Friday, July 31, 2015

Nutmeg Collective Instagram: Designer Dwellings

We have some great photos in our #nutmegcollective Instagram feed. 
 On a regular basis, we'll feature some of our favorite photos here!

A photo posted by Alonda Baird Juhasz (@abdesigned) on

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Colchester Farmers' Market 2015

Held weekly on the Town Green, the Colchester Farmers’ Market is another great Sunday market known for its small town charm and all things local.  Get there early (the market runs from 9am to 1pm) for the best selection of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, seafood and more.   While the market does have all the wonderful things you expect to find at a farmers’ market, this one also features many local artisans.

This year the market is hosting a few special events including a kids' market on August 23 featuring Nutmeg Collective members Milo and Molly and Treefort Naturals as well as some of our collective friends.  Laurie Lynne’s Jewelry will be doing a free clay bead workshop for kids, and local kids will even have the opportunity to sell their own handmade items.

On September 13 the market will host an event dedicated to highlighting local artisans.  In addition to market regulars like Purring Pottery, Treefort Naturals and Spencer Hill Jewelry, artisans from around the state will be there to display and sell their beautiful items.  You can even expect to see a wheel-thrown pottery demo and a fiber artist spinning yarn from raw wool.

If you are looking for a laid back Sunday market to visit this summer, Colchester may be just the place for you.  And if you’d like to make a day of your visit, go into town, grab some Cato Corner cheese and fresh bread from the market and head over to Priam Vineyards for a relaxing afternoon of wine tasting.

Open every Sunday from 9am-1pm from June to October on the Colchester Town Green

Owner of Treefort Naturals, mom to 3 young kiddos and nature lover, Jessica Eveleigh started making soap as part of an eco-conscious lifestyle overhaul. Her handcrafted soap business offers natural alternatives to commercial products, all made with 100% natural & organic ingredients.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shop Spotlight: RiverDog Prints

Meet Cyn Thomas of RiverDog Prints from Avon, Connecticut.

"My business was named for my dog, Scout, who is an almost 14-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I think of her as my partner, even though she is now almost deaf and sleeps about 20 out of 24 hours. My connection with her drives quite a bit of what I create and how it's produced. All RiverDog Prints products are as eco-friendly as possible, using only recycled paper and envelopes produced by wind power. The other materials I use have to fit within that earth-friendly philosophy and can sometimes be difficult to source, but it’s a commitment I feel strongly about in both my business and personal life.

I am an extremely late-bloomer as an artist. The fact that I can draw and paint still surprises me. I began RiverDog Prints in 2004 as a part-time venture with the idea that it would be a destination for well-designed pet photo cards. It did well in its small way initially, but a few urgent family matters put the business on hold for an extended period of time. When I was able to return, photo cards had become big business for some major companies, so I decided to switch creative gears and create stationery. It has developed into many paper goods, greeting cards, art prints, canning & preserving papers, notepads, notebooks, as well as gifts, like recipe binders, tea towels and totes.

I create my art, paper goods and gifts out of my home studio in Avon, as well as in my new out-of-house studio and shop, Hello!, in Simsbury. Hello! Artisan Shop & Studio is a joint venture with two other creative business owners, Kristen Skelton of Milo & Molly and Vanessa Felie of QueenVanna Creations. We have an Open House scheduled for the evening of August 27 as our first official event. We are still defining and planning what Hello! can offer to our other creative colleagues and the local community, but we’re excited about the opportunities for the future.

I also am in the beginning stages of offering logo design and branding to businesses. You can look at my portfolio here,  This new direction has been great so far! I've loved creating logos and graphics for some very talented people."

See more of Cyn's work in her Etsy shop
or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


Would you like to be a featured in the Shop Spotlight?
Active Nutmeg Collective members fill out this form!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Local Love: Pure Elements Co.

From Stamford, Connecticut, experience the made-to-order, all-natural sugar scrubs, handmade aromatherapy 100% soy candles, hand and lip balms from Pure Elements Co.

"Pure Elements Co has been in business since 2009. I had started out creating scrubs for my own use and once my friends & family started using them too and liking them, they pushed me to start up my own business.

We have all natural sugar scrubs (for men & women), hand & lip balms, body oils (moisturizer or for massages) and soy wax aromatherapy candle.

It was initially a challenge finding a market and niche where I can sell my products but once I started going to art fairs and holiday markets, the company and products got a lot more exposure which helped spread the word and got a lot more sales.

However although we have our products in some in stores and yoga studios in Stamford, we are mainly an online business, so making sales on a regular basis isn't always consistent.

It has been an educational and interesting learning curve, finding the right sources for ingredients and other items like containers and labels. But I am proud of where we have reached from where we started out and I look forward to the years ahead."

Phone: (646) 710-0125

Find Pure Elements Co. on Facebook.


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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Little Rose Studio

Meet Cynthia Kalmanides of Little Rose Studio out of Norwalk, Connecticut.

"I am a wife, mother, and professional designer. I run my business full time out of my home (some days without a sitter, so it gets pretty crazy around here :) I am dedicated to my shop and always finding ways of improving my craft. I find passion in DIY projects around the house, and I look for inspiration everywhere.

I started my shop out of a desire to create, and work for myself at the same time. I attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where I earned a degree in Fashion Design, and shortly after moved to NYC to begin my career as a fashion designer. Along the way, I learned to design graphically and realized that I loved it more than working with fabric. 

After years of experience as a "graphic fashion illustrator", and other positions in the fashion field, I began doing freelance graphic design gigs on my own while working full-timeAfter settling down and having a child, I decided being a work-at-home mom and running my own small business was the ideal job for me. I had designed some of my daughter's event invitations and thought that would be a path I would truly enjoy, and so Little Rose Design Studio was born. My daughter's middle name is Rose, so that is where the name derives :)

I am a one-woman show here at Little Rose Design Studio, I do it all from designing to customer service. (Days without a babysitter means I do it all during naptime!). I conduct seasonal research to be on trend, but work hard at each design to make them all unique from anyone else's. I do have my own style, and any artwork used in my designs is all illustrated by me, making every creation truly original."

See more of Cynthia's work in her Etsy shop
or connect with her on Facebook.


Would you like to be a featured in the Shop Spotlight?
Active Nutmeg Collective members fill out this form!

Monday, July 20, 2015

One Thing: Process Time


Do you know how much time each of your tasks take in your business?  Timing your processes can help with your productivity, give you an accurate way to price your products, and possibly, help you achieve a work/life balance.

Next time you are about execute a single process to create an item, be conscious of the time it takes. How long it takes to make something you sell should be part of it's total cost. (For product pricing advice, I think Megan Auman has the best ) The ultimate goal in being a creative maker is to pay ourselves a salary. The time it takes to create must be a tangible and accountable factor in this goal.

Not everything can have a set amount of time in creating (such as designing, painting, photography, etc.), but you can set limits or time periods that work best for you. Email, social media, accounting, packaging, shipping... there are so many things that take your time. When you know how much time these things take, it empowers you and your business to make solid choices.

If you do One Thing for your business this week, mark your time and use the information to your benefit!

Cyn Thomas is the illustrator, designer and pattern maker of RiverDog Prints. Her paper goods and gifts are guided by earth, animals, function, food and cocktails. You can also find Cyn canning in her kitchen, walking her dog, being outnumbered by her boys and husband or reading herself to sleep.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |

Friday, July 17, 2015

Offering Shop Gift Cards

Gift cards are a popular and convenient choice for customer's looking for a gift-giving option. Especially for businesses with longer production times this increases the sale probability when time constraints are a factor. Each time a gift card is purchased from your shop this brings the recipient (now a new customer) to your door. The best part? When using a gift card, customers tend to be less worried about price points!

When creating your listing make sure to follow these tips:
  • Choose if you would like to mail a physical item such as a gift certificate or send a digital file also known as an e-card. Tip: Be creative because this is a nice marketing opportunity. 
  • Be clear in your listing that this gift certificate is specific to your Etsy shop. 
  • Decide how you will handle a carried balance. Revised paypal invoices are a great way to keep track. Include this information in the listing or have it accompany your gift card. 
  • Update your policies to include your gift card information. 
  • In order to accept gift cards you must enable "other" as a checkout option. This feature can be found in your Etsy settings. 
  • Gift cards issued in Connecticut "may not have an expiration date or inactivity fee." Per the CT Department of Consumer Protection

For the full how to listing guide you can read the Etsy Blog

Resources for customized plastic gift cards:

Written by Alonda Baird-Juhasz, owner of Designer Dwellings, who believes in adding color to life. An avid DIYer, sparkle-loving, all things fabulous addict, her shop features bright and fun home decor accessories and gifts. When not in the shop you can find her interior decorating or visual styling events and photo shoots.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Connecticut Book Stores

The only thing better than day-tripping in Connecticut? Day-tripping to a small, local bookstore!  We polled our members and friends to find their most favorite small, independent bookstores in the state, and the top five are:

Located at 53 West Main Street in Mystic, CT, they host tons of local events including author luncheons, book signings, and even their own book club.

Find them on Facebook!

How fun is this?: "We have an ever changing collection of over 500,000 books spread out between our four locations, all of which can be found within one mile of each other bordering the ocean in beautiful seaside Niantic. Whether you want to come to browse our stacks of books, spend some quality time with our cats, or just relax with a picnic in our beautiful gardens, Book Barn Niantic is the destination for you."  Located along Main Street.
Find them on Facebook!

Penny's Bookshelf

The ultimate swap shack: "Penny's Bookshelf is a used bookstore that has been in business for more than 20 years. Bring in your unwanted books and get store credit that pays for half the price of the used books in the store."  Owner Penny knows what she has in stock and if she doesn't have it, she'll let you know when she does.

Find them on Facebook!

A Washington, CT staple The Hickory Stick carries the latest books, and similarly to Bank Square Books, also holds author events, signings, and has a book club.

Find them on Facebook!

Located in Madison, "R.J. Julia opened nearly 25 years ago as an independent bookstore whose mission was, and is, to be a place where words matter, where writer meets reader, where the ambiance and selection and merchandising of books creates an atmosphere that is welcoming and presents the opportunity for discovery. Ultimately we are fiercely committed to putting the right book in the right hand."
Find them on Facebook!

Did we list your favorite small bookstore?  Tell us yours in the comments!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sugar-Free Blackberry Freezer Pops

I’ve been trying to use my garden in different ways than I have in the past to create fresh food and treats. I snagged a copy of the people’s pops cookbook at the library. It’s a book of 55 recipes from a pop shop in Brooklyn, NY. Excellent summer inspiration…

In the past, my husband has removed refined sugar from his diet. He encouraged me to try eating this way, and after some resistance, I hopped on board the sugar-free “loco”-motive. In reality, it wasn’t a big sacrifice. The adults in our house (me and him) try not to eat processed foods that we don’t process ourselves (jams, pickles, etc.) I snack on nuts/seeds more often and have developed a dangerous watermelon addiction.

I got my hands on the last of the blackberries at my CSA. I found the perfect recipe in paging through the pops cookbook. I only had a half of a pound of blackberries, so I adapted the recipe for blackberry, yogurt & honey pops. To make the pops sugar-free, I needed an alternative sweetener. I made stevia syrup by boiling a 4 to 1 ratio of water to stevia crystals and steeped mint leaves from our garden in it for a few hours.

Blackberry, Yogurt & Honey Pops*

1/2 pound blackberries
1/3 cup mint stevia syrup
1/4 cup organic yogurt (I used greek-style)
2 T. honey
2 T. fresh lemon juice

In a food processor or blender, puree all the ingredients until mixed well.
Strain the mixture through a sieve. I used a metal strainer, but you can use
cheesecloth or something similar to remove the seeds. Pour your mix into pop
molds, making sure to leave a bit of room for expansion after they freeze.
Makes four delicious pops – enjoy!

*based on the people’s pops recipe

You can get your own copy of the people’s pops 55 recipes for ice pops, shave ice,
and boozy pops from brooklyn’s coolest pop shop here.

Cyn Thomas is the illustrator, designer and pattern maker of RiverDog Prints. Her paper goods and gifts are guided by earth, animals, function, food and cocktails. You can also find Cyn canning in her kitchen, walking her dog, being outnumbered by her boys and husband or reading herself to sleep.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Solstice Handcrafted

Jeanine makes natural and organic skin care and make-up for her shop, Solstice Handcrafted.

"I am a full time creative, running two small businesses from my home, Solstice Handcrafted and Jeanine Rose Photography. I have a passion for natural products, raw imagery, good food and remote wilderness. A portion of my heart is fully devoted to the Bergamasco Sheepdog. We have five of these beautiful dogs. I am drawn to all things rustic and natural and my businesses are an extension of that.

I started out making skin care products for myself and my family. I wanted to make sure my formulas were non-toxic and from the best ingredients I could find. They became popular among family and friends and they were seeing real results. Their skin was improving and they became supportive evangelists of my home made formulas. Eventually I had enough interest to start this as a real business.

I make everything by hand in my home. All my formulas are unique and created with naturopathic and scientific principles in mind. Some of the ingredients I grow myself and what I don't grow I sourced from only certified organic sustainable sources."

See more of Jeanine's work in her Etsy shop
or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Would you like to be a featured in the Shop Spotlight?
Active Nutmeg Collective members fill out this form!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Nutmeg Collective at West Elm

Treefort Naturals

"West Elm is launching a new pop-in shop carrying an exclusive collection of locally designed goods." Yes, they are! And every maker is a Nutmeg Collective member. West Elm is hosting a launch party for the public to meet the makers on July 16, which you can RSVP on Facebook here.

New Antiquity


Hartford Prints!

Mystic Knotworks
West Elm is known for supporting its local community and carrying locally made and designed products in their stores. We're excited that they have selected so many Nutmeg Collective members for the Westport, Connecticut location.

Come out and support these local makers at West Elm!

Launch Party
Thursday, July 16, 2015
6:00 to 9:00 pm

37 Main Street
Westport, Connecticut
(203) 226-2311

Cyn Thomas is the illustrator, designer and pattern maker of RiverDog Prints. Her paper goods and gifts are guided by earth, animals, function, food and cocktails. You can also find Cyn canning in her kitchen, walking her dog, being outnumbered by her boys and husband or reading herself to sleep.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |