Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's official

I'm definitely too famous now to be friends with you. I mean, I'm virtually a celebrity my neighborhood. All joking aside, I'm really excited and proud of the following happenings in my Crafty Mama Creations career.

First, a bag I made is featured in this month's Romantic Homes Magazine! The article is about Mari and her adorable boutique and has some beautiful pictures of her shop and items she both carries and makes. Her latest venture (one of many projects she has going on) is designing her own fabric and line of high end diaper bags and accessories. I got the opportunity to make her prototype which is featured in the magazine. No, it's not my design or fabric, but my blood, sweat, and tears (literally, tears...that bag was a bitch to make:) Took me about 8 hours because I kept encountering problem after problem and I was sick so I was easily pushed over the edge) went into it so I'm still very proud to see it in a magazine. Big congratulations to Mari! The article is wonderful and I imagine it's a huge milestone for her and her shop.

Next, I'm in Live Artfully Magazine! It's a brand new magazine offered on the Central Coast and it's absolutely beautiful! Jenny, the founder of the magazine, is an amazing photographer and I got all choked up seeing pics of my bags. And I do believe she vertically stretched the picture of me because I don't think I look that skinny in real life.

"An evening of great conversation with creative and interesting people, the kind
of night you want to reminisce over and over. This was the fourth Trunk Show I had
hosted featuring a local artist, since opening my boutique a little over a year ago.
Little did I know back then how amazing a journey this would be and how many
talented women designers I would have the privilege to get to know.
For several years, I had been blessed to work as an Interior and Product Designer
out of my home, but I knew, as my daughters were getting a little older, that I could
take the next step in following my bliss. I had always wanted a little boutique where I
could gather and share the treasures I have found as well as a place where I could expand
my design business. Some people I spoke with told me I was absolutely crazy to open
a retail business when the economy seemed so bleak. It was my husband and my older
brother who told me the opposite. I believe everything happens as it should and when
one door opened after another, I knew I had made the right decision.
I also knew that I wanted to carry beautiful, quality merchandise. I searched high
and low for custom and unique items. One year later I think I have accomplished
that—but there’s more. Opening the boutique led me into yet another business venture.
When designing for my clients I had noticed a missing niche in the market place…
especially in children’s rooms. There always seemed to be a missing piece of fabric that
we couldn’t find, or that we’d find which had been discontinued. I was working with my
clients to put together existing fabrics to create one-of-a-kind bedding and crib sets,
as well as coordinating all the accessories that pull a room together. At that time, the
bedding options for crib sets were very hard to find. Now there are many beautiful lines
out there and I carry quite a few of them. But still, there are times when I search high
and low and can’t find the perfect fabric. I started thinking, if I can’t find it, then I should
just make it! As an illustrator I began to create my own fabric designs and through
extensive research I found a way produce those fabrics. This way my clients now have all
options of customization available to them.
My bigger vision is to one day have my own bedding and accessory line with fabrics
of my own design. The advice of my mentors was clear (every entrepreneur should have
several mentors). Start small and build from there. Heeding their advice, I decided to
start with some smaller items like tote bags and diaper bags. One thing I knew for sure,
I was going to have to find someone who could help me sew my prototypes. I’ll be the
first to admit, sewing is not one of my talents.
Which leads me to how I met Kelci Gonzalez, of Crafty Mama Creations. While
looking through one of my favorite web sites for inspiration,, I found the
most adorable tote bags. Upon reading the designer’s profile, I couldn’t believe that of
all the places in the world this particular designer literally lived right down the street
from me! I contacted her immediately and she brought in some samples of her work.
Immediately, I knew, not only did I want her to help me create my prototypes, I wanted
to feature her in my next Trunk Show!
What is a trunk show? Actually, it started over a hundred years ago, when female
entrepreneurs would put their hand made goods into a trunk and show them in the
homes of their friends. I knew upon opening the boutique that I wanted to create a
venue for local artists to display their work and trunk shows seemed the obvious answer.
The entire concept is a win-win for all involved. The artist gets a chance to launch her
business and the customers get to purchase one-of-a-kind, handmade items that they
may never have come across otherwise. Featured artisans pay me a small commission to cover my expenses for providing food and advertising, but most of the
money goes straight to them.
Over the past year eight local artists have been showcased in my
boutique. Their stories are all so inspiring. Every one of them had
nine to five jobs of one kind or another which they left in order to
follow their bliss. As a former Human Resource Manager for a large
corporation, Kelci left her job “security” to raise her two beautiful
daughters. In her spare time she started making bags and children’s
apparel and listing them on ETSY. Now, with one Trunk Show
behind her and more similar opportunities in the future, I have no
doubt she will be very successful doing what she loves while being
with her children. You just can’t beat that.
I’ve seen it several times now, a woman leaves her corporate job to
stay at home and raise her children. While at home, in between naps
and preschool, she starts to do something she loves. Before you know
it, she’s grown a business and she’s happier than ever. The publisher of
this magazine will tell you this herself or you wouldn’t be reading this
article. Lucky for you and me, she was one of those women!
As was I. Even though owning my own business has had its
challenges, I couldn’t see going through life any other way. I get to
wake up every morning doing what I love and it’s so fantastic when I
meet other people doing the same. If you keep your mind open there
are opportunities all around you. Don’t let fear
stop you from following your dreams.
You make life happen!"


jona said...

Oh Kelci!! I'm SO excited for you!!! You know Beth (Bethsbagz) was just in Romatic Homes too? The same one as you!! All of us bag gals are hitting the big time baby!! Watch out!

roxybonds said...

Congrats Darling!!!!!!!!!!!!

marievilla said...

What a great accomplishment Kelci! I might just have to pick up a copy of that mag now!

Tonya said...

Congratulations, Kelci! You are famous now!

What a great article!

Kristi said...

Congratulations! Very excited for you!

Jennifer said...

Amazing!! Great job, Kelci!!