Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

anchors away!

In honor of jetting off to sunny Florida to lounge on the beach and splash around in the salty waters for five days straight, I can’t get enough of these anchored bracelets.  So many pretty colors to choose from and the anchors come in gold, silver & rose gold.

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November 29, 2012

Sail to Sable

I love everything that connects to the sun and the sand…

A girl after my own heart.

I actually found out about Jennifer Stocker and her amazing line of tunics and dresses after I spent a weekend up in CT this past summer.  My boyfriend’s father was raving about a girl they all knew – a girl who launched her very own company.  She was featured front and center in the neighborhood paper and after reading it, beginning to end, all I could think was, “Wow.

And really… wow.  I knew she had to be one of the Leading Ladies in my Sweet Lemon Magazine feature.  

Jen Stocker is currently doing some serious juggling.  Not only is she the successful owner & founder of  Sail to Sable, she has managed to keep her day job.  Yep – in publishing!  Learn more about Jen & her lovely line of tunics, dresses and more, below!

I’m a beach girl at heart and I have to assume the same about you.  Tell us a bit about Sail to Sable and your vision behind it…

I love everything that connects to the sun and the sand— the feeling of endless summer. Our collection is inspired by bright colors, bold prints and lots of fun!

Is design in your blood?  

I have always loved the fashion industry and when I started working at Lucky Magazine I really got the itch to launch my own brand

We work in the same industry so I know how the hours can be.  Let’s just say that personal time can be a real luxury!  So between your day job and running your own company, how do you manage your time?

I finally have three interns working for me that help with a lot of the everyday work load but right now this brand is my baby so I am truly living and breathing Sail to Sable

Did the publishing industry help play a role when launching Sail to Sable?

Yes a huge role – the power of social media has played a key role in our success over the past three months. We launched the brand on Facebook and the amount of buzz has been remarkable!

What’s been your greatest challenge to date?

I think I had two huge challenges… one was finding the right contacts (factories, suppliers, help, etc…) and finding a reliable team. The other was finding my specific niche and how I would position my brand in the marketplace. The Sail to Sable collection is timeless and classic, and that was important to me to stick with that instead of getting lost in all of the trends of each season. 

Where and how do you find inspiration?

I find my inspiration through many local and long haul travels.  I try to be a tourist in my own city, and I listen to my customers for their needs from season to season.

Which do you prefer – home or fashion?

I would say I love them both equally.

Where do you see the brand in 5 years?  

I hope the brand continues to grow and I hope to expand across the country and into other parts of the globe.

How large is the Sail to Sable team?

Right now the team is my two interns and myself.  My father also plays a big role in all of the bookkeeping.  

I am always on the hunt for the perfect beach tunic, and more often than not, I find that they either fall too short or not short enough.  That, or they are cut too tight or hang too loose.  Yours seem to fit just right!  What’s your secret?  

Well, I think listening to your consumer is important, which I have done.  Fit was the most important part of launching the line. The launch was delayed until I found the perfect fit (I literally had over 30 people try on all sizes to make sure they fit all body types).  Our tunics have the darts in the back so they are flattering on every body and easy to alter the shape.

Where is your dream location for Sail to Sable to be sold?

We are already going to be sold in over 30 Lilly Pulitzer via locations. Which was definitely a dream come true. I would love to see the brand sold in some of the Calypso stores because it is such a true and natural fit for all tunic lovers.

Absolutely!  That’s where all of my tunics are from – or should I say were from… When did you first realize that you made it BIG?

Well that is kind of you, I would not say we have made it BIG yet. But I think we are moving in the right direction in just four months in business.

What are five things you can’t you live without?

I cannot live without black tea & lemonade from Starbucks, Rare turkey burgers, Argan oil lip balm, Roger Vivier flats, Jack Rogers Sandals

When you were five years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a lawyer… Ha!  Funny to think about now.

We all want to know… what’s it like being your own boss?  What are some of the pros and cons?

I need structure and being your own boss definitely loses that, but I treat my interns the way I would want to be treated and I’m so happy with the way everything has worked out.

What is your ultimate goal as an entrepreneur?  

I want to see the brand grow, but ultimately want to continue having fun – I love learning new things everyday.  I just got back from Atlanta from the Apparel Market and met so many amazing people… 

November 28, 2012

meet mark & graham.

You probably already know them.  And if you don’t, then I’m fairly certain you know their siblings: Pottery Barn, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma… Right, I’m sure you’re all familiar.

Mark & Graham is taking the monogram to an entirely new level… and I am loving every minute of it.  Who doesn’t love a good monogram (aside from my sister – and I have always found that odd)?

Whether you’re struggling to find that perfect engagement, Christmas or hostess gift, Mark & Graham should definitely be the first stop on your search engine list.  From leather tote bags to linens to decanters, this place literally has everything for the homebodies and the entertainers.

A big thanks to my friend, Jess, who introduced me to this site!

1. Everyday Leather Tote  |  2. Crystal Decanter  3.  Linen Wine Bag  |  4. Gold Medallion

5. Silver Plated Box  |  6. Chambray Glass Candle  |  7. Glass Mirrored Coasters  |  8. Acrylic Wine Stopper

November 26, 2012

Taste the Rainbow: Dana’s Bakery

I tasted my first Dana’s Bakery macaron over the summer and I remember thinking, “I hate macarons.  These can’t be macarons.  These are delicious.  They’re chewy, not flaky.  The flavors are fun, not fancy.  These can’t be macarons.

I guess that’s why Dana’s slogan is “Not Your Ordinary Macaron“, because, well, it isn’t!

Fast forward three short months later and Miss Dana has built her very own macaron monopoly.  Dana appreciates all the success that has come her way and she isn’t taking a single moment for granted.  She’s hardworking, down to earth and just hilarious.

Learn more about Dana and her macaron monopoly below, and be sure to check out our feature in Sweet Lemon and place your own order of macarons today in order to receive one free dozen!

I feel like you literally just launched Dana’s Bakery and suddenly I started seeing your brand everywhere!  Talk about an overnight success!  Tell us about the process.  Was it as easy as it looks?

It does feel that way, doesn’t it? It’s definitely been a work in progress.  Lots of long nights, early mornings and weekends. Owning a business goes beyond the full time job requirement but it’s worth it. More than worth it. 

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

As the business grows we are faced with new challenges. I literally take each day as it comes, as each day brings something new to the table. At first it was creating the menu, then it was all about designing the website and building the backend structure of how everything would work.  Now that the foundation is strong, it’s all about managing the production schedule and handling the business. Next month I am sure it will be something else.

Tell us what it’s like in Dana’s kitchen…

It’s a fun creative working atmosphere where everyone is free to bounce ideas off each other. We work hard, but have a great time while doing it…  I just asked my staff this question and they said, “not everyone wakes up in the morning excited to go to work, like we do”.  And… I just melted.

How large is the DB team?

We are up to 7 employees and growing fast!

It’s all about the details when it comes to branding and you have mastered those details… all the way down to those adorable little tote bags.  I have to tell you that I use mine all the time!  What are some other things that you think about when starting your own business?

 I’m so glad you love our totes, they are environmentally friendly and can be used to hold everything and anything! Our little purple bags are taking over the city! 

You need to take everything into consideration. The way your product tastes, the way it looks and how it’s displayed.  Also, how well does it travel? What can be done to make the experience and package more enjoyable for your customers so they not only come back but recommend you to their friends?  A lot of thought went into the design and packaging, but I think it’s just as important as having your product taste good.  If it doesn’t look good, no one will want to eat it! 

 Do you see yourself opening your own shop?  If so, where is your dream location?

 A shop is definitely in the near future. First location will be in NYC (of course) and then Los Angeles. My two favorite cities! 

When did you first realize that you made it BIG?

I feel so lucky to have had such success with something I am so passionate about. I pinch myself, daily.

How did you eventually work up the courage to pursue your dream?

If I was going to take this leap of faith, I had to do it in a structured way. I decided to enroll in the night/weekend program for Pastry and Baking Arts at the Institute of Culinary Education. I also landed a job as a pastry cook for Abe & Arthurs in the Meatpacking district and worked there during the day. 

I knew that I wanted to double up, get the work experience along with the formal training at school so when I graduated I could move full steem ahead. I had my plan and structure.

Why macarons?

Clearly I am a visual person, and macarons are just SO pretty. Not only are they pretty but they have the most distinct and unique texture. All of my favorite things rolled into one!  

Macarons have always been popular in Europe, but are now making their way to the states. I was surprised by the lack of variety in flavors that were available.  French themed rose and lavender treats just weren’t my thing. I figured we live in America – why not make some American inspired macarons?! Cookie Dough, Fruity Cereal, Thin Mint and Birthday cake to name a few. The concept for Dana’s Bakery was created!

Where do you see Dana’s Bakery in 5 years?

Global Domination.

When you actually do have some downtime, what can we find you doing?

Having dinner parties.  I LOVE to entertain.  I’m also a huge lover of music. My taste runs across the board from metal to hip hop and everything in between – I go to shows and concerts often. I also have a very public obsession with karaoke. I don’t even need drinks… just hand me the mic and you won’t get it back for the rest of the night.  

Give us a glimpse into your day-to-day…

Each day is different, some days im in the kitchen creating new fun and innovative flavors. Other days im running around to meetings or networking.  The business certainly keeps me on my feet!

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a lawyer, not sure why but it seemed so cool at the time! 

November 25, 2012

{two great stores, two great sales…}

Use code “CYBER” and receive 30 % off at Banana Republic & 20% off at Piperlime through November 26.

Banana Republic Top Picks:

1. Kieley Pump  |  2. Gold Cocktail Ring  |  3. Teal Stone Cocktail Ring  |  4. Ashley Bow Ballet Flat 

5. Knot Earrings  |  6. Cashmere Sweater Dress  |  7. Stevie Lace-Up Bootie

Piperlime Top Picks:

1. KORS Michael Kors Bootie  |  2. Clare Vivier Clutch  |  3. Joie Lace Dress |  4. Jean-Michel Cazabat Pump 

5. Pim + Larkin Earrings  |  6. Foley + Corinna Tote  |  7. Pim + Larkin Scalloped Skirt  |  8. Kate Spade Sunglasses 

9. Bibi Lou Ballet Flat  |  10. Echo Scarf 

November 25, 2012

sales galore

Need I say more?  

Ah… so tempting.  Just a few more things to add to this year’s wish list!

1.  Jackie Pullover  |  2. Tweed Jacket  |  3. Chiffon Leopard Top  |  4. Velvet Dot Top

5. Crystal Encrusted Necklace  |  6. Collection Skirt  |  7. Ryder Leather Boots  |  8. Edie Purse

9. Shearling Earmuffs  |  10. Flannel Pajama Set  |  11.  Pixie Pant

November 24, 2012

K.slademade

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring the remainder of my Sweet Lemon Magazine interview with the All-American midwestern sweetheart, Kelsea Slade.

Kelsea jumped at the opportunity to launch K.slademade when she discovered a gap in the handbag market.  Her designs are simple, classic, functional & high quality… and did I mention that all of her handbags and accessories are handmade in the USA?

Be sure to support K.slademade and receive 20% off with promo code “smallbiz20” through Monday, November 26!

I love your brand… as I had mentioned in my introduction with you, colorful leather clutches are a major weakness of mine.  Tell us how K.slademade came to life!

After working in the corporate world for a year I was ready for a change. I knew I wanted to be my own boss while pursuing my passion for fashion.

What were you doing before K.slademade?

I finished my undergrad and pretty quickly began a job working in Human Resources.

What ultimately made you decide to launch your own business? 

Working for myself has always been a dream but I think ultimately my husband’s encouragement is what made me decide to go for it. 

I see your pieces everywhere- more recently in an issue of OK Magazine – congratulations!  Now what, in your opinion, has been K.slademade’s greatest accomplishment to date?

Truthfully, the publicity is great but I would say that just being in business for two years is a great accomplishment. Beyond that, looking forward to work every day while still being able to contribute to my household income is a huge success for me. There are a lot of societal pressures on women these days that can make it hard to enjoy our day-to-day lives. Loving what I do and enjoying my work has always been very important to me, so I try to stay conscious of it and not let the pressure of “success” weigh me down. 

How large is the K.slademade team?

For now it’s my beautiful sister and I. I brought her on earlier this year to help me keep up with the workload and she has been such an answer to prayer! 

Where is your dream location for K.slademade to be sold?

Australia! That will give me a good excuse to go visit.  All.The.Time!

When you actually have some downtime, what can we find you doing?

My husband is a huge UT fan, so this time of the year we find ourselves frequenting the University of Tennessee many weekends! I’m a homebody, though, so I’m happy to put on a pot of soup, curl up with Monty (our pup), and watch some NFL from the sofa.

What are five things you can’t you live without?

1.  My wonderful husband

2.  Monty (my Chocolate lab)

3.  My iPhone

4.  A comfy pair of sweats

5.  Morning coffee

When you were five years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

FBI agent. No really, it’s true.

We all want to know… what’s it like being your own boss?  What are some of the pros and cons?

Well the pros are obvious: I get to make my own rules! And the cons: I am responsible for absolutely EVERYTHING that goes on here.

November 24, 2012

a few of my favorite things…

Blue hydrangeas to forget about the cold  |  LENOX sand dollar vase

LE LABO “Cedre 11” candle  |  Z GALLERIE tray

November 23, 2012

Ashley Brooke Designs

Ashley Brooke is a southern belle who has a passion for paper products and design.   She believes that “custom stationery is one of life’s greatest luxuries”, and I have to agree with her!  I have admired the products from Ashley Brooke Designs for quite some time – currently my favorite pieces in her online shop are her Beach Day, Festive Girl & The Africa Project stationery – I have the latter and am already just about out!

Ashley Brooke Designs is currently offering 20% off on all of her adorable products through Sunday!  

Enjoy the rest of my Sweet Lemon interview with Ashley, and be sure to check out her shop and put that “blackfridayisyourbestie” promo code to good use!

Is design in your blood?  

I would definitely say creativity and entrepreneurship is in my blood.  My parents own and operate a very successful portrait studio and I’ve gotten so much from them on both the creative side and the business side of Ashley Brooke Designs.  I know without their guidance and inspiration, the business would not be what it is.

What was your biggest challenge when launching Ashley Brooke Designs?

Oh wow, let’s be real… it was all a challenge! I had NO idea what I was doing. Each morning I would wake up and think “okay, well… what do I do next?”

Who is/was your biggest supporter?

Obviously my family and friends have been hugely supportive! And, I will forever be grateful to Erin from Blue-Eyed Bride and Nina from According to Nina  for giving me my first big chance to shine!

When did you first realize that you made it BIG?

Ha! That’s such a flattering question…I’m not sure I feel like I’ve made it big yet! Although I am so, so grateful for the growth we’ve experienced and where we are now, I’m always looking for ways for us to improve and grow and get better and I think that helps me keep going.

Where and how do you find inspiration?

Oh gosh, this is a hard one! I get my inspiration from fashion, typography, layout design, textiles….. the list could go on and on!!  I try to look at things that I like and figure out how that design concept, layout, color could be translated into stationery for our client.  Usually the things I would want on my own desk are the things that end up being the most successful!

What types of projects are you currently working on?

We are always cooking up something!  Whether it’s a photo shoot for the blog, an upcoming promtion, or new product…there’s always something in the works!

Do you have any other upcoming partnerships and/or collaborations that you can share with us?

A lady keeps her secrets!

I love your blog, and I have to tell you that I can’t get enough of your “ABD: Styled” & Desk Obsessed features.  Then you have your custom designs on top of all of the fun products in your online shop.  Be honest, how in the world do you manage your time?  

I will admit, we pack a hefty punch when it comes to all the things we do! But I have a great team and sometimes the days are long, but we’re able to make it work because we love what we do and want the business to continue to be the best it can be.

Where do you see ABD in 5-10 years?

I have so many dreams and goals. I see us being successful and hopefully, producing inspiring art that makes people smile. The business has come leaps and bounds from the first year, and the funny thing is that it’s not at all what I thought it was going to look like on day one. So I really can’t wait to see what Ashley Brooke Designs will look like in 5 or 10 years!

Time to play favorites… What are a few of your favorite ABD products?

I really love the new favorite things cards we have in the online shop… the beach day and the Fall favorites are just so cute!

I love those!!  Do you see ABD moving beyond paper products?

Honestly paper is my passion, it’s why I started the business in the first place, but I am always looking for new opportunities and ways to share my illustrations, so if the right thing came along, you never know.

What are five things you can’t you live without?

Let’s see well, besides the obvious of friends and family…

1.  Popcorn

2.  My iPhone (It holds the secrets to the universe, my e-mail, silly texts from my girlfriends, and my Bible app)

3.  #2 pencils and a sketch book.

4.  Nail polish (let’s be honest… I could totally live without, but why?!)

5.  Um… and Nutella.

When you were five years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A prima ballerina, I still love a good leotard!

We all want to know… what’s it like being your own boss?  What are some of the pros and cons?

I love being my own boss, it’s one the biggest perks of owning the company 😉 I’ve always been a go-getter and do-er so its easy for me to motivate myself. But there are things I wish I could hand off to someone else…like monthly accounting work and things like that.

What is your ultimate goal as an entrepreneur?  

To be able to wake up every day and be able to do what I love to do!  And help others make their start-up dreams come true!

November 22, 2012

give thanks.

Today is the day to “give thanks” & show gratitude to those nearest and dearest to your heart.  Family, significant others, friends – including those furry four legged friends who never fail to make us smile…

Give thanks for your health.  For that roof over your head.  For that closet full of clothes.  For that pantry full of necessities & snacks.  Give thanks for that paycheck & for that job – no matter how much stress, agony, sleepless nights and frustration it may cause you.  Give thanks for vacations and getaways.  Give thanks for visitors and reunions.  Give thanks to your parents, who have taught you everything you would ever need to know, and who have shaped you into the person you are to this day.  Give thanks to your boyfriend, who has stood by you through some of the toughest times and keeps you going through all the bumps in the road.  Give thanks to your friends, who keep you laughing.

Give thanks for the little things… and the big things.

1 to 2 words may seem like nothing at all, but they mean so much.  Remember to give thanks to those who teach you, to those who listen & offer advice, to those who support you, to those who challenge you, to those who would drop everything for you, to those who make an effort, to those who lend a helping hand, and to those who are always there…

Happy Thanksgiving!