Sunday, January 27, 2008

Valentine Treats and Goodies!

The day set aside for "lovahs" (think Carrie Bradshaw referring to Aleksadr Potrovsky) is fast approaching. February 14 (not Febuary 15, a gentle reminder for my lovely Father) is Valentine's Day. To our modern world it symbolizes THE day to celebrate love. Its the day for our significant others to gift us with anything from the traditional route of flowers to dazzling gems. Historically speaking though Valentine's Day was not linked to romantic love, that is until the High Middle Ages, thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer (applause). This was when courtly love was in full bloom. The way the day is celebrated has evolved throughout the years, but the unexpected has always been instead of going the traditional route and following the crowd (a.k.a. flowers) we put together a few suggestions for your Valentine's Day wish list.....feel free to share with your Valentine those items you would like to unwrap when you celebrate the day for "lovahs".

Our suggestions:

Let's begin in the City for "lovahs" Paris.....wait! Isn't this where Sex and the City comes full circle and Carrie FINALLY gets Big....for real this time! Okay enough Sex and the City interruptions:) A Parisian loving Valentine would be delighted to receive either the small canvas sketch (2 other styles available) or the Lavender scented Eiffel Tower candle perfect for relaxing.
A trio of photo frames filled with pictures of you and your Valentine at your favorite travel destinations or family photos would be the perfect gift to personalize.
A simple gold initial charm, that has a lobster clasp so it can be switched to work with a simple gold chain or a bit dressier pearl necklace (both available separately). It doesn't have to go on a necklace it can be added to any bracelet or use on your key chain. A classic statement. Another classic vintage inspired piece from our gold collection. This jewel covered locket combines perfectly with an over sized pearl extender and comes complete with the chunky gold chain. This is great for those who like something a bit different, this necklace won't be found just is handmade in the United States with truly vintage pieces...enjoy!
For our silver lovers (that's me!) any piece(s) from our Susan Shaw collection would be a welcome addition. These pieces are made to look chunky, but really are light weight. The artist uses a sterling overlay on you get the quality of hammered sterling for a significant amount less AND it doesn't weigh your neck, ears, or wrist down! They come in a variation of colors including Peridot Green and Silver, Black and Silver, Brown and Silver, Clear and Silver, and a simple Silver round beaded necklace....they all have matching earrings and bracelets.
Another Susan Shaw winner...these silver chains toggle in the front with either a diamond, square, or heart silver bead (will be in this week). A simple statement that can be enjoyed everyday.
We have these great glittered cupcakes (2 styles) with Valentine's messages on them...the top lifts off. I thought this would be the perfect gift box for a Languages of Life "Love" bracelet. What better gift than a bracelet that expresses their "Love" for you in four different languages (English, Italian, French, and Spanish)! AND the cupcake has ZERO fat and calories....I'd say a win/win situation!

This framed quote would be a great reminder for any Valentine!
This Funny Valentine is for our Dee Foust fans.....Posie has quite a following and who wouldn't love to receive a glittery red container full of some candy....OR jewelry (see above:).
How about a watch in the shades of Valentine's Day? If the colored band isn't your style we have plenty of silver, two toned, and gold watches to choose from.

And finally for those who enjoy a nice glass of wine....this would be the perfect wine bottle stopper. Made of pewter it has a quality that will survive the test of time. It would be a great addition tied around a bottle of wine that has the label personalized for your Valentine.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Office Organization

As I sit here sipping my freshly made hot chocolate from my neighbors at Figuero's, I am putting off the inevitable task of organizing all aspects of the shop. January and February gives us a time to slow down and reorganize ourselves after the hectic Holiday season. One key area of the shop that needs some organizational attention is my office.

My office is a decent sized space that I would love to be able to use half of as my order department....where my shipments are dropped off and where I can make a mess when pricing. I would also enjoy the opportunity to work at my desk has files and catalogs piled on top of it....its gonna take some work! I am one of those persons that can get organized, but within at least 48 hours there is a minor mess and within a week I am basically back to where I organizers worst nightmare (sorry Candi and Melissa!). So when a new shipment arrived with boxes full of stylish office accessories and organizers, I again went to the drawing board in creating some sort of idea of how I wanted to organize my office. I have made revisions to my earlier plans and am thinking I may be able to tackle it next week....yes I procrastinate.
I did not, however procrastinate in pricing and displaying the new goodies. When choosing items for the shop I really try to pick items that are functional and yet stylish. Soooo here they are...with a few ideas that I should put to use, but probably not until next week:)

What desk top is complete without an assortment of sticky notes? And centrally located in one spot...making your organization goals simpler....and not to mention color coordinated. Great for quick lists and notes or marking pages in your favorite magazine or catalog.

Need to write a quick note to a friend or teacher? These social notes in a coordinating flip top case are perfect to leave on the kitchen counter or the top of your desk...they're that cute! And in this chilly roller coaster weather....who wouldn't want to receive some springy colors to remind them of the warmer weather that is coming....soon I hope:)
Did you really think we would forget about your mouse pad? This is a great idea for jotting down those quick notes or ideas that seem to pop up when clicking through the web...tear away the pages when you fill one up...and you're ready to go again.
Need a stylish catchall for your monthly expenses or client files? This tote is perfect for travel, whether its to the appointment with your accountant or your clients you don't have to worry because you will make a stylish statement.
Finish your collection off with these file folders...any file drawer would be happy to give them a home....I didn't think this pattern was sooo very modern...even though the name was Modern Geometry...then we got it in the shop and I tried to fit it into several different displays....didn't work out so well. I moved some things around and saw I could mix in with the Manhattan skyline journal and flip top notes. The black and white Statue of Liberty print worked perfect...soo I think the Modern Geometry navy social flip top notes transcend gender....well they aren't sooo floral-y, right?! It also has a mini journal and file folders that coordinate. Who else forgets their Internet passwords and user names religiously? I am lucky that my passwords don't change every 30 days or whatever security measures are required for larger firms...I would be at a complete loss. This notebook is perfect to keep all your info right at your fingertips, why didn't I think of this?!

Just another color combination and pattern to choose from...
A little black book....not THE little black book, but a fun retro twist that is perfect to keep your contacts written down at your fingertips in your handbag or pocket....because sometimes your cellphone's battery poops out....well at least mine does....quite often in fact.Organize the latest photos of your loved ones in this vintage camera album...its the perfect size to slip in your purse...that much easier to show off and not having all those thumb prints.

Organize your coupons and gift cards in this vintage world traveler accordion organizer.

Did you forget that fabulous wine you tried last week with friends? What about that great winery, but the name is a bit fuzzy from your last trip to Hermann or Augusta....or if you are lucky enough Napa Valley. This book offers space to record your favorite kinds of wine, your favorite wineries, and much more. The perfect gift for your hard to buy for wine lovers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Another buying trip has come and gone. We always hit the ground running....well this trip not as early as the last...we left St. Louis at 10:30 am....I did NOT have to get up at 3:00 am this time:) One thing I KNOW is that we found some great goodies....and I know I placed orders because I have a stack of Purchase Orders sitting in my color coordinated accordion file folder...stacked by ship dates. Sooooo I will share a look into our trip....the post turned out to be longer than I expected.....

Day 1 we arrive pretty much on time in Atlanta and head to the luggage carousal to pick up our luggage (mine was green tagged with a caution sign b/c I was just 4 lbs away from being charged!). Okay so you might be thinking seriously Jamie why are giving us a play by play of your trip.....I thought this was going to be the highlight reel. And to that I would like to say "Patience my dear....patience." Let me just say if you have not been lucky enough to visit the Atlanta airport.....its busy! It makes Lambert look like a small country airport...people are coming and going, from all over the globe...there is a constant hum of activity. It is not uncommon to see uniformed military members roaming around gates. So as we anticipated the arrival of our luggage on the carousal I noticed 3 uniformed military members (Army, I think) standing together. I started thinking about a Super Bowl commercial (by the way GO PATRIOTS!!!!) from a few years showed a line of Military men and woman walking through an airport. The travelers in the airport stopped what they were doing to give these brave men and women a standing brought tears to my eyes just to think about it. So let me tell you I was surprised when I started hearing one person clapping (seriously!) we turn around and there is an older gentleman part of the USO (I think) leading a line of at least 50 Military Members single file and clapping his heart out. Immediately my mom and our friend Kathy from The Homestead started clapping....we all followed suit. It was one of the most touching scenes I have had the opportunity to witness in quite a while.

We only had a couple of hours to shop on Day we used our time wisely and shopped our fashion jewelry lines that we buy and bring home with us. We have a bag if you stop in and don't see something you are looking for, you are more than welcome to root through our bag of jewelry goodness and see if any of those pieces are to your liking! We also stocked up on watches....some new designs and our tried and trues.

Day 2 started off with the Temporary booths in Building 3 and we found some great things! A great new stationary line and we are adding to our hilarious Shannon Martin collection, a jewelry line that creates each piece with antique buttons and such, a handmade line of frames, photo albums, and other goodies. We also revisited our line of vintage flatware jewelry...the creator and artist Maureen has been busy repurposing flatware into wearable fashions...each piece is truly unique. We found a new line of fashion handbags and were excited to find the vintage doorknobs turned wine/olive oil stoppers have some new the Fleur de Lis finials, the golf balls (to arrive before Father's Day), pool balls, AND also using vintage flatware....these all make great gifts or are a fun treat for yourself. We are excited to expand our selection of inspirational jewelry....we are anticipating the arrival of a line in time for Mother's Day and Graduations that will help you say it all. They are truly quality pieces, such care and thought are put into the production of each one....we can't wait for everyone to see them.

We tried to wrap the day up by starting to create the 2008 Christmas Collection....but we were on overload and ended up visiting one of our favorite Home Fragrance showrooms and called it a day!

Day 3 With the intention of finishing the process of visiting the Temporary Booth floors we headed to Building 1. Now my mom may not agree, but I LOVE the Temporaries...this is where you find the fun and the funky.....those goodies that don't appeal to the masses....BECAUSE they are different....which is our offer goodies that you won't find too many other places. Building 1 is the High Design area....ahhhh goodness abounds! Now don't let me lead you to believe that there is booth after booth of amazing finds....there definitely are booths stocked full of great design elements and creative displays, but they are spaced out by other vendors who don't appeal to me....the spaced out part is where my mom finds her hidden resentment towards the Temporaries...alright let's be honest she doesn't hide it very well. We have a lot of ground to cover in the amount of time we are at the we have to quickly make our way through the aisles. It is not possible to stand at one end of an aisle look down and know you won't find something it is essential to travel the entire aisle and to make it a point to visit every aisle. We did visit every aisle and found some wonderful things. Here is a brief look at what we found... We were lucky enough to meet the owners and creators of K. Hall of our most popular home fragrance lines that are created in St. Louis. We will be adding a few new scents to our collection PLUS we will begin carrying diffuser refills very soon....our first shipment is scheduled for the beginning of February. We also found some great new lines that offer wonderful elements to add to the style of your home, another line of tubs and containers covered in fun and fresh colors a stylish way to store toys or just about anything! We found a new line that just recently made its debut stateside. They have a long history in Europe and offer well priced goods that will add so much to dahlias....and your homes too! We reordered from our favorite paper line and from Maximal Art.

As we wrapped up our ordering here we had enough time to visit some floors in Building 2 and placed a few orders before closing time. We are excited about a new home fragrance line that offers unique scents and their diffusers are embossed glass....finally a diffuser that can become a design element in your home...yay! We also reordered from a favorite vendor in a new showroom for them....the poor sales guy that helped me....I think we both had headaches by the time we were done....between going back and forth from the catalog to the order form and him being as descriptive as possible....I was ready for the night to be over:)

Day 4 We started right where we left off the night before, in Building 2 trying to find some great pick up goodies for the shop. For the most part I don't like the huge showrooms in this building. They are filled primarily with gift-y gift items...not us. We love to find a great item to give to a friend, sister, mom, cousin, aunt, dad, uncle, son, daughter, whoever, but we don't want it to LOOK like its sitting 12 deep on a plastic shelf. So I think this building is easier for me because I can walk past a showroom and do a perimeter cruise to know whether I should take the time to actually go in. Let's take a brief look at what we found....We were pleasantly surprised by one line of that offers both seasonal and everyday decor....their spring items were priced right and had style! We found a new line that offers some great tees for Mom's...they will make you laugh out loud. We found some hand beaded jewelry that has an understated elegance, a great price point, and fabulous quality....can you tell I like it?! Our favorite art line did not fail to impress with their new designs. We found a new line of bath and body to packaging and an overall great product. We also finally ordered from a line that is straight out of France...I have been studying their catalog for close to a year.....some wonderful goodies are on the way. Okay when planning for our trip I always map out the places we HAVE to visit...E. Barrett is always on our list. Much to my surprise when I began putting our plan together I couldn't find them anywhere....I was a little alarmed. As they make the best soaps and my customers LOVE them! So I was so happy to receive a little postcard before I left letting me know that they had moved showrooms and were much more centrally located. So when I visited their new home for the first time I was relieved to see it was new and improved! I try to beat the closing sign on a showroom, but didn't make it in time!

Day 5 We start our day right where we left off and try to finish Building 2 so we can begin the mind boggling decisions of Building 1. We finish up the few floors we have left and were pleasantly surprised to find a vendor we have had before has changed their offerings again! But this time its wonderful..they are importing antiques from Europe and Asia....and their prices are awesome...I can't wait to get the items in.

We move on to Building 1 and order some goodies....they are just great staples to have for the shop. We have a dinner engagement planned for the evening, so I time it so we can visit a Christmas showroom right before closing, planning on starting here tomorrow. Little did I know my Christmas 2008 vision would come to me right then and there and I would know exactly what direction I was going to take....but it did. So we found a sales rep and started our ordering....we moved through it pretty quickly...I like to think I have a good eye and I can make a decision whether it will work or not. So feeling very accomplished we finished our Monday evening and headed to our dinner engagement.

I had been looking forward to this day....this evening really for a few weeks now. We were going to dinner with a friend of mine, Abby. We met earlier this Spring in the blog world. We have since been in contact regularly...we both are young business owners trying to make it. We are from different areas of the country and have our own styles for our shops, but we can relate to each other's struggles and triumphs. We had never before met...talked on the phone once, but that's it. We arrive to dinner and find Abby and her mom are already there and waiting for us.....we take our seats, order our frozen margaritas and get down to chatting in earnest. Talking about anything and was like we'd known each other forever. We all had so much fun.

Day 6 Our final day....We found some last minute goodies....a new line of letterpress cards. We revisited a line that offers rusty tin pockets and found some great new items from them. We also placed our Holiday orders with our favorite vintage reproduction lines.

I have a tendency to over analyze and worry that we won't have enough time while we are in I booked us on the 9:30 pm flight back to St. Louis. As it turns out we ended up being ready to leave for the airport by 2:00....oops! So we hung out for a bit in order to wait for the shuttle to begin running to take us back to our hotel and then headed to the airport. We arrived home safe and sound. Until July I bid you adieu Atlanta.