Saturday, July 4, 2009

4 for the 4th!

I am a day early in this week's post...but I wanted to do more than red, white, and blue. Independence Day…there is always constant chatter around this time of year about being independent. But indies…the new term for those who step out on their own in whatever fields that may be…indies struggle as they attempt to maintain a sense of self.

I am an "independent" retailer. I am a little box, not a big box, and, I think indies are better at entertaining as well as being in businesses. Indies give thought to their creations, and the small retailer works to make someone's shopping experience an adventure. Although I am responsible for daily maintenance, I have to give credit to many people along my 18 year journey, but I have selected 4 women I deal with now to give some insight about buying American. Everyone loves a bargain, but those bargains have driven jobs overseas and have closed many of the factories that provided. Historically, when we occupied Japan, we shut the doors on many of our pottery companies. Now, China fills the orders for goods as Japan has moved on to the tech world.

Since I am more vintage/antique than new, I do not have the dilemma of stocking the store with imports, but, when I do buy new items, I want them to represent my philosophy…support those who are trying to support themselves. These are not women who mass produce...they create...they design...they are indies who love what they do.

I want to feature Erica of Meadow Street first…I carry her handpainted silk and velvet roses and her handcrafted tussy mussies.
The roses are pins, but their beauty would give joy to a nightstand or tucked in display. Erica lives in California, and she has been a delight to deal with over the past year or two.

Next is a recent find…Sherri of Punk Rose Paper. She lives in Oregon, and she makes these wonderful tags that can be used in a myriad of ways. I have them tied around some plaster busts…and again…just laying on table with some treasures presents a beautiful sculpture. In this age of cyber print, how wonderful is it to have a beautiful handcrafted card.
My soap line comes from Marie of Savon Marie who is from New York. She is a fellow educator—a retired school librarian; I know I can call or email her, bounce some ideas around and come up with some amazing soaps…like my new Green Goddess soap…or my lavender line to accent my love of purple.

My fourth find is my “elf.” Ruthie is a muse who lives in my town! She creates wonderful birdhouses and benches from repurposing wood as well as reworking old shutters or giving life to an old worn table. I must give her credit for breathing new life into my shop also. She is my ever-ready bunny, and I am so grateful to have her.

And, yes, you can run into a big box and grab some merchandise off the shelves. But, sometimes consider the small shop...think about the artisans...those indies...who work tirelessly to create and display for you. I also appreciate the artists who make their work affordable, and my elf who will redesign my shop in exchange for lunch and chocolate...I know they are not making big money...but I get to showcase their work. So, in the spirit of America, I hope you enjoyed my 4 for your 4th!


Just a bed of roses said...

Oh Susan, you are so right about the small shops, thats why i love and adore them too. I love sheri's work and knew you would too, its a perfect match for you.
My favorite shop on our whole trip was a little antique shop that had made some framed altered art. So for two days know that is what I have done inbetween the housework.

I have to have some of the newer things to help pay the bills, but my goal is to keep my shop with the vintage human touch to it too.

Your right, not going to make lots of money...but what is our goal anyway? Alot is to keep this love of vintage and handmade alive. And someone working for chocolate...sign me up!

Have missed talking to you, will have to get caught up soon! Hope your June has been successful. Always look forward to your blogs.

PunkRose {Sher} said...

Thank you Susan! I love how you captured the essence of "vintage" in keeping with my style - you know I don't really know how to make anything modern! All of your photos are breathtaking. Love them! Blessings for your Holiday Weekend, I enjoyed this post so much! xo Sherri

Meadow Street said...

Susan, Thank you! What a beautiful post! You have a gift of not only writing but photography too! Wish I lived near your shop. Have a great 4th!

Marie said...

Hi Susan,
Thanks so much for including me in your post. I feel honored to be in such creative company.

Anonymous said...

As the white whale always says, "The smaller the shop, the better the finds." Great post, and how true about the big boxes. I'll stay small and manageable, the way I like it.

gail said...

Hi Susan,,, thanks for such a really nice post! I couldnt agree more. I love the bird houses and the really pretty tags. Of course Ericas roses are gorgeous! I love, love, love the green goddess soap from Marie. She is one of my favorite people :)
I hope you had a wonderful 4th. I stayed in most of the weekend. I have be sick with a summer cold, but it will pass I am sure. Take care have a nice week. Hugs, gail

ann at greenoak said...

susan you have done lots of effort and to find and get these wonderful things...thanks for showing us....
hope you are having a great summer...