This week we are featuring Sara Sparks of Bear Co., a shop of cultural and bohemian wonders for all the free spirits out there! You will find products from bootcuffs and necklaces, to home decor and bags all in her shop. We love that Sara celebrates different cultures through her art! We think it is awesome when an artist can speak towards the environment they are most familiar with and at the same time expand their viewpoint to the beauty found in other’s perspectives. Many of the pieces found on Bear Co. are a thoughtful expression of the cultures that have directly inspired Sara through her travels or dream destinations, and each piece is always handmade. Something we think is pretty special in and of itself. Read on to learn more about Sara and her shop!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: Oh boy! Where to start! Well, I’m 25, engaged to my middle school sweetheart, and a registered Occupational Therapist (OT… that just so happens to love making jewelry and all other crafts that I seem to run into! I am a complete animal lover, outdoor adventurer, world traveler, and a total introverted extrovert. I am also biracial – Iranian American – and complete enjoy celebrating my Iranian culture. My heritage and fascination with all things culture have a huge influence on my Bear Co designs.
: How did your shop, Bear Co., get started?
: It all started while I was in Occupational Therapy (OT) school. I was living the broke grad student and needed a creative outlet to relieve some stress. My fiance actually brought up the idea that I start an Etsy shop, because he recognized my situation and stressors. At first I was super hesitant, due to all the responsibility that would come with starting a business venture, but now I am so glad that I did! Starting Bear Co. has definitely helped me with my initial motivators – stress and money – but it has also helped me meet new people, venture to new stores and locations, and even enabled me with a new sense of creativity!.
Today we’re excited to share the story of Abby Alley from Zuri Collection. Being a conscious consumer is so important, so we love what Abby has to say about her mission and the women behind her brand. We, ourselves, love to purchase fair trade items or buy from brands that give back to a cause or create job opportunities in the communities that need them. If you’re going to buy a product anyway, why not choose one that makes a positive impact? We love Abby’s heart for Tanzania and the women who create all of the gorgeous, handcrafted items for Zuri Collection. Read along to hear more about the impact her business is making and see some of the beautiful pieces the talented artisans of Tanzania make.
: Tell us about yourself!
: My name is Abby Alley, and I grew up outside Chicago, but have been living in the city for the past 10 years. I have two younger sisters who both live in Chicago, which is so much fun! A few fun facts about me: I’m a Cubs fan, the beach is my happy place, I suffer from a bad case of wanderlust ;), and my faith is really what drives what I do.
Today we’re so excited to feature Jennifer Wosk of Soulshine. Just the name of her business alone gives off positive vibes! Not only that, but many of her necklaces actually have healing crystals and gemstones. We love this combo of beautiful pieces to wear with actual meaning behind them! She wanted to tell you guys all about her jewelry and the story behind it, so keep reading to learn more about this amazing brand. Then check out her jewelry and get something that will make your soul shine too!
: The original inspiration behind my Soulshine jewelry collection is my talented grandmother, who traveled the world with my grandfather and collected antique beads, pendants and special pieces. From this, my grandmother created her jewelry line, Frances Switzer Originals. My grandmother was no longer able to continue her work and her amazing treasures were stored away.
For many years, I had thoughts in the back of my mind that I wanted to rescue these treasures and make jewelry. However, I allowed self-doubt to get in the way, listening to old stories telling myself that I was not creative. Some years ago, I told a friend about the beads and how I wanted to use them but did not feel capable. She encouraged me to just go for it. So I did, and here I am with my creativity and confidence awakened within me and I will never look back.
Through my world explorations, I have been collecting beads and unique pieces to add to the collection. My designs are inspired by my yoga practice, and my love of beauty and nature. I love to incorporate gemstones with specific intention for healing. Each design is unique, and I love to create custom designs for clients.
For more information about Jennifer and Soulshine click away!
For this post, we’re excited to team up with the shopping destination, Spring, to share our fall style using clothes you can get from them! Spring is a mobile app that lets you easily search from hundreds of brands to find something you love! Best part, shipping is always free! And they have some pretty amazing clothes, accessories, and decor so that doesn’t hurt either. What we really loved about the app is that you get a customized feed of products based off your interests. You can pick your interests with categories from graphic tees and fair-trade, to backpacks and streetwear! And yes, I couldn’t help but pick all of those. Tara and I each put together a look for you, one fall casual look and one fancier look. All of the products are linked below and go to the Spring website, but be sure to try the app too! Happy Shopping!
This week we are featuring artist and jewelry designer Meredith Talian! When we first came across her work we were completely captivated by her intricately detailed paintings on sea glass. She then turns these paintings into jewelry! We love how the beauty of the sea glass is still prevalent in her pieces. Her paintings truly take advantage of the unique canvas. Read on to learn more about Meredith’s whole creative journey!
: Tell us a little about yourself and your background in art & jewelry.
: Hello! My name is Meredith Talian and I own and operate a small business called LuaLette Jewelry. I was raised by two artists, my father is a graphic designer and my mother is a calligrapher. This, in combination with my grandmother’s life-long love of everything handmade, instilled in me a love of making things with my hands. My father is quite the entrepreneur and my sister and I enjoyed dabbling on the weekends with small businesses my parents would help us run. This really shaped my belief in small business and that success is attainable as long as you keep trying new things. I took a lot of private art lessons as a child which exposed me to many different medias and knew from an early age that I was happiest when painting. I followed this passion and earned my BFA in Painting and Drawing from Longwood University in VA, in the winter of 2011. Since graduating I’ve focused on commissioned portraiture and a watercolor animal series project. My husband’s job moved us to Oahu, Hawaii last July (2014) which made a huge influence on my latest series, LuaLette Jewelry. Hand painting intricate, tiny underwater scenes on found sea glass combines so many things I love and is the perfect culmination of my work thus far as an artist.
Nautical prints always catch my eye. They instantly make me think of carefree days boating on a lake or sitting on a beach watching the sailboats go by. I found this shirt at a thrift store and loved how there was a big anchor shape knitted right into the fabric. I like how subtle the anchor is and I actually think it makes a greater impact being the same color as the rest of the shirt. I also think the cut of the neck is really interesting. It is a high, straight neck line with ribbed knitting, which you don’t see too often on today’s clothing. That’s one of my favorite things about thrifting, vintage silhouettes! I paired the look with some statement white earrings from my Mom’s collection, light-wash jeans and last but not least my favorite summer wedges! I LOVE these heels because I’ve never seen anything like them. They were made in Italy and have the words Dolce & Salato (Sweet & Savory) in Italian embroidered on them. To accompany the saying there is a slice of cake on the dolce heel and a savory egg dish on the right heel. They are so fun to wear and they certainly get people’s attention.
I’m sad to say that the season of sundresses is coming to an end. So, this week I took advantage of the still summery weather to wear this yellow and flower patterned dress. I just love this dress because it is so perfect for a sunny day and has kind of a mod looking cut and fabric. Plus, I got it for $3 at the thrift store. Can’t beat that! I paired it with a pair of white wedges and a necklace from my Mom’s jewelry line.