28 May 2007
24 May 2007
For all of you diehard holiday shoppers out there, our door will be thrown wide open this Monday for Memorial Day from 10 AM to 5 PM. And there's a SALE...oh, is there ever a sale! Beginning today, save 10-50% on hundreds of items throughout the store. We are clearing out some wonderful things to make room for next season's shipments. Sales abound in just about every category in the shop, so you're sure to find that perfect graduation or hostess gift, gift for yourself, or accessory for your next get-together. Here's a peek at some of our sale items, plus a look at some of our new finds. Pallets and boxes are arriving daily, so be sure to check in regularly to get first shot at what's new! Feast your eyes and read on for more details...
We're in love with our new Cafe de la Tour Eiffel tabletop collection. From our mugs and dessert plates to our latte bowls and mini bowls, this stuff is not only quintessentially French-y, but is sturdy and microwave/dishwasher safe--safe in the hands of your kids and safe after a long night of entertaining when all you want to do is load up that Kitchenaid and fall into bed.
These little birds, carved from bone, are actually corkscrews! A really special hostess gift when you particularly want to impress.
We love olivewood and this cheeky guidebook to l'Italia, a great gift for someone taking their first trip OR for the seasoned traveller.
We don't think you can ever have too many fun little drinking glasses. These French Coin glasses are great for water or something a little more lively.
It ticks! It tells time! It filters light beautifully through its metal mesh background printed with an urn. It's a clock!
Our Moroccan Mini Tumblers just feel like summer to me. In red, green, purple, and (my favorite) blue. Hold one up to the light and you'll catch the fever, too. Now I just need a cabana on the beach, a bonfire, and a starry night. Romance in a glass.
Red, white, and blue are toujours fresh.
Due to popular demand, we've expanded our line of Barkology tees. In soft, layerable cotton and the juiciest colors and most versatile neutrals, you are sure to love the way these fit. Take it from a curvy girl--these tees are immensely flattering! Available in sizes small through extra large. And for all of us CAT lovers out there, Barkology/Me Me Meow has designed a tee just for us! Try it on here.
Our Metal Jonquil Candelabra look right in all seasons.
Studied Bohemien: our vintage and sea-inspired collection of jewelry by These Flowers, This Moon meets our Wilde's Seaside Holiday picnicware collection. They love each other! Go figure.
To serve appetizers on, or to hang on the wall as art, or to use as a message board with pushpins...this is the question. So many uses, so much character, such a great price. We can't stop selling these Parisian Breadboards!
A shade off of robin's egg blue, a shade off of turquoise, our Chez Germain collection of dessert plates, latte bowls, and glasses looks fresh, fresh, fresh.
A vintage shopping cart and antique seltzer bottles from South America add layers of character and charm.
Our little red Chez Pastis bistro display. From shiny little Harem glasses to the perfect red-and-white water pitcher to a fabulously fun serving tray, let our fantasy inspire your own!
A note to all of you reading out there: we are still in the process of creating our website (with e-commerce!). It's a long time coming but hopefully it will be worth it! We are taking the process slowly to make sure we truly love what's being developed. We want our online presence to reflect our store as much as possible and give our shoppers an experience similar to the one they would have in the shop. Meanwhile, if you ever see anything in a photo on this blog that looks interesting, please send me a private e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the shop at 330-492-2500 and we can discuss pricing and shipping. We ship UPS Ground to anywhere in the continental U.S.
Thanks for reading and if you're in our area, we invite you to come in and spend part of your Memorial Day weekend with us at The Blissful!
21 May 2007
Yesterday, I was hot-diggity-dog pleased to find an interesting article on a topic I love to think about and play with: the art of branding. As a boutique owner, defining a brand identity for one’s store is a critical piece in winning customers and making sales. In my mind, it’s the cornerstone of everything. This article, featured in the May issue of Domino magazine, explores the idea of personal or self-branding--being able to distill the essence of one’s own personal tastes, credo, or philosophy of life and style into two words. (You can double click the photos above to read the article yourself.) The writer describes her experience of a phone consultation with Carrie and Danielle of carrieanddanielle.com, who provide the service of self-branding through asking their customers a series of imaginative questions designed to elicit information about their deepest desires, inspirations, and in fact, identity. I don’t know about you, but this process sounds very cool to me. If only I had a spare $500 sitting around, I might consider contacting Carrie and Danielle myself. In lieu of that, I thought we could try a stab at it here ourselves.
At The Blissful, we carry a line of candles called Capri Blue (for those of you who have been in, they’re the ones in the big fat cobalt blue jars). The best-selling scent, for us, is Boho-Luxe. When I first decided to carry this line, I had pangs of longing over the name of that candle. For me, Boho-Luxe perfectly describes my own personal style. So that's it for me: Boho-Luxe is my two-word style statement! I’m a little bit Bohemian (naturally curly hair worn long and ‘unstyled,’ natural makeup, jeans almost always), but always with a Luxe edge (unusual jewelry, rich beading, patent leather stilettos the color of cola with grenadine—okay, you won’t find me wearing these often, especially not in my shop where I'm on my feet for ten hours a day). Boho-Luxe translates into my home decorating choices, too. Now, while I’m establishing and funneling all my resources into my business, feathering my nest is—shall we say—on hold. But in my previous apartment, my furnishings reflected a Boho-Luxe aesthetic—bone-colored walls, a sofa and oversized chair slipcovered with a merlot-colored tapestry, Indian-inspired throw pillows, a sisal rug, fat candles in sherbet-y colors on grand candelabra. People would tell me it was feminine but not girly, artsy yet ultimately comfortable. Boho-Luxe!
The article explains that your two-word style philosophy should guide you in an 80/20 ratio—the first word should dominate 80% of the time, while the second word provides the unexpected accent or finishing detail. Pump the 20% up a bit too much and you've crossed over into overdone or something totally different. In my case, though, the ratio flip flops depending on my mood or the occasion. Decorating my patio? Boho dominates. Dressing for a wedding? Luxe wins out.
Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment sharing your two-word self-branding statement, and give us an example of what your style ‘looks’ like. Have fun!
18 May 2007
So back to the minor epiphany. I was driving and enjoying the fact that it was still light out, enjoying the fact that I was alive and driving my car freely and going anywhere I wanted to in this town…my town. And that’s when it hit me. My town. Where I live. Where I do business. Where (most of) the people I love are. This is my life. I am an…adult(!)…and I live in this town and I’m more or less directly responsible for helping to make this town great. I contribute to the way people experience this town because I am a business owner. I interact with the public. I am no greater or lesser contributor than any other person in this town, but I am one contributor. I make my own contribution. And it’s the contribution only I can make. And you know what? In that moment, I experienced fully a small, quiet moment of complete fulfillment.
Why were these thoughts significant to me? Probably because a mere year and a half ago, I never dreamed I’d return here to live, ever. Much less open a business here, ever. These turns of events occurred to me as good ideas just weeks before I actually went and made them happen. Before my big life change, I had a cute apartment in one of those trendy “lifestyle communities” that tend to attract young professionals who aren’t quite ready to be home owners. I was a teacher with enough years under my belt to mean job security when the levies didn’t pass. I had interesting students and great teaching partners. I had friends and a dating life. I had a supportive family to talk to on the phone. I had a relationship with God. I had a treadmill in my living room, a coffee shop to frequent on Saturday mornings, and a front porch with a bistro table where I once served a boy I liked homemade Pad Thai by candlelight. I had a whole life!
But it wasn’t ultimately fulfilling. I didn’t know why. I talked about it at length with my girlfriends, over dinners and glasses of wine and Caramel Macchiatos. And I quickly discovered I wasn’t alone. Most of us felt at least mildly unfulfilled and creatively untapped, even those of us who worked in the more creative fields. Even those of us who were married with children. The sort of unfulfillment we were talking about had nothing to do with the relationships we had or didn't have. It was something having to do with just us, and with our unique gifts and talents.
I knew my unfulfillment wasn’t a permanent condition. After some months, I even sensed the time was nigh for a shift. There was hope for me. I felt as if I were in the birth canal, waiting to be reborn as something new. I just didn’t know what.
I bet that many of you out there have found yourselves in a similar position—unfulfilled by your workaday existence (even if that workaday existence is admirable, honorable, enviable, lucrative, and/or on many levels, rewarding!), primed for a change, desirous of a new life (or at least parts of a new life). But maybe you didn’t know what needed to change. Or if you did, you didn’t know how you needed it to change. Or maybe you have felt as if you need everything to change. I know that I have felt that way at times.
So fifteen months ago when I first decided that the change I needed in my life was to leave teaching and start a business, I experienced a tremendous sense of ownership over my own life. Not that I ever felt like a puppet before. Teaching, after all, is akin to running a small business in many ways. (In some teaching models, students are to be considered as the customers of schools.) In leading a classroom, you define a brand identity (How does this classroom run? What are the expectations? What are the rewards of a job well done?), set up procedures and policies, manage paperwork, lead meetings, devise creative solutions, constantly troubleshoot, etc., etc., etc. But given all the freedom and liberty I experienced as a creator and a “proprietor” in my own classroom, I still felt as if that wasn’t enough for me. It wasn’t enough for me to work within the system of a school. I wanted to create the system.
For any of you out there experiencing a similar malaise, I am speaking directly to you. Further, I am speaking to those of you who strongly suspect that the unfulfilled desire in your life is to start your own business. I am not by any means suggesting that most malaises can be solved by starting your own business—heavens, no! If anything, taking such a leap can open the door to malaises you might not want any part of—if you don’t have the spirit, the mindset, and the attitude of an entrepreneur. But if you know that you do or even that you want to…I’m talking to you.
Just the other morning I attended a business growth seminar that was, quite frankly, life changing. I have a totally different view of my business after listening to and engaging with the ideas that were offered to me there. Here’s one thing I know for sure: by my own assessment, I may not yet deserve to wear the term entrepreneur. With mine being such a new business, I think ‘self-employed’ is a more fitting term for me—and I wear that term proudly with a smile. But I know that I have the spirit of an entrepreneur, and that is a role I am claiming for myself and for my future.
So back to that epiphany, the nature of which was this: this life I’m leading, I created it through conscious, deliberate choices, the stimulus for which was unfulfillment and the impetus for which was a desire to live the life I will want to look back on when I’m ninety-five. So here’s the question: when you're ninety-five, what passion of yours could you die happy knowing you fulfilled? Dealing in antiques? Designing clothing? Providing childcare? Creating greeting cards? Instructing Pilates? Catering parties? Helping others achieve their fitness goals? Whatever that “undying passion” is for you—I urge you to allow any current unfulfillment you might feel over not pursuing it become a tidal wave of momentum to go for it! Start with unfulfillment—go ahead, it’s okay. But don’t stay there. Keep dreaming, wishing, hoping, and planning. Those are your keys to unlocking a more fulfilling future.
12 May 2007
07 May 2007
Heavy and substanial, these tiles are surprisingly easy to hang. Each one is pre-drilled in the back for a nail or screw; simply install your nail or screw into the wall and hang. Our grouping of 42 took a relatively short time to hang once some easy measurements were taken and marked off.
There are so many ways to display these blocks. They are stunning in a large grouping on a wall that needs to make a statement, enchanting in a smaller group of 2 or 3 or 5, and just one tile can be a magical addition tucked into a shelf with a small collection of objets. From your entry hall to your living room, dining room, kitchen, powder room, studio, office, or bedroom, Sid Dickens can be a fantastic complement to your existing décor, or can provide the inspiration for a redecoration of grand proportions. Each tile bears the Sid Dickens imprint and comes with a poem or insight on the back side to give the owner a window into the story, impulse, or moment that inspired Sid himself. Each tile is finished on all four sides as well as on the front, so no matter what angle you view it from, it’s a thing of beauty and a true work of art.
We are particularly enchanted by Sid Dickens’ work because of the storytelling aspect that is so part and parcel of his Memory Blocks. In Sid’s own words, “there is magic in the past. People like to feel they are an integral part of the story of humanity, and my tiles have the weight and feel of another era, a time when things were more permanent and long lasting. I think it’s this aspect of the tiles that make people want to reach out. In essence, they want to touch history.”
Romance, mystery from times past, fairy tales, ancient Art and Music documents, mystic and mythic symbols, references from board games and botanical books, and historical motifs from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo periods—these are just some of the influences upon each unique image that comprises the Sid Dickens collection.
Sid Dickens Memory Blocks have received international acclaim and now decorate fine hotels and restaurants worldwide. They have also found a following with celebrities, including Liv Tyler, Hilary Duff, and Vanessa Williams. But this is not a reason to fall in love with Sid Dickens.
Come in and see for yourself and you'll know what I mean.
05 May 2007
Just in time, our often-asked-about blue vintage screen door sold off the wall from behind our jewelry display. (Deb A. knows a good thing when she sees it.) Just as after a show has run its course in the theater, the set crew must "strike the set" and rebuild something new, a boutique owner is constantly striking her own sets (or parts of sets) when something sells, or to make room for new merchandise, or simply to give customers a new way of looking at current merchandise. When the blue door left, we slid a beautiful, heavy, Provencal-style mirror behind our display of These Flowers, This Moon jewelry, and voila! a new set was born. We are loving the soothing, calm, creamy effect of Kelly's jewelry against our bone china and natural harvested shells. (By the way, Miss These Flowers, This Moon has relaunched her blog. Pretty pictures, lovely observations on style, human nature, and her own journey as a jewelry designer. Check it out!) We love the distressed, butterscotch-y frame of the Provencal-style mirror and the quiet chicness of our new Mirrored Monogrammed Lamp alongside it all. The vintage-style perfume bottles are glittering in the lamplight and the five finger starfish hanging out nearby are loving it all, too. But like all good things, this downright Rachel Ashwell-ian moment is coming to an end. Because...
On Sunday, my mom and I will enter the store long before we'd really like to be out of bed and leave the store long after Desperate Housewives is over (no problem here: I stopped watching when Zack came back to woo Gaby). We are striking the lovely set that you see pictured above--striking everything on the wall around it, too--and Monday morning, we are debuting a tremendous surprise. Don't worry: These Flowers, This Moon is getting fabulous new digs elsewhere in the store--we wouldn't have it any other way--and we are also creating some other new displays. I promise to thoroughly photograph Monday's surprise and blog about it. In the meantime, here's a big hint: www.siddickens.com
01 May 2007
And so this blog ends as it began: with a commentary on food. It's a good thing I work out a lot.