shop of the week

Shop of the Week: Mila Rose Designs

Shop of the Week: Mila Rose Designs

Hi everyone. I’m back again with another lovely interview for you all. Our featured handmade shop is Mila Rose Designs.  Melissa is the owner/designer of these pretty and fabulous hair ornaments and accessories.  Please read the interview below to find out how the business started, the challenges she faced, plus a few personal messages for fellow entrepreneurs, customers, and friends.  I have re-posted the complete interview here.  Thanks for reading 🙂
Mila Rose Designs
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Shop of the Week: Bluebird Bijou and a Giveaway

Though Bluebird Bijou is a new shop, it is gracefully taking flight.  

I am glad that Mary Lynn agreed to do this interview on my blog and she has been generous to offer a giveaway – this beautiful pair of blue earrings for one reader:)  But before that, let’s get to know a little more about the shop owner.

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?
I think defining the name of your shop is something that everyone deliberates over and over and over again and then just when they think they have it…the name is already taken or uncertainty creeps in and they start questioning themselves again!

I believe the goal behind a shop name should be to evoke the essence of what you represent as an artist or to define the type of service you want to provide.  To come up with the name of my shop, I started by writing down words that expressed how I felt when designing jewelry.  Basically, I wrote down every adjective under the sun for happiness.  I then thought about what symbolized happiness to me and I thought of my wedding song: Somewhere over the rainbow by IZ.
    “Oh, somewhere over the rainbow, 
blue birds fly, 
and the dreams that you dreamed of, 
Dreams really do come true.
And, that is how the name Bluebird was born. As for Bijou- short and sweet- my husband suggested it- and I like it.

Bluebird [ˈbluːˌbɜːd] A true-blue, authentically genuine, fabled Blue Bird of Happiness
Bijou [bē’zhū’] A small, exquisitely wrought trinket

How old is your shop?
My shop is only 4 months old- it was launched in November 2010.

What inspired you to start your own home business?

I have always loved artisan handcrafted jewelry. When traveling to seaside towns or areas across the country, I love browsing unique artisan shops – particularly the handcrafted jewelry section.  Unfortunately, I am like a moth to a flame- somehow I am always drawn to the most expensive item in the store. So, there was more browsing than purchasing!

When I got married, I wanted to buy my bridesmaids some jewelry- again everything I liked was very expensive.  I lucked out and I stumbled upon a craft store one day and they were having a trunk show of the most unbelievable gemstones. I was hooked! I took some classes and learned the basics and the rest is history. I am constantly taking classes and learning new techniques.
Eventually, I started making jewelry for family or for friends. When they would wear my jewelry, people would ask them about it and wanted to know where they could buy it. So, my husband encouraged me to open a store on Etsy.  My goal was, to create one-of-a-kind artisan jewelry at an affordable price without compromising the quality of ingredients and craftsmanship.
“I usually sit outside on my deck,
on my sofa, at the table,
or on a chair at the beach!”
MaryLynn 
Can you give us a peek on the creative process involved in your craft?
Hmmm, this is a hard question for me.  I really do not have a designated work station.  I usually sit outside on my deck, on my sofa, at the table, or on a chair at the beach!

I prefer to keep my craft simple- meaning only hand held portable tools. I remember I picked up a copy of Wire magazine and thinking, “You can create that… with two pliers!”   I find the smaller and more tedious the work the more I love it!

As far as the creative process, I see jewelry as a miniature canvas with gemstones as my paints. I am mesmerized by nature and the beauty of gemstones.  I try to mix textures and colors that seem to naturally go together.

What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?
Having confidence in my craft and feeling vulnerable from exposing my art for the world to see and judge.  And, I also deal with a small defect called perfectionism!

How did you get over it?

I don’t think you ever get over it!   However, having an incredibly supportive husband,  family and friends definitely helps.  I am also insanely thankful to all the people on Etsy who have sent me a friendly message, hearted me, or circled me- it really makes my day!

Please Name:the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop?

Work wise- I am actually a scientist and try to develop new drugs- most recently I worked on developing new drugs for Malaria. Currently, I am working with a group to develop a medical device to allow HIV positive women in developing countries to breastfeed. One day, I would love to open a small boutique and do science on the side as a consultant!
MaryLynn,
designer/shop owner
of Bluebird Bijou

Personally- I love taking classes to learn new techniques to create jewelry. I also love everything outdoors, travel, museums, and am a huge foodie!

Stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without?
This is easy; I have to have in my purse at all times lipstick, tic-tacs, wallet and my droid phone.

Your favorite shops?
There are so many shops that I love on Etsy, but here are a few of my favs:
BijouxOdalisque’s- all of it!
Skydreams- all of it!
Idolly Designs- I love, love, love her Leaf Necklace!
Elementclaystudio- Nesting Scallop Bowls, Copper Blue
Creativethursday- I am a thriving artist
Lighttexture- Steam Light Micro Lamp
Yoola-Tutorial set
Ok- I have to stop this could never end!

Your top 3 favorite picks from your shop?

The first favorite pick is easy, the Just for You Necklace.   I designed this necklace for my mom.   In Christmas 2009, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. When the time came for her to start treatments, I was unable to travel and both my brother and sister were overseas.

Since we could not be there with my mom, I went searching for a special gift that would help her through this difficult time. But after not finding anything personalized or special enough, I decided to make her a necklace that she could wear everyday to remind her of family and that we were there for her in spirit.

The necklace helped her fight the battle against this disease by giving her the motivation to get up for her treatments and still fix her hair and make-up. As my mom said to me, “I could not wear something so beautiful and special without putting myself together.”   She was able to wear the necklace throughout her radiation treatments. It really helped her to focus on family and not what was happening at the time; it was as though we were there with her. It’s funny how a small object can have so much power.

I truly believe in the power of this necklace to give comfort and strength. My mom is now cancer free!
Second favorite pick is the Opal-Essence Earrings. These earrings remind me of the summer sitting on the beach or looking for shells. It’s just a great feeling I get when I look at them.
Third favorite pick is The Ocean Blue Earrings. They are simple and elegant.  I designed these earrings to go with the necklace I created for my matron of honor in my wedding- they just remind me of her.
What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?

Believe in yourself- follow your dreams- and don’t be so hard on yourself.

Any message to your customers and the people who support you?

Thank you! Thank you for the support and for believing in my art. Everything in life takes a village.

A special thanks to you Rachel at theshopbug :))

 ~*~*~*~
Thank you MaryLynn for being our Shop of the Week!  
All the Best to Bluebird Bijou!

To Enter the Giveaway:

Simply visit Bluebird Bijou at Etsy, then leave a comment here and tell us your most favorite item.


Additional Entries:
Please leave one comment for each step you do.

1. Be a follower of my blog.  (Click on the follow button on the right side bar)

2. Link this post on Facebook.

3. Link this post on Twitter.

4. Blog about this interview & giveaway.

Check back on March 21 to see if you won. If you’re not a blogger, don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you.

Shop of the Week: Kachina and a Giveaway

Our Shop of the Week interview features s new Etsy seller. She will soon fill her shop with more of  her creations but she has finished some goodies like the ones you see in this post.  I love interviewing new entrepreneurs because their stories and courage can be very inspiring for others who want to start a home business.

Kachina is also offering a gift to one of our readers. It will be a surprise!  All you have to do is  check out Kachina leave a comment on this post, telling us what you like from her shop.  The winner will be picked via random on March 14th.  Please check back by that date to see if you won or leave your email address so I can contact you.

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?

Well it is self titled only because I have played around with so many names and nothing really suited me, except for my name! And since I have such a wild girl name any way, why not! haha
How old is your shop?
Well you should never ask a women her age! hahah well actually I have had the shop for a few years now, but really never put a whole lot of effort into it, but I did a lot with craft shows and trying to get noticed a little! So recently I started to actually post new things I have been trying and different things other than just jewelry which is what I started out with. I feel now days there is just so much talent I find myself looking at other peoples things and saying “oh why didn’t I come up with that”. But it really is amazing the things that people come up with!

What inspired you to start your own home business?

Well actually there is a few different things that goes into what I do only because I do so many different things! My new favorite thing is sewing! Ahhhh I love it, love it, love it!!! But I am very lucky to have a spare bed room which is, of course, my craft room.
I have so many things going on from paper crafting, jewelry, sewing, clay, screen printing, cake decorating, I just really love EVERYTHING!!! except knitting and crocheting! I teach a crochet class at my job (and I work at a craft store), but just don’t really like to do it as a project of my own!

What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?

Hmmm…well I would have to say making a sale online. It is actually a very difficult process to do, which I have found to be very similar to the craft show world! It actually took me a few years to actually have a great table and be really proud of the display.
My ideal goal was to have people (even if they didn’t buy anything) at least stop by and either just look (more than before) or have some sort of a compliment! And I spent a lot of time researching what it is that attracts people and just the concept and taking the time to do that really helped I think, but the biggest challenge I am faced with so far is applying all of what I know in the real world and applying that to my page in the cyber world!

How did you get over it?
Well, I am still trying to work on that, although I am getting into the grove of things a lot more and really trying to make my site something people want to see! And I love feedback, even if it is critical! But I feel like things are looking positive and I am getting a little better of a feel for things!
Please Name:

the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop:

Well anything I can do to craft! I love it! I spend hours reading blogs and looking at new craft ideas coming up with ways to make it my own! My head is bursting at the seams with all the ideas that I have and I love to create anything!
My new favorite day is Thursday, I actually go to my coworker Susan’s house and we spend all day sewing! And I love it! She is a seasoned sewer, and amazing at everything, but I’m hoping with a little more practice I will get there! And then besides working I spend my time with my beautiful mom, or my awesome boyfriend! They are both a really great inspiration, and I really appreciate everything they do, and how much they support me!
stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without:
Camera! Phone? (I really could live with out it) Wallet! And a note book that I right things down all day so I don’t forget any little handy ideas I may have!!
your top 3 favorite picks from your shop:
Well I would have to say the first one is the high waist skirt! Although it is a small and wont fit me, I lovvve it! The print that is on it is from one of my favorite designers, Heidi Grace! She makes the cutest anything!
The second would be my ‘Andrea’ necklace from my by the sea  collection, which is inspired by one of my old best friends, its kinda wild but really pretty! The necklace really is sooo beautiful and I want to keep it so bad but would love to see someone else in it!
The last thing that I love is probably my giraffe clutch! It is such a cool bag, and it is on a khaki corduroy, and just poppin with the little hot pink giraffe! And I love this screen so much because I drew it and it took me forever! And when I finally printed with it, it looked SWEET!!!
  
What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?
Jumping into the craft world can deffinatly be scary but soooo worth it! The things people come up with and what different ideas that one person may have and another person may perceive really is how it all works! So don’t be afraid!
And like they say “Don’t be afraid to reach for the moon, and if you fall you will catch a star!” I mean if you follow that motto there should be no room for disscouragement! And always ALWAYS be POSITIVE! Been a bad day? Just really remember, and try to keep it locked there in your mind, to keep a good attitude, its all about the law of attraction, you are setting yourself up for a bad day, or a bad sales if you have the attitude of being negative! So always be positive and remember it doesn’t come over night so keep your head up!
~*~*~*~
Thank you so much Kachina for being part of theshopbug!
Shop of the Week: The Nimbus Factory

Shop of the Week: The Nimbus Factory

It’s always nice to see a new shop and it feels great to be able to support talented and hard-working people, even in the littlest way you can.  We have featured a couple of new shops in this segment, so it was a truly a pleasure when Claire, emailed me to let me know that she along with three friends is launching, The Nimbus Factory.

On March, we have featured Claire’s shop (Dot & Jim).  In this interview, let’s find out how this four some started their company and get to know a little bit about each of them.


What’s the inspiration behind the shop’s name?

The name appealed to us because it had a really quirky, optimistic feeling about it, which we think is very fitting for us. We’ve come to think of it as a perfect representation of our own aspirations.

What inspired you to start the nimbus factory?
Each of us has daydreamed about how cool it would be to be able design our own products and start an art collective/design team. We all love creating products that we would want for ourselves, and of course we hope others would want them too. And all four of us love working together and making our designs real!


What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?
Well, we are based all over the US- one in California, 2 in Ohio, and 1 in Georgia- so distance gets tricky sometimes. Luckily we have modern technology. 🙂

 

How did you get over it?
Each of us is fully devoted to The Nimbus Factory. We have weekly meetings on gchat and loads and loads of email threads. We make it work!

 

Who are the founders behind it?

 

 

Claire Teschel, Phyllis Sa, Julia Kuo, Emily Dove

Do you own other businesses aside from the nimbus factory?

We each run our own sites and/or freelance on the side. Here are the links if you’d like to take a peek!

Emily: emilydove.com
Phyllis: phyllissadesign.com
Julia: juliakuo.com
Claire: dotandjim.com

Name your top 3 favorite picks from your shop

 That’s a tough question! If we had to choose, we would all agree on Happy Ocean calendar set, the Year Round Wall Calendar, and Animal Kingdom playing cards.

 

 

 

 

stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without

Emily: sketchbook, brush pen, a little grocery bag
Julia: pen, spoon. You never know when you might need a spoon.
Phyllis: iphone, pen, scrap paper
Claire: moleskine, micron, and paint chips

your favorite shops

We admire many shops, but if we HAD to narrow it down.. Rifle Paper Co., Anthropologie, Giant Robot!

What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?

Stay confident, believe in what you’re doing, and don’t be afraid to take risks. as long as you’re passionate about what you’re doing, those things will come naturally.

 

Any message to your customers and the people who support you?
Ever since the shop opened, we’ve heard from new friends, old friends, friends we see every day and friends who are on the other side of the world. The support has been amazing – thank you for being so encouraging!
* ~* ~* ~ *
Thank you The Nimbus Factory for being Our Shop of the Week!
All the Best!

**if you want to be featured as Shop of the Week,
please send me an email at
theshopbug@yahoo.com 

Rover Dog Clothing

Shop of the Week: Rover Dog

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted Shop of the Week. Now, I’m happy to introduce you to Rover Dog, a  fabulous clothing line for dogs. If you love dogs, then you’ll want one of these outfits for your pooch! I surely want one or two for my George and Tobi:)
How old is your shop?
The idea to start a clothing line for dogs that was based around classic pieces was first formed in 2007, however it took a few years to get things up and running.  The Etsy shop has only been open since August of 2010.
Read the complete interview on Beautiful Handmade blog.
Junghwa Accessories

Shop of the Week:Junghwa

Our shop of the week, Junghwa, is owned by Amy Stewart, who some of you may know through her blog. I happen to love the pieces of accessories in her shop- the rope bracelets, being my favorites so it is truly a great joy to have her be part of this segment. Amy and her husband, Sean are expecting their first baby, so congratulations and best wishes to them both!  

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?

My middle name and my Korean name is Junghwa. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to name my future brand Junghwa. It has a special meaning to me because my grandparents were the only ones to ever call me by that name but they passed away several years ago. I think of them when I think of the name.
Read the complete interview at Beautiful Handmade blog.
Shop of the Week Laughing Taffy + Giveaway

Shop of the Week: Laughing Taffy + Giveaway

I am guilty of not posting last week but I intend to make up for it with a series of fabulous posts this week. And because it is Monday, I am happy to introduce you all to our Shop of the WeekLaughing Taffy Designs, a shop where you can find an assortment of home decor items like photo frames, decorative coat hooks, trinket organizers, gift tags and coasters.

Jennifer not only answered questions for us but also offered to giveaway two items from her shop: a set of coasters and a picture frame. Thanks Jen:) To enter the giveaway, just read the interview and leave a comment. (Pls. read details for additional entries below the interview.)

 

coasters and frame giveaway

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?

As silly as it might sound, my shop’s name, Laughing Taffy Designs, came to me as I was watching my cat Taffy play. Taffy is a large, lovable cat who’s constantly happy and smiling and that’s where the “Laughing” part of the name came from.

 

Plus to me, laughing taffy conjures up images of fun,bright colors, whimsical scenes and people just having a good time. Hopefully that’s what my frames and home decor pieces bring into someone’s home, a sense of fun and color.

 

laughing taffy cat
 Taffy, the cat

How old is your shop?

Laughing Taffy Designs is a little over a year and a half old. It’s growing slowly and I am learning a lot along the way and growing with it.


What inspired you to start your own home business?

What inspired me, several things inspired me. One inspiration was finding Etsy. I was amazed to see everyone’s creations on there and to see similar items to the ones I made for my friends and family, and then amazed even more that those items were selling. But it was my boyfriend that really talked me into it. He had great confidence in my craft and what I did and pretty much forced me down at the computer to open up a shop on Etsy. I am so glad he did that!

etsy handmade coasters

Can you give us a peek on the creative process involved in your craft?

My creative juices start flowing when I see a fabulous pattern or bright colors on fabric or paper or take a single step into a craft store. When it comes to my frames or other decoupage items, I tend to start with a patterned paper I love. Then I look for a complimentary pattern or color that’s not quite as loud to go with the primary pattern. The paper is then cut down to size, placed on the object at hand and then all the edges are sanded down to give the piece a nice worn, loved look.
As for the coasters, I look for stamps that I can add something to to make it unique. As for the papers, I look for styles/patterns, that after going through the gel transfer process, allow for the character of the tile to show through the pattern of the paper.
When I get stuck and can’t think of anything to do or start to get a little bored, I try something new. That’s how I started making the coasters and handmade flowers. The new projects tend to spark my crafty side and I am no longer bored with any type of project.

 

work station
Jennifer’s work station

What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?

After getting over the challenge of putting myself out there and seeing if people would actually like what I made, the toughest challenge has been finding the time and space to do what I love. I am a nanny full time for 3 great kids, which means almost 12 hours of my day, Monday through Friday, is devoted to the family that I work for.

I also live in the family’s home in what could be considered a studio apartment, so space is something that is very precious and comes at a high price for me. And it is space that I really need when working on my projects since I really like to lay everything out in front of me before putting it all together.

work desk

How did you get over it?

I have overcome these challenges though by coming up with creative solutions. I will do parts of a project when there is a little down time in the day’s schedule or I’ll get the kids involved and let them do a project for their parents or to sell at a craft show, while I am working on my project (they love that!).
I have found that there is always a way to find time, even if you don’t think there’s any left in the day. As for the space situation, I have had to think of alternate ways to store items, so they look nice and are easy to get to. The newest solution I came up with (just a few days ago) was keeping all my pads of paper in plate drying racks. Those racks have made a world of difference in storing my paper and making it super easy to see what I have.


Please Name:
the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop

Well when I’m not busy with my shop, I am usually being a nanny for 3 great kids, an 8yr boy, 15yr girl and a not so little soon to be 18yr boy 🙂 But when I’m not working in the shop or being a nanny, I can be found reading period based novels, playing with my two cats, hanging out with my boyfriend, going to movies, and really, just trying to relax.


stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without

hmmm… the stuff I can’t leave home without are my cell phone, mints, dental floss, hair tie, kleenex, and the newest item I can’t leave home without is my new camera I just got, I love that thing! 🙂

your favorite shops

A couple of my favorite shops on Etsy are, Hadly Hutton, Mojo Spa Style, Maries Corner, Art Cult, and I could go on and on, but I’ll stop with those four.

your top 3 favorite picks from your shop

Asking me to choose my top 3 picks from my own shop is like asking me to choose between my two cats, they are all my favorites, I put love into each one. But if I had to choose it would be the Happy Birds-Set of 4 Coasters, the Lollipop Flower Frame, and A Sweet Trinket Chest.
laughing taffer home decor

What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?

I would say choose something you love doing and just go for it. It takes time, patience and a giant leap of faith, because no one ever got anywhere by just standing still. I would also say don’t get discouraged. If you believe in and stand by your product then others will too, it just takes some time. Networking is also huge in trying to get your name and items out there, and it’s something that I am still working on.

 

shop owner and designer
 Jennifer, owner/designer of Laughing Taffy Designs

Any message to your customers and the people who support you?

To those that have been to my shop and stopped by my booth at craft shows, I thank you so much for your support. Meeting new people, making those connections at the shows and seeing the smiles my pieces give you makes the shows, running my Etsy shop and website so rewarding to me. And to my family, friends and especially my boyfriend, I really can’t thank you enough for all your support and really pushing me into doing something that I really love doing.

~*~*~*~
To enter the giveaway:

 

1. Leave a comment about the interview. 
(irrelevant comments will not be counted) (1 entry)

Additional Entries:

2. Become a follower of my blog by clicking the FOLLOW button on the sidebar.
Leave a separate comment that you followed. (1 entry)
3.  Twit or Facebook about this giveaway.
Leave a separate comment.
(if you Twit, please tag it as @theshopbug) (1 entry)
4 Blog about this giveaway.

Leave a separate comment with your blog’s URL.  (1 entry)

The winner will be picked via Random generator and will be announced on Monday, September 20.

~*~*~*~

Thank you so much Jennifer for this great interview & giveaway!