{WATCH} Mother’s Day Gift Guide – Wickedly Chic

Welcome to Wickedly Chic’s 11th Annual Mother’s Day Guide and video. Enjoy the featured products in the video and click here to see more products in the Mother’s Day Gift Guide. We have a gift for every mom (or mom figure.)

Why buy mom an ordinary gift from the mall when you can choose from gifts that are unique and come directly from indie shops? Why leave your home to shop when you can purchase just the right gifts for mom from the comfort of your own chair? And if your mom happens to live far away, all of these vendors will ship your package directly to her. Gifts for mom need to be carefully chosen and we at WickedlyChic.com are here to help you with the perfect picks.

Believe me, there’s nothing that shows mom that you care more than a thoughtfully chosen gift from an indie shop.

Cheeky Flamingo – Crafted in Colorado

Let’s say hello to Kristy Jevons of Cheeky Flamingo.

Owner Kristy Jevons always thought that apparel should be as versatile and transformative as the people who wear it.

Tell us about Cheeky Flamingo and what it was that made you decide to start a business.

The Cheeky Flamingo is an apparel company that I started which is made up of simple and versatile clothing options for just about any body type! The items that I make allow you to be creative and wear them however suits your style.

I always had a creative side, but after getting my Associates degree in Fashion Design and not finding a job, I resorted to waitressing for about 5 years…I definitely felt like something was missing. I was lucky enough a few years ago to land a part time job with a small custom wedding shoe company (so much fun) and then a small apparel company which was more similar to what I had in mind of my own future company. After some time at these jobs, I was back on track and motivated to get “The Cheeky Flamingo” started!

The blanket scarves are lovely and look so warm. Can you tell us the different ways that a person can use one?

When I started Cheeky Flamingo last spring, I had mostly lightweight summer styles. I was going to local festivals selling my apparel. This was a great way to get feedback and learn what styles worked and what styles weren’t so popular. By the end of summer, I realized I needed to come up with a style that would work for winter. With how popular ponchos have become and combining that with the super popular blanket scarf, I came up with the “Berkshire Blanket Scarf Top.”

The Berkshire Blanket Scarf Top can be worn 4 main ways, which is shown on the packaging of the product – seam to the front, seam to the side, seam to the back or as a scarf. One side is completely open which makes this cozy accessory a one size fits all. I started with all plaids but have since added in a solid black and soon some more solid colors will be available as well.

Although I thought this was just going to be a winter style. I realized this is ideal for year round. It is cozy and warm but it is very breathable and not too heavy. Perfect for summer nights as well. Or if you live in a place like me – Colorado – and the weather can change on the drop of a dime, this is something that you can just throw in your purse in case you need an extra layer at any point in the day!

 

What are your recommendations for gift giving? If I want to give a Cheeky Flamingo scarf to a friend or loved one, how do I know which one to choose?

The Berkshire Blanket Scarf Top makes a great gift. As I said before, it is one size fits all and a very versatile accessory. It is great for traveling as well. My customers have told me time and time again that they receive plenty of compliments on their Berkshire scarf every time they wear it. I offer many colors and soon will offer even more. From solid black or neutral blues and tans to fun colorful plaids, there’s an option for everyone. I am now offering free shipping on all orders through my website within the USA. I am working on shipping options for other countries on my website, but in the meantime anyone from other countries can order through my Etsy shop.

Do you have different designs for spring? What can we look forward to when the weather gets warmer?

I am working on packaging and more options for my “summer scarf” which will be ready in the spring. These lighter weight scarves can also be worn as a vest or bathing suit cover up. I have a few new styles in the making and will debut them as I grow my business. I am very excited to see what the future holds and can’t wait to work on new designs. Being such a new business, feedback is always welcomed and appreciated.

144 Collection – handcrafted bags made in NYC

Happy New Year from Wickedly Chic! We’ve been spending some time with Lesia Griffin of 144 Collection who designs handbags. You may have seen some of her gorgeous handcrafted bags from NYC on Instagram or in our gift guide.

Do tell us how 144 Collection got into making vibrant handbags, totes, & more and the story of how it became a business.

144 Collection started as a hobby for me. I was looking for a fun way to express my creative side. I began taking sewing lessons and purchased my first sewing machine from Target. I always loved handbags and pouches so I naturally gravitated toward making them. When people ask who designs handbags, I am the first to raise my hand.

I wanted to create handcrafted handbags and accessories that no one else had. 144 Collection was born from that desire. The name comes from my old apartment building number where I first learned how to sew. Three sewing machines later, countless handbags and a wonderful seamstress Mary Sue Lee; I’m still amazed about how it all came to be.

Someone on your design team apparently loves bold, brave, bright colors. What is your inspiration behind designing a new handbag, tote or wristlet?

That would be me! I love retro prints, bright and rich colors. I’m always looking for that fabric or accent that will make handbag, clutch bag or pouch pop. I usually create a design based on necessity for myself, family or friend.

For example, I created the Dorothy wristlet because I needed extra compartments to carry my Metrocard, credit card, and essentials without having to bring a big bag with me everywhere. My Angela clutch bag came about from my cousin’s prom. I was tasked with making three designs for her prom and that clutch bag was the one she loved.

handbags

What is your hottest seller and why do so many people love it?

I have two top sellers: my Courtney coin purses and the Dorothy wristlet. Both are great when you are on the go and need to travel light. They both have extra pockets which I am very much into. As a woman, you can never have enough pockets to hold all of your stuff.

handbags

It looks like you have some amazing cross body bags. Why are these handcrafted bags so popular and handy?

Cross body bags are just so convenient which is why I think they are so popular. You don’t necessarily have worry about handbag straps digging in to your arms. Your hands are free since you don’t have to worry about carrying around a bag. They come in all shapes and sizes. I love my cross body bag for all of those reasons though I’m often guilty of over filling my bag.

handbags

What gifts will any woman love for Valentine’s Day?

Definitely the Dorothy wristlet, zipper pouches and cosmetic bags.

What can shoppers expect for the spring? Will you have new designs on board?

There will definitely be more handbags, vibrant prints and baby accessories. I’m always adding and trying out new things. Also customers, family and friends are always telling me what they would like to see.

Lesia would love to have Wickedly Chic readers stay connected with 144 Collection. Find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Pauletta Brooks Wearable Art

Meet Pauletta Brooks of Pauletta Brooks Wearable Art.

You create absolutely gorgeous jewelry! What made you decide to start your own business?

Years ago, I had been searching desperately for some special earrings to style a fashion show with and eventually wound up designing my own jewelry pieces instead. One thing ultimately led to another! You can read the full story and bio here.

The stones that you use are amazing. Do you have a favorite stone to work with and how do you come up with ideas on what to create next?

One of my favorite stones is Astrophylite. It is a rare mineral and has so many varying colors and textures running throughout its structure. Metaphysically, it is meant to inspire you with knowledge and bring you calm…even the name sounds magical and otherworldly! See Astrophylite here – or- here. Another favorite is Turquoise, as it always reminds me of summertime and is the perfect stone to represent both the land and sea. See Turquoise here. I try to keep the stones and minerals in as ‘raw’ a state as possible and let THEM dictate to ME what I should do with them!

 

Since the holiday shopping season is around the corner, what are some suggestions that you can make for gift giving? ?

Well, you can buy things that are duplicated and seen and worn by EVERYONE, or you can be selective and give a gift that is UNIQUE and truly ONE Of A KIND. With a gift from Mother Nature herself, you have no choice but to have it be unique!

Do you have special pieces that you are developing for the holiday season and if so, what are they?

I am working on a few custom order pieces right now and will also be having a huge blow out private Christmas Sale at my studio. I have so many pieces that are not posted in my Etsy store since it takes so much time to photograph everything, but they will be available at my sale. Interested customers can contact me directly via email or follow me on Instagram.

Bidwell Botanicals

Let’s say hello to Jill Jones of Bidwell Botanicals.

Based in Georgia, this company works hard to bring their customers the very best in skin care, naturally.

How do you believe your unique background of being a former nurse and organic gardener influences your botanicals and makes them different? How did you get started?

I worked in the health care industry because I wanted to help people. So it was a pretty direct path to what I am doing now. I made bath and beauty products for myself, family and friends for many years before deciding to learn more of the chemistry and then brought Bidwell Botanicals to life. I have been an organic gardener for dozens of years and that puts me in touch with what I grow and use in both our products and in our kitchen. I learn more every day about the benefits of botanicals and natural ingredients.

What are your best sellers and why are they amazing?

Our Shea Butter Sugar Scrub is our best-selling product across the board. Our customers love how easy it is to use and get fabulous results almost instantly! Who doesn’t want soft, touchable skin right out of the shower? Not to mention the scents – like Limoncello and Sanguinello & Pomegranate. Yum! You really can’t miss with any of the products or scents. We’ve got something for everyone.

 

I noticed you have gift sets like the Spiced Pumpkin gift set ready to send to loved ones for the holidays. What is your favorite and why?

I love the Spiced Pumpkin gift set! It smells so good, warming and comforting. It really brings the holiday spirit to the lucky ones who receive it. The Spiced Pumpkin soap is especially awesome to use in the kitchen and it scents the whole room.

What type of promotions or special offers do you have and when would be the best time to get the best deals?

Look for our Super Holiday Sale starting the day after Thanksgiving that will combine Black Friday, Cyber Monday and awesome holiday savings, free gifts with purchase and free shipping! Details will be available on our Facebook page and on our website – starting November 22nd.

What new upcoming products and botanicals can we look forward to purchasing?

We plan to bring several new product lines out just after January 2017. Check the website and Facebook pages for sneak peeks during December. Think fresh and herbal and fun and fruity. 😉

[WATCH] Fall 2016 Shopping Guide

Welcome to Wickedly Chic’s 2016 Fall Shopping Guide!

We’re thrilled to present you with a collection of fall products from some of the best emerging indie designers out there. Be sure to click here to see the full shopping guide. And take a minute and watch the video which shares some of the highlights of the Fall Shopping Guide.
Happy shopping!

Shop These Products

Pumpkin Sugar Scrub
Spiced Pumpkin Soap
Grey Suede Wallet
Gold Heartbeat Bangle
Foaming Hand Soap
Wood Wick Soy Candle
Chocolate Espresso Body Scrub
Firecracker Silk Scarf
Champagne Dreams Silk Scarf

Remaining Meg Chats About Indie Shopping

~With Meghan Burt of Remaining Meg~

Let’s say hello to Meghan Burt of Remaining Meg.

Meg is 31 years old and resides in the suburbs of Syracuse, NY. She is a wife and a mom. Although she loves being a mom, you won’t find her driving a minivan or wearing crocs. She is a firm believer in heels whenever possible, makeup on a daily basis, and wine whenever necessary. She is obsessed with online shopping, food and baking yummy, sweet treats. Flamingos are her spirit animal.

She is currently a stay-at-home mom with a Master’s Degree in Literacy. Someday she will figure out what she wants to be when she grows up.

What are some of your favorite things to shop for? What makes your heart go pitter patter?

My absolute favorite items to shop for are beauty products! I also love shopping for shoes and accessories. If I could spend all of my money on shoes, I would! I’m only 5’2” so I love a good pair of heels, the higher the better! But of course, you need accessories to go with them. Sunglasses, bracelets, and purses are my favorite accessories to wear and shop for.

 

What do you think are some items that no woman should live without for the summer of 2016?

Dresses! I’m a big fan of dresses, short, long I love them all! I think I’ve lived in maxis for most of the summer. I love dresses because they can easily be dressed up or down. The right dress can look just as great with a pair of flat sandals as it does a great pair of wedges or heels. Versatile pieces like this are convenient to have in your closet. Not to mention you can go crazy with accessories, or keep it simple, whatever works for you and your style.

 

"I hate everyone too" Socks - J Michael
Turquoise Sandals- J Michael
 Dress from J Michael- WickedlyChic.com

You are from Syracuse and mention that you have some favorite local shops. Can you tell us about those?

There are a lot of great local shops. One that has been a favorite of mine for many years is J. Michael Shoes. J. Michael’s has been around for over thirty years and is located right by the Syracuse University campus. They offers great shoes, accessories and apparel. I love to stop in when my husband and I attend Syracuse basketball games!

One of my other favorites is actually a kid’s clothing store called Indie Kids. They have unique, funky, clothes and accessories for kids that you can’t find in other stores. Beautiful holiday dresses, t-shirts with your favorite band’s logo but in sizes that fit your little one, it’s such a fun mix. One item I’m currently eyeing for my daughter is a pink ostrich feather vest, it’s pretty amazing.

Indie Kids Store in Syracuse, NY

Syracuse is a wonderful community with a big buy local movement. Each year there is even an event called the Buy Local Bash. It’s super fun and filled with all kinds of local shops, restaurants, breweries, and wineries. It’s a great time and a great opportunity to find new local businesses.

As someone who loves online shopping, what do you think that some of the advantages are?

I think the biggest advantage to shopping online is the variety! There are an infinite number of retailers out there. You have the ability to shop around, compare prices, find the right size/color, look for coupon codes, I could go on forever. I’ll choose online shopping over going into a store any day. You can also check out my post: 7 Reasons You Should Be Shopping Online More.

Please tell our readers about your blog, Remaining Meg. What can they expect to find there and where will they be most likely to find you hanging out on social media?

I just launched my blog on July 1st so it’s still in its infancy, but I’m having a blast with it! I’m 31 and have found the start of my 30’s to be a fabulous, yet awkward era. My blog is about trying to remain my true self throughout life’s everyday chaos. I’m determined to hold onto my identity through adulthood, parenthood, and anything else that comes my way. I write about life in your 30’s and the things I know and love, like shopping! I am a blogger who also happens to be a mom, but it’s not a “mom blog”. This is a venture that is just for me and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and favorite things with my new audience.

I’m all over social media, but I really love Pinterest! I have a lot of fun pinning shopping tips, beauty products, accessories, unique gifts/products I find, women’s fashion, and SHOES…All things that I love shopping for.

5 Ways to Add Sustainable Fashion to Your Wardrobe

with Victoria Gramuglia of The Scalloped Edge.

As an environmental science major, the idea of sustainable fashion is so, so intriguing to me. Organic fibers can be used to make fabrics, heck, there are even companies now that use milk fiber to make clothing!

Locally sourced materials, recycled materials, and fair trade items are becoming much more commonplace, and even when the future of our planet seems uncertain, the incredible innovations brought about by this shift in the fashion industry give me a little bit of faith that everything will turn out okay. Here are five of my favorite ways to wear sustainable fashion:

 

 

Nothing screams ‘summer fun’ like a good tie dye! Pairing a tie dye swimsuit with a breezy white tunic is a classic pairing for the summer. For added flair, I love adding some arm candy that is both chic and easy, just like these Recycled Bracelets from Made with Love. Created from recycled rubber, these fun bracelets help support a women’s cooperative in Mali, West Africa. Simple jewelry like this takes your beach day outfit to the next level, and it’s so easy to grab this fun stack and go!

 

Brunch Date Look - WickedlyChic.com

Like most other women, brunch is something I look forward to! It’s a great opportunity to gather with friends and go over everything that happened during the week, and makes for excellent and Instagram-worthy photos. White jeans with a flowing top and booties is my go-to look for brunch, but what I love most about this outfit is the fun clutch from 144 Collection. It’s just big enough to carry the essentials but won’t end up being bulky or get in the way, like a crossbody might. Lipgloss, phone, and sunnies – into the bag they go.

 

 Dinner & Drinks Look - WickedlyChic.com

How FUN is this skirt from National Picnic?! Paired with a sleek black top and the super-trendy lace up flats, this outfit is perfect for a nice dinner and some drinks. For going out at night, I love adding a bold lip color and glitzy jewelry, along with an updo or topknot. Plus, the skirt is made with organic cotton, meaning that you can feel good and do good while wearing it.

 

 

Easy Shopping Look - WickedlyChic.com

I never know what to wear when I go shopping for the day. Each store is a different temperature, you have to keep getting changed, and sometimes it seems like there is no ‘perfect’ shopping outfit. But, look no further! With this breezy organic cotton maxi dress from Natural Clothing Company and a denim jacket, you can easily try on items and shop the racks comfortably. The rest of the look is casual, including a simple tote-style handbag and flat sandals. The peep of metallics adds some interest to the look, but without laces, straps, and buckles, the shoes also make walking around all day enjoyable.

 

 Casual School Day Look - WickedlyChic.com

This look has to be my favorite one – a super chill sweatshirt dress from National Picnic with some fun sneakers for a simple school day. I love easy looks for busy mornings, and I love that I can throw this dress on without too much thought. Adding a tassel necklace and some sleek nail polish adds just enough elegance to look like you didn’t just roll out of bed, but there is nothing more comfy than a dress like this for easy days when transitioning to fall. I’ve been finding new ways to wear sneakers in my daily apparel, and they are so unexpected with a dress, but it makes for a really cool outfit!

With these five looks, it’s easy to take your outfits to the next level, both in style and in commitment to the environment, supply chains, and local businesses. Think about incorporating sustainable fashion into your own wardrobe!

Xox, Victoria

An Interview with Jane Button

Jane Button knows the product industry and is a no nonsense consultant and coach who helps people start-up, grow or accelerate product businesses.

We’re thrilled to be interviewing her this week at Wickedly Chic. If you are a creative entrepreneur, you won’t want to miss one word of this interview. So hang on. Jane’s advice to the creative community is on point, as usual.

Jane, you are well known in the creative community. Can you please share with our readers what makes you so obsessed about helping creative product shop owners?

As time goes on, I have become even more obsessed and fascinated by watching creative product entrepreneurs start their own businesses.

Over the past 25+ years that I have been involved in the industry, I’ve seen many changes. And certainly some real growth within the creative community.

It used to be that a maker could sell wholesale to stores or direct to the consumer at fairs or shows; but it was taboo to do both.

Now you can do anything. Which allows for more opportunity, which allows for more confusion.

The confusion comes when makers begin the product and fall in love with the product and not the process of selling the product for profit.

In reality, the product itself is the tip of the iceberg if you want to have a business and not a hobby. And the difference between a hobby and a business is: “hobbies cost money, businesses make money.”

There are many hobbyists out there who think they have a business. And this drives me crazy. And even worse, everyone has an opinion and gives advice when they have not even had a successful brand or business themselves – so there is confusion.

That’s where I come in and why I am obsessed! My goal is to lead creative product entrepreneurs to become successful, sustainable and profitable businesses. I was probably the least likely person on the planet to create a successful product business, but I did it. Starting in my basement, I took a knit hat and turned it into a multi 7 figure business with no experience.

If I did it, so can anyone else! I made the mistakes for you.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen huge gains in the attention that’s being paid to buying from small brands and shopping local. In your opinion, what is the appeal versus purchasing from big box businesses?

Okay, so before we get started here, could I just clarify something?

A small maker business is not necessarily a “brand”.

They may have branding graphics, colors and logo, but that is not the same thing as what is traditionally considered a “brand”. A business creates a product but customers create a brand.

In the eye of the consumer, a brand distinguishes itself from all others, so a brand is built by the perceptions, experiences and expectation of the consumers. Anyway, a brand is not the same thing as a product or a business. It must first establish and distinguish itself.

I would rather call these small companies emerging designers or emerging businesses until they are truly brands.

When I teach people how to distribute their products, I usually suggest that they start at the local or boutique level. And the reason is, many of the smaller local stores are looking for products that are not sold in the majors or big box stores.

Their customer wants something that has a point of view. The buyers for small local shops work really hard, and are often the owners. They know what their customers want and they are very aware of what is sold in the bigger stores. These buyers also appreciate the craftsmanship of the work – as long as it stands out!

The true appeal of the indie product in my world is that (1) It’s different than what I can find elsewhere, (2) It’s usually more creative and (3) I am supporting a small creative business.
What I don’t care about is that it is local to a certain city or that it is actually made by the artisan. I feel emerging designers are just that – designers. They do not need to hand make every single piece themselves.

Successful local stores (ones that survived the recession) have become more focused and are careful about what they buy. These stores that survived have re-invented themselves as a shopping experience for the buyer; paying more attention to merchandising and customer service.

Where do you see the biggest room for improvement for indie shop owners? Are there some things that you find are often overlooked?

Oh boy – do I! Here is my list, in no particular order, on how indie shops and makers could improve their sales and bottom line:

1) Make sure you price your products correctly for your market. That does not mean competing with everyone else in the same category by lowering your price. There will always be someone who can sell a similar product for a lower price. If you think you will sell more by being the lowest price – you are mistaken.

2) Market consistently.

3) You do not need to be on every single social media platform. Pick two and be consistent. And do not have every single post be about “buy my stuff.”

4) Know what your core product or products are. Promote and sell those products so you are known in the marketplace as the BEST for that product. Only then start introducing other lines. So many people with start with way too many products – and all it does is confuse buyers.

5) Be really careful about carrying too much inventory. Look at your inventory as dollar bills sitting on the shelf doing nothing.

6) Business is about numbers – know your numbers and keep track of sales, inventory, expenses, etc.

7) If your sales are down, do not under any circumstances stop marketing! You’ll only make it worse.

8) Know your competition, so you can differentiate yourself from them and not be a copycat.

9) Outsource and do what you do best and delegate the rest.

10) Plan in advance – at least 6 months to one year. I teach the TIMING IS EVERYTHING method of planning and find it is incredibly productive for creatives.

11) Have your very own website – that is maintained and run by you. When you have an Etsy or Amazon site, you have no control. Very important!

What is your prediction for indie brands and products over the next 5-10 years? Do you feel that the trend will die out or are you anticipating more businesses emerging?

I definitely think the trend will continue.

However, I do think one area that emerging designers need to be aware of, is that the big brands and designers are also seeing that the consumers and buying patterns are changing. Already you see companies like Target and Amazon promoting handmade; and even larger companies making fast fashion are a reality. Competition can be fierce.

The small creative start-up in some ways has an advantage because they can be flexible. But they will have more competition and it’s going to be very important for them to learn how to stand out with their product as well as stand out in their marketing and operations.

Do you personally enjoy purchasing from indie shop owners? If so, what are some of your favorite items to shop for?

Oh yes, I love creative products and emerging designers! Some of my favorite items to buy on-line or in smaller boutiques are jewelry, hand bags, soap, food products, accessories – and did I say jewelry?

Oh, and I love purchasing from my own clients, because they are pretty outstanding!

 

 

 

CONNECT WITH JANE!

7 Fab Finds for the Wickedly Chic Traveler

The Wickedly Chic Traveler always keeps her eye open for those special treasures, that unique find to bring home from excursions near and far. Take a look at these 7 Fab Finds for the Wickedly Chic Traveler from the indie shops at WickedlyChic.com before you set off on your next big adventure.

Shop These Products

Wickedly Chic - Women's short sleeve soft t-shirt
Silver & Pink Boho Hammered Pendant Necklace
Hand Dipped Tank
Recycled Bracelets
Navy Leather Pouch
Pyramid Cookies
Om Sweet Om Lavender Aromatherapy Relaxation Eye Mask