Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet Martine // Quirkie Kids

Do your boys like the color pink? Do your girls like Bob the Builder? Just a couple questions that will set the tone for the direction we are going with this feature ;) May seem strange, but according to Martine... these are questions that shouldn't demand a certain answer. Our children should be free to answer yes or no to questions like these without there being this certain expectation of gender deciding for them. Do you agree? I think the point she's getting at is pretty valid. We want our littles to be who they are, not what society says they should be. Martine's clothing line, Quirkie Kids, was born out of the desire for kids to be able to express their individuality through clothing. Here's a little snippet from her website that would probably explain better..

"The idea that a color is either masculine or feminine is absurd to me. I want my boys to grow up to become confident men who stay true to who they are. And that is what Quirkie Kids is all about: encouraging kids to embrace their uniqueness.



...To me, Quirkie Kids is about more than just pink t-shirts. It's about giving both boys and girls more options to express themselves through their clothing."

I love that Martine has taken a stand in this way. Let kids be kids and choose for themselves what they like. Go check out the website and see for yourself! There's some light pink, some dark pink, and maybe even a splash of purple :) There's also a couple onesies for the wee ones. Here's a few photos I took of my littles in their Quirkie Kids get up! I'm happy to say that every single one of my kids said these tees were now some of their favs. I'm sure it helped that all three of them love matching each other haha. 


just a little sibling love



Nyah is wearing the "skull" tee (skirt dot dot smile)

Kylan is wearing the "chompers" tee

Ryder wearing the "best friends" tee
All the tees are printed on American Apparel 100% cotton tees. They're soft and durable which makes them great for kids! Martine is so easy to talk to so if you ever had any questions, concerns, input... I don't doubt that she wouldn't make it a priority to value it and respond. I so admire her "big picture" way of thinking and that these tees of hers are just a stepping stone in that direction. I'm honored to feature her here and say that my boys and girl are not always so gender typical, but they are undoubtedly individuals! I'm so glad that she found such a creative and fun way to send such a positive message to our children. I was able to do a little bit of a Q&A session with Martine. Check it out below and learn a little bit more about her!

Martine and her precious fam

How did "Quirkie Kids" come come about?

I’ve always been someone to question things and ask why. One night, my hubby and I were talking about how ridiculous it is that things for boys are blue and things for girls are pink. If you have a son who likes pink, you have to shop in the girls department but most clothes for girls have bows or lace or some other detail that a boy may not like. If you have a daughter who likes something other than rainbows, kittens, or butterflies, you’re also out of luck. My hubby mentioned that someone should make pink t-shirts with cool designs you don’t usually find on a pink tee and so the idea for Quirkie Kids was born. I held a successful Kickstarter campaign and was able to raise start up funds to launch the business. 


Who/What would you say has been your biggest inspiration?

My boys! Being a mom has made me realize just how innocent children are. Until recently, my boys (Tyler age 6 and Tristan age 3) had no idea that according to society certain things including the color pink should be off limit to them. The idea that a color is either masculine or feminine is absurd to me. I think all kids should be free to wear pink regardless of their gender, which is why I started Quirkie Kids. I like to say that some boys like green. Some boys like blue. And some boys like pink and why not?


What advice would you pass along to someone considering starting their own business?

Ask for help! Few people have all the skills needed to launch a small businesses. I didn’t let the fact that I can’t draw stop me from launching a line of tees. I asked an awesome designer for help and he said YES! I am so grateful to have him as part of our team. The same goes for photography! I knew I needed good images so I asked a photographer that I admire for help. She took some fun images of some kids wearing our pink tees that made all the difference in our Kickstarter campaign. 


What is a dream you have for your shop?

I am going to dream big here, because I’ve decide to be fearless! To me, Quirkie Kids is about more than pink tees. It’s about encouraging kids to embrace their uniqueness and giving both boys AND girls more options to express themselves through their clothing. I want boys to be a able to wear a pink t-shirt without feeling self-conscious or worrying about getting teased. And I want to girls to be able to wear a t-shirt with a dinosaur or a space alien without feeling that they are being different or weird. 


What does a typical day look like for you?

The kids are home for the summer so, it’s definitely more challenging to find time to work! I usually work for a few hours in the morning while the kids play. Then we go out and have fun! We just moved to CA and are having a blast exploring new places to visit! I work for another hour or so when we get back and then at night once the kids are in bed.


What is something most people wouldn't guess about you right away?

I was born and raised in Holland. My boyfriend (now my husband) and I moved to England when I was 19. I never intended to not come back but it sort of just happened. We love living here, but it’s hard to be away from family and wish that we could visit more often. 


If you could only have three things to bring with you on a deserted island, what would you choose?

My first reaction is my husband and our two kids but they’re not things. So I am going to say sunglasses (I wear them even when it’s cloudy), coffee (I’ve tried going without but I love my morning cup of coffee too much), and a pillow (I cannot sleep without it).


I LOOOOVE your business advice! Ask for help! So simple, yet not always the first thing we think. So good. As long as you have the vision and the determination, there's probably a way. And way to go with using kickstarter!! So cool and glad that it was successful and helpful! Love what you are doing, Martine, and seriously wishing you all the best as you move forward. Thanks for sharing!

Martine is being super kind and giving all my readers 15% from now until August 31st!! All you have to do is use the code thelittleslife15 when you're checking out. Just go to  www.quirkiekids.com
and take a peak at all the other great tees she has to offer! Also be sure to follow her on Instagram (@quirkiekids) to be the first to know about give aways, new releases, and sales!! Thanks again Martine!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Meet Sophia // Moon & Wanderlust Collective

When I first met Sophia, she was making these incredibly unique, whimsical, colorful dream catchers. I mean, they are so gorgeous that they're breathtaking. I knew then, this girl had some serious talent, but what most may not know right away, is that Sophia puts SOOOO much love and care into each creation. She's a mommy of two little ones, so this is not easy in the least. That wasn't all she wanted to do though. She had many more ideas cooking and things she wanted to accomplish.

She eventually opened an online shop called Moon & Wanderlust Collective! It's so boho chic and totally up my ally! Here's a description of the shop to give you a better idea (taken from her website)

"Moon and Wanderlust Collective

Bohemian, worldly, and romantically-inspired pieces to bring out your inner moonchild. Our clothes and home collection embody the woman who draws down the moon and travels to the inner depths of herself to discover a spirit so free. She lives in the sunshine, swims in the sea, and breathes the wild air."

Now that she has her own shop filled with amazing threads and accessories, you can see her style and personality come out even more! Such free spirited beautiful pieces that are feminine, inspiring, comfortable, and effortless. Basically, her entire shop tempts me :) I love everything! She clearly has great taste and her packaging exudes love and her personal touch! This is what I love about her. She makes a connection with her customers. Whether she's creating a piece herself, or choosing to make it available in her shop, she puts her personal touch on the creations or the packaging their put in.


here I'm wearing the super soft and cozy Live-In Tee! It's appropriately named as I'm tempted to wear this beauty daily!
It'd be perfect to wear with leggings as well. You could dress it up with heels or keep it casual.
here I'm wearing the tee with jean shorts, also rockin the Indah Tassel Bag! The colors are amazing!
The bag can be worn as a cross body or as a clutch!
the beautiful wire wrapped Amethyst ring is from her shop as well!
(sandals are from urban outfitters)

She's always adding new pieces to her shop and every now and then will have sales as well. Make sure that you are following her on instagram to get the latest on sales and new additions (@shopmoonandwanderlust)!

Now that you've seen a few of her shop items, I'm happy to introduce you to the lovely lady behind all of this beauty! Sophia is a creative, kind, gentle, thoughtful, free spirit. It's been an honor for me to get to know her. She feels like more a friend than just an acquaintance. Her care and concern for me as I've been recovering from my surgery in July have been refreshing and heart warming. She's just very genuine and down to earth. She has an adventurous as well as a nurturing spirit. I only wish we could have done this interview in person :) Get to know a little bit more about this lovely mama/business owner below!

the beautiful Sophia!

Sophia and her family


What inspired the name, "Moon & Wanderlust"?  

The shop's name was inspired by a bit of who I am. The moon is such a powerful force. I've always been drawn to its beauty and its reflection of a woman's inner  strength. I used to participate in drumming circles on the beach at night and the moon was always there to add a bit of magic. Like the moon's pull on the tides and constant movement, I've always had a desire for change and to roam about. I'm always seeking adventure.


 How did your journey begin as a business owner?   

I started off making non- traditional dreamcatchers. It was a form of meditation for me and a creative outlet. I  also had a yearning to expand into a shop where I can combine all the things that I love, including home decor and fashion that reflect my personal style. When I could barely keep up with making custom dreamcatchers, it was a sign to pursue this dream of mine. 


What is something you've learned that you could share with others who
 also might be starting up a business?

When you start a business, treat it like it's your baby. My shop is my third child and I stay up very late tending to it, as well as get up really early to handle and ship out orders. Don't neglect it, especially with an online shop because people need to know that your shop exists, so it has to maintain an online presence and you must be active in social media. It's been a 24/7 job for me, but I'm hoping that in time, I can get a good flow and balance going. 

 
What does a typical day look like for you?

I'm a Work At Home Mom, so my days are filled with chaos, exhaustion, and the best rewards. With a baby and a four year old, I usually get up around 5:30 before the kids wake up to pack orders, prepare breakfast, and prepare that day's homeschool lesson. When we have a little break, I try to squeeze in product shots and Instagram posts, then resume my day with the kids. After a day full of diaper changes and running around chasing two kids, I get back to answering business inquiries and whatever else my shop needs. Sleep, then repeat. Everyday is a beautiful mess and I wouldn't change it for the world! 


What is something you'd like to accomplish this year (can be business
or personal or both)?  

Personally, I would love to get back out in nature-- more hiking, kayaking, swimming in the ocean, and I would love to learn to Stand Up Paddle Board before summer is over.  Business-wise, I would love to finally have a set schedule of handling my shop rather than sporadic (when I can squeeze time in between changing diapers and lessons) times. It would feel amazing to have some order in that area of my life. 


What's something(s) super quirky about you?  

I'm a bit of a hippie and I'd usually sage my guests before they come in my home. I listen to West Coast Gangster Rap when I'm in the car alone. I have a potty mouth and that's the only time I don't have to play role model for my kids. 


If you were stranded on a desert island, what are three things you'd
HAVE to have?  

A hammock, a good read, and Rum. 


I LOVE your island list and car jams ;) Thanks so much for sharing Sophia! I'm so happy that you're hard work and passions have led you to doing what you love. I'm sure with time the "balance" part will get easier, but sounds like you're doing a phenomenal job! 

For all of you reading this, Sophia has decided to offer you a discount code to receive 15% off in her shop! This includes all her new pieces that were just added yesterday as well as sale items! Just go to her website (www.moonandwanderlustcollective.com) and use the code "littleslife15" to get the discount! The code will expire August 19th. Thanks again Sophia! Wishing you all the best as you move forward and grow your business!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meet Amanda & Hannah // Tiny Vines

Amanda and Hannah have a pretty great thing going here! These two Alabama mamas have put their heads together to create tees and more for your littles! I love the variety they've created in their shop. They have playful, sentimental, and modern tees... something for everyone basically, which is what I'm all about :) Their tees are super soft and I love that this is another kids brand that stand out from the crowd! They're not easy to find! Just take a look at their website and see for yourself! Not things you'd see at the mall or typical kids store. These ladies have created what they feel is missing so that moms like me and you can have our kids make statements with their tees and all the while, supporting small shops/businesses. It always helps when your kids actually like the clothes you put on them too.. BONUS! Here's a couple things they sent my kids!

his first selfie...it only seemed appropriate haha.

"#selfie" tee


"little light of mine" tee




and seriously... how cute is this trucker hat?! My girly is obsessed!

Everything is so perfect and fits our style so well! Of course my favorite part of showcasing these great shops is being able to meet the people behind them, learn more about them, and then introduce them to you! I've said it before, but life is all about relationships! We can learn from each other, respect each other, and support each other! With that being said,  I want you to meet Amanda and Hannah! These ladies have been SO wonderful to me and so very patient! It's been tough recovering from such a major, life pausing, life changing surgery and then to try and get back to normal life. But these ladies have been so sweet and understanding. Not only that, they are obviously talented, team players, and hard workers!! I love what they have created with Tiny Vines so far and am so looking forward to all the new creations that are on the horizon!!

the mamas and their babes

Hannah and her cute as ever fam

Amanda and her stylish little fam

How did Tiny Vines start?
  
Amanda: I have a BFA in graphic design, and have wanted to own a t-shirt company since
college, but my husband was in the military and we just never stayed anywhere
long enough to go for it. Then, Hannah and I reconnected after we moved back to
our hometown. She had an embroidery business and I have the graphic design
background. We were always searching for t-shirts for our kids and we realized we
could make them ourselves; one day we just decided to go for it.
  
Hannah: When my daughter was born and I quit working I desired something crafty to fill my
little bit of free time. I started an embroidery business and had a ball running it for
the past 3 years. The time required had gotten harder as our second little one was
born but I still wanted to be in the kids clothing line and have the freedom to design
what I was making. Amanda and I reconnected within a year of this and all started
to fall into place. We both wanted the same things for our kids and realized if we
put our talents together we could make that happen!


What's the meaning behind the name?

Amanda & Hannah:
We wanted the name to reflect who we were and what we were creating without
being too plain. We loved the idea of using words that used to be common, but have
fizzled out of normal use. “Vines” used to be a synonym for clothing, so we knew we
wanted to use that word in the name. Since we cater to little people, we wanted to
reflect that in our brand. So we became Tiny Vines.


What's something you've learned from starting this company?

Amanda: There’s absolutely no feeling in the world like “going for it.” I have always had an
excuse to not go for it: money, kids, moving, Army, etc. I looked up this year and
realized it was now or never and haven’t looked back.

Hannah: My husband has always been a “go getter!” Nothing stops him from reaching for his
goals. I admire him for that! When Tiny Vines was first being discussed he pushed
and encouraged me to leap in and I have not regretted it once. Don’t stay in a safe
bubble your whole life, take a leap and live a good story!


What are some goals you have for Tiny Vines?

Amanda & Hannah:
Our biggest goal is to stay true to who we are. This company was founded on the
love of two things: Jesus and our kids. As long as we keep those two things as our
biggest priority I think we have succeeded. I wouldn’t mind seeing Tiny Vines in
some shops, though.


What does a typical day look like for you?

Amanda: Oh man, are you ready? My days don’t really start and end but here goes. I normally
am woken up by my 9 month old around 5:30 a.m. (after she’s been up at 1:30
already) and we cuddle/feed until my 3 year old and husband wake up around
7. Then we go into high gear to get everyone dressed and ready for the day. My
husband makes me breakfast to go and I take Scout – my littlest - to daycare while
he shuttles Ollie Mae – the oldest – to preschool. Next, I stop by my favorite coffee
shop to chat with my barista friend for 15 minutes or so and grab the largest coffee
she has. Then, I go to work at my university job from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. I normally
answer emails, chat with Hannah, run errands, and probably pick up another coffee
on my lunch break. After I leave work, I go pick up the kids and head home. My
husband usually works late so I make them dinner, bathe them, and get the baby
to bed. Then, I hang out with my oldest until daddy gets home and he puts her to
bed while I go back to emails, inventory checks, social media for Tiny Vines, and of
course making lunches, bottles, and ironing for the next day. I normally head to bed
around 11 p.m. and watch maybe an hour of trashy TV before I fall asleep.

Hannah: My youngest, Rowan, is an early riser so this means a 5am wake up on most
days. My husband is generous enough to take that first hour with him that allows
me to finish my almost 4 hours of sleep as best as possible. My 3.5 year old is up
about 7 which leads to breakfast with her daddy, us making his lunch and coffee
and hugging him out the door! The first part of the day Rowan, 4 months old, naps
about an hour while Emery plays and I work on dishes, laundry, Tiny Vines orders,
etc. We run errands once Rowan wakes or head out to play with friends. Lunchtime
is usually spent on a playdate, at the park or at Chic Fil A (Emery’s favorite). By
130 we are home for Emery’s nap and Rowan’s second nap of the day. During this
time I get caught up on any emails, check in with Tiny Vines social media, catch
up with Amanda and gather all orders that need to be packaged and shipped out
that day. By 330 they are both up from napping and having a snack while Emery
watches a show or plays outside. I start dinner or finish up things around the house
and my husband is usually home by 5. We keep pretty busy in the evenings with
either TBall/soccer, Missional Community Group, youth group or spending time
with friends. By 8pm I’m feeding and rocking Rowan while Sean is brushing teeth
and reading stories with Emery. After Rowan goes down I rock and sing with Emery
and the house goes quiet :) The evening is finished up with some sort of TV with
the husband, reviewing emails and orders for Tiny Vines and a chapter of whatever
good book I’m currently reading.


If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only pack three things,
what would they be?

Amanda: I would have to have music; it’s all the energy behind my creativity so I would need
my iPod and headphones (I’ll count that as one). I also burn really easy so I’d take
a tent – I know, it’s so practical. I really like cold coffee too, so I’d take some of my
favorite cold brew.

Hannah: Chapstick. I cannot go anywhere without it. The feeling of not having any on
drives me crazy. Any drawer, purse, car, diaper bag that belongs to me holds at
least one. Iced coffee (if that would be possible). Not until my second little came
along did I realize the benefits of coffee which has hooked and there is no looking
back! Hair tie. I have more hair on my head than most human beings and it falls
halfway down my back. Desert island sounds to me like hot, windy, sticky weather
and this girl would not manage well without a way to keep this lion mane up.


What's something super quirky about you?

Amanda: I absolutely cannot handle the kitchen towel not being hung up correctly whether
folded on the counter, wadded up on the counter, or hung up weird; I have a strange
obsession for all things with antlers; I am an OCD stuffer: to the eye my house looks
very organized and clutter free, just don’t look behind any cabinet doors. It must
give me some faint degree of control. I have several “Monica” closets.

Hannah: Straight lines. Whether vacuuming, mopping, pressure washing, painting, mowing
… it does not matter the task - the lines have to be consistent and beautiful. Ha! I
thrive off of straight lines and volunteer a lot of those chores due to that enjoyment.


LOVED reading all about your two and learning a bit more about what makes you tic and how all of this got started!! Hannah... totally with you on the chapstick!! I CANNOT be without mine! And of course you both mentioned coffee...smart ladies... very smart. My favorite part would be the simple focus of your business... "Jesus and kids". I mean, it doesn't get any better than that if you ask me! Of course I love the name too and how it came to be. You ladies are such genuine, determined, creative mams and I seriously have so much respect for you both, especially after getting a glimpse into your lives!! Thanks for taking the time to share with us!

Amanda and Hannah are so sweet that they are offering all of my readers 20% off using the code, LITTLESLIFE. Hurry though, because you only have 48hrs (wed at 5pm)!!!! Head over to www.tinyvines.bigcartel.com to make a purchase and be sure to follow them on instagram (@tinyvines)!! Be the first to know about flash sales, new releases and give aways! Happy Monday!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Meet Krista & Blake // Electric Collective

Krista and Blake must be two peas in a pod because their shop seems to be a direct reflection of their creative juices combined! I love it! These two love birds are newish parents and the creators of "Electric Collective". Starting a business while caring for a tiny one, not to mention other jobs on top of that, is no easy feat! Like seriously, I'm really not sure how they do it and do it so well! I have the utmost admiration and respect for this duo. I'm obsessed with all their designs and of course everything is printed on the softest softest tees and they fit so well! I love how they put their talents and visions to apparel. I love that my kids are wearing their artwork :) Just check out their instagram (@electriccollective)!! Better yet, go follow them so you can be up to date on all their releases, sales, and giveaways! They have so much to offer little girls and guys and they happen to be really rad people :) Check out the tank they sent Ky. It's literally perfect.



obviously its super hot right now, but when the fall weather comes around, just throw a flannel on to keep the chill at bay!


I seriously love featuring such great people! Obviously they make great kids apparel, but lets face it... Krista and Blake are so easy to communicate with and clearly have a great thing going! You can't build a great business without building great relationships so I'm sure their customer service is impeccable! Happy to take any part in connecting great shops and rad people and they are just one example of that. It's why I keep doing this. Now that you have a little taste of what they can do, lets go ahead and meet this couple!!

Krista, Blake, and their adorable son!

How did Electric Collective start?


Krista: Well, Blake and I met in college where we were both studying art. We both knew that we wanted art in some form to be a part of our lives and I had always wanted to open my own shop. The vision definitely has evolved with the direction of our lives, but the dream is the same.
Blake: We are both very artistic people, we love expressing ourselves through art. I kinda felt like I was losing my creative being, so we decided to come up with a way that we could express ourselves creatively and that incorporated our lifestyle.


Is there any meaning/inspiration behind the name?

Krista: When we first met one of our favorite songs was Electric Feel by MGMT. I really wanted to incorporate something from that time of our lives into the name.
Blake: Actually I got the idea from the Wooster collective. And we both have a connection to the song Electric Feel by MGMT. We played around with a lot of different names for our company and none of them had the feel and conveyed the message behind our ideas like Electric Collective did. The collective means that it is 2 of us, both of our ideas are integrated into our designs and what we do as it pertains to our company. Our ideas alone may not be as good as when they come together to make something exciting and electric.


What's something you've learned from starting your own company?


Krista: That's such a good question, I've learned so much already. I guess the most important thing I've learned is that you really have to want it and you have to be willing to work harder than you expect.
Blake: Time? Are there 24 hours in a day or just 5, because thats what it feels like! There's never enough time! We are very busy with a new baby boy. It is very difficult. How to manage your time effectively is something that we have learned how to do, maybe not well, but we are learning.


What does a typical day look like for you?

Krista: Every day is so different. I'm a stay at home mom and I run our business from our home as well. My son Rowan usually wakes up by 6 or so and Blake leaves for work by 6:30. I try to work on packaging, tags, labels, and things like that while Rowan naps. Everything else really just depends on how many orders I'm working on that day and what kind of mood Rowan is in. Being a mom always comes first for me.
Blake: I have a regular day job so I get up at 5am, get ready, and go to work. I get home around 6pm, play with Rowan, then put him to bed before 7pm. Then me and Krista get to have some time with each other, we eat dinner together, talk about the day, watch a little TV, maybe work on some business stuff, discuss designs, marketing plans, etc.


What's a dream goal you have for your business?

Krista: So many! I would love for us to be featured in some children's fashion magazines. I'm in love with Babiekins and La Petite. I would also love for us to be able to rent or buy a huge studio space to work.
Blake: My dream for our company would be for us to have brick and mortar stores in major cities across the US. I would love for our brand to be well known across the globe.


If you could have any super power, what would you choose?

Krista: I don't know if this counts, but I wish I could teleport anywhere. I love to travel and we don't live near our family so it would be really nice to be able to pop over there for the day without having to ride in the car with a baby.
Blake: To be able to see into the future.


What is something super quirky about you?

Krista: I can't stand to eat things upside down, like a burger or a candy bar. I like for it to be turned the right way. It's weird, I know.
Blake: I stick out my tongue when I'm concentrating on drawing or screen printing.

Thanks for sharing Krista and Blake!! I loved reading your answers and am seriously looking forward to seeing what else you create!! Make sure you all go visit their website and use the code, "LITTLESLIFE" to receive 20% off your purchase! The catch... you only have 24hrs!! So hurry, hurry!! Jump over to electriccollective.bigcartel.com! Remember, when you shop small, you're supporting someones dreams... their blood, sweat, and tears. And by the way, I only share the companies that I would recommend to a friend, so no gimmicks or shmoozing going on here. Just genuine support of those who are serious gems!