Archive / March, 2013

popping up everywhere

I’m looking at pretty pictures of Spring and soaking up the Florida sun today! The floral trend is really everywhere isn’t it? I’m completely okay with it.

spring floral prints - popping up everywhere!

  1. Event decor – Featured on Style Me Pretty
  2. “hello” free desktop wallpaper by Breanna Rose
  3. Emporium Pies branding design by Foundry Co.
  4. Madewell floral bikini
  5. Floral texture, free from Subtle Patterns
  6. Floral Boxed Cards by BRIKA maker, Shana Frase
  7. DIY pressed flower iPhone case on the Etsy blog

I’m clocking out early to head up to Louisville with my mister + a few good friends! ( This Florida girl is going to FREEZE! ) See you all back here on Monday.

( follow our adventures on twitter + instagram )

 

modern diy inspiration for easter

When I think of Easter I think of new growth, renewal, and joy. I recently molded some Sculpey clay to make little figurines for around my home that serve as reminders of this happy season. I love my little Easter bunny the best!!

easy easter diy / using oven baked clay
To make your own:
  • Use white Sculpey clay
  • Mold into desired shape
  • Bake according to directions, let cool
  • Paint with acrylic paint, let dry
  • Place lovingly around your home, or give as a gift!

easy easter diy / using oven baked clay

easy easter diy / using oven baked clay

easy easter diy / using oven baked clay- Taylor

( photography by Taylor for Create Like Crazy )

 

behind the business / BRIKA ( + a killer giveaway! )

When Jen and Kena, the ladies behind the fabulous new online store BRIKA, reached out to me to collaborate, I was beyond excited! ( Check out my feature on their What We Love page this week! )

I just know you’ll fall in love with them as much as you will fall in love with the beautiful pieces sold in their store.

Jen Lee Koss and Kena Paranjape just recently launched BRIKA on November 20, 2012. Since then, the brand has exploded in popularity. They’re clearing doing something right! Be sure to enter the amazing giveaway after you learn from these lovely, business savvy women!

behind the business / brika ( + a giveaway! )

Tell us your story before BRIKA. What brought you to the place you’re at now and what was the inspiration for starting anonline store that celebrates A Well-Crafted Life?

Jen: At the most basic level, I’m Korean-American, I grew up in New Jersey, studied very seriously as a cellist growing up, went to school in Boston, went to more school in England, and I moved to Toronto right after graduating from business school to be with my husband. I spent my professional career in management consulting, investment banking and private equity mostly focused on the consumer retail space. I have always been fascinated by what drives purchasing behavior, trends and brands.

I met Kena because of her blog–her creative outlet from her corporate career! I built up courage and reached out to her randomly and asked her out for a coffee, and the more we talked, the more we both realized that we would make great partners in something entrepreneurial. We started very close to home by thinking of a place we wanted to shop for amazing and unique items made by makers with a story to tell. We searched high and low and couldn’t find anything that really spoke to us in a voice that we wanted to be spoken to. We held some focus group, we talked to our friends, and ultimately, we knew we were on to something…

We believe so strongly that everyone has the ways, means and tools to build a beautiful life. Hence, our tagline: A Well-Crafted Life! Kena and I are truly living this out in what we are building with BRIKA.

Kena: I’ve spent my career to date in retail and specifically merchandising and buying.  Just prior to launching BRIKA I managed a beautiful eco-friendly lifestyle retail concept in Toronto where I had the opportunity to develop close relationships with many of the makers we purchased from (read more of the story here).  I was so inspired by their passion for their craft and admired the incredible quality of their products.  When I saw how the customer who came in reacted to such beautiful things and the stories behind them, Jen and I thought – how can we make this happen on a much larger scale?   And the seeds for BRIKA were planted….

behind the business / brika ( + a giveaway! )

How did the two of you decide to go into business together? And, for anyone thinking about going into business with a friend, what advice would you give them?

Jen: The first time we met was in a coffee shop here in Toronto (read more of the story here). I think I intuitively knew after meeting Kena that we were going to do something creative together. I know that may sound, hokey, but were were both in a place in our lives where we wanted to pursue our passions in a real way, do something entrepreneurial and take a risk. We are really a very balanced team. We have very complementary skill-sets, and as I say to people, I am the ying to her yang.

I think a very interesting part about our partnership is that we weren’t friends before we started BRIKA, but we are developing as we go along! Undoubtedly, when we first met, there was a feeling that we had been old friends in past life…

Kena: I have always, always wanted to be an entrepreneur.  There were some conditions around my dream though: 1) I needed to have an idea I was so passionate about that I couldn’t NOT do it 2) the timing had to be right and 3) I had to have an AWESOME partner to do it with.  When Jen and I met, I felt it was truly the universe telling me, “Do it, NOW!”

I think it is absolutely key that you are friends with the person you go into business with.  You have to have an underlying trust when so much rides on your partnership.  Luckily, I felt I had that with Jen pretty much as soon as I met her.  Beyond friendship, I think it is important to be able to communicate openly, understand each others strengths and weaknesses, and have clearly defined roles.

 

It seems that BRIKA was an instant success, but that has to be a product of a lot of hard work. What were the first steps you took to get the word out about your new site?

Jen: We knew that we wanted to launch BRIKA before the holidays to ensure we caught the momentum of the gifting season. It was around that time that we noticed that Rena Tom, of the Makeshift Society, started following us on twitter and facebook. We couldn’t have been more excited! The MS was a place we thought was just amazing. It really speaks to BRIKA’s core values.

We reached out to Rena cold (it’s a common theme in my life…read here), and when we connected we realized–our DREAM was to do an event at the MS. So prior to our launch, we flew over to San Francisco, invited a bunch of people we loved, admired and respected and had a little party. I think it was really this event that got a some buzz going for us. It hasn’t stopped since then!

behind the business / brika ( + a giveaway! )

All of the products on BRIKA are a work of art. Is there a curation process that you go through when choosing makers for the site? How do you go about saying “no” to those that don’t get chosen?

Kena: First of all, thank you, we think so too!  The makers we work with are so incredibly talented.  We are inspired by them every single day.  For a product and maker to be featured on BRIKA we consider a few things: 1) the product itself must be beautiful, high quality and fit into our unique aesthetic point of view of modern craft.  The techniques and processes our makers use are hundreds or even thousands of years old, but the products they create are contemporary and fit into our 21st century lives.

 

You must need killer self control to refrain from purchasing every item that is sold in the store! Do you have any products from BRIKA decorating your office right now?

Jen: We have had a few office moves already! We started in a shared work environment with two little offices in the basement, and we are now in a bustling shared office with four other start-ups. We haven’t landed on somewhere permanent yet–we’re still looking! One thing that HAS traveled with us on our journey is an absolutely gorgeous watercolor of our logo that one of our Makers who we launched with, Shana Frase, made for us. It is so beautiful and it is so special to us as it was presented to us in person.

 

Thank you, Jen + Kena for sharing so much wonderful information with us! 

Continuing their generosity, it’s time for an amazing giveaway!

brika giveaway

TO ENTER: leave a comment + tell us your definition of a well-crafted life!

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES: 
1. like BRIKA on facebook
2. share the giveaway on your facebook page and tag BRIKA and CLC
+ please leave a separate comment for each entry to be counted!

DETAILS: Giveaway ends Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at midnight EST. One winner will be chosen at random and notified by email the following day.

 

new in the shop: customizable blog post templates

Happy Monday! Here’s something exciting to start off your week: new products in the CLC resource shop!

just drag and drop! fully customizable blog post templates

There are three sets of blog post templates for you to pick from. Choose the one that best fits your site’s aesthetic and use them to speed up your blogging process and create a unified look without spending a ridiculous amount of time laying out images for each post!

just drag and drop! fully customizable blog post templates

Inside the Photoshop file, just drop your image on top of the shape you want it to fit into and it will crop to that shape! Super easy.

ANGULAR: fully customizable blog post templatesPlease feel free to come to me with any questions you have about using the templates!

If you use them on your blog, send me the link! I’d love to see. :)

►  Grab the templates for your blog!

 

embarrassing/encouraging

From where I’m sitting it seems that most creatives that are doing really great work don’t think of themselves as being the best. They’re never completely satisfied with their work. Don’t get me wrong, we should all be striving to become a better version of ourselves, but confidence is something a creative entrepreneur absolutely must have. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself and your work, why should your clients?

I’ve found that when I’m feeling discouraged and needing help in the confidence department, a little look back to the past is just the encouragement I need. ( That’s why I keep a list of accomplishments + exciting moments – I’ve started calling them “yay moments” )

This time, I found that confidence boost when I looked at the first images I posted on instagram for the world to see.

embarrassing/encouraging - how to boost your confidence

Eeeeek! They’re so dark and cluttered! After I got over my embarrassment, I was encouraged by the huge improvement in my work. It’s really exciting to think about the growth that is possible is such a short time! I’ll probably look back at blog posts a year from now and be completely embarrassed all over again. Haha!

embarrassing/encouraging - how to boost your confidence So friends, be encouraged. And remember that you have to do a lot of really bad work to get to the good stuff – so start cranking out some work! ;)

 

photography + blogging your way

Capturing images is the heartbeat of my photography business, but it requires so much more than taking photos. From the research I have done, the average photographer only spends 12% of their time photographing. The rest is devoted to editing, book keeping, taxes, banking, insurance  advertising, clients, emailing, social media, networking, equipment upkeep, meetings, album designs… and the list goes on! During any work day it seems as though everyone sets something on the back burner. For me, it has normally been blogging!

photography and blogging your way

As a photographer I capture stories. I tell stories through images. Therefore when it comes to blogging my words get jumbled, my thoughts get lost in daydreams and before I know it, I’m staring at images I love yet there are still no words on my page. After a few minutes of the war between typing and erasing I normally come up with something.  A few days ago my blogging world was changed when I realized something: I put too much stress on myself to write something perfect when really I need to post the images and let them tell the story. If I’m inspired with words I will write, if not, my images will tell the story.

Images without words can be so powerful. Words tell us how to read the story behind the image. I believe the beauty behind an image is being able to imagine the story however you wish. You are the reader, I am the photographer.

Therefore, whether you blog with words or with images, blog. Every story is written and read differently. Just remember, YOU are the artist!

- Sarah