Handmade Shop Love || Freshly Picked

If you know Freshly Picked, you are probably wondering why I am writing a 'Handmade Shop' feature on such a major company. Yes, they were on Shark Tank and yes, they are carried by Nordstrom but did you know that, while frustrated by the lack of well-designed baby shoes, Susan Peterson started the company in 2009 with $200 she made from recycling window frames and a bag of scrap leather that she bought at a yard sale? The Freshly Picked success story is one of the best within the handmade world and I have great admiration for the way Susan has grown her business. 

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But let's talk about what I love the most about Freshly Picked...the moccasins! The softest leather, most stylish colors/patterns, and superior quality make their moccs the hands-down best baby and toddler shoe. Our littlest lady has moved on to her third pair (With Cream and Sugar) after wearing her beloved Coral pair for 10 months. 

No other shoe will hangout with your little one for ten-whole-months. The moccs stay on little feet even when the fit is a bit big and as they wear them, the leather stretches + expands to accommodate a growing foot. The sentimental Mama in me, loves how the bottom of the moccasins are little memory collectors. Parker learned to walk in her chrome moccs and found her toddler independence wearing her coral ones. "For every step", most definitely!

Back to the business, what Susan and her team have done with product design, collaborations, and expansion is truly a case study in small business success. In addition to their soft sole moccasins, they recently added a hard sole version (there is a pair under our tree for a certain almost-5-year-old!) and collaborated with Yosisamra to create a mocc for Mama (added to my wish list!). 

Now...to the fun part, I've teamed up with Freshly Picked to give you a chance to win a pair of soft sole moccasins (winner chooses size and color) just in time for holiday gift giving! Head over to my Instagram for all the entry details. Giveaway closes on Friday, December 11th. 

Handmade Shop Love || Wee Rascals

Back in the Spring, I joined an amazing group of women - all creative entrepreneurs + bad ass driven women - who are smart enough to know that you can't build it alone. The Collective of Us, founded by Cyndie Spiegel, continues to play a big role in the way I approach entrepreneurship but most importantly, the wisdom and guidance of the collective group keeps me moving forward. Amy Poehler says it best, "As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own." 

Kylie, half of the duo behind Wee-Rascals, is one of those amazing women. I was introduced to Kylie and her inspiring shop when she joined the collective this Summer. I fell in love with the brilliant 'real superheroes' idea behind Wee-Rascals and knew I'd be ordering one of their smart tees for Blake. 

Wanting real faces, real people for her two boys and all kids to look up to, Kylie joined forces with her friend Liz (also a Mama of two littles) to launch Wee-Rascals. Based in Austin, TX, Wee-Rascals is stocked with the hippest long sleeve, short sleeve and raglan tees all inspired by people that have helped shape the world we live in. Real, historical SUPER heroes! 

We are big fans of the neon pink Honest Abe tee and Blake has even declared it to be 'softer than her pajamas!' 

 Photos taken by  my girl Julie  at the  Tell Chronicles Memory Shack . 

You can shop some of my favorites from the Wee-Rascals online shop by clicking on the images below AND head over to Instagram to find out more about a fun Wee-Rascals x Conflicted Pixie giveaway!

Handmade Shop Love || Fresh BiB

See that awesome bandana Parker is rocking? It's actually a very cool bib created by Brooke Fish (and her equally awesome hubs, Adam), the Mama behind Fresh BiB. Brooke's style is impeccable and I am in love with the patterns she uses to create her super cool bandana bibs. And, as you can see, Fresh BiBs aren't just for babies - they are fun for teething toddlers too!

With degrees in Fashion Design and Photography, Brooke and Adam took what they learned early in their careers from folks like Todd Oldham, Fossil and various photography clients and created Fresh BiB. Simple, stylish and of course, fresh - that is what these two do! 

You already know I am a massive fan of an awesome gift box and always on the lookout for unique, budget-friendly gifts which is why I love their Fresh Box - a monthly subscription to reversible, stylish bibs and a super affordable gift giving option for the new Mamas in your life.

And let's talk details...Fresh BiB takes the cake! Each bib is 100% cotton, reversible, features beautiful green stitching + snaps, and arrives in a reusable glass jar! Brooke and Adam believe in thriving communities and supporting local businesses. Which is why their bibs are ethically produced right around the corner from their offices in Dallas, Texas. Gift for good, for sure! 

Not only does Brooke run an awesome handmade business, she also writes a fabulous blog. Her 'Motherhood' tag is definitely one to follow. You can shop some of my favorites from the Fresh BiB online shop by clicking on the images below and don't forget to follow Fresh Bib on Instagram because Brooke and I will be giving away a September Fresh Box, burp cloth, and a casual statement necklace!

Handmade Shop Love || Lovelane Designs

It is no secret that I love to support small handmade shops especially when they are owned by Mamas. For me, there is nothing better than giving or receiving a unique gift that was designed and produced by a real person and knowing the story behind the shop, is just icing on the cake that is handmade shopping. The goal of my new 'Handmade Shop Love' journal series is to feature successful handmade businesses and build a connection between readers and followers to the people behind the brand. Not sponsored reviews, just sharing my genuine love for some pretty awesome small shops. 

I am very excited that the first 'Handmade Shop Love' feature belongs to Lovelane Designs. The powerhouse Mama behind Lovelane, Lane Huerta, is taking over the world one tiny superhero at a time! She started Lovelane Designs in Savannah, Georgia in 2006, operating out of  a sunny Victorian in the city’s Landmark Historic District. She began designing and screenprinting tea towels, pillows and other home decor and became a veteran of Indie Craft Parade in Greenville, SC - but it’s been her 'Play Hard' children’s designs that have captured the world's attention.

I can tell you first hand how much imaginative fun we have had (as shown here by Blake!) with our awesome reversible cape. Because of the heirloom quality and timeless design, I knew the cape was something special that Blake would pass down to her little sister and let's not forget how totally cool it looks hanging in her room

As newbies in the handmade shop world, we find much inspiration in the success stories - especially when we love the product and admire the craftsmanship. This is a very awesome time for Lovelane Designs. Lane recently was one of 30 designers selected for Etsy Open Call where she pitched her line to a dream team of retailers...hello, Nordstrom and The Land of Nod. Let's just say it went very well for her and you'll be seeing a lot more of Lovelane this holiday season!

OH and let me tell you about these awesome cuffs I just ordered for Blake for Christmas (never too early, right?). The cuffs are LIMITED EDITION and were created (along with a cape and hat) for Lovelane Designs' Fund on Etsy campaign. Supporters of the campaign are rewarded with limited edition goods and are helping an amazing handmade shop grow. A total no brainer, if you ask me. Show your support and contribute to the campaign by ordering the limited edition goodness (click on the first image below featuring her hubby and adorable daughter, Clementine) - campaign closes August 15th so don't delay!  And the rest of her line is pretty amazing too - my favorites are linked below. 

Now get your butt over to Instagram because Lane and I are giving away a gift box that includes her popular Tiger Cape and our BE STRONG Banner. The perfect combo for your little superhero. 

Giveaway launches Friday morning, 7 August and closes Sunday, 9 August at 5pm - the details can be found on my account @conflictedpixie


Meet the Maker: Moonrise Rebel

Let me tell you a little story about two girls that have been friends since grade school. They have shared so many experiences, created so many memories, and have grown even closer as adults. They both started their own businesses last year and recently collaborated to create a beautifully unique gift.

By now you have probably figured out that I am talking about myself and dear friend, Amy, who is the creative behind Moonrise Rebel. The beauty Amy captures with her camera is always stunning and I am so happy to be stocking her gorgeous floral art cards in our shop. She was so kind to size her first print release to perfectly fit the CP clipboard frame and answer our 'getting to know you' questions...

E: In what city/town do you create your products? 
A: I've lived all over the United States, but have to laugh that I ended up launching my business from my hometown of Hershey, PA.  How could I resist a town built on chocolate?!  It's no wonder I have a crazy sweet tooth :-).

E: How does your location inspire your work? 
A: I adore Hershey for many reasons, but most importantly because it will always feel like home.  Starting a business has been the most challenging and amazing experience of my life, and being surrounded by a support system of family and friends that I've known forever has made a world of difference.  

E: When and why did you initially start your own business? 
A: I've dreamed of starting a business for as long as I can remember, but like many, got stuck in the corporate grind with no idea how to escape.  One day I hit my breaking point- a week later I quit my seemingly-stable, soul-sucking job and jumped into entrepreneurship with absolutely no plan.  I know, totally crazy!!  Thankfully things fell into place and I launched a portrait photography business in late 2013.  Moonrise Rebel Print Shop is brand spanking new, and I'm absolutely loving the diversity of photographing both kiddos and flowers.  I have a deep passion for beautiful paper goods, so using my photographs to create art prints has been a dream come true.  

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business? 
A: Freedom.  Freedom to dream, to create, to fail, to succeed.  I'd gladly work 24 hours a day in order to be free to do the work I'm passionate about.  

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business? 
A: Focus!  I have more ideas than I know what to do with, and I often find myself going in waaaaaaaaaaay too many directions at once.  I'm working hard at fully developing one or two areas of my business prior to moving on to the next brilliant idea in my head.  But it's hard.  Oh, so hard...

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops?
A: Oh dear, this is the hardest question you asked!  There are so many talented artists in this world- here are some of my fav shops (besides Conflicted Pixie, of course):
Manayunk Calligraphy 
Fort Orange General Store 
Ferme a Papier 
Kelli Murray 
…just to name a few :-)  

Thanks so much, Amy! I loved working with you and look forward to more collaborations. You can find Amy's beautiful Ranunculus Art Cards in our shop and combined with some of our other small goods in a curated gift box

Meet the Maker: Freedom Soap Company

I am not sure what I love more the Freedom Soap Co. story or their products. Chasity, the Mama behind the inspiring business, creates the best smelling bath and body products but her focus on sustainability and quality is what I am most drawn to. Chasity was very kind to answer my questions about her thriving handmade business so you are able to get to know Freedom Soap Co. 

E: In what city/town do you create your products and how does your location inspire your work?
C: Birmingham, AL - Birmingham is such a rich and vibrant city. I love living in the south, and being a part of an emerging handmade movement.

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?  
C: I started Freedom Soap Co. in my kitchen when I was teaching third grade. I've always tried to eat really well and live a relatively healthy and natural lifestyle.  I began making products for myself and my husband because we wanted a skin-care routine that matched our diet. Simple, wholesome ingredients were a priority of mine, so I started formulating my own recipes.  Then, one Christmas, I made a batch of soaps and sugar scrubs for friends and family.  I had extras, so I started selling them in the teacher's lounge.  I began filling orders for more, and it just never stopped.  I kept getting busier and busier.  A year later, I had to make the difficult decision to leave my career and pursue my business full-time.  It was a huge risk, but one I am so glad I took!

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business?
C: My favorite thing is that I have the freedom to work doing what I love while being able to stay home and raise my daughter. Although it sometimes seems impossible to get things done, I have to remind myself of how awesome it is that I get to spend my days with her.

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
C: For me, it’s finding balance between being a wife and mom...and then being a business owner. I currently work from home, so it can get pretty chaotic around here. I’m also a one-woman-show, so wearing multiple hats can be a bit overwhelming.

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops? 
C: I recently discovered a new couple that makes some really cool wood products here in AL. They are Flannel & Floral (@flannelandfloral). I also really love Folk Fiber’s IG feed. Their quilts are amazing! (@folkfibers)

Thanks, Chasity! Many of our gift boxes include Freedom Soap Co. Orange + Rosemary lip balm and our shop will soon stock bars of the Sage + Lemon soap. Trust me when I tell you that you can't live without either one!

Meet the Maker: Detroit Card Co.

My love for stationary runs deep and after discovering Detroit Card Co., I knew their greeting cards were the perfect accessory for our clipboard frames and gift boxes. Genna, the creative designer behind the cards, does an awesome job combining the clever with the heartfelt to offer the perfect greeting card sentiments. It was so nice of Genna to take time out of her busy schedule so we can all get to know Detroit Card Co. a little better.  

E: In what city/town do you create your products? How does your location inspire your work? 
G: Our products are created in Ferndale, MI, which is just outside of Detroit. We hope to have a space in Detroit someday. I love Detroit because it's bursting with creative people. And right now is a great time to be in Detroit because new businesses and opportunities are popping up everywhere. It's really amazing to see the wonderful changes that are happening so quickly.

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?
G: I've always known I wanted to have my own business. Even as a little kid, I was very entrepreneurial. I've been a freelance designer for the past 10 years and so I've had my own business in that regard, but starting The Detroit Card Co. was something special. Around December of 2013, I was on the verge of starting a card company when my dear friend and talented author and improvisor, Cara Trautman, mentioned how fun it would be to write funny cards. We immediately hit the ground running and within a few months, we had a card line.

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business?
G: My favorite thing is knowing that every minute I put into the business is directly impacting something that I built, and that I am passionate about. And that makes me want to put a ton of time and love into it. It's very rewarding when someone purchases a product, or when a card makes someone laugh or smile.

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
G: Knowing when to stop working! I love owning my own business and working doesn't even feel like work, so sometimes it's hard for me to step away — especially since I make my own hours. I think it's good to have a balance of work and play, even if working feels like play. It's good to step away and recharge.

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops?
G: I have a ton of favorites, but the first ones to come to mind are Mannymade, Alisa Bobzien, Worthwhile Paper, Arthur's Plaid Pants, and Snow & Ivy. They are very talented friends of mine that make great work.

Thanks so much, Genna! Our shop is stocked with a selection of Detroit Card Co. greeting cards that can be added to any order - we will even include a handwritten message and send it directly to someone special. 

Meet the Maker: Open Eyes Press

I was first introduced to Open Eyes Press in 2013 at Crafty Bastards and have been somewhat obsessed ever since. When I was dreaming up our gift boxes, they were one of the first shops I contacted. Luckily Rachael, the talented creative behind the awesome products, is so kind and easy to work with. I am big fan of her tomato print - it graces the wall of our kitchen - but her tea towels are really a gift givers dream come true. Rachael was so sweet to answer my inquiring questions so you can get to know her and Open Eyes Press better.

E: In what city/town do you create your products? How does your location inspire your work? 
R: Baltimore, MD - Baltimore is a great place to be an artist!  It's diverse, supportive of the arts, and has a down-to-earth vibe.  

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?
R: I've been an entrepreneur since I was a kid- I started a neighborhood dog washing business when I was 10 (used my mom's fax machine to make flyers!), and then had a handmade jewelry business through high school.  After graduating from college with a degree in Fine Art, I went looking for a job that would support me and allow me to use my creative talents.  I spent several years working in all kinds of art-related fields, but nothing I did gave me the sense of fulfillment or creative freedom I wanted.  Around 2009, I was exhausted and ready for a change- my family encouraged me to start a business doing what I loved, and the rest is history!

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business?
R: The total creative freedom that comes with it!  By working with subject matter and materials that I naturally gravitate toward, I've been able to create products that truly reflect who I am.  The added bonus is when someone takes the time to tell me how much they love my work or enjoy using something I made- it propels me forward to keep doing what I do.  I would also say having the freedom to make my own schedule.  I choose when I work, so if it's a nice day, I can spend time outside and then get back to my work projects later in the evening.  I also have more time to spend with family and friends, which is important to me.  It's all about keeping things balanced.

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
R: Keeping my life in balance (weren't we just talking about that??)!  As owner/designer/maker/seller, work can pretty much consume my life if I'm not careful.  I work from home, so it's very easy to keep going on to the next project, because there's always something more to get done.  Setting reasonable limits for myself, eating well, and spending time outside and with friends helps me stay focused.  Sometimes you just have to take a break and let your mind relax.  

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops? 
R: Absolutely!  Trohv (Hampden and Takoma Park) and Salt & Sundry (DC) are two of my faves- whether it's exotic flavored bitters, a deliciously scented candle, or the perfect birthday/wedding/thank you card, I can always find a special gift at both places.  Twisted Sisters in West Annapolis is a cool spot, too.  They have funky, beachy finds (locally made, of course), and the owner builds and sells furniture made from reclaimed wood- super cool!

Thanks, Rachael! Many of our curated gift boxes will contain Open Eyes Press' printed tea towels - kitchen linens are definitely one of my weaknesses! 

Meet the Maker: Scout + Lilly

I started writing a little style blog two years ago and never would have predicted what Conflicted Pixie would become. I pursued different paths as I tried to turn what began as a hobby into a legitimate small business. I love designing and making small goods and am very proud of our play tentsnecklaces, and clipboards but I also was itching to grow CP into something more than just MY handmade business. 

I am constantly inspired by the maker movement and find myself shopping small more and more. I've talked about my daydream before - to open a brick and mortar shop on Main Street in Small Town USA - and have realized that the daydream could one day be a reality. So CP is taking another baby step toward that reality. 

I am very excited to tell you that CP is growing and I will be stocking small goods from some of my favorite American-made businesses. Launching in our online shop in the next few days, these goods will be combined with CP products to create curated gift boxes!

Even more awesome than the products are the makers themselves and I look forward to sharing their creativity and inspiring stories here.

I am super excited to introduce you to the creative force behind one of our very favorite handmade brands, Scout + Lilly. Kathleen does an amazing job of creating the most unique leather and silk screened goods while highlighting the very best of simple, modern design. Kathleen kindly answered my questions and I know you will enjoy getting to know Scout + Lilly.

E: In what city/town do you create your products and how does your location inspire your work?
K: Dallas, Texas - Texas in general inspires me! I grew up in San Antonio, where the city is so vibrant and colorful. The landscape, too, is incredible and unique. Dallas is no exception. 

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?
K: I started SCOUT + LILLY in 2012 when my husband and I moved to Dallas. I had the opportunity to pursue my own whims, and after much research, many trials, and (to be honest) many errors, SCOUT + LILLY is the result. I always enjoyed working immensely, but never found any joy in it until I began working for myself. It's incredibly difficult at times, but is so, so worth it.

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business?
K: The freedom to do whatever I like. I can print, dabble in sewing, work with leather... whatever I wish! 

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
K: Honestly, the freedom! While I can do whatever I like, there is a great risk in it. I never know what will do well and what I enjoy making until the products have been around a month or two. And each decision can either skyrocket my business or tank it. It can be really stressful! And additionally, time management is a big challenge, but that's a challenge with any job!

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops? 
K: Of course! There are so many amazing makers out there, and being a part of that community is really rewarding! Some of my favorite shops and/or makers are: Betsy Ann Paper, Fieldguided, Lisa Congdon, Cotton & Flax, Ariele Alasko, Amelie Mancini, Satchel & Sage, Lilco Press, and Monorail Press.

Thanks, Kathleen! Many of our curated gift boxes will contain items from Scout + Lilly including those awesome banners and card holder shown above. I am going to try my best not to keep everything for myself!