27 January 2009

The Blizzard Effect

Lately I've been thinking of a movie I remember from the late '90s called Smilla's Sense of Snow. I don't recall much of the plot {except that it was set in Copenhagen and involved a death/murder mystery}. It starred Julia Ormond. Today, playing back in my mind what snippets of the trailer reel my brain managed to hold onto, all I can see is white. Blinding white: blanketing the landscape, capping every tree, blazing from the sky, comprising Julia Ormond-as-Smilla's wardrobe {at least this is what I remember} .

That's what this Winter Weather Advisory-reliant world we're now living in makes me think of. I returned from Market in Atlanta two weeks ago to find my city awash in risky road conditions, continuous wafting of snowflakes, and below zero wind chill temps. I know much of the rest of the country is buttoning up under the same steely skies. And guess what? Our Cleveland-area weather girls and guys are calling for much more of the white stuff on the way over the next 48 hours--we've heard up to 10 inches! This weather is adding up to slow but steady days at the store, which is giving us the opportunity to regale our shopgirls--and those earnest customers who don't want to miss the first glimpse of our earliest new arrivals--with stories of Market: what we found, what we loved, what we laughed at {you would laugh, too!}, what we passed over and why. While Debbie and I were canvassing the world's largest international home and gift show, Zoey, Jamie, and Linds were throwing the Winter Clearance Sale to end all sales back here at the shop. We returned to see some actual space on our tabletops and shelves and immediately loved the cleaner, sparer, more organized look of things. So much so that it inspires me to embrace a slightly different aesthetic from Spring forward.

While we're known for our almost crazily bounteous lushness, I came home from Market and saw my shop with new eyes. THE BLISSFUL Girls had worked their magic to zhuzh, recreate, and reenergize every corner of the shop in our absence. Since our return, we've been busy opening boxes and boxes of new finds from Market, whilst we dream, plan, sketch, debate {D: "Orange would not attract me. I would walk away from orange." L: "I disagree. Orange would draw me in."}, and chat endlessly about all that is to come this year. We wrote 78 orders in one week at the show, and 42 of them were with brand new vendors for us. In "this economy" {I say that in quotation marks because while I know unemployment and the credit crisis are realities, I think we all have to be careful to separate the FACTS from the media's energetic and often totally biased spin of the facts}, the 90,000 buyers who attended this show were reportedly being "careful." What this meant for THE BLISSFUL was making sure our finds fit into one of two categories: they either had to be a} absolutely delightful, or b} totally usable, totally practical, and still totally cool. And they have to work with our concept. And naturally, they have to be priced in a way that motivates our customers to buy.

I spent the first four nights I was home sitting up in bed with my laptop, creating a Spring Purchasing Index to help us keep track of what we found for each department of our shop. I'll give you a peek over my shoulder, but keep in mind this is just a peek!

Now In Shop...

Find No. 56 Curious Garden Gnome {the omnipresent gnome trend reigned at the ATL show}...and more styles to come a little later in the season

Find No.17 Six-petaled flower hoop earrings in Spring brights...

Find No. 39 Peace Sign Earrings in Metallic Pewter & Metallic Bronze. It's easy to overdo a trend like this and whenever something gets "hot"--like the peace sign, which was reborn into vogue late last year--a million bad renditions get mass produced. Our take on trends? We aren't trend-shy and we won't ride it 'til it dies, either.

Find No. 337
Boxwood Topiaries in all shapes, sizes, and at all price points. These green-as-green-as-nothing-else beauties can last for up to five years when kept out of direct sunlight and spritzed with water once a month or so. Notice also the sweet Mini Asparagus Fern Tree, which had I a kitchen windowsill, one would be on it. Also available in a potted ball shape.

Find No. 109 Chub Cups by Capri Blue in all of our favorite scents. This has been our hands-down bestselling candle line since we brought it into the shop two years ago, so we've decided to expand our offerings and include their Chub Cups, which are a smaller version of the ever-popular large cobalt blue jar candle. Our favorite scent for this time of year? Havana, a warm, earthy scent combining the richness of cedar wood, cedar moss, and lavender sage. To me, it smells like the "cloud of black pepper" in my favorite scratch and sniff book from childhood. Makes me smile every time.

Find No. 72
When wine bottles have wings, they make an even better gift! Clever Rusted Metal Wine Bottle Wings slip over the top of any bottle {teetotalers, try it on a vinegar bottle or a vintage Coca Cola bottle}.

Find No. 34 I want to be this mannequin. Ruffled and pinstriped with contrasting Moroccan-print trim and embroidered with happy, hippie-ish flowers, this has to be the cutest Beach Cover Up I've ever seen. Also darling over jeans. Throw our bright tote {handmade from vintage Guatemalan blouses--only one available!} over one shoulder and you're ready to hit the beach or the park...and if you're in Ohio, that'd be the one in your imagination for a couple more months yet.

Find No. 191 Natural Wooden Bangles inlaid with crystals. These are shopgirl Jamie's favorite thing in the whole store right now.

Find No. 247
These Silver Plated Wall Hooks are currently my favorite thing in our Hardware department.

Find No. 60 Hardware galore!
Vintage-looking drawer pulls in an array of colors.

Find No. 89 Silk Scarf Totes are light as a feather but heavy on a pop of Spring style.

Find No. 216
Cotton sarongs. I leave for vacation in three weeks so I brought all three of my bathing suits to the shop today in order to find one sarong that can work with each of them.

Find No. 92
Because we mustn't overlook the fact that we are in Ohio, we brought back a great assortment of fun and pretty scarves. Winter isn't over yet, though one can dream...

Find No. 43 Spring accessories for the kitchen and rooms beyond.

New customers usually start asking us in early January if we "do" Valentine's Day at THE BLISSFUL. Yes, we do, but not often in the traditional sense.

Very little of what we choose in the way of V-Day adornments and gifts couldn't also be used at other times of the year. We think less theme-y, more everyday romantic. But we always try to have some kind of seasonally-appropriate gourmet goodie on hand. Which brings me to...

Find No. 88 This year, it's caramel-enrobed marshmallows, individually wrapped fudge pieces in assorted flavors, and these tubes filled with a healthy-{ish} mixture of chocolate covered sunflower seeds with dried cranberries and cherries. All of the flavor, less of the guilt.

While I'm on the topic, here are a few other Valentine's-oriented finds...

Heart-shaped Venetian glass photo frames from Belgium...

For a hint of Spring with a Valentine's twist, Pink Quail Eggs in a wooden crate. Also available in Blue and Green...

Battered metal hearts
in a warm, bronze-y tone. Hung from a rawhide ribbon...

Mercury glass scalloped pedestal votive cups are a cute vessel for tucking petite wrapped candies into...

Garden pots in baby pinks and soft greens start to set the tone for Spring...

And then there's one of my new favorite housewarming/wedding gifts, the Heart-Shaped Pewter Measuring Spoon set...

While fresh French Lavender Bouquets tied up in kraft paper and twine are always in season...

& Coming Very Soon...

Find No. 4 One-Winged Gargoyle for Garden {he looks so mischievous}
Find No. 72 Zinc Pots with Enamel Numbers 1-9 {too flippin' cute}
Find No. 90 Downtown Tokyo-Inspired Wristlet Clutch in Smoke or Plum {I will have one of these}
Find No. 111 Handpainted Thermoses with Stainless Steel interiors {I almost jumped for joy when I saw these}
No. 127 "Keep Calm & Carry On" tanks {probably one of my top 5 favorite finds from this show}

& Coming a Little Later Into the Spring...

Find No. 19 French Menu-Style Chalkboard with Heavily Carved Wooden Frame {a knock out}
Find No. 44
Silver Fromaggio Knives {the new bestselling hostess gift}
Find No. 191 Funky Printed Cotton Tablecloths with Pom-Pom Trim {customers loved these so much last year that our vendor expanded their offerings}
Find No. 68 Woven Linen & Burlap Printed Grain Sack Rags & Runner {you'll flip, I swear}
Find No. 267 Urban Loft Side Table on Wheels {this could work in almost any room}
Find No. 301 Vintage Wooden Hand Forms {one of those curiosities we just won't give up, no matter "this economy"}

And so much more. While we snug ourselves away in the shop during these chilly days of Winter, we're photographing many of our newly arrived finds for the Online Boutique, so keep watching for new additions in just about every department! As always, feel free to e-mail or call us for more info about anything you've seen on the blog that may not have made it into the Online Boutique yet. The brick-and-mortar store is changing almost daily. Gone is the earlier-mentioned space on tables and shelves, as new arrivals are making their debut.

We hope you'll stop in soon as we're daily unveiling the very best of what was fresh and part-with-our-pennies-worthy from Market. I can tell you one thing: it's going to be a very good year. Let's keep calm and carry on.


Hi! I'm Kirsten... said...

As usual Abby, you're killin' me with how beautiful everything in the shop is. I've avoided coming in because this is the time of year my budget is least flexible but OH MY GOSH! I want more than 1/2 the things in this post!

I think I can't avoid one of those lovely silk scarf totes at the very least ;-)

Stay safe in the coming blizzard. I have to hit the road again for another trip to MI. Speaking of, did "Bohemian Home" in Plymouth, MI ever contact y'all?? I have been singing your praises to them for some time now and they want to visit the store and meet you. They don't do the exact same type of merch you do but I think they are just as savvy in other ways and love what you have done taking the store online in the way you have. Very inspiring!! Carol, is the owner. Anyway...

Melissa Lewis said...

I wish I lived closer, but my husband is definitely glad I don't. Your store looks fantastic, I was drooling over every photo:)

~Melissa @ Off The Wall

Kasey said...

I'm dying over here with all your wonderfulness!!

McMaster & Storm said...

thanks for the sweet thoughts on baby zach.....whew!
we'll chat soon, for sure.
kara & darcy too