Posts Tagged ‘milk and honey luxuries’

Martha Stewart American Made Finalist

finalist

Earlier this month, we were named finalists in the 2015 Martha Stewart American Made contest. and voting is underway! You can read my entry and (pretty please) vote for us up to 6 times a day by clicking here.

In November Ryan and I will be heading up to New York City for the American Made Summit at Martha Stewart’s headquarters. Tickets are purchased, hotel is booked, and I can’t wait to be back. I’ve met some really wonderful people at Martha Stewart, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.

In the meantime, it would mean so much if you took a moment to vote for my small business. You can also see more of what it is we do by checking us out on Martha Stewart’s American Made Market here.

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Looking Back On 2014

IMG_4077  As 2014 draws to a close, I am enjoying some time off. We close up the shop from December 20th until after the New Year, and use the time for relaxation, reflection and planning.

This year was the best yet for both family life and work life. We bought a new home with a large studio space, which has allowed us to separate work-life from home-life with the simple closing of a door. We created new product lines (and have a few more in the works!), continued our partnerships with other companies such as Nordstrom, Martha Stewart American Made and Preserve.

In November we traveled to New York City to attend the Martha Stewart American Made Summit. We have been a part of the American Made Market since February of this year, when they reached out to us personally to invite us to join the marketplace. We visited the Martha Stewart Headquarters for the first time this summer, and were excited to return for the Summit.

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At the opening night cocktail party

 

Heading to the Summit bright and early.

Heading to the Summit bright and early.

Our spoons were included in a pop-up marketplace at the Summit, so of course we had to take a few photos with our creations.

Posing with our spoons at the pop-up market.

Posing with our spoons at the pop-up market.

By the end of the event they had nearly sold out of our entire inventory!

By the end of the event they had nearly sold out of our entire inventory!

Of course, the highlight of the trip was hearing Martha herself talk about running a business. We decided to make The American Made Summit an annual trip because it was the perfect motivator heading into the busiest season of the year. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    After the Summit ended, we stayed in New York another day to do some shopping and digest everything we learned. We even found some great antique shops, and somehow I couldn’t convince Ryan that we needed this guy for the studio.

He really wanted to come home with us, but wouldn't fit in the overhead bin.

He really wanted to come home with us, but wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin.

As soon as we were home from New York, the Holiday season began in full swing and we spent many long nights in the studio creating the gifts our customers selected. As December 20th neared, the last thing we wanted to do was close up the shop to immerse ourselves in the Holiday madness of crowds and traffic and malls. So we did the only sane thing and skipped it in favor of four long days in the mountains of North Carolina. There were less presents under the tree, but it was worth it to light a fire and hole up here: IMG_4051The opposite side of the cabin hung off the top of a mountain, which was the perfect place to have our coffee every morning. IMG_4042The best part was being able to convince my parents to join us. My mother is very into Christmas, so pulling her away from decorations and shopping for the four days leading up to Christmas Eve was no easy task. I think she gave in because of our plans to visit the Biltmore Estate to take in their 63 trees and lavish decorations (not to mention their winery!). We also spent a day antiquing (a pastime I learned from her), so she had a lot of fun in spite of the timing of the trip.

Our clan at Biltmore.

Our clan at Biltmore.

Now we are spending the remainder of the year relaxing around the house with the kids and making plans for 2015. We are in the early stages of another partnership and laying the groundwork for a few new product lines. The silverware boxes are fully re-stocked and ready for action come January. And after another week of unwinding with my family, I will be too.

Let Them Eat Cake. Just… not out of this stand for a while

milkandhoneyluxe

I credit my “Let Them Eat Cake” etched glass stand as being the piece that launched the entire company. I wanted one, you see, and there were none available in the world. So I did what any rational person would do. I learned the art of hand etching glass so that I could make it myself. I opened my Etsy shop on October 3rd, 2011 and just one week later I sold my first Let Them Eat Cake stand. Since then I have sold over 70, and given several as gifts. It has always been my single favorite item in my entire store, and yet, I am putting into semi-retirement.

Why on Earth would I do this to my favorite piece? Because the last five times it sold, I could literally feel my shoulders slump a little. I’d already added a disclaimer to my hand etched pieces that they no longer had next day shipping, instead limiting myself to a single etching day per week. Glass etching is a hobby not without risk, and the set-up and clean-up process had become daunting once my store became busier. Here is a glimpse of my etching attire: IMG_5496bIn order to avoid silicosis (from the American Lung Association: “silica dust can cause fluid buildup and scar tissue in the lungs that cuts down your ability to breathe. Silicosis cannot be cured, but you can prevent it if you take specific steps to protect yourself and your family”), I wear that heavy-duty breathing mask. To prevent glass shards to my eyes, I wear eye protection. Earplugs complete my ensemble. After etching, I have to change my clothes (to avoid spreading glass dust), wash my hair and wet wipe the entire etching area. The finished glass piece is entirely safe, as I wash away every trace of glass dust before double boxing and mailing off the stands.

All of this was a breeze during slower times. But now I have my days planned almost to the minute to fulfill orders, keep the shop stocked and still finish work at a time that allows for activities with the family. And so I’ve decided that, although profitable and enjoyable, the cake stands would be the straw that broke the camel’s back once the holiday rush starts this year. They will be disappearing from my shelves sometime mid-August, so if you’ve wanted one but have held off, now is the time. I can promise you they will be back. While I don’t know exactly when that will be, it would definitely not be until Spring at the soonest.

Ryan’s cutting boards have opened the floodgates of inspiration and we have had a blast thinking up new ideas for them. As creative conversations tend to do, ours will start with a cutting board idea and by the time we’re done, one idea has led to another and I have ten new spoons planned. With the hand etching out-of-the-way for the time being, we will have much more time to work on new pieces, like spoons: IMG_2396milk and honey

and cutting boards:il_fullxfull.483798806_30s4As well as some very exciting (but still secret) projects on the horizon. I usually gauge my decisions by my gut feeling the moment I make up my mind. If I am uneasy, I take that to mean that more thought needs to go into it. But the moment I decided to shelf the cake stands, I felt a weight lifted and a slightly giddy feeling about the time I would reclaim for new projects.

Of course, I could have just quietly deactivated those listings in a couple of weeks instead of blogging about it. But I feel like the Glass Queen of my shop deserved a proper send off, rather than an unceremonious beheading.

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