Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month {Swell Forever}

Did you know that October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month and October 15th is the day we celebrate the lives of the babies we lost?  Only a mother who has lost a child would know this, and it breaks my heart that I share this month of remembrance with so many others.

Recently, a mama emailed me to tell me about her fairly new business and asked if I would like to collaborate with her to raise awareness about this issue.  Brooke from Swell Forever connected with me after reading why I titled my blog A Little Blueberry and I am so glad she did because this mama is doing something magical - something I wish I would have thought of years ago!

Brooke had 3 miscarriages before having her daughter in March and she realized, through her grief, that she wanted to shift her focus from her corporate job to something more fulfilling and mom-centered so she founded Swell Forever.  She describes this shop as her "way of making pretty things, with heart, and also raising awareness for children in foster care and orphans in need of forever families through adoption. I really want to inspire people and bring joy to those who receive our personalized gifts."  She says:
I started my Facebook last October during Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month and I want to do something special to continue to raise awareness for those who have suffered loss and heartbreak. My Forever Birds are often gifted to those who have experienced miscarriages or the loss of someone special. They are hand blown glass hummingbirds that can hang in windows or on a tree during the holidays and each comes with a personalized message card. It is a simple gesture but I wanted to create a gift for people to honor the life of a little one in a tangible and real way.
I also have a Forever Apparel and Forever Blanket line. Customers can create personalized messages that are printed on fabric labels and stitched into their gifts. A portion of all sales goes directly to the Swell Forever Adoption Fund to help families with the costs of adoption. 
I mean, how cool is this?!  Not only is she commemorating our lost babes through personalized gifts, but is helping families with the cost of adoption AND is raising awareness about loss and adoption - amazing.

She also has a blog, on her site, where she has arranged contributors to share their stories in hopes that they will help people who are going through something similar.  THIS is something I wish I would have done, what an awesome idea.  Mamas sharing stories of loss and heartbreak so that other mamas don't feel so alone in their journey, definitely what it's all about (and the same reason that I continued writing after my own loss).  Part 1 of our posts are up (including posts by me and my husband, Ian) now, go and have a read.  The breakdown of the sections she hopes to include:

Monday, September 30
Vignettes that raise awareness for how loss impacts families and advice for grieving parents/resources.

Pay it Forward for SIDS Research in October
Wednesday, October 1 
$15 from every Forever Bird glass hummingbird sold in October will be donated to a research project focused on shedding light on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

When the Heart Breaks: Part 2
Monday, October 6  
Vignettes that raise awareness for how others can support families and unique anecdotes for how your children were honored in a unique way.

Forever Bird: Sunshine Edition 
Monday, October 20 
Starting in November, we will offer the Forever Bird in a sunshine yellow color as a collaboration with Alison's new venture Project Leo William &. Leo was born a few days before my daughter and passed unexpectedly in May. His amazing parents have started a project to bring a touch of joy to the lives of parents who are grieving the loss of an infant less than a year old. They send out Sunshine Boxes, full of pretty things (mostly handmade), from beautiful designers. Everything has a touch of yellow. For every Sunshine Edition hummingbird gifted over the next year, I will donate one to their project to include in their boxes.

Swell Forever will also be hosting a virtual #swellremembers #lightthenight on Facebook and Instagram. Traditionally, on October 15th at 7pm, families light a candle for an hour, across the globe, to spread light in memory of their loved ones.  Brooke (and I) would love to see all of your light's shining that night and will be doing the same if you choose to participate!

I will be featuring Brooke on Moms on Mondays, in the very near future, and we will be giving away one of her Forever Birds to a mama who has experienced loss on Instagram on Friday, October 10th (ending Wednesday, October 15th) - so stay tuned!

Also, help us spread the word about this business.  I think that the more who know about Brooke's company and blog, the better, and then we can help even MORE families.  Post about her on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest or blog about her company if you are willing.  I seriously love what she's doing and know others will too!  Thank you friends!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Moms on Mondays - Kim from Sweet Daisy Products

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This week I am proud to feature Kim from Sweet Daisy Products.  She makes balms, salves and soaps from all natural herbs that help heal your body's ailments.  I have been using the chapstick she sent me for months and I absolutely love it, I MUST order more!  And, Lemon loves the Baby Balm, we rub it on her feet at night to soothe her before she sleeps and her healing salve is great for all of Lemon's mosquito bites.  Kim's products are amazing and she had makes them all, including growing, harvesting and drying her own herbs!  You have GOT to get some of this stuff - go and check out her shop!  (Kim's shop is currently on hiatus, follow her on Instagram to see when she's back in business!)

What is the name of your shop and how can we find you?  

Sweet Daisy Products is my website and I am also on Facebook and Instagram

Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop.  

My main focus is herbal salves as remedies. I do dabble in things like lip balms, soaps, and other things, but I enjoy using my knowledge of herbs to create a product that really helps people with ailments and other things. 

How/why did you start making these products and open this shop? 

My son was diagnosed with Autism in 2013 at not even 3 years of age. Along with his diagnosis, our family was dealing with a multitude of other issues including financial problems. I've always been very "crunchy" and into making my own things, but I started making remedies to not only try to keep our family on a more natural path and help with the Autism, but also because we desperately needed another income. 

How long have you been in business? 

Almost 1 year!

What is your background (college/career/etc.)? 

I graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor's in Marketing, and then continued on in Management in retail stores. I enjoyed the customer service aspect and the business part, but retail is a HARD, demanding job and with little ones at home, it's almost impossible and far too stressful!

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband and I have been together 15 years now (high school sweethearts) and have been married for 5+ years. We live in a house in a small town in Connecticut with our 2 sons (Joshua, 3 & Liam, 2). We are very into self sustainability and raise chickens, grow gardens (and almost all of the herbs that I use in my products) and work hard to maintain it.  [So cool, like my dream.]

How does this company help your family?  Or you? 

This is not only a product that I use in my home every single day, and a small (but hopefully growing) income for us, but it's an outlet for me. As a mom home with 2 small children, one being special needs, I get stuck in the deep hole of being mom and only mom -- nothing else. When I find "me time" I love spending it working on something for my business -- whether it be putting in real research into herbalism and aromatherapy, growing/harvesting/drying my herbs, designing packaging, creating new lines/recipes, advertising (online! social media!), customer service and everything else that goes with it. It feeds my need to be in the "business world" without having to run someone ELSE's business. And, it's close to my heart and I'm PASSIONATE about each and every product, which is why it means SO MUCH to me. 

Did you ever think you'd be doing this?  What did you think you'd be doing instead? 

I never really imagined exactly WHAT I'd be doing one day. Once I had children I knew that I wanted to stay home with them. I don't know where this will lead me, or if this is the only path I'll take, but I know that it's going to continue to be a main path for me. 

Does anyone help you with your shop? 

Not yet, but I'd love to grow enough to be able to have an assistant to help me with some things I just can't make a lot of time for! 

How do you find time to run your shop and create products? 

You'll often find me up late at night researching/reading with a notebook to jot down ideas and create recipes. And during the day I'll be in the kitchen, mixing and creating, usually with at least one kid attached to me!

What do you love about this businesses? 

That I'm excited about it EVERY single day. That the world is becoming more accepting of herbal remedies and natural solutions, and that more and more people are interested in it. 

What is the most challenging part of this business? 

Making time for it while raising a family. 

Where do you see your shop in the future? 

I hope that the future includes a bigger online store, and having my products sold in person in shops and stores. 

Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created? 

I really love it all, but I TRULY love and believe in my all natural calendula salve. I grow calendula and it's BEAUTIFUL. I care for my plants, I harvest, dry and save each petal off of each flower. I infuse them into oils and really put a lot of care into it. I have seen this salve heal almost ANYTHING and I love nothing more than getting notes/emails/messages from customers letting me know how it's changed or helped something for them. 

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs? 

Don't compare your business/products to ANY others. There will be people out there doing the same thing, and it might seem like they sell more, have more customers, or are "better." DO NOT compare yourself. Run your business the way YOU want to and be passionate about it, and it will show through in your products. 

What are some of YOUR favorite shops/products, besides your own? 

I love to support other handmade shops! Two of my very favorites are Hustlemama Handmade, and Marine Parents

Kim, you are so inspiring!  Thanks for your post!

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