Style Photo Shoot: WEWEST

For my first mini style shoot, I am featuring WEWEST‘s Black Floral Kimono.  WEWEST is an online boutique launched in 2014. They offer a style that is both chic and exclusive by keeping up to date with the latest fashion trends. Born in Toronto, with west coast influences, you can always count on them to make a statement.  Their goal is to seek out on trend fashion items for affordable prices.  I am absolutely in love with this Kimono that they sent my way.  With the kimono being so light weight and breathable it has been my cardigan of choice for the warm fall weather we have been experiencing.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with a5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with a5 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Follow WEWEST DownloadedFile-1 icon_sm_facebook icon_sm_twitter

Follow Mauve Hair Design DownloadedFile-1 icon_sm_facebook

Hair Styled by: Mauve Hair Design // Photography: Roxann Redekop // Black Floral Kimono: WEWEST // Gold Necklace: H & M // Grey Tank Top: Old Navy // High Waist Jeans: Urban Outfitters // Tan Suede Boots: Old Navy

Small Business: Tiny Threads

On Christmas last year, my sister got me the cutest pair of custom made baby shoes, they even had her name on them.  I was so excited for her to grow bigger so they could fit her and she could wear them all the time.  When she grew into them they got a lot of love, almost every time we went out we put her Tiny Threads shoes on.  I was impressed with how durable they were and how well they stayed on my little ladies feet.  Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about Tiny Threads and how Melissa operates her small business.

tiny threads pic 33

Melissa is a hardworking wife and momma, not only does she run a small business, but she also has three children that keep her on her toes.  Melissa has a small background in sewing from a high school class, though the majority of her skills are self taught.  When her daughter was four months old she decided to use her sewing skills and make a pair of baby shoes.  Melissa loved the outcome and decided to continue to make more for friends as gifts.  With much encouragement and thought Melissa made the decision to start publicly selling her shoes, from here her passion ignited.

Since starting Tiny Threads, Melissa has altered her original pattern and has made significant changes since her first pair for her daughter.  Once Melissa decided to start making shoes to sell, she perfected her pattern and was ready for retail.  Melissa said, “I would definitely call myself a perfectionist, so each shoe that is made has to be perfect.”

tiny threads shoes

Every pair of shoes is handmade by Melissa, she puts a lot of time, energy and love into each pair ensuring that every stitch is perfect.  The process begins by cutting out the specific size fabric for the each shoe, Tiny Threads has a wide range of shoe sizes for your babies and toddlers.  After cutting, comes ironing and then pinning.  With each shoe you get to choose a specific fabric for the outside and inside, Melissa pins these two fabrics together before beginning to sew.  This entire process takes Melissa about an hour and a half to complete one pair of shoes.  Tiny Threads also gives you the option to order your shoes with your child’s name written on the back and side tags.

tiny threads shoes2

Fabrics, colours, and designs are all purchased according to popular requests.  Melissa loves hearing feedback from her customers, present and future, and caters to their needs.  Melissa mentioned, “I found that a great way to make my business successful is ensuring that my customers are 100% happy with their orders.”  It is very important to Melissa that she fulfills her customers special requests.

“Having my own business has been a real blessing in terms of working my own hours and allowing myself to be home with my kids, all the while absolutely loving what I do,” exclaimed Melissa.  It has been a real joy for Melissa to see her business take off and see children wearing her brand that she has never met.   Melissa would love for her brand to expand substantially, she is currently using Facebook and Instagram to market herself and has found much success in these social medias.

Tiny threads shoes3

Follow Tiny Threads DownloadedFile-1 icon_sm_facebook

Small Business: SHE IS Clothing

It is an incredible feeling to know that you are strong, purposeful, and honorable.  Everyday we should be reminded and recognize these wonderful qualities in ourselves.  SHE IS Clothing, an independent clothing company started by Kimberly Gladman in Vancouver, BC, speaks truth to women, encouraging them to wear their God given strength everyday.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Proverbs 31:25

il_570xN.555267456_sjfx

“It is our prayer and purpose to glorify the Most High with modest, stylish, and fun fashion,” said Kimberly.  “Wear your God given strength, clothe yourself in your God given dignity and walk with your head up in your God given security!”

Kimberly’s strong faith motivated her to do something, to make a difference in the lives of those around her.  She has built a clothing line that allows women to feel their strength.  Kimberly said, “Jesus is my everything and this is my small part in spreading the seed of his word.”

icm_fullxfull.43421124_44fd4wfgyrwg444s4ooo

Every woman has their own story of strength, it is important to remember where that strength came from.  “True strength comes from our Saviour, we want to encourage women to dig deep into that true strength,” shares Kimberly.

Kimberly is so happy with how she has been able to empower women and let them show off their strength. Everyday she  continues to remind thousands of women to clothe themselves in God’s strength, and is rewarded each day with positive feedback.  When starting SHE IS Clothing, Kimberly didn’t anticipate the growth that her company has received.  The small seed she originally planted has grown into a beautiful crop. 

she is c

As SHE IS Clothing continues to grow, Kimberly will continue to listen to the Lord for guidance when making new business decisions.  She is currently working on new designs to expand the SHE IS Clothing line.

She is P U R P O S E F U L
She is H O N O R A B L E
She is S T R O N G

Follow SHE IS Clothing DownloadedFile-1 icon_sm_facebook

Small Business: Whistle & Flute

The husband and wife duo, Ryan and Miranda McCullagh, are an incredible pair.  These two lovebirds first began creatively working together in an indie-pop band, The Paper Cranes, and they have carried that passion now to their clothing line, Whistle & Flute.  With Ryan’s background in graphic design, specializing in apparel printing, and Miranda’s schooling in fashion design, artistic eye, and intuition for design trends these two have been able to create a gender neutral brand, popular for both adults and children.

Miranda and Ryan decided to create Whistle & Flute following the birth of their son, Akira.  They said, “We wanted to create a line of children’s clothing featuring printed designs that they themselves would wear.”  Whistle & Flute is completely family run and each item is made to order on American Apparel clothing with eco-friendly ink.  Inspired by Japanese kawaii characters, modern design, and typography they have succeeded at making a stylish children’s apparel brand that is not only for children.

image_original-1

The name Whistle & Flute is a perfect fit for their clothing label.  Originally the name, Whistle & Flute, comes from the English rhyming-slang for a suit of clothes.  Their musical background in “The Paper Cranes” and the fact that Miranda actually does play the flute just makes their name that much more perfect.

“When we decided on our name we had no idea we would still be doing this a year later let alone have the type of response we did,” replied Miranda.  After creating their first design, the Kawaii Cloud T-Shirt, Miranda and Ryan received extremely positive feedback.  Although the design was originally created solely for their son Aki, they were strongly encouraged by their friends to try selling publicly.

whistle and flute

A lot of Ryan and Miranda’s success has to do with the way they choose to advertise.  Whistle & Flute has almost completely advertised through word of mouth and social media.  They have created a very strong social media platform, in which they can reach people all over the world.  It isn’t surprising that their Instagram alone has over 36K followers, their photos are timeless, crisp, captivating and inspiring.  Miranda and Ryan have two beautiful boys who steal the spotlight and model their apparel very well.

Miranda has shared a couple tips to successfully advertise your own brand on social media.  First, have others promote you, send your product out to influential people in exchange for promotion.  Second,  Miranda said, “Be true and real to you and people will respond,” and lastly, she commented, “be nice to people and pay it forward. We are so grateful for brands who were willing to work with us when we started up. We try to pass that on with our #smallbusinessfriday posts, highlighting new emerging brands.”

image_original-4 It is important to remember that to be a successful advertiser on social media isn’t easy but with hard work it will pay off.  Miranda and Ryan love the time that they get to spend on all things Whistle & Flute, she said, “When you’re doing something you love so much it doesn’t feel like work.”  Through their advertising on social media sites Miranda and Ryan are also able to see photos of kids wearing their product, they LOVE it and feel so rewarded by these photos.

In the future they hope that Whistle & Flute will continue to grow and start branching out to different medias, possibly even into housewares.  As for now they plan to release a new kawaii design every season as they know that their customers love their kawaii items.  This fall they are launching a kawaii panda and apple!

whistle & flute shirts

Follow Whistle & Flute icon_sm_facebook DownloadedFile-1

Small Business: VONBON Apparel

It was love at first sight with VONBON.  Their non-traditional color palette, soft organic cotton, and original designs had me smitten.  It didn’t take me long to place my first order and once it arrived I was beyond impressed.  I am continually blown away by VONBON; their high-quality unique products, passion for environment, and positive brand image.

Recently I contacted Jennifer Wilson, owner and designer of VONBON apparel, to learn about her journey with VONBON, discover what makes her brand unique, and gather tips for up and coming small business owners.

A91Q3328The VONBON team: Jennifer (middle) is blessed to have her sisters and best friends work along side her, Kristin (left) as her Web and Graphic Desgner and Amber (right) as Head of Business Management.

Jennifer previously worked full-time as a Dental Hygeniest, as VONBON began to grow she took a leap of faith and decided to quit her job to devote all her time into the business.  Her background in sewing and strong passions in design, color, decor and fashion has allowed Jennifer to strive in her business and love every moment of it.

“Being able to put all my time into my business has been a dream and allowed me the creative freedom to be truly happy in my career,” said Jennifer. “When you get to do something you love that involves your interests and passions, it doesn’t feel like work!”

1D4_1329

The name VONBON originated from Jennifer and her husband having a conversation about baby names.  Jennifer and her husband had been married for a year or so and were talking about baby names for the future.  They fell in love with the name Vaughn and created the nick name “VONBON” for their future child.  The name was thought up before the company was.  Jennifer realized it would make a perfect children’s brand name, short, sweet and has a ring to it!

VONBON’s products have always been designed and ethically made in Vancouver.  When Jennifer first launched VONBON her and her sister were hand-making all of their products, however as the company grew they could not physically keep up with demand.  Jennifer decided to partner with a local production company to start manufacturing their products, though she continues to be closely involved with the entire process.  Although it is more expensive to have their products produced in Canada, it is very important to Jennifer to keep her products as local as possible.  Jennifer says she feels good knowing that her products are being produced in an ethical environment and enjoys supporting other local small businesses.

Jennifer describes her customers as style savvy moms and gift givers, who are conscious about the purchases they make.  She said, “They have an eye for simple yet stylish pieces and are looking to support ethical and sustainable companies trying to make a difference.”

VONBON has great attention to detail, from their product line to their hand sewn packaging and recycled paper mailers.  Every detail is important to Jennifer and makes VONBON unique amongst other children’s apparel brands.  They even take the time to personally hand write a special note for each order.  VONBON takes the time to care!

1D4_1165

Starting your own business is scary and it isn’t always easy.  Jennifer felt that the hardest part for her was taking that initial leap to get her product in the market.  “We all have this idea that our brand, website,  products/services all need to be PERFECT before we share them with the world.” Jennifer said.  “I have realized that a successful company evolves each day and needs to change constantly. We have already updated our site numerous times and made changes to products and packaging since our launch just over a year ago.”  The best advice Jennifer felt she could give is to not stress about making everything PERFECT, get your brand/product into the world and be open to evolve along the way.

After the initial step of launching VONBON and introducing her brand to the world, Jennifer has continued to grow and evolve her business while still pleasing her customers.  Jennifer has shared five  important characteristics that have helped her to accomplish a successful launch and growing business:

Perserverence – You need to keep pushing on even when you feel like you can’t go on. It’s easy to hit a road bump and get discouraged. Keep going!

Hard Working – Owning and running a small business is a lot of hard work and long hours and if you don’t put in the work, you won’t get to where you want to be. You must have a strong work ethic and so must your team members.

Evolving – Your business must be constantly evolving and changing to keep up with your customer and business needs. Change is good and essential to your success.

Positivity – Stay positive! It is really easy to get down or discouraged when things don’t always go as planned…which is really the only thing you can count on happening when you run a small business. Every situation has a silver lining, no matter how hard it can be to see at the time. A positive attitude can make all the difference!

Supported – I have been empowered and supported by so many other small business owners since I started my company. I am very lucky to have a strong network of like-minded women who have supported me along the way. Although you may want to, you can’t do it all on your own. Ask for help when you need it!

von bon 2

“As a business owner, you want to do everything yourself. You can’t! You need a team to help you and the sooner you do, the easier it will be. As Susan from Freshly Picked has said in the past, “Do what you do best and hire out the rest.” It is so true and something I wish I had done sooner! It was really hard for me to stop hand-making our products and trust in a team that could do it. Once I did, it allowed me the freedom to do the things I do best, promote and market my company,” exclaims Jennifer.

Jennifer has exciting plans for VONBON and its ever evolving future.  Within the year she is introducing new prints in her product line and plans to also launch an organic bedding line.  With her first baby set to arrive in November she is also launching a new blog series from her e-commerce site, www.vonbon.ca.  It will be all about life, style, baby, and documenting her journey to motherhood.

You can also find VONBON at the following locations:
The Cross Décor & Design – Vancouver (Yaletown)
Meadow Gifts and Apparel – Vancouver (Gastown)
Chapters / Indigo – Online

follow VONBON  icon_sm_facebook  icon_sm_twitter