We’ve never done this before! Enter a contest and ask for votes, that is. But if you do so feel inclined to throw some votes our way (or 3 or 4) for the 2nd annual Martha Stewart American Made Awards, we’d really appreciate it. You can vote everyday until September 13th and I promise that I’ll only ask this once (maybe twice) for your vote – because you know how pushy I’d feel beyond that (I would make a terrible campaigning politician).
I attended the awards ceremony last year in October for the first ever American Made awards and it was a really nice celebration of small businesses in America, I must say. Plus I got to wear a dress, hang out with my friend and stand next to the oysters pretty much all night.
p.s. the American Made site has been pretty buggy on and off since voting started on Monday, so if you are unable to vote for various random reasons, please try again. Thanks for all your support, as always!
p.p.s. We’re still in the Pacific NW, but headed towards the coast and north with little cell service and wifi. This should be interesting. Have a great week and holiday weekend!
Posted by Jenna | 14 Comments
Our annual summer sale is here! 20% off all our shops including our website, our Etsy shop, and our print shop. Use code SUMMER13.
We’ll be closing up our online shops as usual for a few weeks from August 15th to September 4th, but we’ll be stocking up our retailers before we go. We have three more markets this summer – August 4 & 11 in Dumbo and August 17 in Fort Greene. We’ll be back again for the Fall Flea season starting September 14 and every weekend until the close of the outdoor season in late November.
Mark has been taking the girls to the Flea more often now that they’re older. If we’re in a childcare bind for the weekend, it isn’t a big deal now to take them for the day. They love going to the Flea and pack all sorts of activities to occupy themselves for the 8-9 hours that they’re there. Such a difference from when they were toddlers. I couldn’t think of a worse place to spend the day with the kids than the Flea when they were younger. It was just too stressful trying to chase after two little kids, often in opposite directions, and one who barely just learned how to walk. They wanted to touch everything at all the booths and I’m pretty sensitive about the kids getting into other people’s stuff or taking too many food samples; I don’t expect anyone to tolerate that just because they’re kids. These days, the girls know how to respect boundaries and other vendors’ wares and Mark lets Mia walk around a bit by herself, buy lunch or take Claudine to the restroom. As for helping Mark out at the Flea…well, it’s more like “helping” and not really helping, but that’s ok. Sometimes I think Mark enjoys the company.
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School is winding down for the kids, and with it comes a long string of end of the year performances, good bye gatherings and that bittersweet feeling that another year has ended. The girls are both happy and sad that there are less than 2 weeks of school – happy because they’re looking forward to a few weeks of camp, outings to the pool and the beach, and our trip out west. But sad too because they’ll miss their teachers and friends. I feel the same way. Summer vacation holds a different kind of rhythm in our neighborhood. The mornings don’t bustle quite as much like our usual daily walks to school alongside throngs of other neighbors headed the same direction. It’s not uncommon to miss our neighbors and friends the entire summer. Schedules are different; people are away; the days feel slower.
So we’re halfway through the year already. Despite my better judgement, it’s hard for me not to assess the year so far. What I have learned in the last 2 months, however, is that it is indeed possible for me to be content with a less than busy work schedule and remain calm through transitions (though admittedly, there have been times when I have had to work really hard at it). I have also learned that despite whatever decisions I have made, remaining open to opportunities can bring forth some unexpected new things. I think back to this “Life, lately” post I wrote back in March when my schedule was very different than it has been recently. Funny to read back on that post because I guess I *have* learned not to worry so much in my free time and just enjoy life.
But the thing is…there really is no free time when you’re running a business while raising a family, is there? And that’s where I’ve had to learn to change my perspective and count all the things that I do for the business as “work” even though I don’t invoice for my time. I have been working and I have been busy the last 2 months, and what I have seen manifest is something that we knew all along. If I spend more time on the business, we make more sales. There was a moment this week when I felt an overwhelming gratitude for our customers, especially those who have supported us from the very beginning and continue to order from us 5 years later. Thank you so much for helping us live out this dream.
ps. We found these flowers on the ground at the base of a tree on Governors Island the other week. The identifying plaque on the tree simply said “tulip tree”. We have never seen a tulip tree before!
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Just a few days left to order gifts for Father’s Day, including our gift box that includes 2 of our most popular sandwich cookies – the Hazelnut Whisky and Massaman Peanut Butter, as well as our special Chocolate Stout Marshmallows that makes their annual appearance this time of year only.
Also in our print shop, 2 new food posters with quotes from T.S. Eliot and George Bernard Shaw.
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I didn’t think we were supposed to get this much rain this weekend. A few sprinkles or the possibility of rain was forecast, but not such a washout like the kind of rain we had on Sunday. May is a busy month for outdoor events; it signals the start of the outdoor summer season and there was a lot going on in the city this weekend. The weather just wasn’t on our side. Some events, like the Brooklyn Flea and the annual street fair held in our neighborhood are rain or shine, but there was another big, 3 day event held in Prospect Park this weekend that was cancelled at the last minute on Sunday.
As an event goer, a cancellation or rain might be an inconvenience and derail weekend plans, but as a vendor, the weather can make or break us. When the festival at Prospect Park was cancelled, we immediately thought of all our food biz friends who had worked all week prepping food, only to be left with so much of it before the day even got started. It’s an expensive loss. As a business that relies on some of our income to be generated at outdoor markets, we know how frustrating it is when the weather doesn’t cooperate. As luck would have it, we sat out of our usual markets this weekend because of an event on Sunday where Mark was one of the participating Pastry Chefs (The Manhattan Cocktail Classic). But he was out there at the Flea last Saturday in cool, rain threatening weather himself until the clouds finally broke and he had to break down early. You just never know with the weather.
Despite the steady rain, the girls and I pulled on our rain boots and rain jackets to wander around the street fair that they look forward to every year. There were a lot less crowds and there were plenty of empty booth spaces that should have been filled as it is every year when the weather fares better. As a vendor of markets ourselves, it’s hard not to recognize the disappointed faces of vendors as we were walking around. On days like this, you hope that you break even and just cut your losses. Maybe you make a little money, but most likely not enough to cover material and labor costs for the days preceding the event. This would be the best case scenario, to break even. The girls and I did our best to support the vendors who were set up by spreading our money around – a grilled corn on a stick at this booth, a taco at that booth, a corn dog here, a bubble tea somewhere else. There will be other street fairs and outdoor events and while you might win at some, you might lose at others; we’re at the mercy of the weather. Hopefully it won’t rain on Saturday when Mark goes back to the Flea.
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I’m finally taking some time to focus on my neglected print shop beginning with a new series of typographic food quote prints. The first three are up in the shop in 2 different size prints, an Irish proverb and two Oscar Wilde quotes. Hopefully more stuff to follow soon, including photos (oh you know, it takes me forever…)
I’m also phasing out the kitchen conversion tea towels. I won’t be printing them anymore, but I do have a fair number of seconds – towels that are slightly faded at the top of the print. For the most part, the imperfections are pretty minor, but I’m clearing them out at 50% off for $12 each. Would be great for Mother’s Day.
Speaking of Mother’s Day, ordering deadline for cookies is tomorrow for Mother’s Day delivery.
Have a great weekend!
Posted by Jenna | 9 Comments