Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Our Market Manager Jac (left), sporting a fabulous headpiece made by Caroline Thomas (right. Check out her work on IG @c_to_the_line

Our Market Manager Jac (left), sporting a fabulous headpiece made by Caroline Thomas (right. Check out her work on IG

@c_to_the_line

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.
Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
Tennessee Williams

Several ReStrung ladies at the Krewe Du Vieux Parade  

Several ReStrung ladies at the Krewe Du Vieux Parade

 

It's Mardi Gras time down here in New Orleans - and the ReStrung Krewe is busy filling orders by day - and making costumes by night! If you didn't know it, our team is made up of some of the most creative women around. Several of us recently got together for the Krewe Du Vieux parade, which officially ushers in the Mardi Gras season. We showed up in some amazing hand made creations and had a ball! The costuming aspect of this season is always an inspiration, and the creativity that can be seen at the local walking parades in the Marigny/Bywater are phenomenal. If you've never experienced Mardi Gras in New Orleans, I highly recommend it. There is so much color, creativity and frivolity to been had this time of year, and wonderful live music on nearly every corner. But don't take my word for it - come on down and see for yourself!

Amiel and Naomi bring blessings to an "initiation ceremony" for Mardi Gras newbies!

Amiel and Naomi bring blessings to an "initiation ceremony" for Mardi Gras newbies!

PS - below is an old blog post I wrote from Mardi Gras 2015. I've included a snippet of it here, because it's as relevant now as it was then:

"Some time ago, a friend asked me if I was always into costuming. And I said of course, I'm from
NOLA! And then they mentioned that Mardi Gras seemed "artificial". If their perception was of revelers drinking on Bourbon St, I guess I can forgive their ignorance. But for me, there is so more to Mardi Gras than drinking and catching plastic beads. There is a spirit of raw energy to it, a sense of shedding your inhibitions and becoming your primal self. When I spend time designing and making costumes, I don't feel like I'm masquerading. I feel like I'm honoring a part of myself that people don't get to see all year. For me, participating in Mardi Gras is anything but artificial. It's completely authentic. It's a time to "let it all hang out," to play like children, to dance in the streets, to challenge my creativity.  It's really a wonderful time for making memories with family and friends - and it reminds me that I should be grateful to live in a place that really celebrates life. Laissez le Bon temps roulez y'all!"

Naomi and Amiel attend an "initiation ceremony" to welcome Mardi Gras newbies to the fold. 

Some of the fabulous ReStrung ladies at Krewe Du Vieux

Our Market Manager Jac, sporting a fab headpiece made by @c_to_the_line  

Summertime....

Hi everyone! If you follow us on social media, you may have noticed that ReStrung has been on traveling the past few months. Well, when it's boiling hot in NOLA, you might as well hit the road. Here's a few highlights:

In June, my dear friend /consultant /collaborator /partner in crime - Ed, volunteered to drive my daughter and I all the way up to Delaware for Firefly Music Festival. We loaded up his 27' RV (named Priscilla), with lots of ReStrung jewelry and headed North. The festival was amazing, and huge, with over 85,000 festival-goers each day. We set up our little booth, set out our wares - and the people came, saw - and bought lots of ReStrung. We worked our butts off and it was an unforgettable experience. My personal favorite moment was watching Jack Johnson jamming out with The Lumineers - Unforgettable! After the fest, we headed down to Charleston, S.C., where we had lots of fun exploring and shopping. My daughter and I both had birthdays while on this trip, and it was so nice to spend mine with two people that I adore.

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Next up was a stint in the Mediterranean - Cyprus to be exact. This was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The water, the people, the food and the scenery - absolutely breathtaking! I could ramble on about the archaeological sites and all the fun that we had, but it the end, I am left with a feeling of awe at the sheer beauty of the place and the generosity of the people I met there. I hope to return again someday.

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Following that, I was able to spend a week in beautiful Key West. which isn't any comparison to Cyprus, but still, there was much to see and do in the Keys. Learning more about Ernest Hemingway was a highlight, plus I stayed on a boat for most of the trip, and that in and of itself was an experience to remember. 

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After all this traveling, it was time to get back to work. I returned to NOLA with a 2 week countdown, during which we had to plan and prepare for the next trip: The POOL Trade Show in Las Vegas. This is an industry show for "emerging brands," meaning, small up and coming lines in the fashion and accessories market. With the help of our team and friends, we redesigned our entire booth so that it fit into one suitcase and two guitar cases. Since I was going to this show alone, everything needed to be lightweight, flat packed and assembled at the show.  It was a logistical challenge, and I know I drove everyone nuts because I couldn't think or talk about anything else but this show until I felt like we had everything right. Well, I am proud to say that our team nailed it, and everything went off without a hitch. The show was scary and exciting. I met new friends and got to network with other industry folks from around the world - and I came home with orders from 26 new stockists...and counting - WOW!!

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I returned to my beloved NOLA exhausted, but beaming with pride and excited for the upcoming months. My return also coincided with a project that I have been waiting to see launched: Blake Lively's much anticipated lifestyle website Preserve. The site celebrates American artisans who make things by hand. ReStrung is one of the featured artisans selected by Blake to be a part of this curated site. We couldn't be more proud to be included. And as a side note, I have to say that Blake is absolutely lovely. She spent an afternoon with us at the studio and was so interested in how I design our pieces and how we make things. We had a great time and are now looking forward to selling through her site. What an adventure! 

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So of course by now, our little ReStrung family is up to our eyeballs in jewelry-making, inventory management, organizing and more. Thankfully, we have more help. In addition to Eban, Kerry, Tara, Beth, Ed and myself, we have just welcomed Annika and Amiel to our production team. We are so excited and grateful to have them on board. As we move into our busy holiday season, it's good to know that we have a great team of dedicated and fun people who are excited to be a part of our growing business. I am grateful everyday for the amazing people have crossed my path. None of the growth and incredible opportunities I have experienced would be happening without them - or without you, our dear fans. We would not be able to do what we do without your love and support!

Balancing Act...

The internet is for sharing, so here's my share of personal/professional stuff that may or may not hold any relevance for you. If I had to bet, I'd guess that most of you have similar stuff happening in your daily lives, and it's a balancing act to make it all work, get through the rough patches and learn to enjoy yourself in the process.

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For me, the past months have been extra stressful on a lot of levels...For starters, I ended a long and tumultuous  relationship a year ago, but like one of those trick birthday candles, the fire just pretended to extinguish, and it kept coming back for months until I was finally strong enough to stand my ground and walk away from what I knew would always be a toxic, dysfunctional relationship. It was very difficult to finally let go, but I knew I would come out of it stronger and wiser. While searching to find peace and balance - and redefine myself as a single person, I ended up throwing myself deeper into work so that I didn't drown in the pain and loss of the break up. The stress of this emotional roller coaster definitely took it's toll on my health. I had been suffering for months with what I thought was just stress and exhaustion from working too much and not exercising enough. I also kinda figured I was just getting old and lazy and was pretty convinced that it's just what happens at 40 if you aren't taking care of yourself. Turns out, I was right in a way. I was actually suffering from a long and slowly debilitating bout with severe acute anemia, that ultimately landed me in the hospital half-dead, and ended in a 10-hour blood transfusion. They never figured out what caused my iron levels to drop down to almost nothing, but I was lucky to get to the hospital when I did. Believe me folks, it wasn't any fun at all, and I am just grateful to be alive. This close brush with death really caused me to re-evaluate my priorities. I truly feel that the emotional stress I was under had a lot to do with it, and I vowed to learn how to manage my stress and avoid negative/toxic people and situations as much as possible.  In the end - my takeaway was  that life is short, and my bucket list is long, so I'd better get cracking. Well, that turned into the following series of decisions/activities/events/ mountains of stuff:

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#1. Did something really crazy. I bought a 13' Red 1968 Scotty Camper. Totally restored and absolutely the coolest purchase I've ever made. The idea is to use it for festivals and pop-up boutiques. We call it The Tomato. It's certainly been a learning experience, and I am convinced that someday, I'll be able to back it up into a parking space without breaking a sweat. I'll keep you posted.

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#2 . Planned a series of trips that will put me all over the map this summer. Vending the Firefly Festival in Delaware, then cruising down the East Coast to meet with potential stockists - all in a 27' RV (not the tomato) with my dear friend and daughter - pray for us! Next, I'm hopping the pond for some exploration and R&R in Greece (seriously excited about every aspect of this trip - except wearing a bathing suit 😱), then back to the states and over to New York and/or Vegas for trade shows to promote ReStrung. Whew, I'm exhausted already, and I've still gotta pack!

#3. Next, I decided to give up my studio space that we weren't using much anymore, since we've all gravitated to doing production from our homes. So, I had to reconfigure my entire house to accommodate putting the studio in the third bedroom/office. How I managed to accumulate so much stuff in a 200 square-foot studio space over 12 months is beyond me. How my wonderful friends Collin, Eban and Bradley managed to pack it all and re-organize it to fit perfectly in my home studio is a matter of genius.

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#4. Oh what the heck? I might as well go ahead and design and produce an entirely new collection of pieces, like, pronto. Why? Because, I went and scheduled a photo shoot with my favorite photographer and models. Why? Because I need some cool ass images to wow customers at all those upcoming events. So my inner voice says: "I don't care what else you have going on, Naomi - you just sit your butt down and whip up a bunch of unforgettable pieces - and just forget about sleeping for right now, okay?" Me: "Sure, no prob...I got this...Breathe"

#5. On top of all that there's the juggling of daily operations for ReStrung. Yep, I can juggle, but I still drop balls. Thankfully, we have a great team that somehow makes it all happen. Learning how to manage it all while continuing to grow is tricky, and it simply wouldn't happen without our wonderful gang. But will I ever really get the hang of this? Who knows, maybe I just need more coffee.

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And oh yeah, saved the best for last. #6. The highlight of the month: Watched my daughter graduate from high school -  and then sent her off to Mexico for a week of sun and sand (please let her remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours...). This is the thing that's been causing ME to break out like a teenager. It's the letting go and watching my baby leave the nest....sigh.

So, you know, this past month had all the usual stuff of life (and then some) that makes your heart race, your head hurt, and makes you wish for a tropical vacation. Oh wait, I'm about to get that wish. Score!

Thankfully, in the midst of all this CHANGE - I've had a few, quiet moments to sit alone or with friends and family and reflect on how much my life had changed this past year - and so much for the better. Making a conscious choice to shed negative energy that was holding me back has been the most liberating experience. It's amazing what things look and feel like when you disentangle from drama and negativity and come out on the other side. That perspective changes everything. I certainly don't think all the wonderful things that have recently transpired would've been possible had I still been stuck in that toxic muck.

What I've learned this year is that there is one constant in life : Everything Changes. Possessing clarity, focus and a true sense of self is priceless in helping you navigate through the constant ebb and flow of life.  Possessing true friends and family - and nurturing those relationships will help make life's ups more enjoyable and the downs more meaningful and thought-provoking.

I know I've said this before, but there is just no way I'd be where I am today without all the positive energy and wonderful people that now surround me. I truly feel like I've been showered with abundance and I'm blessed beyond measure. So, I guess my lesson in all this rambling is to keep an Attitude of Gratitude. No matter how crazy and hectic your life becomes, being grateful for the all the good things and people that you do have in life will keep you rich in spirit - and happier than you've ever thought possible. Happy June everyone!  Sending love and light - and safe travels. PS - Wear your sunscreen! 😊😊😊

ReStrung Road Trip - Austin SXSW

Austin - I love you, but don't worry,  I'm not moving here!

Austin - I love you, but don't worry,  I'm not moving here!

Well, ReStrung just finished a long weekend in Austin for SXSW. We came in to participate in the Renegade Craft Fair and also do a trunk show with our friends at Langford Market. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, and we got to meet lots of great artisans and made new friends. After four 12 - 14 hour days, I was ready for a little R&R today, so I hit SoCo for a litttle retail therapy.

Feathers Boutique Vintage @feathersboutiquevintage 

Feathers Boutique Vintage @feathersboutiquevintage 

Here are some highlights from today's haul! I stumbled onto a beautifully curated vintage shop called Feathers Boutique Vintage. Great selection of boots, belts, purses and lovely vintage. I picked up a great leather and brass belt by Marnie Bugs. 

Amazing Vintage Tony Lama Boots! 

Amazing Vintage Tony Lama Boots! 

The shop girls at Feathers were kind enough to direct me to a little hidden gem the Annex - a new vintage shop tucked away on a back alley behind SoCo. I scored these rad Tony Lama vintage boots there!!! 

Great vintage home decor

Great vintage home decor

If you are a sucker for antique and vintage home decor - stop by Uncommon  Objects on Congress. I want just about everything in the place! I was looking for mirrors to use for my jewelry display and this little mirror on a stand caught my eye. I picked it up and on the backside was a pic of one of my idols - Mae West - this little piece was waiting for me - so excited!  I also got a nice hand carved "monkey bowl," which I can use to display jewelry. I will definitely go back to this place! And if you're a picker - go to St Vincent De Paul thrift store. There's a ton of clothing, but I was looking for display stuff and found some nice wood trays to showcase our bracelets!

Although I worked throughout SXSW, and didn't get to see or hear any live music, I'm fortunate to enjoy great live music every day in NOLA. But hey, as usual - I did enjoy the weirdness of Austin, which honestly, I don't find any weirder than New Orleans. But Austinites pride themselves on "Keeping Austin Weird," so I guess I will humor them.... and we are all weird in our own way, right?!?! All in all, it's been a great trip - and I'm finishing it off with a home-cooked meal made by my bestie! Thank Austin - See you next time!!!

How cool is The Annex?!?!?

How cool is The Annex?!?!?

Oh - and for all you fashionistas - UAL has opened a shop on Congress! We have two UAL stores in NOLA, so I was very excited to see one here. I picked up two lovely pieces by Sachin + Babi for $30 - unbelievable deal!!!