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Paraphernalia

I know it’s jewelry but I can’t resist sharing Paraphernalia with you. First of all the name. I’ve always loved the word Paraphernalia and used to dream of owning a shop under this very name. It’s wonderful to say, isn’t it?


It’s also happens to be the name of a small business based in Manchester, England. Paraphernalia specializes in unusual jewelry for men and women. Clearly inspired by vintage illustration and nature, they delight in the uncanny and the odd, combining the beautiful with the bizarre. Little works of art on cut acrylic… Ah, so nice.

Paraphernalia… A beautiful word for a an equally charming little jewelry business.

(images from paraphernalia)

Posted in fashion + accessories on June 05, 2008

Meet Pretty Little Things

I’d love for you to meet a lady who turned her passion into a small business. Her name is Lori Marie, the artist/designer behind the California-based business Pretty Little Things. Based in Oakland, Lori started out as an aerospace engineering major at UCSD and decided to take some art classes, “to balance out my math and science courses,” Lori said. “It wasn’t long before I realized that my passion for innovation and creativity was better applied to pattern making than rocket science…so I transferred to FIDM in San Francisco and graduated with a degree in fashion design instead.” This is a lady who followed her heart! Would you like to know a little bit more about Lori and see her work studio? Sure you would. ;)

Some of Lori’s handmade creations.

How did you get started after your studies at FIDM?
Lori: My first design job was as a pattern maker for a leather handbag company called Libaire. I learned a little bit about everything in this position since I hand drafted all the patterns and worked directly with the sewers to see the designs through production. I needed a change after 2 years and so I began freelancing as a textile artist for Pottery Barn Kids. I got the job the old fashioned way, through the classifieds, followed by a series of interviews and … Voila! I worked with them for over 4 years doing hand embroidery and appliqu? samples for childrens’ bedding collections. I am currently working with a brand called Whistle&Wink (launched in 2007 by the original design director for Pottery Barn Kids), in addition to creating handmade designs under my own label of course.

This is where the magic happens, in her little art house. How sweet is this!?

What inspires your work?
Lori: I am inspired by all sorts of stuff, but mostly by print and pattern. I like to combine interesting colors with unexpected details to create fun and functional pieces of art.

Any favorite designers/artists on your radar right now?
Lori: There is certainly no shortage of inspiration online these days and you never know where you might end up after a series of links. I love to search aimlessly through etsy listings when I need a good dose of inspiration. I am constantly adding to my list of faves.

Here are some of her favorite spots in her art studio…

What is the best business advice you’ve heard and applied to your own business?
Lori: I think it’s easy to get lost in the crowd with so many talented ladies willing to share a glimpse of their world with us through blogging. It can be a challenge to stand out and sometimes I wonder where I fit in. I have to remember not to compare myself too much to others, but just keep on doing what I love and hope it will shine through. {note: Lori’s blog can be found here.)

Where do you sell your work?

Lori: Since I still make each and every pretty little thing by hand, I sell them exclusively through my etsy shop.

Any advice for those looking to start their own business?
Lori: You better make sure that you LOVE what you do because you will eat sleep and breathe it!


Psst: Lori was on the Martha show this past February, here’s a project of hers that you can try yourself at home!

Thank you Lori for visiting us here on decor8 and a special word of thanks to reader Michele for telling me about Lori in the first place!

I’d also like to mention that Lori makes a super point about how one can easily start comparing their work to that of others and what a downer that can be. I think many of us battle with this tendency, it’s human. When you find yourself doing this think of what Karl Lagerfeld once said to pull yourself in and regain focus, “Personality begins when comparison ends”.

(images from lori marie)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Home Tours, interviews on June 05, 2008

Oh Poketo!

Poketo has some great work, you really should check out their website and see for yourself. I just noticed their collection of artsy t-shirts, particularly this one, and I just love ’em. Art to wear from some of my personal favorite artists? Sign me up baby!


If you’re a fan of super soft t-shirts and artists Betsy Walton, Pepa Prieto, Melissa Contreras, Lisa Congdon, Pietari Posti, Stella Im Hultberg… You have to click here because you will love what you see. I found five that I want to buy, and I’m not even a t-shirt person because most are boxy, shapeless, and thick – more for the boys. These little numbers are cut for the curvy goddess (and they have others cut for the boys), and they’re lightweight so they can go from summer to autumn simply by layering, a long sleeve shirt here, a jacket there. But you don’t need a fashion lesson and trust me, I’m not teachin’ because no one has ever referred to me as a fashionista. But I love me some art, I adore these shirts, and I live in jeans so I think I’m going to give in and order some.


Poketo totally impresses me. Founders/owners Ted and Angie just can’t help themselves, they have that magic touch. Great job with these artsy tees you two. And to the artists, you knocked this ball out of the park. Lisa, Betsy, Stella, Melissa…. You ladies are remarkable. You constantly raise the bar and I love seeing your art popping up everywhere, often in unexpected places. It’s brilliant.

(images from poketo)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on June 05, 2008

Shop Girl: Thoughts on The National Stationery Show

I was on the phone with Tara Hogan from INK+WIT recently discussing the National Stationary Show and thought some of you would enjoy a little inside scoop on what it’s like to be an exhibitor there. Tara was kind enough to send along a few photos of the booth that she shared with three other small business owners, Jennifer from JHill Design, Janet from RSVP Press, and Anna from Sub-Studio. They all pretty much made the connection through this post, which is why I wanted to follow up to see how everything turned out.

These ladies decided to share a booth to cut down on costs since the show can be quite expensive for the little guys. I thought it may help to ask these ladies for their take on the overall experience of being new to such a massive show and what the experience was like for them personally. The hope is to shed light on the exhibitor experience from a small business perspective in case you have thought to set up a booth in the future. I’d like to open this post up to include some of your questions should you have any, fire away below!

Jennifer, Anna, Tara, and Janet. Go Ladies!

A new poster from INK + WIT.

In addition to Tara’s helpful words, I also asked Jennifer Hill from JHill Design, who was part of the booth, to share some thoughts on the topic. Let’s get started with Tara from INK+WIT.

Tara’s take on the show overall:
It was a great show full of designers and artists I had never met in person or seen before. That factor and meeting publishers, editors, press, and bloggers in person were the most successful for me. There was a lot of energy going on in the booths steadily with exception to the last 2 days which were quite slow overall for everyone. It was nice to see that during the last slow day all of the exhibitors were walking around trading products and meeting each other. I go got to talk to the lovely sisters Sabrina and Eunice form Hello Lucky for quite some time and they are super sweet! Their whole group is quite sincere and charming.

Tara’s thoughts on sharing a booth:
It is a great way to split costs but beware of how much space you need and how you split up the booth. Anna, Jennifer, Janet, and I luckily worked it all out and only had minor bumps to deal with which also worked out. However, our space was limited in size and we could not have a main area to sit and rest or take orders. We had to use a clipboard near our individual wall spaces and it was very unwelcoming to buyers. I would have liked the space to have a small table for a visitor to rest and relax so we could have spoken longer and had more privacy. But, you get what you pay for and we all were able to get to the show without breaking the bank. It was worth it but I would have my own booth next time for the sake of space and overall clear identification of what my brand is as buyers were a little confused about 4 different lines in one space. We clarified that we were 4 lines and all was well but a lot of passers by only grabbed one business card at times thinking we were all one group. The pros for new and smaller exhibitors is the costs so if you need to figure out how to get to the show without spending thousands then find a few people that are business savvy, trustworthy and ready to work as team to get accomplish a split booth. You do not want to get into a tiff about the space so work it out in the beginning to make sure all is fair.

Now let’s hear from the awesome Boston girl Jennifer Hill of JHill Design.

Jennifer’s take on the show:
For me the show was more of a meet and greet with the majority of buyers saying they would place their orders after the show. I gave away a good amount of catalogs and business cards, and also collected a good amount of cards so that I could follow up with buyers later. I was surprised at how many people from the press we met and was thankful that I had made a bunch of press kits to give out. I am very glad that I did the show though because I met some major stores that I never would have met by just emailing. I also got to meet stores that I currently sell to and others that I have talked with online. It also got me thinking about my line, in terms of what is missing and how it was organized.

Jennifer’s thoughts on sharing a booth:
I think sharing a booth was such a good way to go the first time around. It let us share the booth, furniture, fixture, and electricity costs (booths are far from cheap). Since the 4 of us were quite different it brought in a good mix of buyers. There was a lot of down time and it was nice to have people to chat with, people to watch your line for you while you took a walk around to see the other vendors. We were lucky that we all got along so well (since we’d never met in person before, we had met through decor8 – thank you by the way!), and were totally supportive of one another. I really miss not having them around now!

Jennifer adds a few notes:
The cons of the show are first off how expensive it is to do. Not just the booth but production of samples, traveling to and staying in NYC for a week – it all adds up. The show is 4 days, the last day there were hardly any buyers, it was kind of a bummer. The crazy thing is that they have this whole schedule a few days before opening when you can move into your booth and such. But when the show ends it is like a free for all with everyone leaving at once. It was pretty chaotic. All in all, as of right now I plan on doing the show again next year.

Can I have one of everything please?

Thank you Tara and Jennifer for sharing your thoughts on the National Stationery Show this year. If Anna or Janet would like to add their thoughts, I invite you ladies to jump in with your thoughts. If anyone has questions for these ladies or if you were also at the show and have thoughts to include that may benefit readers, please comment below. Thanks!

(photography from ink + wit, rsvp press, and jhill design)

Posted in small business, stationery on June 04, 2008

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