It's been awhile since we featured a Connection! Today's featured Connection is Tiffany Kuelthau and TJ-Designs. I met Tiffany almost one year ago and am so happy to see her take her idea to market! Here's what Tiffany has to share about her new business.
Describe your product/service?
TJ Designs is a boutique specializing in custom-made accessories for children. Currently we are focused in the hair accessories area, but will soon be expanding our product lines to include items for boys and babies. Our niche is to provide our customers with all the trendy and traditional colors, patterns and styles, and allow them to “build” the accessory they desire, as opposed to having only ready-made options available to them.
Why did you create it?
I created this company for a few reasons. First, I was always looking for something a little different and unique for my daughter, from the standard bows and headbands I was seeing in the marketplace. So, I simply started making all kinds of hair accessories for her on my own, and that ultimately led to opening my own boutique! The second reason I started this business, was my drive to do something entrepreneurial, while still being a stay-at-home mom. One of my dreams is to build a business from home that is fulfilling to me personally, and that will always allow me the option to stay at home with my two children, Taylor & Jack.
Why do you produce locally? (made in the USA)
Right now, I’m a small shop. Yes, it’s just me! I love to take the time to make something beautiful by hand. Quality is extremely important to me, and I make every accessory as if I were making it for my own daughter to wear.
What are you most proud of?
Of course, I’ll always be most proud of my family, and the life we have together. Outside of that, I’m most proud of actually taking a leap of faith and giving this a true shot. As my family and many friends will tell you, I’m always full of entrepreneurial ideas, yet nothing materializes! So, after a long process of debating whether or not to open a boutique or just keep this as a hobby for my daughter and some of her friends, I thought it seemed like the right time for me to try something, so I did it! It was a lot more work than I ever imagined, so I’m equally proud of the dedication it took to get this done, all the while being a full-time mom to a three year old and two year old!
What is your big thought (next bit step) for your company?
There are two things that I would consider “next big steps”. The first is aligning myself with some boutiques, allowing me the opportunity to introduce not only my hair accessories to a wider audience, but my new product lines as well. I can see partnering with different boutiques to create coordinating accessories to come out with new seasonal lines. The second “big step” is that I would like to expand my product lines, and introduce some boys accessories to start with (can’t forget about my little Jack, and all the other boys out there…) When your two year old son requests a headband every time your daughter wears one, you know you better get cracking!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Please join us in welcoming The Good Life in Burmingham, Alabama as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. At their shop you'll find a collection of lap tees, drawstring pants, flare pants, hoodies, and playsuits.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Please join us in welcoming The Dreamwear Shoppe in Geneva, IL as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. At their shop you'll find a collection of lap tees, crew tees, drawstring pants, flare pants, hoodies, shirt dresses, and our pocket tee and bloomers gift sets.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Hand Picked Pumpkin is turning 2-years-old this month! So what a perfect time to announce the arrival of our toddler sizes! Due to so many requests for bigger sizes we are now offering our very popular shirt dress in 2T, 3T and 4T. Be one of the first to design-it-yourself!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Here's Max our newest Pumpkin of the Month! His mom Emily added this note:
"In his "ride 'em cowboy" overalls from HPP, Max is the wildest buckaroo this side of the Mississippi. And, as a mama equally allergic to sports-themed and heavy equipment-themed baby boy clothes, I'm especially appreciative of the fabulous, gender-neutral fabrics and styles HPP brings to the table."
Congratulations Emily and Max on receiving a $50 HPP gift certificate!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Featured Guest Chef: Stephanie Ito has gifted us with another wonderful treat, Height-of-Summer Gazpacho. Here's what she has to share:
With just a little bit of summer remaining and heirloom tomatoes still flooding the farmer’s markets, at least in my neck of the woods here in Chicago, I am excited to share my best discovery of the month with you. I am calling it Height-of-Summer Gazpacho, because I discovered it at the height of summer. Like last month, I have already made this dish three times in the last few weeks, and am planning on having it for lunch again today. It has quickly become my favorite lunch – a big bowl of flavorful gazpacho with a piece of whole grain toast slathered with cream cheese. I can hardly wait the three hours until lunchtime.
My husband doesn’t eat cucumbers, so I have never really found a gazpacho recipe that we can both get behind. This one uses zucchini in place of the cucumber, so it has a less pronounced flavor and really lets the tomato and avocado shine through. There is a hearty amount of red wine vinegar in this dish too – it might sound like a lot, but it adds a tremendous amount to the flavor – with its tartness it brings out the sweetness and flavor of the heirloom tomatoes I have been getting at the Evanston Farmer’s Market.
The original recipe that I adapted this from called for a bunch more ingredients – olive oil, feta cheese, basil, pine nuts, cumin seeds – but with produce at the peak of its season I don’t think you need all those other things. If you are feeling inspired, feel free to garnish the gazpacho with cheese, nuts, herbs, etc. as you desire. But, rest assured, it will be delicious in its unadorned state.
Makes 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
3 large heirloom tomatoes
1 yellow pepper
1 large zucchini
1 ripe avocado
1 large shallot
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Lots of freshly ground pepper
Coarsely chop all the vegetables and puree them all together in a food processor, or in batches in a blender. Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper. Chill four hours or until cold. Couldn’t be easier!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Please join us in welcoming Jillian Maddie in Farmington, NM as one of our newest brick and morter retailers. At their shop you'll find a collection of lap tees, crew tees, drawstring pants, flare pants, hoodies, shirt dresses, crew bodysuits, hats, yoga pants, pocket tee and bloomers, blankets and burps.