21 March 2008

Easter Blessings

In this season of celebration, renewal, and new beginnings, just wanted to send a few simple thoughts your way.

I wish for you peace...

and in between the moments of shaking everything out, dusting old things off, and opening a window to let in the sun, I wish for you a moment for yourself to be still and reflect...

...so that you can behold the majesty within you, lovingly fashioned by the One who first beheld you...

...and the beauty of that light that lives within you...

...and time to water the parts of your soul that want to BLOOM!

Happy Easter, friends. May you be richly blessed in this season.

17 March 2008

Our Latest Excursion

I hit our regional Market in Columbus yesterday to see what items we could find there for our Holiday 2008 look. I know, I know. I'm late on the draw. No, really. Many retailers have had their Holiday look signed for, sealed, and all but delivered (that usually begins in June) by the end of January, beginning of February. With the launch of our online boutique consuming the early months of this year, I must admit that I'm still wrapping my head around Holiday '08. We've had a strong vision for months, now I'm nailing down the detail work--textures, trims, exact color tones, and most importantly, what I won't buy, as cute as it may be (a handful of oddball choices can throw off the whole look). As the Romantic Gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe said of literature (and I quote this loosely, or maybe exactly--it's been a while since I've studied OR taught this), you will write no word that does not contribute to the unity of effect.

Photo of Edgar Allan Poe mural courtesy of Flickr.

Poe was all about poetic unity, making every word, every choice, connect back to the central theme or dominant motif, and we think along the same lines when buying a look for an upcoming season.

It's always fascinating to watch trends in the home decor and gift industry evolve from season to season. It's pretty easy to spot said trends when shopping a Mart, mostly because they are reinterpreted over and over again from showroom to showroom. Let's say the new theme or motif is celestial. It isn't. But if it were, you'd walk a whole show and see that celestial theme played out here, there, and everywhere. From suns to moons to stars to angels, you'd see it over and over and over again. Sometimes with a rogue harp or halo thrown in for good measure (somebody getting adventurous). You'd see, essentially, the same ornament done in fifty different ways, with only slight variations in shape, weight, and color. This doesn't mean the look of the moment isn't interesting or well-done or sellable or desirable, it just means that with so much sameness out there in the market for the end customer to choose from, you'd better get your mind around YOUR vision as a shopkeeper and stick to it. And how, as a shopkeeper, will you differentiate your interpretatation from that of the other shops out there?

In a neighborhood of big box retailers and in the midst of so much sameness, we are steadfast in our quest for the "something different" you are always looking for at THE BLISSFUL. Come and see our latest finds for the season, including a new shipment of our coconut fiber French doormats (Mon Petit Palais, or "my little palace," mat featured in photo at top), green boxwood topiaries, printed pillows, iron gates with which to splendor up a room, and garden pots. Get your verdigris crosses for Easter, Velveteen Rabbits, and egg wreaths this week, too.

Off to upload new products into the online boutique.

Oh, and I promise, promise, promise that the next post will unveil the details of our 100th Post Giveaway!

13 March 2008

Spring Thaw

Lest you think I've fallen off the face of the Earth, I thought I'd better post and give you a little update. I've been basically incommunicado ever since the launch of our online boutique. Wow! Thanks for all of your support and thank you to every customer whose order we have fulfilled. From Oklahoma to California and back to Connecticut, we've been boxing and shipping as quickly as we can. Dozens and dozens of new items will added to the online boutique over the next week, so please check back daily.

The Lantern Candles featured in the photo below are two items we just added today:

Talk about yummy and delicious eye candy, not to mention fragrances to make you swoon. Click here to learn more or to purchase.

In brick-and-mortar news, we took advantage of last week's major winter storm (of near blizzard proportions) and tricked our shop out for Spring. We'd been waiting on certain deliveries (most of which finally came) before we could do our Big Changes. A shop is like a jigsaw puzzle. If we move one thing, seven other things have to move in order to accomodate the shift and keep the balance, flow, sense of scale and proportion, and color palette moving from display to display. And I'll tell you this: every time we face a major seasonal floor set change, we face it with a giant sense of trepidation. Can we do this? Can we pull this off? Can we do justice to all of our new finds, make sure they're all seen and shown off in their best aspect? Can we make our customers say wow? Can we (and this is no small thing) find the manpower when manpower is what we need (yes, 90% of our display changes are accomplished entirely by maman et moi. Not kvetching, just elucidating.) Last week's crazy snowstorm was a bit of a luxury. We threw on our sweats and spent the better part of two days moving new merchandise out on to the sales floor, then around the sales floor (Musical Chairs-style), then back around for another do-si-do. Move it, try it, stand back, appraise it, move it again, turn it around, lean it over, prop it up, layer it, etc., etc. Over the past two years, I have come to the recognition that shopkeeping and merchandising truly are art forms. Shop owners are stagemasters (and stagemistresses) to a large degree.

And now...the shop has a bright, airy, wonderfully "found" and earthy feel, offset with vignettes of vintage deco glamour. In the afternoons, certain spots in the shop look not unlike a sun-dappled glass menagerie.

I have several new shots to share. I had to be careful in deciding which photos to post here this time, as THE BLISSFUL was just lavishly and thoroughly photographed for a feature in a national shelter magazine (I'll keep which one a secret until closer to the on-newsstands date). I have to keep most of the more sublime shots under wraps so that they can make their debut between the glossy pages of X%(&^@ magazine late this summer. If you're local, you'll just have to come in to the shop and see what else is new!

If you haven't yet heard about our new Twilight Hours, please note that THE BLISSFUL is now open from Monday-Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Friday and Saturday from 10 AM-5 PM. To introduce our longer, later hours, we're offering a daily Twilight Special Monday-Thursday from 5-7 PM only. The special savings change daily and are valid from 5-7 PM that day only, so stop by to check out what's on sale today. And tomorrow. And the next day! Come in and meet our two new hires during these hours, as well. Zoey and Jamie have tons of retail experience and know their stuff. Best of all, they both have wonderful spirits and a certain brightness around them, just great people to be around. They are the shopgirls I have been looking for ever since we opened our doors but didn't ever think I'd find. It's not easy to turn one's business over into the hands of another. It feels good to know that if I wanted to, I could flit out the door without a care or a concern. The shop is in magnificent hands.

Here are a few more peeks of what's currently in store:

This is the blue Bohemian Apartment Mirror we found at Market, now gracing our expanded apparel section. Here's just one of our new vintage-washed tees, front and back:

Isn't that the truth?

The best honey we've ever tasted. Swirl this over a piece of fresh-cut French bread, still warm from the oven. (I'm sure your local bakery or neighborhood Panera can help you out with that one.)

Fresh-picked jewelry in the soft, soothing colors of Spring. Cool brights and soft metallic sheens bring revival, as well.

Our newest body care collection, straight out of Napa Valley. Rich with olive oil and natural extracts. We love treating our skin to applications that come straight from the Earth.

This is the petite leather handbag we're all going crazy over. With jeans and heels for a night out with your girlfriends, it's just too cute! Click here to learn more or to purchase. Check out its big sister, too.

Our flour sack-inspired pillows. Available with both French and Italian print.

A bevy of fabulous little books awaits. Click here to learn more about or to purchase this one.

Usher in Spring with a French-y twist. Tie on one of our lightweight spring scarves in georgette, bamboo, or Italian silk. Click here, here, and here to see what's already popped up in our online boutique.

A new crop of our Savon de Marseille is fresh for the picking. Click here to learn more or to purchase.

An affair with a handbag. We can't stop drooling over this gilded, studded clutch in three colorways: Emerald Green, Magenta, and Gunmetal. Terribly chic.

Our new collection of high quality melamine reinterprets classical motifs in fresh, modern ways. Click here to begin browsing or to purchase.

Don't forget: just because it hasn't yet made it into our online boutique doesn't mean it's not available if you live far away. Simply e-mail us at sales@theblissful.com and we'll happily help you purchase anything you'd like.

Now, off to create a post about our 100th Post Giveaway...