23 December 2008

End of the Year Postcard

Where has December gone?

Here is a sampling of the communiqué I recently sent out to our customer e-mail list:

As the days tick down 'til our Holiday and New Year's celebrations, we at THE BLISSFUL want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our customers who have supported this dream for the past three years. 2008 has been a landmark year for this shop that began as Proprietor Abby Kerr's dream of a luxe, eclectic, slightly funky venue overflowing with quality, Euro-styled goods. What a year it's been. In February, THE BLISSFUL launched online commerce at its website, garnering an ever-growing base of shoppers from around the country and around the world. We now ship regularly to all fifty states and beyond. In May, we were honored for retailing excellence in being named one of 50 Retail Stars nationwide by Home Accents Today, the premier trade publication for the retail industry. Successively, Abby was invited to join HAT's Retail Advisory Board, a select group of eight independent retailers from throughout the nation who advise the magazine's editors on timely industry issues. Recently, Abby was asked to be a contributing columnist to Home Accents Today. The columns to which she'll contribute are new features that will debut in the magazine in 2009. In August, we were graced with our first national magazine press in the pages of Romantic Homes. The six-page full-color spread captured the essence of THE BLISSFUL through evocative photography and gave RH readers around the world a peek into Abby's background and her thoughts on the romance of shopkeeping and entrepreneurship. We also scored a mention on the widely read lifestyle portal Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn. Locally, we enjoyed press in About magazine throughout the year. Abby's blogs continue to be read by friends, fans, customers, and shop owners from all over. And at the brick-and-mortar store, 2008 was the year we grew our staff to include Zoey, Jamie, and Lindsay, a talented team of women who connect with the vision of the shop and contribute their warmth and creativity to building our brand and serving our customers. We look forward to 2009 with great optimism and a matchless enthusiasm for what we do. We'll start our year with a trip to Market in Atlanta, searching out fresh vendors to add to our mix and meeting with colleagues to share our vision and gather inspiration. As we continue to evolve our merchandise mix, grow our incomparably talented staff, and expand our Online Boutique, our goal is always to enthrall our customers with a fantastical, transportive shopping experience that is still relatable and approachable. We thank you for being a part of our vision. We create and continually recreate the shop with you in mind.

As someone reading this blog, I want to thank you, too, for being a part of this vision. What an unusually interesting life this is, being the proprietor of a shop. Without customers, friends, and blog fans, this vision wouldn't have come to life in the first place.

Merry Christmas, one and all. And warmest wishes for all good things in the New Year.

Please note that the shop will close early at 3 PM on Christmas Eve. We'll reopen the day after Christmas {Friday morning} at 10 AM.

28 November 2008

Belatedly, Still...

Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for supporting this dream of THE BLISSFUL for the past three years.

20 November 2008

For Hostesses & the Ones Who Appreciate Them

As I sit typing this blog post, it's 8:46 AM on a Wednesday morning, eight days before Thanksgiving. The snow is falling crisply and quick outside the shop windows onto the cold Ohio street. At home in the evenings after the shop closes, we've been cleaning and gathering our recipes for the big meal next week. Mmm...I can almost smell that warm, buttery, sage-y turkey now.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite Holidays: a full day dedicated to nothing more than gratitude for the grace that has been extended to us, and, well, to eating as a way to celebrate that grace.

To sweeten your preparations and lighten your load, we are kicking off our Holiday Hostess Sale this Friday the 21st, both in store...

and for the first time ever, online!!!

Beginning this Friday the 21st, online shoppers will enjoy the same sale as will our local customers. Select hostess gifts, serving pieces, and gourmet items featured in our Online Boutique will be 15% OFF through Thursday the 27th. Simply enter promo code MERCI {all caps, please} at time of checkout to receive the discount on qualifying items. Each item that's on sale online will be flagged as a Holiday Hostess Sale item, so those items should be easy to spot.

Please note that throughout the sale, all orders will ship within one to two business days by UPS Ground. For some of you, that might mean that UPS won't make it to your door before Turkey Day, but please note that all of the items we're featuring online are apropos for Christmas and other Holiday gifts.

If you're an online shopper and have any questions about our Holiday Hostess Sale, please call the shop at 330.492.2500 or e-mail us at helpdesk@theblissful.com.

Merci and we hope to see you in the shop over the weekend. We'll be serving light nibbles and sips to give you a taste of some of our gourmet fare.

Please note that the brick-and-mortar shop will close at 3 PM Wednesday the 26th and remain closed through Thanksgiving Day.

13 November 2008

Shop Online With Us

Click here to be transported to our Online Boutique, where you'll find an ever-changing array of items sold in our brick-and-mortar shop. New items will be added daily throughout this Holiday season.

Quantities are limited on all of our Holiday finds and you'll find a selection of our Holiday bestsellers here in our Online Boutique. Also, be sure to check out all of our other online departments for new items, like this and this.

Please check back often as the girls and I are earnestly working to shoot and upload new finds each hour. And if you see anything in our blog photos that captures your fancy, feel free to e-mail us at sales@theblissful.com or call the shop at 330.492.2500 with your inquiry. We almost always respond within one business day--and often within the hour--with pricing and dimensions. We are thrilled to hear from our blog readers by e-mail and phone.

By the way, the 'Poste' tile in the photo above can be found here in our Online Boutique.

Now I'm off to upload more goodies. . .

03 November 2008

The Mommy of All Holiday Party Posts

Hot off my digital memory card, this is the first batch of photos from Sunday's Peace on Earth Holiday Open House. Commentary to be added little by little as I can get to it! As you know if you've been in the shop, what we show on the blog is only a taste. We hope you'll come in and say hello and experience our Holiday story live in living color.

Above, our glowing silver ball topiaries flanking the front entrance attracted a lot of attention. We wrapped giant beach balls in tin foil {matte side out} and rested them atop our enormous cast iron urns to make metallic ice globes. The snowflakes we created from paper doilies in white and silver purchased from a local party supply store. Zoey, Jamie, and Debbie then cut out some of the edges into snowflake shapes and cut peace signs into some of them. The flakes were then affixed to the windows using double sided tape. Voila! Instant winter flurries.

Getting closer. . .

The theme of the event being Peace on Earth, we wanted to create a sort of otherworldly, celestial feel...but not in an expected way. Not sure how well all the detail translates in a photograph.

I love oblique, interesting shots like the one above. One of our color palettes this Holiday season is deep gothic red with zinc, pewter, and dove grey. Accented with silver glitter glass, I find this look to be just a step off from the traditional red and green. Not so hard for most of our customers to work into their existing palettes.

Our shopgirl Francie models fingerless gloves.

A yellow-vested shopper peruses what we've been calling our "Man Display."

Earthy, burlap-py 19-foot garlands for tree, mantel, or staircase were a favorite at the open house. These come printed with either Merry Christmas or Season's Greetings.

Shopgirl Becki and I caught in a tête-a-tête. This was a rare moment for me away from the register. At one point, Zoey looked over at me and said, "Abby, do you realize you've been ringing for three hours straight?" I love events like these because it reminds me just how many people we've come to know over the past three years. It's great to see so many of them at once!

Silver mercury glass adornments in every shape, size, and use.

Noël. If only they could've gotten the two little dots over the 'e.'

One of our top selling tree ornaments so far this season. Packaged in a white organza bag, we think it's an instant hostess gift and destined {if they last that long} to be a favorite for ornament exchanges, which one of out every three of my customers last year seemed to be invited to.

The pièce de résistance of this year's theme: the Silver Peace Wreath, comprised of vintage-style metallic silver bulbs. So glowy and shiny and perfect for the front door. I think we can all walk around bearing a bit more peace in our hearts toward one another, be we Republican or Democrat. This morning, when I ran into my favorite bagel joint for my Everything {untoasted} with cream cheese, I sensed what I'd describe as a muffled sense of dismay. Perhaps I was reading into things, but I saw quite a few tense-lipped conversations in progress and even more grim expressions squinting over today's newspapers. But on my way in and then out, I was greeted warmly by three complete strangers. No matter which side of last night's outcome we personally come down on, I think there's a real sense of the need to pull together as an American people and as neighbors.

An array of grabbables meets you at the front display.

These Peace Sign Ornaments are mercury glass in a warm cappuccino color, very spotty, encrusted with silver peace signs.

A customer totes a handful of ornaments through the shop.

Initial mugs inspired by 18th century France pair perfectly with one of our coffee toppers. The silver shaker canisters bear the flavor in French on one side, English on the other.

Fireplace scape in cherry red, silver and zinc. These funky oversized felt stockings make me smile every time I pass by them.

We always do a nod to Santa. These foil wrapped Germanic ones got me this year at Market.

St. Francis santos figure.

Scarves in all of the rich Autumn colors.

Italian Tumbled Marble Tile Coasters and Trivets.

And more.

Signs of the season.

These cool Snowflake Saucers and Serving Platters were a hot seller. Microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe. One among many new items recently shot and being prepped for uploading to the Online Boutique.

Bapchi's Caramel Toffee by Vosges and a glass of white wine sounds like a perfect after dinner treat to me.

Cowl neck scarves and caps with leather brims for cooler days.

Rugby stripes, organic reactive patent "leather," and herringbone tweeds.

Petit chien for minding your personal library.

Vintage-washed burnout tees.

Possibly one of our most sought after Fall items: the 2009 Day Book in an inspiring vintage-y design for the nature lover. Nesting 2009 also available.

Fluted Optic Hourglasses keep Fall's fleeting moments {imperfectly} in chocolate grains of sand. Small is sold out.

Our Gothic Church display.


Creamy Bistro Cubes by Tatine.

Every season there a few items I just really adore. This season, one of those is our Mercury Glass Snowflake Votive. Available in Large and Small {Large shown here}.