Friday, December 18, 2015

Meet Liz // The Ark Threads

I love sharing great brands with you guys that I feel like are truly unique, comfortable, and well made. I also love it when there's a wonderful message shared through those awesome companies! With that being said, let me introduce you to The Ark Threads! Liz has done an incredible job of creating some really great designs for tees that also carry a great message! It also helps that the tees are super soft and kid approved :) I can't think of anything better than, comfort, style, and best of all, truth. She made sure there were t-shirts for kids, babies, and adults! So literally, everyone in your family can rock her perfect designs and spread a good message at the same time. Now wherever my kids go, they're spreading a message. It's so cool to see how proud they are to wear their new tees and talk to other kids about what they say and what it means. It gives kids the chance to voice their beliefs in such a genuine way and those opportunities are incredibly valuable in so many ways. Clearly Liz is one hard working, creative, inspired, driven, and dedicated mompreneur! She has a family of her own and manages to find time to bust out all these perfect designs! You can read more about her below! First, take a little peak at the tees she sent us to get an idea of what she has to offer!

"Bible stories are for real"

I mean, how perfect is this one!?



"the greatest love story ever told"

I'm all about reminding my kids what Christmas is really all about, and this tee does that for me :)

"JOY . yourself . Jesus . others" and this one has a hood! Super cute and she could not WAIT to show this one to all of her friends! I mean, if my tween over here approves, I've found a true gem people!!



Ok so, now you see why and how much we really love this company, but I'd love for you to hear from Liz herself! I was able to ask her a few questions so we could all get to know her a little better and understand how she came to open up this awesome shop! I'm excited to share that with you all!




What inspired the name, The Ark Threads?  

When I first started my business it was called Little Charmings. I just wanted a cute name. I thought if Snow White and Prince Charming had kids they would have little charmings running around. Thats when I thought, Hey, our kids are our little charming's. So I went with that name in the beginning. Than after about 7 months or so I decided that I wanted my customers to know who I was and what I sold just by hearing my business name. That is when I decided to change it. I had a bunch of names in the running. I belong to a Facebook group with a bunch of gals that run their own Christian stay at home businesses and they helped me settle on The Ark Threads. The Ark obviously because of Noah's Ark and Threads refers to sewing needle and thread. I use to sew leggings but now I focus on tees only.



Who/what inspired you to start your own business?


I always had an entrepreneur mind set. I tried to make home made ping pong table tops, my own photography studio, crocheting on etsy, blogging. It all kind of went no where. Than one day I hopped on Instagram and saw really cute tee shirts that moms were making from home. I thought it would be really neat to make tees that talked about Christ and would shine the light on Him. I wanted to get the Gospel out to people and remind everyone about Christ's message of hope and His love for us. That is what it is all about.


What has been a huge lesson learned so far? 


Sometimes I get down when I see other companies doing so well. I will come up with a design and than see someone else's and wonder if mine is good enough. But when I bring my thoughts back to why I'm doing this, the negative thoughts disappear and I just keep going. I remind myself that there is no destination. It is a journey and Christ is helping me. I can either quit and go no where or keep going and see where this takes me.   


What is a goal/dream that you hope to accomplish?

I hope that I can remind people of the gospel or even introduce the gospel to those who have never heard Jesus's name. It's really a fun way to teach kids about God too. Instead of wearing princess shirts all the time, my daughter will wear an Ark Threads tee. She loves Jesus and she loves that mommy made it for her. 



What does a typical day look like for you?

I take my older girls to school and than go home with my two younger ones. Yes, I have four! I'll get the two kids breakfast and set them up with something to do. Than I try to get work done on the computer and catch up with orders, emails, and I like to post to IG twice a day so I'll get those ready. I might work on a new design in photoshop or order more marketing materials online. Than I try and play with my kids, feed them lunch and put them down for naps. The girls get picked up at 3:30pm. and its back home for dinner, baths and bedtime routine. Our bedtime routine with four kids takes us about an hour. After that I'm usually heat pressing shirts with my husband. He helps me out and I wouldn't be able to do it without him! We like to watch a television show ( we love Heartland at the moment! ) and than we will get to bed. The next day it starts all over again! 


How would you describe your own personal style?


I loved drawing growing up and even got one of my drawings published in Teen Beat magazine. I drew the 3 Hanson brothers because yes, I was a huge Hanson fan! lol I went to college for photography. I like to use both talents to create my designs in photoshop. I get my inspiration from music artists, bible scripture and even my family like to give me ideas! 



If you could have any super power what would it be?

Hmm, I think being the Flash would be helpful, because I could get a lot more done in one day!



Thank you SO much for sharing Liz! I love your story so much and am grateful that you decided to go for it and put to action a vision you had to spread the gospel! I'm honored to support you and cannot wait to see what the future holds for you shop!

Make sure you visit www.thearkthreads.com and check out all the options! They're great to give as gifts as well because lets face it, you won't find these designs anywhere else while shopping around at the local mall. Make sure to use the code JOY20 to receive 20% off of your purchase as well!! The code is good from today through December 31st! Also be sure to follow The Ark Threads on instagram to be the first to hear about new releases and sales!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Meet Ainat // Calinana Designs

When it comes to jewelry, I like having a couple statement pieces here and there, but mostly, I like simple and classic every day types. The kind that you can wear all day and it never bothers you or weighs you down, and then you can transition it into "going out" scenarios and layer on top of it even! That's one of the reasons I really love Calinana Designs! Ainat has done a terrific job offering a little bit of everything! But of course I'm a sucker for the classics always! All her jewelry is handcrafted in the USA and she uses all kinds of semi precious stones, metals, and leather to create beautiful, well-made pieces of jewelry. She even created a kids collection! I love the natural beauty that springs out of all of her designs and the attention to detail. I also must rave about the endless customizable options she allows her customers to have. You can literally change almost anything in her collection and even personalize some pieces! Like my necklace below... this gold initial hand stamped beauty is literally perfect. I can wear it alone, or layer it with other pieces and it's so light weight and dainty, I forget it's even there. I've already gotten a ton of compliments on it and can easily suggest something this good of quality to my friends for themselves or as gifts! You seriously must check out her other pieces! You can go to her website or go directly to her shop by clicking here :)






It's the perfect length and I love that you can choose to have a square or circle!


here I've layered it with another necklace

the kids' bracelets that she sent my daughter. She LOVES them and thank God they actually fit around her tiny wrists! A little heart and peace sign charms were the perfect touch ;)


Now that you have at least a little sneak peak of what Ainat has to offer, let me introduce you to the brains and creativity behind the operation! I'm excited for you to get her take and learn a bit more about who this lovely lady is and what made her decide to take the risk of being a small business owner!

The beauty herself.

Ainat, with her... ridiculously attractive family!


Where did the name, Calinana Designs come from?

Cali stands for California, nana means mint.


Who or what motivated you to start your company?

I always wanted to own my own company, and jewelry was always my passion.After spending years in graduate school I finally had the time to start my own jewelry company.


What would you say had been your biggest lesson learned?

In this field, the opportunities are endless. You need to stay focused and keep doing what you do best.


What's a goal/dream you hope to accomplish?

I love working with buyers. I get excited every time I meet with them. My goal is to grow the quantity of boutiques I’m working with and make Calinana a recognizable name for fine jewelry.


What does a typical day look like for you?

Every day starts at my office. I always start by going over emails. Then I’m checking the orders that need to leave the warehouse that day. Calling new and existing customers and following up on the jewelry they carry. 2-3 times a week I have meetings with buyers at their location, showing them new styles and checking inventory.


What is something quirky/unexpected about you?

I have a Ph.D in educational leadership.


If you could have any super power what would it be?

time control, this is something I never have enough of…



Thanks so much for sharing with us, Ainat! So cool to see you doing what you love and clearly you have such an eye for jewelry design! I'd literally wear everything I see on your website... for real. Such a variety and all so beautiful! I love that you were determined enough to pursue this while raising a family as well. That is no easy task!! Thank you for allowing us to get to know you and your company a little better and I SO look forward to hearing more and more good things about you in the future!

Like what you see? Consider shopping small and supporting a hard working mama who's got mad skills :) hop over to www.opensky.com/calinana and use the code "thelittleslife" to receive 30% off of your next purchase!! The code expires next Wednesday the 23rd. Happy shopping and thanks for reading!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Meet Grace // Oh Purple Panda

Happy Monday everyone! I'm back and excited to share a really cool shop with you! Ever heard of Oh Purple Panda? Well if you are a mommy of a little one who loves to eat your jewelry, pull and pinch while you're feeding them, and love to wiggle and have a hard time sitting still (I think this pretty much covers all little ones haha), then trust me when I say, these beautiful necklaces are PERFECT for you and your little! It's called a nursing necklace because it's perfect for baby to hold while you are nursing them...you know, instead of them pulling on your shirt or hair ;) Its clearly awesome for all kinds of other situations as well, like that little teething one or that baby that is always breaking your jewelry so you stop wearing any. The fabric is soft and safe for baby and so are the hardwood beads inside. They are completely non toxic and made to hold up through all the pulling and biting! I love them because not only are they practical, but super cute! Grace has made a variety of patterns to choose from so there's something for everyone! I like to wear something basic and then throw one on as a statement necklace because the patterns are so pretty. They're super light so you totally forget you're even wearing it! I definitely wasn't expecting that, but happily surprised! I only wish I'd had one of these throughout every single baby stage! Check out the ones I have below :)

I promise I'm not mad... It's just my normal face haha.





They're the perfect length too! I really love them and I just know you would too. They're also perfect as a baby shower gift! They fit everyone and are a great thing to have when the baby comes :) If you want a little "sneak peak" discount and be the first to see her new designs, go to www.ohpurplepanda.com and sign up for emails. You can also go to www.ohprurplepanda.etsy.com and use the code LITTLESLIFE20 for 20% off of your purchase now through December 31st! Now that you've gotten an idea as to what Grace offers in her shop, let's meet her!!
 

The lovely Grace!
Grace and her little beauty!

Where did the name "Oh Purple Panda" come from?
 

I wanted something unique and hopefully memorable. Purple is my favorite color and Panda is an endearing term I use with those closest to me. And I say "Oh, Adam" (my husbands name) when he's being cute or a little odd. So, put it all together and you get the endearing and quirky name Oh Purple Panda.

 

Who or what inspired you to make these beautiful necklaces?

The true need to give my grabby baby something to hold on to when she was nursing. I had to give up wearing all jewelry around her, for her safety, and I really wanted something to make me feel put together (that "third piece" you could say). The necklace solved two problems. She stayed focused when she nursed and I got my cute accessory.

 

What's been the hardest lesson learned so far when it comes to being a shop owner?

There's always going to be a part you hate. For me it's the taxes and accounting. But you have to do it! Another hard part is putting yourself out there. A business will not grow in a bubble. It takes networking and getting in front of people to succeed. I still struggle with that part.
 


What does a typical day look like for you?
 

I never have a typical day but I love my morning routine (family breakfast, coffee, Instagram, shower). From there I focus on what needs to get done. Fabric shopping (online), social media, sewing, market research, accounting, fulfilling orders, photography. Those are just some of the tasks I do each day. I also look for learning opportunities from other Etsy and handmade sellers.

 

How would you describe your personal style?
 

Casual/Contemporary. My wardrobe consists of skinny jeans, flouncy shirts and flats and of course tons of soft Oh Purple Panda necklaces.
 


If you could have any type of super power what would it be?
 

Teleportation. I would love to wake up and say, "hey, today I want to have an espresso in Paris" or "I'm going to spend the day at Disney World today" and then *BLINK* and be there. I hate planning, and I hate flying so the spontaneity of this super power sounds amazing.

 

What is a big goal/dream you have (business or personal...or both!)?

I want to run successful business with my husband. One that allows us to involve and empower our girls (the second one is due in March) in the business world and gives us a flexible lifestyle to spend valuable time with family. Life is not about the time between work. I want our work to be fulfilling and allow us to be a close and happy family.


Thanks so much for sharing Grace! It's definitely hard to balance having a family and owning your own business, but I love that you're pushing forward and making quality time a priority! And Teleportation! That would be incredible! I think you've really hit the nail on the head with style, comfort, and practical use when it comes to these beautiful necklaces! I know a handful of mama's personally that would really benefit from these beauties!! So glad you decided to make a business out of a great idea and I so look forward to seeing your business grow!

Don't forget to click on the links above to check out her shop and receive some great discounts! Also make sure you are following her instagram account so you don't miss out on giveaways and sales as well as new releases!