Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday Host/Hostess Gifts

So you are going to a holiday bash.  Are you really going to show up without a host/hostess gift?  (That's a facetious question by the way.)

Take some wine.  Just not naked wine.  Dress that business up in one of our holiday wine bags.  We've got lots to choose from.  Sure, you could just hand over the bottle, sans outfit, but you might as well leave it in the paper bag with the receipt for as tacky as that is.  

Our wine bags are a much better choice.

Penguin Wine Bag

The bags are handmade and totally reusable.  So it's like you are giving two gifts in one. Wine, and a cool bag that they can reuse.  

Just don't give the wine bag by itself... if you do it just looks like a weird sock. 

Oh, what's that?  Your host/hostess doesn't drink?  That's cool.  Take them an aromatherapy pillow.  When they lay their noggins down to have vision of sugar plums dancing in their heads, the herbs in these pillows help them relax more and have more vivid sugar-plum dreams.  

Aromatherapy Dream Pillow - Lime Green Lattice

The pillows are too "new-age-y" you say?  Okay, we've STILL got you covered!  Get your hostess an apron (we even sell the oh-so-appropriate HOSTESS apron - how ya think it got it's name??!!).  
Table Talk Hostess Apron

We've even got aprons for the host!  Pair these hot little numbers up with a cookbook and you have just become their favorite guest on the invite list!

Reversible Grill Apron

We've also got owls, jewelry satchels, and lavender eye pillows!  If you are looking for something personalized or in a particular pattern, message us and we will do what we can to help!

Happy Holidays!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Support *TRUE* Small Business

The shopping season is now upon us (well, according to my down-the-street neighbor who has already put out Christmas decorations).  When you are out-and-about doing your thing, think about supporting small business.

Many small business owners run their shops out of their homes and sell their goodies at shopping parties, craft fairs, or online through venues like Etsy.  We do all three.  While re-evaluating inventory and preparing for shows, we like to scope out the competition.  We have noticed something quite prevalent and disturbing.


What is a "blank"?  A "blank" is something that a shop can embroider or print on, and then sell it as their own.  Now don't get me wrong - I've got no problem with blanks as long as you know you are buying a blank.  In fact I love to purchase items made on blanks because I can get them personalized exactly how I want them.

But here's the problem.... some of these shops are selling their "blank" items at a much higher cost than truly handmade items.

Take our wine bags for instance.  I make these in my home.  They have two layers of fabric - the outside print, and then the inside lining.  I gusset the bottom so they stand.  I string the ties through and add bells or whatever to them.  These are truly handmade.  (Well, except for the actually making the fabric, thread, and ties... but you get what I mean.) The Sapphire Key sells these for anywhere between $6 and $10.

Our aprons are the most time-consuming item.  As with all of our items (except the owls - Cathy makes those in her house!), these are made in my home.  I create the patterns, I pick the fabric and trim, cut it out, make the ruffle, pockets, put it all together, add buttons, whatever.  These sell between $29-$37.50.

Now I've seen other shops selling wine bags and aprons for MORE than what we charge. Let me tell you about these items.  They are "blanks" that were bought quite cheaply (just check out the workmanship for yourself), and then a screenprint image or an embroidery pattern is added by the shop.  Better yet, just do a quick internet search for "apron blank" and see if anything looks familiar to you....

Understand that using blanks is perfectly acceptable.  As I stated, I love buying items made on blanks because they can be personalized exactly how I want them. Also, some items - like glasses, rubber keychains, tshirts, etc. - are a little more difficult to be made by hand.  

My point is:  Just know what you are buying.  The "small business" might not be that small after all.