Winter Sourcing Trip: Peru & Guatemala

This past December we headed back to Peru and added Guatemala to our week of travels. We came back with some amazing finds.  In our seven days of travel, 3 of them were on planes. Eight flights and close to 70 hours of travel. Either in a plane, airport club, driving, or in a boat it was all worth it.

We first headed to Peru (18 hours later from CO) and with no time to spare, we arrived around 6 am in Cusco. Quickly dropping our bags off we headed out the door to our first market at 7:30 am! A few long days searching for the best of the best, we meet up with our sourcing partners and met new ones. We also went to a few new markets and ate at our favorite restaurant Inka Grill. 

Believe it or not, we couldn't fly from Peru to Guatemala, we flew back to Houston and then back down south. What a crazy 24 hours! Not having been to Guatemala before, we only had research of where we wanted to go and what we were looking for.  We stayed in Antigua, which is a great little town and also has lots of yummy food to check out.  We did lots of driving while in Guatemala, about 6 hours a day.  The best part about long drives is that you get to see the countryside, small villages, and towns, local markets, farmers, and how people live away from the modern life we are all so accustomed to.  

Here are some photos from each area.  We always have an amazing time on the road and look forward to doing it again.....but not two countries in 7 days.  

FedEx Small Business Grant

Did you know I've applied for the FedEx Small Business Grant? WOW! How amazing would it be if I was selected as one of the finalist? Hummm, what would I do with the grant money? Well, it would be put to good use fast.  

First, I'd love to purchase a new industrial sewing machine called a serger.  It's a stitch you see all the time on textiles to help give the edges a clean polished look. Second thing I'd get going on is hiring a few seamstress to help offset the ENORMOUS amount of work I'm doing most nights till 10pm.  A few other things I have on my list are: monetize my shipping efficincy through my website, visit the weavers and women who help me source textiles in Peru, and possibly work on my wholesale tradeshow booth for upcoming shows in NYC.

I love this quote I saw on Instagram last week, do you?  If you are reading this before April 25th, please visit the FedEx Small Business Grant page and check out the great variety of small business out there and feel free to give me a vote. It just takes an email and 30 seconds.




NYNow - February 2017

This past February I attended my first wholesale trade show at NYNow. It was held over 4 days at the Javits Center in New York City and it was a week filled with fun. I enjoyed getting to meet store owners and buyers of large and small stores.  It was great hearing about their town, shop, customers, and why they buy what they buy.  NYNow was a huge success for Jamie Lauren Designs. We will be in 30+ stores across the country come this spring. Please visit the stockist page to see if there is a store near you.

Sourcing Textiles in Peru

This past November I had the pleasure of traveling to Peru to source textiles directly from the weavers in the Sacred Valley of Cusco.  I was able to learn the natural dying process, meet the weavers, and see this tradition first hand which is the heart of Peru. 

The Alpaca wool is dyed with a variety of plant and animal materials. From cleaning to dyeing to fixing, each phase of the coloring process relies on natural products that have been available for millennia. 

The people of Peru are incredibly warm and welcoming. We had an amazing time in the Sacred Valley and look forward to going back soon. 

Click on the photos and scroll over the images to learn more. 

Nordstrom Pop In - October 2016

Pop-In@Nordstrom is an ongoing series of pop-up shops curated by Olivia Kim. Each month they present new and exclusive products, designers and ideas built on a different theme.  Back in October, the theme was Denim and Indigo and I was selected to be part of this wonderful of artisans creating handcrafted items for this event.  The indigo, manta and ribbon pillows were part of this fun collection and I'm so grateful for this wonderful experience. Thank you Nordstrom Pop In Team!

Spring Markets

YAY! Spring has arrived in Boulder. The sun is shining and market season is here.  I'm working hard and fast (despite two finger accidents) to make amazing pieces for April and May.  

My first event is April 17-18 with Denver Flea . This is a new market for me and I'm thrilled to be part of it.  Why not come Friday night for the kick off party and get first dibs from amazing makers; and if you can't come Friday, join us Saturday 12-7pm at Bindery on Blake.  

May brings another new market for me. First up, Valverde Bazaar Outdoor Market in Denver. I have heard great things about this market, so I knew I wanted to get in on the fun.  It was Voted Denver’s Best New Flea Market by Westword in 2014, and is located in the outdoor space of Eron Johnson Antiques. The space is surrounded by  gardens and architectural antiques and expect it to have a feel unlike other outdoor markets.  Come visit me Saturday, May 16 (9-4pm).

On May 30, which is the last Saturday of the month, I'll be back at Sweet William Market.  This fun monthly outdoor market is at Founders Green in the heart of Stapleton. The community of Stapleton has been great to me and I look forward to coming back with all new pieces and seeing familiar faces. The hours are 9-2pm, so come out early and beat the crowd.  If I miss you in May, I'll be back again this market season.

Come stop by, say hi, and see my new Kantha quilt line.  Happy Spring 


Built In Bench - Ikea hack, well sorta

A friend of mine said she came across a blog where a built in bench was done using an Ikea mattress. Could you believe? I wasn't sold until I read the post. Here is the original post on Teal and Lime - click here. After I read the post I thought, no problem, let's give it a shot. We headed down to Ikea (first thing in the morning and middle of the week to guarantee no one was there). Monica chose cowhide to compliment her awesome late 1800's farm house. 

We picked up two cowhides ($199 each) and a twin size mattress ($79) some kitchen gadgets and a giant size chocolate bar at the cash register. On Teal and Lime, she used the foam and the mattress cover as batting!  Brilliant!! Foam is not cheap and this bench is almost 8ft long. This mattress was a pretty good savings compared to 4" foam at any fabric store.

I should also mention, the bench was built in by woodworkers and the sewing of the two hides were done by a cobbler.  Other than some edge roll and staples, no other supplies were needed.

The project took one afternoon and it turned out great! Click on the image below to see the project in action.

Painting Fabric ???

While reading Design Sponge, I came across a couch that had been painted.  That is when the light when on!  Let me tell you why I wanted to paint this couch.  Have you ever had buyers remorse from Craig's List? Or have you ever bought something because you felt compelled and somewhat obligated when at the sellers house?  I've only walked away from two items I went to see on Craig's List.  I need to get better at saying 'no thank you'. 

photo 1-1.jpg

Well, I dragged my kids and husband to the next town over to check out a cherrywood couch and side chair. I loved the side chair but wasn't sure about the couch. The piece its self was amazing. Great construction, real wood, and very heavy.  Under a bit of pressure from crying kids in the car, husband waiting, and it being dinner time,  I said 'yes'.  We lug BOTH pieces home and the next morning I said 'oh no, what have I gotten myself into'.

The undertaking of this couch felt too much for the moment. So it sat for a few weeks. Then I came across the blog post on how to paint fabric. I was sold. I thought it was a great option for a well constructed piece of furniture that had impeccable upholstery - just the wrong color for this decade. I went for it and the end result is a major upgrade. I think it's a perfect piece for a boutique that needs a little Hollywood glamor.  Stay tuned for my next blog entry on the step by step process.