Thursday, April 30, 2015

Local Love: Roxy Grace

Get to know Roxy Grace and Company that offers all natural Do It Yourself Lip Balm, Bath Fizzies and Body Scrub Kits for girls.

"Roxy started out with three partners. We had started a health and wellness blog, more information-based then product-based to help drive awareness about natural and healthy alternatives. In the process of researching products and realizing the US hasn't regulated beauty products since 1938, we thought, 'wouldn't it be great to teach young girls about natural beauty products by having them make their own all natural and safe products, so they know how important it is from a young age to think about what you are putting on your skin?' We met with an esthetician with over 15 years experience in creating natural and safe products.  She had the same passion we had and our formulas were created.

We started meeting such amazing people as we began to launch and spread the word about our new company. We were very grateful with all the help and encouragement we were getting along the way.  Then we met an amazing woman, who had created a non-profit Gratitude movement called The Look for the Good Project to help fight violence and bullying with gratitude, and we knew that adding a Gratitude component to our do-it-yourself kits was the path we were meant to take. We are now heavily promoting our Kindness Club in schools and with organizations, to help spread the word about all natural and also about anti-bullying."

Be Kind. Be Creative. Be Grateful. ™

Our Story
Roxy Grace and Company is a Connecticut based LLC that manufactures all natural Do It Yourself Lip Balm, Bath Fizzies and Body Scrub Kits for girls.

Our Mission
To instill values, build self-esteem and develop social skills through meaningful creativity while encouraging the practice of kindness and gratitude.

Our Products
Roxy Grace and Company Do It Yourself Kits contain 100% natural ingredients. We believe it is important to provide products that are free of synthetics and additives to ensure quality, purity and safety.

Meet Roxy Grace
I’m Roxy Grace and I believe that kindness is cool. I want to shift attitudes and promote important values through social activity that has meaning and purpose. My do it yourself kits allow me to directly connect with every user and remind them that you can do something good and have fun at the same time.

Find Roxy Grace on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

DIY Whipped Soap

This has been an ongoing experiment, which started when I began making my own dog soap. Puppies need a pH of 7 and most cold process soap falls above that range. I began by mushing up soap and adding vinegar to shreds to lower the pH. I would wash the dog by rubbing my soap shred vinegar mush to her. A few weeks ago, I had a brilliant idea, now I am using this to wash my hair, wash my dog and I will be posting some whipped soap scrubs shortly on

This is a very simple DIY recipe:
  • Shredded cold process soap of your choice - must be made with lye (sodium hydroxide) 
  • Apple cider vinegar ( I used Bragg's Organic) 
  • Water (I used distilled)

1. Measure about 2 small handfuls of soap shreds in a microwave safe container

2. Add a large spoonful of apple cider vinegar to the shreds

3. Microwave shreds and vinegar about 30 seconds - does not smell good the ACV is strong. 
Be careful -- it gets hot.

4. This is about what my shreds looked like when I added about 1/3 cup of water. 
 Microwave again 30-45 seconds. 
 Watch while microwaving, it bubbles & needs to be stopped before it bubbles over.

5. Remove from microwave & whip with fork, be careful it will be hot.

6. Mix until shreds dissolve more.

7. This is how it looked shortly after. I shook it a few times in a mason jar.

8. After sitting overnight in the mason jar, I whipped it a little with a fork. 
 I added a few drops of tea tree to this batch, because it is my own shampoo now. 
 Dog doesn't get tea tree, she gets rosemary!

I love it! I will be continuing to play with the recipe to get a thinner more liquid mixture. This will be on within a month with a Honey Bunny Whipped Sugar Scrub mixture!!

Erin Egan of Pure Naked Soap is a mom to three girls and social worker by day, but at night she is a creator of body nourishing foods and skincare products. Diagnosed with multiple allergies, Erin makes most of her foods and all of her soaps and skincare products from scratch. Using whole ingredients that meet the needs of her body, she found that many other people were interested in simpler, truly natural soaps. Check out her selection of body friendly products!
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Wanelo |

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Freckles

Meet Kristin Cruz and discover her lovely shop, Freckles, filled with custom-made, modern baby bedding.

"My name is Kristin Cruz. I am married to my best friend, David. We have three beautiful children. Lessandro is 5, Luca is 2 and Madison is 1. I am fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my kids and work from home. It can be quite challenging to balance it all, but we make it work for us.

Someone recently asked me how I do it all and my answer was 'with the help of my amazing, supportive husband and family, A LOT of iced coffee and many late nights.' My sister and mother have been so good to me. They have helped me so much. My sister, Alyssa, is a champ. Even with her own, very busy life, she has been so helpful to me. My mother still helps me every week. I send some prep work with her and it's been a huge help. I've learned that to be successful, it is vital to have a great support system behind you and I am proud to say that I do!

I started sewing in high school and have always loved making different things for friends and family. Once I had Lessandro, I had an interest in anything baby so I started making baby items and opened up an Etsy shop to help supplement some income. It started out as a hopeful dream and here I am four years later with a very successful business that I am happy to call my own.

I started out making small items like bibs, pacifier clips and blankies. As my shop started to get noticed in the Etsy world, I got more and more custom order requests. I really didn't say no to any custom request. This is how I learned what was popular and what would sell in my shop.

Now, I primarily make custom crib bedding and nursery accessories including changing pad covers and rail protective covers. I have over a hundred fabric options and everything is custom made. I love to help with the design process but many of my customers have ideas of what they want and I am grateful that they choose me to bring their visions to life! I truly love what I do."

See more of Kristin's work in her Etsy shop, Freckles.
or connect with her on Instagram.


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Active Nutmeg Collective members fill out this form!

Monday, April 27, 2015

One Thing: Check Your E-Mail.

Technology is an integral resource for businesses to run their daily operations, from conference calling to live chat sessions, from Instagramming products to sending out a tweet to announce a new endeavor.  We are living in a digital business era, so it's best to keep on top of it as much as possible.

One of the oldest and most useful forms of digital technology is e-mail.  E-mail allows people from all over the world to instantly contact each other with the push of the "send" button.  Use of e-mail is so prevalent, a unique e-mail address is provided to college students upon enrolling, and most businesses provide employees with one as well.  Once you have an e-mail established for your business, the best thing you can do is make sure you use it.

Communicating with clients, customers, event planners, and other folks who may help your business along is extremely important.  Because so many people use e-mail as a main form of communication, it's super important to check your account on a regular basis so as not to miss important information or leave someone hanging waiting for a reply.  Keeping on top of your email is one of the most important forms of digital etiquette.  If you aren't able to access your mail at any given time, plan to check it in the morning and evening at the least in order to keep up with new messages coming in.  This also gives you a routine time in your schedule to ensure that you reply to messages in a timely manner. 

Written by Kristen of Milo and Molly.  Kristen runs her business while staying at home with her two small children. Fueled by an endless supply of tea, she sews late into the night when the house is quiet, most often accompanied by her faithful poodle, Casey.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gift Guide: Mother's Day

Ma.  Mom.  Mother.  Mommy.  Mama.  MOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!

Let's help this woman know that she's the best advocate, therapist, boo boo-healer, and toy finder on the planet. Let's give her something special.  It could be big or small - $3 or $3000 - made by local artisans or by her own little artists.  Just something that communicates "Hey, we wouldn't be here without you.  But we're glad we are here WITH you."

This gift guide comes to you from dedicated Connecticut-based artists and artisans of The Nutmeg Collective.  You're sure to find something special for the mom in your life.

1.  Flying Free Swallow Necklace by One Indigo Moon - A bird serves as a symbol of life, freedom, and exploration - valued by moms across the planet.

2.  Spa Gift Set from Poor & Pretty -  She deserves every second of pampering she can get.

3.  Mary Chicken Tee by Hickster Tees - Mother Hen, of the Hipster Variety.  Enough said.

4.  Custom House Painting by Melley Nelson Design - She brought you up in this house.  Help her remember the good memories there.

5.  Personalized Zip Pouch by Milo and Molly - She's carried around your sundries for too long.  Now, give her a stylish way to carry hers!

6.  Calendula Calming Soap by Pure Naked Soap - You're the reason she needs to calm down.  Also, Mom STILL deserves every bit of serenity and self-care she can possibly get.

7.  Blue Beaded Earrings by The Tiny Wren - Because one day, Mom will miss little hands tugging on her dangly earrings.  She'll put these on, and probably cry, and tell you all the sweet things you used to do.

8.  Reclaimed Barn Wood Dresser by New Antiquity - Give her something awesome to pass along to you one day!

9.  Sailor's Anchor Pullover by Cinder + Salt - Mom is the family anchor.  Prove it.

10.  Honey Lip Balm by Treefort Naturals - see #2 and #6.  I'm not kidding.

11.  Painted Bamboo Utensils Set by Designer Dwellings - you can get these in any color - show that special mom you care enough to know what her favorite color is.

So, whether you are the mom, have a mom, or know a mom - join us in celebrating Mother's Day.  Cheers!

Katherine Lile is the chief basketeer and queen bee of Rhymes With Smile. She learned coiled rope basketry and quilting from her mother, and hopes to pass on some awesome crafty skills to her own two children. For now, baskets and quilts take up most of the magical Kid Naptime Hours. When not at the sewing machine, you can find her growing tomatoes, enjoying the outdoors with her family and dog, or trying to drink an entire cup of coffee while it's hot.  Facebook | Twitter | Email

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Local Love: The Brothers Crisp

Meet The Brothers Crisp, makers of artisan hand-sewn shoes in Hartford, Connecticut.

"We have been in business for 2 years making made-to-order footwear and we released our first collection in October 2014. I was inspired to open the business after a life-time of interest in men’s footwear and sneakers. I was inspired by the upswing in local craftsmen and makers, one specific inspiration was Hartford Denim Company. My goal was to design and produce every shoe in house, bringing a fresh perspective to a traditional design.

We make artisan hand-sewn shoes. Customers are able to shop through our online store, or contact us and work with one on one for a made-to-order design and fit. We carry sizes 5-13, and have a wide range of leather and soles to choose from. We also are expanding our wholesale accounts and working with boutiques all over the place which is quite exciting.

Fashion forward men’s footwear is becoming increasingly popular. We market to a wide range of generations keeping our designs traditional and elegant as our grandfathers used to wear, while still catering to the younger crowed by using 80's and 90's sneakers as inspiration as well. However, we create our collections based mostly on our own personal taste and style.

The challenges of setting up The Brothers Crisp has been getting our name out there. Because we are a high end product, it’s important to find the right retail stores. Social media has been extremely helpful to reach more clientele, and launch our new lines not only locally, but globally. Also, we have entered the fashion industry as a maker brand, and therefore, have the added task of figuring out the artisan manufacturing side of the business which comes with a workshop full of machines that need to be working to keep the wheels moving.

This business has been constantly full of surprises and opportunities. The social media response to our products have been amazing and led to clients all over the world. It’s funny to us that our best customer (he has 6 pairs) is a doctor from Singapore. We would never have guessed that 2 years ago.

We also had an awesome opportunity to pitch to be part of this New York boutique store STORY’s holiday collection this past winter. We got to the pitch event and there was a surprise panelist, Whoopi Goldberg. Crazy. She and the rest of panelist liked the shoes, too, and we were selected to be in the collection.

Currently, we are working on a new line, which will launch in the next month. We are also planning a custom fit event, where guests can not only come and mingle but also get fitted and design their shoe. We are also helping to organize some local markets in our neighborhood in Hartford, Parkville. Be on the lookout for those this summer - delicious local food and music."

1477 Park Street Suite 2E
Hartford, CT 06106
1 (860) 385 2040

Currently open Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm

Find The Brothers Crisp on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter.


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nutmeg Collective Out and About: Weekend Markets

Craft show and market season is upon us, which means that members from The Collective will be out in your community ready to share their goods with you.  Here's where you can find us this coming weekend:

The Love Local Market at Get Baked bakery in Windsor will be back in full swing for our fifth monthly event!  Come and see us from 10-3 on Saturday and 10-2 on Sunday.

Saturday: Doug Hockman Photography, RiverDog Prints, Milo and Molly, Good For You Spa, The Leather Genie, and Hickster Tees

Sunday: Doug Hockman Photography, RiverDog Prints, Milo and Molly, The Leather Genie, Hickster Tees, Queenvanna Creations, Treefort Naturals, MSD Design, Evelyn Pelati, and The Octopress

The Shops at 485 New Park in West Hartford are holding their Spring Fling this Friday night from 4-7 and Saturday from 10-4.  We'd love for you to stop in!

Friday: The Leather Genie, Pure Naked Soap, Solstice Handcrafted, and Glitter & Bold

Saturday: Cottage Wicks, The Octopress, Pure Naked Soap, Solstice Handcrafted, and Glitter & Bold

With Mother's Day coming and college graduations on the horizon, this is the perfect opportunity to pick up some amazing gifts, locally made in Connecticut.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Lily Pad Prints

Meet Tracy Kavanaugh from Lily Pad Prints and view her beautiful and natural photography.

"I am the photographer behind Lily Pad Prints. my photography focuses mainly on the natural world. I am continually amazed by nature and love capturing all that I find amazing, with my camera. I want my viewers to see my appreciation for nature and maybe, in turn, their appreciation will grow as wellMy greatest hope is that this appreciation will ultimately lead to my photography helping ( in any small way) in the preservation of what we have left of this beautiful world we live in.

My shop is mainly nature photography. I really started taking photographs after one of my college art professors suggested I try photography as a way to capture my love of nature. Once I started, I was hooked and ending up graduating college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography. Once I graduated, I started selling photo cards at craft shows and then a few years later opened a shop on Etsy and have been growing that shop since.

I have also added newborn, family, high schools senior and wedding photos to my repertoire these past few years. I even quit my day job this past September to fully pursue my photography career and have been loving it."

See more of Tracy's work in her Etsy shop, Lily Pad Prints.
or connect with her on her blogFacebook and Pinterest.


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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Social Media Etiquette: All Platforms

Navigating various social media platforms can be overwhelming.  Each one seems to have its own "rules" for posting and interacting.  Below, we've listed some general guidelines that follow an unspoken etiquette for social media.

  • Think about the number of posts you make per day, don't inundate your followers.
  • Straight-up self promotion should be kept to a minimum.
  • Keep tagging to a minimum. Tagging shouldn't be used to encourage people to look at your posts. People like to control their own feeds.
  • Tag only when giving credit to someone who played a role in the subject of your post or photo. (i.e. location, product, creative talent, etc.)
  • Ask some questions privately that should not be public. (i.e. What is your wholesale rate? How do you make this? Why have you not responded to my email?)
  • Do not point out mistakes publicly. (i.e. spelling, grammar, price, etc.) Instead, send a private message if you believe this mistake warrants attention.
  • Refrain from giving unsolicited advice.
  • Do not post anything with customer information, as in, showing a photo of an outgoing shipment that shows a postage label.
  • Always credit the original owner if you regram or share a post.

If you have additional points, please leave them in the comments!  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Local Love: Karma Mala

I founded Karma Mala in January of 2014. After completing yoga teacher training, I wanted to wear a mala to enhance the spiritual connection I found in my practice. While wearing a simple mala that I bought, I soon discovered that the tassel quickly frayed and became ratty looking. I then taught myself the art of mala making, and made a mala with a prayer box pendant I found from Nepal for myself. That first mala got a lot of attention, and I realized that I might be able to make a small business of this. Having a desire to give back in some way, I decided to donate all profit to the Stop Girl Trafficking Program of the American Himalayan Foundation. Each mala sold keeps a girl safe from trafficking for one year by keeping her in their school program. There are over 10,500 girls in Nepal in this program today, and not a single girl has been lost to trafficking once they are in the program.

I create handcrafted designer mala beads, wrist wrap malas and gemstone tassel necklaces. The most popular items are my traditional malas, but the new wrist wrap malas are doing well, as they can be worn during yoga practice. I source beads and pendants through local stores, as well as online. I have been lucky to find one particular source, A World of Good, for handmade prayer boxes, prayer wheels and mandala pendants from Nepal. In additional to supporting the artisans in Nepal, the owner has also done great work there, most recently building a library.

As a one-woman, non-profit company I need to do it all. The sourcing of supplies, designing and creating of each mala is the "love" part of my business. As I work on each mala, I know that when it sells, it will save a girl from trafficking; so a lot of love goes into each piece. It motivates me to do what I do everyday. The business side has been a learning experience. Having never been a participant in social media before, I had to quickly get up to speed in order to engage today's audience. In addition to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, I had to build a website. This was the one area where I had to hire someone to help me. Everything else (i.e. bookkeeping, taxes, social media, order processing, trunk shows, etc.), I do myself in order to maximize the profit that I can donate.

The most amazing thing to me about this business is how it evolved, as if it were meant to be. When I decided to donate all profit from the business, there was not a specific cause at the time that I was connected to. While wearing that first mala I made with a prayer box from Nepal, I researched online for charities hoping to find a connection to something that would motivate me. Almost immediately I came across the American Himalayan Foundation. As I read about their Stop Girl Trafficking program, tears streaming down my face, I knew that I found it - but it was as if it found me. My goal was to save 100 girls my first year, and I'm proud to say that I have exceeded that.

By appointment or 914-768-3285

A selection of malas can also be found at 
Wishlist, 606 Post Road East, Westport, CT

Find Karma Mala on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.


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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Packaging Evolution

Over the course of several years of wrapping up stationery for my (then) paper shop, the way I packaged my goods evolved. As my product line became more refined, and my cashflow more fluid, I was able to change the packaging to reflect those changes. I wrote about this a while ago over at Handmade Success, and thought it would be a good topic to revisit here on the Nutmeg Collective!

When starting out, I had limited funds for packaging, but I still made sure to keep my brand (logo) a focal point and the packaging clean, well fitted and pretty! I want to really stress "well fitted". Sloppy or ill-fitted packaging says a lot about you, your business and your care; none of them positive.

Initially, I used biodegradable clear bags with the sealing strip attached. Product information was printed on folded cards, included the product name on the front along with my logo, and on the back any further info like my website. I made sure to include the card topper inside the clear bag. This kept it clean (especially good if you're selling wholesale to other shops), helped the packaging look tidy and nothing additional was needed to secure it.

The next stage of my packaging came when I decided to change my logo. I started using biodegradable, one piece, clear boxes. I bought small hang tags from and punched the holes myself. I tried to coordinate the ribbon with the image on the cards. The boxes were sealed with small round labels I purchased from the same place I bought the boxes. Sometimes I used twine and sometimes I used satin ribbon. The hang tags had my logo on the front and my website on the back. Clean looking and easy to manage.

The final stage of my packaging transformation was moving to linen-textured, two-piece boxes. This really made a statement. I always had lovely feedback on my packaging, but during this phase my product feedback went through the roof! Customers really appreciate a thoughtful package. I can honestly say, my repeat business also increased after I started using this method.

All the elements for my packaging: Belly bands for the produce, Italian cotton ribbon, hang tags I printed in studio and
a custom wax seal stamp I used on the hangtags occasionally or on the envelope of the handwritten note always included!

Belly bands, with my logo printed on them, kept the cards in place during shipment.

Linen textured box, Italian cotton ribbon and a simple logo hangtag.

Custom wax seal for the envelope of the handwritten note to the buyer.
Regardless of how much you can afford to spend on your product's packaging, you can always find a way to make it look professional. Your clients will appreciate it, and will notice the extra special touches you make to present a thoughtful purchase. A happy client will mean a repeat client!


Patti Wunder of Easton Place Design Studio is the designer for this sweet studio. After her kids head to school, Patti creates logos, packaging, sell sheets, web elements and anything else her clients need for their businesses! Her sidekick, Aggie the Goldendoodle, is a great source of inspiration & reminds Patti to go outside a bit each day. Along with designing, Patti makes time for a pot of Irish Breakfast tea (one sugar & splash of cold milk), dark chocolate and music!  Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest |