navigating this new landscape....
Because my circle of friends includes lot's of makers and shop owners, when we get together we can't help but talk about "what the heck is going on....", yes this has a lot to do with politics but I try to steer my conversations to something we can have an impact on... our businesses! In this age of something crazy happening just about every day, be it large and horrifying, or small and trivial but none the least absurd, it's hard to keep focused on our businesses. We all feel compelled to care and help and well... try to figure this shit out!
I think the biggest change is the dwindling number of small shop owners like me who have a business that is sincerely our job and what we do to keep our family going, THESE are the businesses that I like to talk to - to see what they are doing to stay alive in this time of upheaval and change. There was a time when a great tragedy would render silence from me and others with businesses - but today, there is a necessity to keep going, keep working, do what we can - I really like the way that Jess Brown pulled together with her friends and neighbors in Northern California to create an auction (btw it ends soon so if you haven't got in there yet get yourself in there and shop the terrific maker wares with 100% of proceeds going to California Fire Relief - click here for more information). But if we are quiet our businesses will die, and that's not good. In my small town there are so many shuddered businesses, large and small, it's incredible and I honestly wonder what our small towns are going to look like if we don't keep the small guy in business!
I have taken a lot of time, and I certainly still do not have it figured out, but I have decided to change my business. When I started in 2004 the idea for my shop was quite unique mostly because it was a 'boutique' online, but I knew I needed to include my information on raising healthy children in a macrobiotic way (that was the smart part) because that information was just not on the internet at the time... well THAT'S changed! You can get so much great information online but sometimes it's not from a friend, like me (I hope I have become a friend after all these years!) so I want to keep it going, friendly recipes and links to people I trust to help you make choices in the larger landscape of the internet that's out there.
I am also changing my shop - my kids are growing up - they are now 12 and 15 years old! As I talk to most of you, your kids are growing up as well. I am getting back into my creative life, it took a lot of courage but I am so happy to have made the move into making things again. I spent many years making clothing and sweaters but now I am moving into new horizons... so exciting for me. I have been making pottery here and there for the last five years and I am finally moving into something I am proud of so offering some of my pottery pieces in the shop (unfortunately they sell pretty quick here in the shop so not much makes it online - I'm working on that). The pottery has also brought me closer to making my own artwork, which is still a bit of a work in progress and when it evolves fully you will be the first to know.
When we opened our first shop in our small town eight years ago I shared the space with a friend who made jewelry, she introduced me to a bit of beading, which was fine while I had little kids running around, but I was very intrigued by the art of jewelry making and my friend is a master - she came from a prominent family of jewelry-making here in Rhode Island (did you know this was the jewelry making capitol years ago-before it all moved to China) - she has been a voice for me and such a strong mentor, Robin Mollicone has created a jewelry collection that is as much her as it is at the forefront of new ideas and art-jewelry. Her jewelry speaks to a whole new generation of people wearing something 100% made by hand and unique. Robin helped me take my ideas and make something concrete, she showed me that you can make every single thing by hand if you are willing to work hard and she took me to my first gem and mineral show... I was hooked!
Enough about me but it's safe to say there will be quite a bit in my shop that I have made myself... especially if you visit our shop in person, I have made scarves, ceramics, jewelry, bags, terrariums... If I have an idea I will make it. I will continue to carry my favorite designers - the ones I can not do without (Lucky Fish & more...) as well as newly found, unique, and very special things be it for home, jewelry, clothing... you name it! But what I am not going to do is have collections of clothing for Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter - because I just don't shop that way anymore for myself so I don't think you do either. I feel pretty secure in the thought that you want things that can't be found somewhere else and I want to have my shop filled with things that will make you happy, healthy and more secure in yourself. I want your home to look like place you love to be in and I want to help you make yourself strong and powerful (you probably already are but I'll help you to be MORE so!)
It's a slow process but you will see new things and that's the point, but don't be afraid to drop me a line and let me know if you like it... or if you don't! And if you don't get enough of me here on my blog then follow me on Instagram where it's easier for me to post frequently and keep you going - either @nonchalantmom or @carina.schott for my jewelry and pottery making escapades!