Thursday, October 31, 2013

When Headbands are More Important than Jesus

I'm not sure if I ever shared the story of the Fayette headband, but it's relevant to some current events so I wanted to share it in-depth. This is going to be a long one folks. It should probably be broken into two parts, but whatevs.

About four years ago, I saw a photo of Alexis Bidel. It can be found here, but if you don't want to click over and read the article it's a photo of her in a Rosie the Riveter outfit for an American Icons Glamour Magazine photoshoot.  I loved the modernized Rosie the Riveter and how they tied a scarf into a headband that resembled a more feminine bandana that Rosie wore.  I thought, "How fun would it be if I made a headband specifically to be tied like that? It wouldn't have to be rolled up like a bandana or a scarf. It wouldn't be bulky in case you wanted to wear your hair down. I could pick gorgeous fabrics and create a retro inspired line of headbands based off of it." 


I made a prototype that day out of some cheap Hobby Lobby fabric. I loved it, but didn't love the way the topstitching looked. I keep it in my desk drawer to remind me
1. To follow through on  things that the Lord places on my heart, creative endeavors or not.
2. That sometimes your first try isn't good enough and your customers deserve the best you have to offer.  


Life happened and I got distracted. I put it away and focused on my owl pillows (heh. remember those?) and a dress line. We moved overseas to teach English. We moved to Boulder to plant a church. 

A couple years later, I found it when unpacking a box of fabric when we moved into our new place in Boulder. I sat and played with it and at that point had shut the shop down for a while. I was tired of making things that everyone else made and loved my job as a Personal Shopper for Anthropologie. I had that creative itch again and so I started collecting fabric swatches and dreaming of/praying about opening up shop again. I spent a couple hours researching etsy and ebay and big cartel for people already selling this headband. I thought, it has to already be done by this point. Wrong. The only thing close was an ebay shop selling headbands that was an angled design made out of a bandana. The "bow part" was really long and the edges weren't finished, just raw. There was an etsy shop selling scarves styled like that, but they also sold a ton of vintage stuff and nothing in the shop told a story.

I wanted to tell a story.  

I must have created about 15 prototypes before I finally created, what I felt to be, the "perfect" knot headband. It curved inwards towards the end so that the knot wasn't too bulky. It was the right length for being adjustable and "one size fits most." It wasn't too wide. The little "ends" weren't too pointy or skinny or fluffy. I started scheming fabrics and searched high and low for the perfect vintage and/or vintage inspired fabrics. Polka dots, vintage florals, ginghams. They were perfect and exactly what I had envisioned. 



I sewed one of each and remember texting my mom who was with my Aunt. I texted them a photo and said I want them to be a retro/classic girl name. We shot names back and forth and landed on Fayette. My Memaw's first name (she goes by another name because she doesn't like Fayette, but I LOVE it).  The Fayette headband was born, if you will. 

Then I started dreaming up a photoshoot. This is how I wanted to tell the story. Vintage inspired accessories with a modern twist. I immediately thought of an old school ice cream parlour. I collected props, put together outfits, and asked some friends to be models with me. 

I had already put so much into it. So much of my heart. So much of my creativity. So much of my time. Quite a bit of money (fabric, photo props, outfits, etc). So much of my effort. 

The photoshoot went off without a hitch. It was fun, and again, turned out just as I had envisioned. I was totally in my element and felt the Lord's hand in all of it. 

When I listed them in my shop, I was thrilled with the response. They had quite a bit of momentum for a while and then I did a holiday collectionBefore I knew it, I was  a bit in over my head and was pulling some crazy hours. 

When I started noticing knock-offs, I decided to make another design. This time, I wanted the ends to be rectangular so that when tied, it looked like a proper bow. I prayed about pursuing it since a couple months later, we'd have a little newborn in our hands. I felt a peace about it and got to work. I didn't see the design I had come up with anywhere (but again, not claiming I invented a bow headband haha!), Colette rhymed with Fayette, so we went with it. Again, the Lord blessed me with creativity in a fun photoshoot, fabric choices that were perfect for my vision, and I got a great response. That's when I hired my first assistant.


Then I started noticing more & more copycats and it irked me. I am super competitive and so I have to admit that in my flesh some of my motives are not always pure. God doesn't let me get away with it for long, ha! I am/was fully aware that I didn't invent a headband, or have rights to fabrics, or the retro-look (heck. I wasn't even alive in that era) - but I did expend so much effort in creating a unique design along with a cohesive line of headbands

Customers had started asking for soft versions as SOON as I first started selling Fayettes. They wanted them for their kiddos and I just didn't want to break into that market. I held off for a long time, but when I started seeing shops carrying Fayette or Colette knock-offs, again, I wanted to be ahead of the curve with a new design, but with women in mind, not kiddos. Since I get some gnarly headaches and had been making soft versions for myself, I thought that it was a perfect time to give my customers what they wanted and make a Jersey Cotton version of the Fayette. 

Still, I wanted them to be set apart. I believe, as Christians and as creatives, we were made to be set apart. ((See 1 Peter 2:9 and Ephesians 2:10)) The more effort we put into that with the goal of glorifying our Creator, I think the better off our businesses are. We should set the standard. I collaborated with a very talented artist to create a floral design for me in two colorways. I designed a stripe pattern (pretty much the extent of my graphic design skills, ha!) to coordinate and I sold them in sets. I tested the market out at Influence and they sold okay. However, I was BLOWN AWAY by how quickly they sold out online. Again, just so incredibly humbled that the Lord gave me a vision that I put the "sweat" into and He allowed it to succeed. I certainly didn't deserve it. 

That brings me up to earlier this week when a blogging friend posted an Instagram of her wearing a Fayette knock off. I had already been sent a link to another copycat shop that day and let it roll off, but this time I felt betrayed. I went to the shop that she tagged and my jaw just literally dropped. I recognized the shop owner's name. I went back and searched into my order log and sure enough, she had purchased both headband designs from me. Her shop was new. She was selling Colette and Fayette look-a-likes. I clicked on her blog. She is a Christian. It just really wrecked me for a bit, if I'm completely honest. More-so because she loves Jesus. 
((let me be clear that my blogging friend did nothing wrong. she just thought she was supporting an up and coming handmade business and i did not even consider approaching her or the shop owner))

I ranted on twitter and instagram a bit. I didn't call anyone out. I just voiced my discouragement. I got some not-so-tactful responses (why err'body gotta be so defensive?) but also some pretty great truth spoken to me. My flesh didn't want to hear it, but I begged God for a humble heart in that moment to receive the truth that He wanted me to hear. 

It has taken me a couple years of making these headbands to finally get to this point of not letting these things bother me any longer. If it does bother me I likely need to repent of making my business an idol...the root of that means I'm worshipping headbands. Cool ((read: not cool)). I'm making the decision NOW to brush it off and try to be a better shop owner because of it. I want it to spur me on to create better and new products. 

The reality is that at the end of the day, it's just a stinkin' headband. I love my products and stand behind them 100%, but although it is a part of our income, it's just not worth the bitterness anymore. Not to mention, my customers are so amazing and loyal. 

The truth is that they aren't even my ideas (thanks Kate!). They are His. He has allowed me to follow through with them and experience success. Is it still frustrating at times when those ideas God has given me are taken as someone elses? Of course.  As Christians, we can't just act like nothing phases us. We can feel emotions because we are HUMAN. I'm a justice seeker. I want things made right, but that can only happen when my heart is right, and usually -- it's not.  So, yeah, I was definitely discouraged. The problem comes when we decide to wallow in discouragement and bitterness. We can't stay there, y'all. 

The fact is that people are going to copy. Seeing others' success is going to cause people to think, "I can do that!" They might actually "do that" but then they realize how much work goes into running a handmade business and they'll fizzle out after a few months. Let's not focus on them. 

When we want to fight back and raise a big ol' stink, our hearts are wrong. When we want to call people out via social media and create an army behind us saying, "yeahhhh! you're a copycat and you stink!" it makes us look like idiots. Sinful idiots. Because when headbands are more important than pointing people to Jesus, we're in trouble y'all. Jesus is bigger than headbands and scarves and etsy and graphic prints. Let's focus on running our businesses with integrity, with creativity, with passion, and a desire to see Christ glorified through our actions ((even when we mess up!)) and through our successes. Let's have humble hearts and make it happen - whether or not we are being copied along the way.

love.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

((kidecals giveaway))

I had intentions of getting an outfit post up today, but I woke up to snow so...no thanks ;) Instead I wanted to share kidecals with you - they're based here in Boulder and many of you have inquired about them without knowing it!


They create great custom stickers, chalkboard labels, and awesome decals (keycals!) for keyboards. Anytime I've posted a photo of my computer I've gotten a big response about my mint colored keys. Those are from kidecals! They are local, US made, and SUPER affordable y'all!

Today, one person will win a $25 credit to Kidecals. All you have to do to enter is visit Kidecals and tell us below which keycals or other loot you'd get with your credit!
love.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Healthy Halloween Snack Alternatives from Whole Foods

Okay, so real talk? I love candy. I've got a meeeeean sweet tooth...but just because it's Halloween week doesn't mean that I'm chowing down on all kinds of corn syrup and artificial flavors. 


You don't have to be that person on the block passing out toothbrushes or carrot sticks in rebellion of straight up candy. Try some of these great alternatives from Whole Foods for passing out treats this Halloween ((and don't be mad at me if you become addicted to those Gianna's Sugar Cookies! So cute and so stinking delicious)).




Snyder's Fat Free Mini Pretzels
Annie's Halloween Bunny Grahams ((honey and chocolate whole grain graham snacks))
Gianna's Bakery All Natural Sugar Cookies
Justin's Peanut Butter Cups 




The pretzels and graham crackers can be found in individual serving size packs at your local Whole Foods - perfect for those adorable trick-or-treaters knocking on your door! These cookies come in all sorts of adorable shapes and would be adorable wrapped individually for gifts! 

Did you know(?):
October is Non-GMO Month! What's your favorite Non-GMO product?



love.

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods because I am a part of their Whole Foods Ambassador Blogger Program. I was not compensated for this post, but did receive a few items free of charge. Consider yourself disclosed ;) 

Monday, October 28, 2013

((handmade monday)) leather wallet DIY for the fellas

I've always wanted to work with leather, but always got distracted with something else. Another project, a headband line, a dress for myself instead, etc. I recently bought a leather hide, some leather needles, and wanted to make Chase a wallet that also held his iphone. I got to it and it was so easy! Here's an easy peasy tutorial that would be great for a Christmas or birthday gift for your man. 

Supplies You'll Need:
Rotary Cutter & Mat
Thread
Leather Needles
Leather 
Sewing Machine
Step one: Cut two pieces of leather using a rotary cutter
((Piece one)) 9 inches by 3.25 inches and then angle the top about an inch and a half
((Piece two)) 10.5 by 3.25 inches

Step two:
Stack pieces and sew the bottom edge
Step three: Sew the top piece onto the long piece up both sides

Step four: Fold in half and sew the sides all the way, going on top of the other holes that the sewing machine made into the leather. Go slow as you sew through these thick layers! 

Step five: Trim your threads and "clean up" the edges with the rotary cutter. 


love.

Options and tips:
-Use sturdy felt in a fun color if you want to make one for yourself
((I almost got a metallic gold hide - how cool would that have been?))
-Go nice and slow while sewing with leather and make sure you have leather needles
-A strong thread will hold up better. 



Friday, October 25, 2013

favorite things friday ((stud earrings))

Hello from Texas! 

Ever since having Knox, stud earrings have been one of my go-to accessories. Earrings always brighten up a face and stud earrings won't get ripped out of your ears. Win-Win. Here are a few of my favorite stud earrings that are tried & true or that I've had my eye on. Some are handmade, some are designer, and all are SO fun. The best part? None of them are covered button earrings or cabochon flowers. ((insert crying while laughing emoji aka the "I crack myself up emoji")).




((right to left, top to bottom)) 
one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine

Which ones are your fave? Those Kate Spade ones are on my Christmas list and the copper druzy ones are on their way to me! I have similar ones to the bees and I call them my tracker jacket earrings. Just channeling my inner Katniss Everdeen. Have a great weekend, y'all!

love.

Note: Gift Guide emails have been sent out, so make sure to check your spam and promotions folder to make sure it isn't hiding from you! :) 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

((outfit schmoutfit)) scarecrow vs indiana jones


Sometimes you purchase and wear something that your husband just doesn't understand. Chase likes to call this my Indiana Jones hat, which is completely absurd because it is obviously my bad hair day scarecrow hat. Moving on. I love the look of fun sweaters layered with chambray or even a flannel button down, but it reads a bit too preppy for me more often than not. So, here's a tip: wear a funky necklace, add a hat if you're feeling up to it, and anchor your outfit with some combat boots and it looks more eclectic than preppy. Baddabing.


This sweater is from a new online boutique called Gypsy Threads. They have SO many great things from floppy hats and cozy sweaters to boho dresses and fabulously affordable boots.   

Chambray: Thrifted
((get 15% off with the code OHSWEETJOY))
Bag: C/O Timi & Leslie


love.

Monday, October 21, 2013

((handmade monday)) behind the scenes



I've been working on some fun things over here in Oh, Sweet Joy! land. 

One is a long cardigan/kimono hybrid tutorial. I bought two super fun fabrics and am excited to make a short and longer one. Here are some of my inspiration photos. I basically just wanted to sew something for myself and you will get the benefit of a step-by-step tutorial. One might go crazy if all they sew is Fayette headbands ;) 

Aww... Remember when Miley wasn't a weirdo?

I've also been playing with some different textures and fabrics to create this year's holiday  headband line. Think fabulous, unexpected and luxurious textiles - lace, faux leather, crush velvet, and fun solids in the perfect holiday hues.


On top of that, I've been coming up with a completely different product to launch soon. I'm excited to take risks and collaborate with other small businesses. We are still working out details, but I'm in love with the design and get a little bit giddy when thinking about styling it. I am a sucker for year 'round comfy dresses and this is the perfect one. Layer it up with booties and a flowy cardigan (or kimono!) for Fall. Bundle it up with a chunky sweater, tights, and boots for the Winter. Bring in some color with a pretty, floral scarf in the Spring. Keep it simple with a colorful statement necklace in the Summer. Boom. Can't wait to get my hands on them.

So, yeah. I guess you could say my brain has been busy. Same story goes for my hands. Lots of creating. Lots of fun ideas. Just wish there was more time to go around!

love.

p to the s - I added a section up at the top for FAQ. Hope that it's helpful! Feel free to leave more below if I need to answer or clarify anything! 

p to the p to the s - LAST DAY TO APPLY TO BE FEATURED IN THE GIFT GUIDE! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Favorite Things Friday: Fiiiiine Leather Goods

Treat yo'self anyone? ((If you don't understand the reference, we'll just move on)) There's just something about the crisp air lately that makes me want to layer up in my leather jacket. I love how leather boots or printed booties can anchor an outfit into a perfectly seasonal ensemble. Today, I gathered a few of my favorite leather finds for you to enjoy. 




one || two || three || four 

That first Andrew Marc look is just perfection in my book. Am I right? I know I've got some vegan readers and so I apologize for leaving you out today! The good news is that Blowfish sells vegan leather shoes, so have at 'em! 

love.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Oh, Sweet Joy's Handmade Holidays Gift Guide 2013 ((call for applicants))

It's that time of year again, y'all! One of my greatest joys in running this blog is featuring handmade shops that work so hard to create amazing goods. Along those same lines, it's great for me to share these shops with people/readers not necessarily within this "handmade/blogging bubble" to find wonderfully unique gifts for their loved ones. The THIRD ANNUAL Oh, Sweet Joy Handmade Holidays Gift Guide is the perfection solution to help me do both!

((graphic done by the talented Kendahl of Beautifully Esoteric))

Handmade shops, small businesses, online Boutiques and the like - you WON'T want to miss your chance to be a part of the THIRD annual Handmade Holidays Gift Guide!

Here's how it works:
This year it will be FIVE straight days (think of it as a baller handmade PARTY!) of featured shops in the following categories:
For the Littles (baby + children)
Jewelry (largest category!)
Paper (stationery, printables & frameable prints)
Accessorize (hats, scarves, headbands, handbags, knitted/crocheted items)
Wear (exclusive to online boutiques)

After that? We will have a GIANT giveaway. Weeee!!

The fee for each participating shop will be SEE THIS YEAR's POST FOR THIS YEAR'S RATE (most shops will only have to sell a couple products to make that back!) and will come with more than just a spot in the gift guide (details upon acceptance, but think social media mentions and more!). Shops will also be asked to supply a discount code for the "Handmade Holiday" Gift Guide readers to encourage sales. Participation in the finale giveaway is recommended, but not mandatory.

This is SUCH a great way to drive extra traffic to your shop during peak shopping months. You will be exposing your shop to not only my faithful readers, but also to every other participating shops' "fans" as they tell their customers about "Handmade Holidays!"

Want to be included in the fun? 
Email me  (ohsweetjoyATgmailDOTcom) to "enter" your shop or boutique.
You will be emailed upon acceptance.

((I wish I could accept everyone, there's just not time for that. womp womp))


There are limited spots available in each category, so please email me pronto to apply. Not everyone will be chosen, unfortunately, but my goal is to help promote as many shops as possible. I'm more than excited to highlight and feature so many talented shops...and help you get your Christmas shopping done early!

love.

NOTE: this is not a giveaway, but simply a gift guide in the form of a highlight and feature. The giveaway is optional for participants. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

((outfit schmoutfit)) Loves Jesus and America Too

Chase took Knox with him to church early on Sunday morning, so I had an hour to myself and it was DI.VINE. I sat and sipped my coffee (hot!) in silence and even went to Target + Starbucks before church. Jackpot. Anywho, this outfit was easy to throw together and that's what I'm about y'all. Thoughtless and effortless. The booties steal the show anyways.



Don't forget you can get 10% off your entire order at RiffRaff with the code "ohsweetjoy." :)

love.

Friday, October 11, 2013

song for autumn





In the deep fall
    don't you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
    the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
    freshets of wind? 

And don't you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
    warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
    inside their bodies? 

And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
    the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? 

The pond
    vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
    its blue shadows.

 And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
    the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

Mary Oliver, "Song For Autumn"


love.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

sponsor highlight + giveaway ((featuring jane deals))

It's giveaway time, y'all! One of my most loyal sponsors is here today with a fun new re-brand and a great giveaway for my sweet readers. Jane Deals, formerly Very Jane, is one of my favorite daily deal sites because of how many different sales they offer each day. It's a great mix of clothing, accessories, handmade items, baby items, and so much more. 


I've snagged a few great items from their deals, including a few necklaces, some tights, and a new favorite is this blouse from Nest Boutique. 

Here is a bit from Heidi, their marketing gal:
Jane is a boutique daily deals site. We sell everything from clothing and purses to hair accessories, jewelry, and home d├ęcor. We feature new handmade and boutique items every day. Each day we offer between 30-40 deals for up to 75% off! We love allowing small business owners the opportunity for greater exposure and providing quality products to customers at a significant discount. Check out our great deals at Jane.com. 

Giveaway Item:

Link Love:


love.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

wearing maxis into the fall


Maxi skirts and dresses are a summer staple for most women. They're easy to style and often you can keep it super simple ((read: top knot, sandals, and a fun necklace if you're feeling fancy)) and still look completely put together. It wasn't until last year that I saw the beauty of styling maxis in the fall and through the winter ((see here and here)). I always struggled with what shoes to wear and if I looked like a massive pile of fabric. So, today I'll share my recipe, if you will, for styling your summer staple maxis into the Fall. It's all about the layers.


In this case, I took my Grecian Maxi Dress from ShopRiffRaff.com  and layered it up with this gorgeous sweater, a bohemian necklace, and Target booties that I felt were fun paired with the sweater ((the pattern doesn't really show anyways)). The dress is a bright color, but when paired with coordinating colors and darker hues, it works! I lean towards coral being a year 'round color. 

So, recap - maxi dress + booties + sweater + necklace(s) = head to toe cozy fall layers.

This is part of a series of posts in which I've picked my favorite RiffRaff items to share with y'all. Most items are courtesy of the wonderful gals at RiffRaff, but I sincerely love their products and brand. Don't forget that you can use the code ohsweetjoy to get 10% off your entire purchase on shopriffraff.com

love.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

((outfit schmoutfit)) flannel + lace



Late in the summer, I found a way to make my button downs look a little bit more feminine and eclectic. You can see that post here. I've been doing it with standard chambray and some other plaid button downs. Most recently, I paired a reddish orange crochet tank with my new flannel ((yay! Target flannels are back!)) and it has quickly become my go-to Fall look. It keeps the flannel from reading too masculine and I won't tell you how many days in a row I wore this combination.


Anywho, a perfect Autumnal outfit in my book includes some good dark skinnies, a pair of booties or riding boots, a flannel, a tank or tee to layer underneath, and a fun headband.  






other flannel & lace outfit inspiration from the archives: here and here

love.


p to the s - blogger is making my photos kinda crazy colors. anyone else? anyone know how to fix it?