Loving Out Loud: Kari Gran Skin Care ….

Contrary to popular belief, I am a pretty simple person when it comes to my daily “beauty” routine.  Face wash, astringent (occasionally), facial moisturizer & lip balm – 5 minutes tops and I am done.  Not sure if its impatience or a “guy thing” but anything more complicated and I am probably not going to do it.  However, I have noticed that after a certain age (cough….) that your skin needs a little help to look its best.

Enter Kari Gran ……

Kari Gran CollageThe Kari Gran brand was founded by Kari Gran (left) and her longtime friend Lisa Strain (right). Lisa and Kari, both successful real estate brokers, met “in the business”, and became close friends. It was Lisa who originally inspired Kari to move beyond her kitchen where she made her first batches of eco-skin care products for friends. Today the two partners work in a loft in Downtown Seattle making products and running the Kari Gran e-commerce business.

I had the opportunity to hear Kari talk during my trip to Seattle and was struck by how honest she was about starting her business, but also by her skin.  Seriously, the lady is a walking testament to her products!  At the end of her talk, Kari provided the audience with samples of her skin care line which I politely took but secretly plotted to gift to a friend upon my return to San Francisco.  But as luck would have it, the evening I returned home, I ran out of my normal face wash.  On a whim, I decided to use Kari’s line and after one use understood why Kari’s skin looked so luminous  …….

Kari Gran

The line is based on a three-step process of cleansing with oil, misting with a hydrating tonic and applying a moisturizing serum.  I will skeptical on multiple levels; first, I have oily skin and putting oil on my already acne prone skin seemed a recipe for disaster .  Second, reading the instructions for the process made it seem rather involved, mind you not complicated, but more time-consuming that my standard 5 minute regimen.  Last, it just made me feel a bit too “girly” for my comfort and this is coming from a guy who has toggled between Steel Magnolias and a Golden Girls marathon on TV on more than one occasion …….

But I figured, the worst I could get was a pimple, so I tried it out that night and subsequently for the rest of the week.  While I didn’t get pimples, what I got was a glowing complexion!  After a week of use, I saw the forehead furrow lines minimize and my general complexion improve.  I got compliments on my skin and I actually started to look forward to my nightly routine.  As for the time commitment, I found myself still spending about 5 minutes but once a day in the evening rather than twice a day.  It actually reduced the amount of time I spent on my skin while making me feel better — so I consider that a “twofer” in my book — less time + better complexion = win!  An added bonus was that since I shave, I found this routine to reduce ingrown hairs and overall shaving irritation, so while I may have still felt a ting girly, it was now mixed with the manly affirmation that the routine was good for shaving, so I was able to save face (pun intended)…..

So while I wouldn’t say I am now a slave to beauty, I will definitely call myself an acolyte of Kari Gran.  Now if someone could make flossing more interesting and a little less gross, I would be all set…..

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to wear your sunscreen kiddos!!

[pictures courtesy Kari Gran, Belathée Photography & moi]

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disclaimer:  i was gifted a sample of the kari gran skin care treatment but all thoughts and opinions are mine.

Play Date with Trophy Cupcakes ….

So there once was a woman named Jennifer……..

Jennifer Shea

Jennifer had a passion for baking.  She also had a passion for rock and roll.  And a passion for pony tails.  Through a series of events, she was able to combine your passions to launch what is arguably one of the most awesome cupcake stores on the West Coast, Trophy Cupcakes.

I had the opportunity to meet Jennifer and her husband while in Seattle last month and instantly fell under her spell.  Warm, down to earth and funny, Jennifer doesn’t strike you immediately as a successful business woman but simply someone you want to get to know better.  I actually think that laid back personality is one of the core reasons why Trophy Cupcakes has become such the success it is — while never fussy, there is a level of easy sophistication that seems to exude from the Jennifer and the brand.  The editors over at Sasquatch Books also noticed because they offered Jennifer the opportunity to create her own recipe and party planning book, Trophy Cupcakes & Parties.  The book is chalked full of amazing tips and tricks for throwing the perfect fete but honestly, it’s the recipes you are after.

The book contains some of Trophy’s standard recipes but also interesting twists including this recipe for a Margarita flavored cupcake with a tequila lime buttercream – hello lover!!!  Beautifully shot and well-written, the book is not intimidating.  Recipes, party ideas and decorating tips are laid out in separate chapters and then reintroduced under party themes to make it easy to throw the perfect bash…..

trophy cupcakes margarita cupcake

However, what I am most excited about is that Jennifer is making a trip down to San Francisco on October 17 for a book signing and cupcake decorating seminar at Makeshift Society.  It’s an evening of hands on cupcake decorating tips and tricks straight from the pages of the book as well as Jennifer will be sharing her “5 Must Do’s for Great Parties.”

Trophy-SF-Invite-Book-Signing

In addition, 10% of all proceeds will be going to Makeshift’s Kickstarter program to bring the same type of awesomeness to Brooklyn.  So let’s recap — following your dreams can lead to success, a book deal and perfecting a flawless high pony?  Sounds like a win all the way around which is why you need to either buy Trophy Cupcakes & Parties or attend DIY, Bubbly & Buttercream next week!

Now if you excuse me, I have some cupcakes I need to start baking…..

[pictures courtesy Belathée Photography & moi]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Talking Out Loud: Drygoods Design….

Talking Out Loud is where I talk to young entrepreneurs and artisans about their careers, the path of how they got there and what lies on the horizon for them.  It’s their thoughts, their words and their journey…….

This time around, I was lucky enough to talk with Keli Faw, owner of the Seattle-based fabric and craft store, Drygoods Designs.  I was introduced to Keli and her store through mutual friend and fellow interior design, Beth Dotolo.  Nestled in the historic Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Drygoods Design is unlike any fabric store I have entered.  Sparkling wine is chilling in ice buckets for harried patrons to sip and while their children play in a designated kid’s area.  Fabrics are displayed along side jars of old-fashioned candy; a riotous explosion of print and pattern that is actual eye candy for the textile soul.  And in the center of it all is Keli……

Keli Faw_DrygoodsDesigns

Why opening up a fabric store? There are so many different types of retail stores to open, so what was it about the Seattle landscape that promoted you to open a retail fabric shop?

The retail storefront turned out to be a byproduct of my online shop. I started an online fabric site in the spring of 2011 because I wanted to grow my small line of handmade goods which were carried at some local shops. By the beginning of 2012 I was growing out of my small office space and had several local customers that wanted to come and see the fabric, pick up and have a more personal experience but my tiny office wasn’t working. I no longer had time to make my line of goods but was now helping others find fabrics they couldn’t find easily in other parts of the globe, the US and even Seattle. While some of the local fabric retailers carry some assortment of modern motifs, there’s never been one that felt edited. My customers seemed to like the online experience and so my goal was to make that happen in the brick and mortar version as well. Now that we opened the sewing studio, the focus shifts to not just what people want to make but how to make it too.

Did you have a previous career before opening up Drygoods Design? If so, what was it and has it helped you with the current business?

I come from a background in business, PR and communications. You’d think that I would be really proficient at promoting my business, however, almost all of our retail business has been by walk-in and word of mouth. I didn’t want to promote it until I felt we were really ready as it’s not a traditional type of place. I think what’s helped me most is trying each day to think about our customers. I try to approach my business by thinking about what I most enjoy in a shopping experience and service versus what’s the most profitable or cost-effective. It’s important it makes business sense, but I’d rather have gradual growth born out of customer care versus rapid and impersonal.

What is it about fabric that interesting to you? What intrinsic or aesthetic qualities about the material/medium drew you to it?

About six years ago I inherited an old sewing machine and taught myself how to sew and in doing so discovered that there were some affordable and modern fabrics out there. I became addicted to not only making things but the search for beautiful fabrics. I am a stickler when it comes to the hand of fabric – how it washes, drapes and feels. We are touched by cotton everyday and that is what I love most about it. You don’t have to like to sew or craft to appreciate textiles or be drawn to them.

drygoodsdesign-65

Where do you get your fabrics from for the store? What criteria do you use to select fabrics to present to your customers?

While the majority of the fabrics we carry are deemed mid-weight or quilter’s (for its ability to shrink equally on the warp and the weft) cotton, we also stock home decor, apparel and outdoor fabrics. For almost all I work with the manufacturers or their reps, but some I have to find brokers or “jobbers.” I typically buy by color versus collection as I want to have different prints work across all the companies I carry versus people be locked into buying from one collection. Almost all the fabrics we carry have to be either a customer request or something that I truly love before it comes into the store. You hardly ever like all the songs on an album and to me fabric is very similar, so I try to edit down each of my buys into the best of the best. It’s really hard since there’s so many amazing options and I can’t carry everything. For example, I would love to carry Marimekko but at $40+ a yard and Crate & Barrel carrying it, it doesn’t make much sense. I try to tame my wish to carry more by also stocking complimentary products like packaging, gifts and cards that work well with the fabric.

In your opinion, what makes a “good” fabric? Has there been any fabrics that has made you stop in your tracks recently and say “wow?

While it depends on its use, I think ‘good’ fabric is a textile that invokes an emotional, almost visceral (in a good way) response. Sometimes it’s merely the weave or the texture that can have you smitten but most often it’s the motif or print that draws us to one print over another. Color is a huge factor as well. Novelty fabrics certainly have their place but just like anything, I love fabrics that don’t hit you over the head with their intended use or theme and let you draw that out or shift it by your eye deciding how you want to live with it. The second part is the quality of the base cloth. It has to feel right and drape in a manner that lets you see the possibility of what it is on the bolt. My current loves are illustrated geometrics and a return to the combinations of yesteryear with tight florals and geometrics playing off each other. We stock Liberty of London Tana Lawns and seriously, it’s like they were woven by angels. I have some Japanese fabrics headed in that I ordered at least five months ago and they will definitely have the wow factor.

liberty

How would you say living in Seattle has informed your selections for the store?

While I have lived in Seattle almost 10 years, I still don’t consider myself a local. A great deal of my influence is probably from living outside of the Northwest. I believe though that being in Ballard, the old Scandinavian fishing village/neighborhood of Seattle, definitely impacts my responses when I see vintage Scandinavian, viking motifs and subtle nautical prints. And we probably don’t focus too much on resort style prints given that it’s nice about three months out of the year here.

So you own a fabric store, so it begs to be asked…do you sew? If so, what is your favorite thing to sew?

Thanks to the opening of our sewing studio, I am sewing more now than I have since I opened up the shop, which is a great deal of fun. While I am starting to really enjoy sewing apparel – my favorite sewing is for those I know and care about. Being able to envision the person(s) using what I make, it’s truly what it’s all about for me. Those projects range from baby goods to accessories that they can use and enjoy.

zipperbags

If money was no object, is there fabric that you would go out and buy for yourself?

More Liberty of London Tana Lawns to keep, original supina ikat, more vintage fabrics.

You opened up what many would say is a non-traditional retail store and have succeeded quite well with it. What piece of advice would you give to a budding retailer who is looking to open up his or her own store?

Thanks for the kind words! It’s all about knowing that no matter how hard people might tell you it is and how much work it will be, you have to know your own limits because until you’re in your own experience you won’t realize it’s even harder than one could imagine. I don’t regret my choice but it is not for everyone. You have to love, I mean really love, interacting with all kinds of people and working around the clock. I am still in the thick of it as it appears I like to add a new layer every six to eight months:). My husband and two kids definitely sacrifice for this to build up and I can’t wait to repay all of their support.

Fabric is often used as a metaphor to describe the interwoven qualities of life. As a fabric retailer, your products find themselves in the most intimate aspects of your customer’s lives – from their children to their homes. What would be the highest compliment you think you could receive from a client who used on of your products?

That’s a great question (and so hard to answer). I feel really lucky to have the online and in-store customers that we have. Until we opened the studio, it was the feedback around customers feeling taken care of and cared about when they shopped, both online and in-store that really made each day. Now with the studio, it’s really amazing to see people learn and grow confident in their own ability to make things. That injection of creativity and community is truly incredible and I pinch myself that I get to be a part of it. It is a derivative of a ton of work but worth it all.

Thank you Keli for sharing your insights with us!  I now need to learn to sew so I can put all the beautiful fabrics from Drygoods Design to use……

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