This has certainly been a crazy winter here in New England. As I sit and write this post, we are in the midst of our FOURTH Nor'Easter. Four snowstorms in three weeks is a lot, even for those of us who have lived in this area all of our lives. Fortunately, for me, the inclement weather has meant lots of time indoors, sewing. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes when I am sewing! Also, I am the proud new owner of a fabulous Baby Lock serger, pictured here below.
My former serger was purchased second hand, and right around Thanksgiving I began to have problems with it that were going to be costly to repair, so I decided to begin the New Year by investing in this amazing machine--a Rolls Royce of sergers. It works like a dream, and has been the perfect companion for these cold, grey, snowy days.
As you can see from the photo above, I have been working with florals and nature motifs and dreaming of spring, which has arrived, but not in the manner that we had hoped. Oh well, as long as I am sewing I am happy, and can contend with whatever Mother Nature has in store. Here are some projects that I have worked on these past few months.
2017 was a year of growth and discovery for Concord Pillows. December was my busiest month, with regard to both online orders and local business. Happily, an invitation to participate in Concord Art's annual holiday market gave me the opportunity to support the arts in our community and to promote the "shop small" ethos that is so important to me as a small business owner and also as someone who greatly appreciates the importance of being able to do shop locally in a vibrant, authentic commercial setting. Through my Instagram feed I have promoted local businesses and arts organizations, and will continue to do so to the best of my ability. It is always a thrill to meet and interact with folks who are creating beautiful, artisanal products in Concord and surrounding communities. I look forward to creating and consuming products that are not mass-produced, but rather are made carefully by hand locally, and with love.
One of my goals for this year is to research and implement ways in which I can make Concord Pillows, LLC a more socially responsible company. Currently I am researching textile manufacturers who use responsible materials and suppliers who offer sustainable packaging. With this in mind, I was intrigued to read about the newly introduced Everybody, a clothing and lifestyle line based in California that features truly sustainably sourced, responsible materials. While their 100 percent recycled cotton T-shirts may not have much to do with luxury pillows, I feel comfortable dedicating time to this enterprise because I respect and support their commitment to "ethical" and "earth-friendly" production processes. I especially like the concept of their "trash" T-shirt, which uses scraps from the consumer garment-making industry. Thank you to the New York Times for spotlighting Everybody in their ThursdayStyles section on January 19, 2017.
Image courtesy of Everybody.
It is hard to believe that in a few months we will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of Concord Pillows, LLC, as it was in March of 2016 that the company was founded. Since that time I have learned a lot, the greatest lessons being that there will always be more to learn, and that new paths for growth will continue to present themselves. The challenges will be finding the discipline to set priorities, to entertain positive thoughts and to stay true to myself and to my vision. With regard to vision, my hopes and wishes for 2017 are to adhere to the principle of incorporating only fabrics of the highest quality in my designs, with the added scope of seeking out new textile manufacturers who are handcrafting fabrics here in the United States, using ecologically sound practices whenever possible. I will also seek ways to work with recycled products and to promote recycling in general. Even at a young age I was acutely aware of and concerned by the amount of waste that we humans generate, and so I am eager to embrace recycling through Concord Pillows, particularly with regard to packaging.
Another goal for 2017 is to carefully introduce a few new items to the Concord Pillow product line, such as table linens and some seasonal items to sell during the holiday season. This year we celebrated our second Christmas and New Year here in our new home in Concord. I was especially inspired by the beauty of the landscapes and the spirit of the town this season, and hope to reflect some of my appreciation of this spirit through a few special products next winter. I have posted some pictures that my husband and I took while walking during the first snowfall here in Concord, which I hope will give you an idea of what we treasure about this place and why we are grateful to be living here.
To those of you who have supported me in my endeavor to nourish and grow Concord Pillows this year, I offer a heartfelt thank you. I will continue to rely on you for your wisdom, insight and most importantly, your friendship. I am especially grateful to Fritz for his invaluable business sense, patience, optimism and love.
Wishing you a peaceful and prosperous New Year,
Spring in Concord is a magical time. As the temperatures rise and the colors of nature unfurl, it is impossible to resist the temptation to get outside and take in the beautiful vistas that surround us.
Yesterday was a perfect day for a walk to Minute Man National Historical Park, which was flooded with groups of elementary students on field trips, some of whom were listening to the tour guides who patiently explained the important events that took place there. It was at the Old North Bridge where colonial militia were ordered to fire on British troops for the first time—The Shot Heard Round the World. Each time I make my way through the Park, I overhear some new and interesting fact about the legendary skirmish that marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Yesterday I learned that the fighting was brief but bloody, and that the incident lasted only three minutes, as the British quickly retreated and marched back to Boston.
This is a common sight at the Minute Man Statue, where everyone takes photos.
Views from the Old North Bridge.
Today was unseasonably cool here in Concord, with strong winds that discouraged outdoor activities—a perfect day for me to stay in and sew. I spent the morning working on this vibrant Ikat fabric by Trend. I love the combination of the deep raspberry color with orange and gray. The design repeat is large so I spent some time thinking about how best to take advantage of the limited fabric that I had—only one yard! I came across it at a fabric store in western Massachusetts. I wish they had more in stock.
In the end I decided on rectangular pillows, which should display nicely the design elements. Tomorrow I will add zippers, stitch fronts and backs together and take some pictures. Stay tuned!
Concord Pillows sustains and rewards me in a number of ways. There is much to do--building this website, managing social media, creating a business plan and, most importantly, designing and sewing beautiful pillows. I relish it all, but wish there were more hours in the day that I could devote to these and the many other tasks involved in launching a company.
Last night we attended the Artrageous benefit gala at The Umbrella Community Arts Center here in Concord, Massachusetts. It was a wonderful event, and we were lucky to be able to bid on and win this fabulous painting by Sara Cassidy Smith of an iconic view of downtown Concord.
The theme of the evening was storytelling, and it struck me that Concord Pillows is the beginning of a story, one that I am beginning to write enthusiastically and one that, no doubt, will take me in more than a few unexpected directions. Please check back often to see how that story unfolds.