As the one year anniversary of this website approaches, it seems like a good time to review how Beautiful Ingredient began. It all started with my daughter's lunchbox. She was in grade school, and as I quickly packed her lunch one morning, I realized I was out of paper napkins. I didn't even have any paper towels. Well, nuts. I looked at the contents of her lunchbox. Yep, she'd need a napkin. I started contemplating my options. How could I get to the store in time before school? I guess she wouldn't be taking the bus today. Do I really need to run to the store for just a napkin? Maybe she could just get a paper towel at school...I'll talk to her about that...
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I'd like to say this happened only once. Oops. Paper napkins were easily forgotten on my grocery list, for some reason. Meanwhile, I was itching for a project. I loved being home with my kids and I had a strong desire to create something, to also work on something all my own. While my little one napped, I started messing around with sewing napkins out of scrap fabric. I liked how they turned out, and so did my daughter. Soon she was picking out her own fabric for her lunchbox napkins. We only used remnant or organic cotton fabric, since I saw that as a way to avoid negatively impacting the environment. And yay, we always had napkins available! To this day, my kids still use handmade napkins every day at school. And at home, for that matter.
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We all do. In fact, I'm using one now. One of the new heathered gray with earthy brown trim as I type, drink coffee, and eat banana zucchini muffins (yes, that was plural). It helps that these handmade napkins have been lasting for years, even with regular machine washing/drying.
After my youngest began going to school, I opened an Etsy shop called Sage & Kai to sell my handmade napkins. I was thrilled to start my own business, though I still had little time to spend on it and so much to learn. We were in the midst of building a house ourselves, and I was wearing a lot of hats. Yet that's one of the things I've loved about having my own business: I get to wear a variety of hats. I found I love to create new products, take pictures, write, connect with other entrepreneurs and customers. I played around with different product concepts and began selling everything from purses to pillows. Marketing didn't come quite as easily. I tend to be on the shy side, and "pushing product" hasn't been my thing. I did not put much effort into marketing my Etsy shop, relying on people finding me on their own through Etsy's system. Somehow I made some sales and was approached by bloggers and magazines, including Martha Stewart Whole Living Magazine and Apartment Therapy - huge thrill!
Then another huge thrill: I was contacted by a buyer at Food52, the wonderful food-loving website that celebrates home cooking. They were building a shop for their site and wondered if I'd be interested in selling products for home cooks through their shop. Uh, yeah! Currently, you can find my Food52 products here and here. New goodies are coming soon, too!
Soon, I started dreaming of building a website of my own. I was seeing that my table linens were my most popular items, and wanted to build on that. I loved the idea of thinking about cooking food all day, maybe even developing recipes. I've enjoyed cooking and playing with recipes, and was motivated to ease up on refined foods. When I watched the Forks Over Knives documentary, a lightbulb went off. Eating more foods that were actual, real foods and plant-based made so much sense, given the research and connection to a healthier me, my family, and my planet. I knew that those were the sorts of recipes I wanted to build. I worked to become Forks Over Knives Plant-Based Certified and started figuring out how to start a website with a blog. The concept tied in perfectly with the handmade table linens I wanted to continue selling. I came up with a new name; Beautiful Ingredient seemed to fit my concept well. So this site was born just under a year ago. I've learned so much, even with marketing - though I still don't consider that my strength. I still get to wear lots of hats for now, and am slowly but surely making my way.
NEWSFLASH: A special pre-holiday subscriber sale of limited edition handmade products, based on the items I made in my Etsy shop -with discounts 45-60% off!- is going on this week only (10/11-10/14). To get in on the action, subscribe to receive the Beautiful Ingredient email, which includes the latest news, including a link to this sale. Sign-up form is on the top right of this page.
OK, I am now going to grab my marketing hat and attempt to wear it: Introducting new products for the holiday season!
I am loving this Granite Gray fabric. It's like my best-selling heathered gray only warmer and darker, also made of organic cotton/hemp so it's strong and beautiful, and also with little flecks of color since it's made with fabric scraps collected from the mills, saved and made into something lovely and useful instead of ending up in a landfill.
LARGE HEATHERED GRANITE NAPKINS
These new heathered granite napkins come in six new color trims in the Ocean Collection: midnight blue, seafoam, shore pine, pearl, shell pink, and stone gray. They're sold in sets of all six colors, five colors (minus shell pink), or sets of four of your choice in trim color. Ideal for holiday gatherings and everyday meals.
(click on the images below to go to the applicable shop page)
HEATHERED GRAY & GRANITE ZEN POTHOLDERS
Sold individually or as a set that includes one of each heathered color, these new Zen Potholders feature that signature Beautiful Ingredient organic stitch lines and triple layer protection inside, so counters and tables can be well protected.
LARGE HEATHERED GRAY NAPKINS IN EARTHY BROWN
There's now a set of the heathered gray napkins you love in an earthy brown. Thanksgiving, anyone?
The large napkins offered in the Handmade Shop are created with the idea that they can serve any occasion, whether fancy or everyday. Currently, the top sellers. Organic cotton/hemp.
The heathered gray napkins trimmed in straw gold/ecru are currently featured in HGTVMagazine's October 2016 issue.
When setting the table for a gathering, these potholders add charm to the table while protecting its surface. Organic cotton.
A gorgeous way to clean those counters, these dishcloths are knitted with 100% linen yarn. Gloriously lovely while strong, absorbent, and a good scrub factor. Linen.
Cherry blossom coasters are currently available, featuring fabric I designed. Not too thick so a glass doesn't tip off, and absorbent so if the glass drips on it, there's no wiping necessary. Organic cotton.
Well, those are the highlights. These are items I use daily myself, so I feel good about selling them to you. I sooo appreciate your support and enthusiasm throughout this past year. You are a big part of why I love what I'm doing.
So this is for you:
Enjoy 25% off anything and everything in the shop! Yes, really! Hurry, this sale is only through Monday. And yes, make the most of $5 shipping in the USA . The holidays are coming! Note, the code includes "10" as in October (not "20" for 2016).
ONE MORE THING:
I REALLY, REALLY APPRECIATE THOSE OF YOU WHO TAKE A MOMENT TO SUBSCRIBE TO EMAILS THAT I SEND OUT WITH NEWS ABOUT WHAT I'M UP TO. THIS IS FOR YOU LOVELY SUBSCRIBERS: