Welcome to the second Local Love post, where I interview my favorite Connecticut creators. Missed out on the first one? Go back and read my interview with Brittany Morgan, the sassy hand lettering latté and confetti addict behind Glitter & Bold.
Every entrepreneur has a fellow entrepreneur (or a few) they aspire to be — someone who’s a little further along the path, who you look to for advice during those (frequent) moments of self-doubt. While I admire all of my fellow boss babes, Cinder + Salt‘s Rachel DeCavage is kind of my Fairy Bossmother. (She’s going to hate that.) Rachel and I met at a craft fair in 2011 and became fast friends, working together on lots of collaborations along the way.
Rachel is confident and fearless when it comes to her business, Cinder + Salt (previously sugarplumUSA), her line of low-impact clothing, accessories, and housewares. You might’ve seen me wearing her Dreamcatcher Tank or remember my post about her #LikeABoss Collection. Her hand-drawn designs are uniquely hers, and each t-shirt, sweater, and necktie is screen printed by hand in her East Hartford studio. Cinder + Salt is inspired by the residue of a weekend well spent; the scent of campfire on your clothes and the taste of salt water on your skin.
Sami: When did you start making? Rachel: I’ve always been someone who makes things… I get it from my grandma, I suppose, who taught my sisters and I how to hook rugs when we were like 3 years old. I was using a thread and needle before I knew how to write. Spending my life working with fibers, in many different formats, and growing up alongside my dad’s commercial printing business seems to have very neatly defined my career path.
You guys know how much I love Rachel DeCavage, right? She’s become a great friend and is a truly inspiring and tireless (seriously, girl, when do you sleep?) entrepreneur. When I helped her out with a photo shoot a few weeks ago, I got a sneak peek at her latest Cinder + Salt collection, and now I’m so pumped to officially share #LIKEABOSS with you!
Inspired by the daily hustle of movers and shakers and lady entrepreneurs, #LIKEABOSS is just as energetic as Rachel herself. Says Rachel, “We designed our products for women who carefully balance their career and personal goals, and crave apparel and accessories that skirt the line. The designs are centered around inspirational phrases and are printed on items that can be worn at work, to the gym, and anywhere in between.”
The motivational prints and tees are just as much a rallying cry as they are encouragement, especially the stayin’ hungry stayin’ foolish design, inspired by the famous Steve Jobs quote. There are five new designs in total, each printed with reclaimed inks on racerback tanks, slouchy pullovers, tote bags, and as 11 x 14 prints.
Time is flying by way too fast and I do not like it. I can’t believe it’s already February 3rd (Suzi’s birthday) — Happy birthday, Suzi! We always celebrate it on the day of the Super Bowl, much to her chagrin. But this year, we (most of us) barely watched the game and instead played board games and chowed down on the yummy cupcakes I made her, so I think we did okay.
Saturday was crazy busy too. I dropped off a bunch of my scrubs and lip & body balms at The Haven Collective, which you can grab there through Valentine’s Day! Afterwards, I drove up to East Hartford to help out with a Cinder + Salt photo shoot, and gave Rachel some pointers on beginner DSLR photography. And of course, she took a few photos of me in front of the awesome backdrop she made. I love this casual color-pop outfit. It kind of reminds me of a kindergarten teacher.
This was my favorite photo of the day, though. Rachel has a new collection coming out soon, so these prints are a sneak peek. ;)
Normally, winter is a time of hibernation for my business, and I don’t usually do events. But one of my goals this year is networking, so I’ve got two lovely events coming up!
I’m so pumped to be part of my very first show as a Nutmeg Collective member. It’s a fantastic, active community of Connecticut businesses. They’re hosting a pre-Valentine’s Day Love Local Market at Get Baked Bakery in Windsor this Saturday & Sunday. I’ll be there Sunday only – hopefully the weather won’t be too bad!
You know how much I love collaborating with Rachel DeCavage of Cinder + Salt. We’ve teamed up with the Haven Collective to host the best Galentine event in Connecticut. Maybe even the best in the Northeast! (Yes, we’re that confident.) Stop by Saturday, February 7th to shop, mingle, and make. Rachel will teach you how to screen print and I’ll have all the mixings for salt scrubs and bath salts. Just make sure to reserve a spot if you want to craft. I’ll also have my Poor & Pretty Apothecary products in tow and Rachel’s bringing her eco-friendly clothing, jewelry, and accessories. We can’t wait!
Five years ago, my friend Mish and I began Poor & Pretty as a way to share our frugal DIYs, beauty tips, thrifted outfits, and favorite places to shop, eat, and play in our great/tiny state of Connecticut. I took the reigns solo a few months in and have continued to pour my heart and soul into this blog. Other than my relationship with Stan, it’s the longest commitment I’ve ever had! This blog pushes me to be creative and live passionately every day. It led me to meeting some of the most inspiring people I know call friends, and empowered me to make the leap into entrepreneurship. And I could not have done it without all of you amazing readers!
To thank all of you for sticking with me these last five years (and hopefully many more!), I’ve got some fantastic goodies for you. I’ve partnered with a few of my favorite Connecticut-based small businesses and lady entrepreneurs to bring you the biggest giveaway bash I’ve ever hosted. These businesses embody everything Poor & Pretty readers hold dear: creativity, a sense of place, a reverence for quality handcrafted goods, and a zest for life. Let’s meet the makers:
Remember Rachel DeCavage of sugarplumUSA? She’s transitioned most of her designs over to her new company, Cinder + Salt. Her focus remains on creating eco-friendly, sustainable clothing and accessories for men and women. The new brand is inspired by the residue of a weekend well spent; the scent of campfire on your clothes and the taste of salt water on your skin. Through Rachel’s hand drawn designs, she always aims to capture her appreciation for nature, whole living and authenticity.
Cinder + Salt is giving away a $20 gift card to their shop, so you can use it on any of Rachel’s hand-drawn designs — whether it’s on a tee, a comfy slouchy pullover, an overnight bag, skinny tie, or even ornaments! Check out her shop here. Details on how to win the $20 gift card is at the end of this post.
The Confetti Bar’s Jessica Serra Huizenga is on a mission to “spread happiness & confetti all around.” She’s doing a great job of it, too, with over 40 unique handcrafted confetti mixes, including biodegradable and plantable options. She does customization for weddings, birthdays, or other fun events, and has worked with kate spade new york and West Elm. She’s one of my favorite inspiring Instagrammers.
Jessica has been sweet enough to donate one cup of confetti to the Poor & Pretty Blogiversary Giveaway Bash, so go look at all of her pretty mixes! I’m especially fond of Reindeer Food (made with real oats!) and Unicorn Dandruff (pictured above). Details on how to win is at the end of this post.
Meet the Gale sisters! From left to right: Rory (younger sister), Callie (middle sister), and Addy (older sister), founders of Hartford Prints!, a boutique letterpress shop right in thehart of Connecticut. From stunning wedding invitations to offbeat greeting cards, Addy’s printing prowess, Callie’s killer style, and Rory’s graphic genius work together to make effortlessly beautiful designs. They just celebrated one year in their retail space on Pratt Street, and if you’re in the area and haven’t popped in, you should definitely visit the bright turquoise shop.
They’re giving away a 6 pack of their punny holiday greeting cards – 2 each of the above designs. A few of my friends can expect to see these from Stan and I this year. ;) Details on how to win the greeting card pack is at the end of this post.
Like her unique, handcrafted jewelry, Kate Stephen is a total gem. She creates beautiful, sculptural adornments with natural and upcycled materials. Some of her favorite materials are copper, brass, handpicked seashells, sea glass, stones and vintage beads. She made me the lovely copper necklace and wire-wrapped quartz ring I wore in my Something Wicked outfit post. As a fully self-employed entrepreneur, Kate works tirelessly to inspire and foster community within the Connecticut maker community, which is why she co-founded State of Makers. Details on how to win is at the end of this post.
Kate has contributed one of her half moon brass necklaces as a giveaway item. It features a sculpted and hammered brass half moon on a brass chain. Kate would like you to know that copper and brass naturally oxidize over time and develop a patina. Some people love that look and some prefer to keep it shiny. Here are some suggestions for how to shine up your copper or brass jewelry using common household supplies like lemon juice or ketchup.
Who bakes the best cupcakes (and sometimes s’mores) in Connecticut? Carrie Carella, founder of NoRA Cupcake Company, nestled North of Rapallo Avenue in downtown Middletown. With over 100 flavors, I can’t say I’ve tried them all, but believe me I’m working on it! So far, I’m all about the Bananas Foster, Irish Car Bomb, and Raspberry Lemonade.
Carrie is giving one lucky Poor & Pretty reader a coupon good for any 6 cupcakes from her bakery. You can bring ‘em to your next holiday party (they’re big enough to share), or you can keep them all to yourself while muttering “my precious” under your breath. We won’t judge you either way. ;) And if you’re nearby this Thursday, stop in for NoRA’s First Thursday to stroll, shop, eat and drink in the local vibe! I’ll be there with my Apothecary products. Details on how to win the NoRA Cupcake Company 6-pack coupon is at the end of this post.
Northeast Nutmeg is the new kid on the block, having just launched last month. Founders Erin and Allie have a knack for inventing deliciously creative handmade candles that both smell and look incredible. Each candle is made using soy wax from soy grown right here in the USA and feature lots of local Connecticut small business ingredients.
Erin and Allie are giving away one of their hand-poured candles! All of their scents are wonderful — I just bought a bunch of them and haven’t decided if I’m going to keep them all to myself or give them as gifts. It’s been that kind of holiday shopping season for me! They will also be at NoRA’s First Thursday this week. (I’ll have to control myself.) They’re also hosting a candle-making demonstration at the Haven Collective on December 14th. Want to win the Northeast Nutmeg soy candle? Details below.
OMG How do I win?!I know, it’s a little overwhelming. What do you choose? So many awesome things! Here’s the deal: Scroll through the items in the Rafflecopter box below until you’ve selected the item you’d like to win and enter your email address. Then, leave a comment on this blog post about what you entered to win (and if you’re going to keep it or gift it ;) You can score extra entries by sharing this giveaway with your friends or following any of these wonderful companies on Twitter. Please only enter once, and for one item. We want to spread the joy around by letting lots of people win this holiday season. If we catch you using alter egos or different email addresses, we’ll sadly have to disqualify your entries. :( The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only until 11:59 pm Monday, December 8th. Good luck!!! This contest is closed – thank you for entering! Congrats to the winners!