Suspicious packages are a big no-no in Central London, so leaving little white boxes everywhere might not seem wise. But that doesn’t stop Natasha Cuts of This Must Be For You (TMBFY) from doing exactly that.
The idea behind TMBFY stemmed from a marketing project for a festival in Edinburgh. However, Natasha felt that there were better uses for her tiny boxes than simply advertising an event. At first the boxes were filled with toy soldiers, but Natasha’s move to London marked the switch to tiny toy animals.
Natasha marked the birth of TMBFY when she opened its Facebook page in August 2012. In the beginning, it was just her with the help of a theatre company. After a while, her best friend ended up joining. “It was my idea, but there were other people from the theatre company helping out. They were so enthusiastic and so supportive that I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for them. I will be eternally grateful for their help.”
Little toy animals, however, didn’t seem to satisfy Natasha’s vision for the boxes. She went to her Facebook group to see if there were any better ideas out there. That’s how TMBFY works. While Natasha is the head of the organisation, she is constantly reaching out to her friends and fans for new and exciting ideas as well as volunteers to help out. In the end, she found that people wanted something a little less discardable. The original gifts were not biodegradable so, on the off-chance that no one found them, they would do more harm than good. The idea was to move to more environmentally friendly gifts.
But that’s not to say that the project is limited to just seeds and teas. In fact, the project just recently held its first art project. The next big set of boxes Natasha has planned is an extremely special set. “I do want to do a series of special ones, because my Gran recently passed away. She lived in a fishing village and had a boat, so I’m going to get some little wooden boats. Which is entirely sentimental to me, it’s just I want to do something special and do something for her.”
TMBFY may still be in its infancy, but Natasha has big dreams for it. People around the world have already started contacting her to see if they could start up their own little version in their town. For the moment, however, Natasha only has plans to focus her efforts within London in order to get the project more established before looking elsewhere. “I never thought it would get this far. It makes me so happy.” There’s also the issue of finding new and exciting ways to leave the boxes around London. Natasha hopes to build a tree, in a park, and hang tea boxes on the limbs. Her reasoning? Because she likes ridiculous puns. But it would also allow for more boxes to be distributed in one location.
The project is entirely not-for-profit, but that doesn’t mean the materials are free. Natasha recently opened a shop on Big Cartel in order to keep the project going. At the moment there is only one item for sale. But Natasha does plan on expanding, especially considering it would be the perfect way to expand the project. “One thing I really want to do is set up starter packs. If you want to get involved, it will just cover the cost of the pack. It will contain boxes, and things to put in the boxes.” But the boxes wouldn’t stop there. Natasha is also considering putting together special boxes for birthdays, anniversaries, and the like. Again, all proceeds would go directly back into the project.
Her dream for TMBFY is not world domination or corporation. Instead, it’s the simple dream of finding a box that she didn’t leave out. “That would make me the happiest person in the whole world.” she says, “I just want more people to do it. I want to make more people’s days. Keep it going forever. I want to make people happy. That would be wicked.”
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