partnered up with organizations like Bridgeway Capital, Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority, and Neighborhood Allies to further the reach of our efforts and are constantly looking to partner with more! Since our founding, we’ve connected over 50 volunteers to 42 small businesses (and counting!)
My mom is the owner of a childcare center that lost over 50% of its students during mandatory statewide shutdowns related to COVID-19. Being a smart woman, my mom knew that once they reopened, she had to market her center. She hung up flyers in local pizza parlors and put up lawn signs on main roads. However, the world as we knew it had changed. Families were getting delivery more than ever and many more families were working from home, rendering her methods ineffective.
That’s when she turned to me for help. While the childcare center had web presence, their site was last updated in 2009. Because the website requires programming knowledge, it was incredibly difficult for my mom to update it on her own. It cost thousands of dollars to find a web agency to re-design the website. She understood the importance of a digital presence, especially since the pandemic fast-tracked the need for one. She didn’t know where to begin, but she knew she did not want to be the same position a few years later: stuck with an outdated website.
I dedicated over 60 hours to understanding the business needs, budget, and technical abilities of her mom before remaking the website on a modern and intuitive platform with functionality that aligned with and supported her current and future goals." However, I ended up spending most of my efforts into thinking about my mom would be able to update the website herself, and ended up spending an additional 20 hours focusing on a future strategy including how-to guides and next steps that put my mom in control of her own website.
During this process, I realized my mom wasn’t alone. There was a real opportunity to help my community. In fact, there were many others like her who struggled to pivot their business online even prior to COVID-19. The pandemic further exacerbated the digital gap between larger corporations with vast resources and small businesses in our communities.
In April 2020, I founded re:Bloom, a non-profit digital agency whose mission is to make web services accessible, affordable, and sustainable. We emphasize working with traditionally underserved small business communities, and we place an emphasis on training and future plans to allow organizations to work with, and maintain their own site.