Sunday, January 31, 2010

Have A Heart!

The heart is the most common symbol of romantic love. Ancient cultures believed the human soul lived in the heart. Others thought it to be the source of emotions and intelligence. Some believed the heart embodied a man's truth, strength and nobility. The heart may be associated with love because the ancient Greeks believed it was the target of Eros, known as cupid to the Romans. Anyone shot in the heart by one of Cupid's arrows would fall hopelessly in love. Because the heart is so closely linked to love, it's red color is thought to be the most romantic.

We're seeing lots of red these days....and pink and purple, too, for this Valentine's Day. Happily it falls on a Sunday this year, when lovers the world over can celebrate this ancient holiday all weekend long!

The custom of giving valentine gifts on February 14th is rooted deep in history, but it wasn't until the eighteenth century that crafting paper valentines became popular. Back then, people would contract writers to pen verses to their loved ones and there were books to help those with writer's block. Over time, the custom of Valentine giving grew and stationery manufacturers began printing them for everyone.

These days, you can find valentine greetings almost anywhere. To really make an impression, though, you want to give something that speaks of your individuality. Something that is a cut above the best, and we have them for you here at WFS! Retro designs from Laughing Elephant, heartfelt (and made from pcw material) messages and images from Amber Lotus, letterpress cuties from Hello Lucky!, delightfully wicked wit from Uncooked, refined and classic offerings from the venerable Crane & Co. and fabulously beautiful greetings from Punch Studio....we're stocked and ready for you!

Of course, we have all the accoutrements that follow along with Valentine's Day. Decadent chocolate fudge truffles from local favorite, John Kelly Chocolates, are perfect for giving. We've just gotten a shipment in of fair trade jewelry made by Tibetan refugees and the sale of these gorgeous pieces benefit orphan children in Tibet. We also have lovely jewelry pieces by local jewelry makers Julie Lynn Pircher, Ruthie Castro and Jewels of the Earth by Diana - any one of them would make a memorable Valentine's Day gift.

Remember, any purchase over $20.00 receives a complimentary gift wrap, and we're not talking thin paper and curling ribbon here. A gift from WFS is something that you'd be proud to'll have to drop by and let us show you! Drop by our Facebook page, as well, and become a fan of our store, if you haven't already. Just click the title to this post and it'll take you there. Once registered, you'll be able to take advantage of specials offered exclusively to our fans, take part in discussions and find out the latest at WFS!

Thank you and all of us here at WFS wish you and yours a wonderful Valentine's Day!


Sunday, January 24, 2010


There's much good news around WFS these days, I'm excited to report! A successful shopping trip for new seasonal items was completed last week, there were favorable results from the latest survey from the Institute of Local Self-Reliance and our store has entered into Intuit's latest business contest!


We spoke about the Gift Show last week, so this week, I'll just hint at the wonderful things to come. New colors and scents in our Root Candle line and in our Candles & Compliments line. High quality Root Candles are made in the U.S. of beeswax so are completely all natural. The colors chosen represent some of the freshest colors for 2010 as do our battery-operated candles. You'll love these - candles and lanterns that are not only gorgeous but also practical and well priced!
We're also getting in gorgeous, Arts & Crafts style gift wrap. Continuous rolls of high style at modest cost - I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do.

Another wonderful find at the show was the most adorable table accessory ever - the standing napkin, in the most fabulous themes! Birthday, anniversary, wedding or baby shower, these clever napkins will be a conversation starter for sure. Look for them in store shortly.

New Spring designs from Crane & Co. will be arriving in a few weeks. Lovely to look at and lovely for our planet, Crane & Co., America's oldest stationers and suppliers of paper for the U.S. Treasury since 1801, have never harmed a tree in the production of their products. Their cards and paper - even the paper our currency is printed on - is 100% cotton rag. When you speak of value, Crane & Co. tops the list -impeccably made, admired the world over and the knowledge that when you send a Crane & Co. card, you are sending something a cut above the very best!


The recent survey I mentioned in the first paragraph showed a definate shift in American's buying habis. More people are shopping locally at independent businesses and bypassing chain stores and big boxes. That's fabulous news! Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher with the Institute reports that "Amid the worst downturn in more than 60 years, independent businesses are managing to succeed by emphasizing their community roots and local ownership". It's wonderful to hear that, isn't it? Independent business is so important to our communities, and never more so than in this era of "generica". I'm heartened by the results that substantiate the evidence that Buy Local campaigns are yeilding real dividends and shifting local spending. Says Jennifer Rockne, director of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), "That's good news for local economies. Studies show that small businesses keep more dollars circulating locally and generate the majority of new jobs." Indeed they do and we're very honored to be part of the business community of Altadena.


Part in celebration of AMIBA's encouraging survey and partly out of sheer desperation, WFS has entered into Intuit's "Love a Local Business" contest. Winning the grand price of a grant worth $35,000.00 would be a dream come true for us so I ask that you please vote for us. There is a link to the contest on our website and there is a link to our website on the sidebar to the left of this page.
We're at over 43 votes at last count, so if you've already voted, please accept our sincere thanks. We have a plan for that grant, and that's to bring you the best shopping Altadena's had in a long time. Believe in us, believe in Altadena....together we can make it happen! Cast your vote for us today!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Whirlwind Week

Whew….what a week this just was! Lots of exciting things happening, like the California Gift Show, the Chamber of Commerce Installation dinner approaching (did I tell you I got elected to the Board?) and getting new stuff into the store! Wasn’t it just Monday?

We kicked off the week on a sour note….we lost our newest crew member, Trish, who decided that the commute from where she moved to was too long. WFS wishes her the well in whatever she does next. That means we’ll be looking for someone who is a people person and detail oriented, responsible and available nights and weekends. If you know someone who doesn’t mind hard work and is a team player, please forward him or her our way.

The rest of the week was a fabulous blur of seeing, and sometimes ordering, wonderful new products for the store. It can get overwhelming at market and that’s when those trends that we discussed last week come into play. Going to the gift show might seem like a lot of fun (it is!) but it’s also hard work. We attempt to see into the near future and buy what we think is something that you might be looking for, staying somewhat within the parameters set by the fashion pundits.

That’s why it’s a good idea to not take all the predictions too seriously! I like to distill that trendy stuff down and take a good hard look at what my favorite designers and decorators are doing. Then we add our own flavor into it and we buy accordingly.

My designer of choice has been Mary Carol Garrity (of Nell Hills’ fame) for quite awhile. I love her use of scale and her eye for using natural elements in her decor mirrors my own. Her favorite trends of 2010, in her own words, are:

“Woodland themes: a classic look with hunt club fabrics in red, green and navy and animal-inspired accents, like antler-shaped candle holders.

Reinvented country: now less cutesy and more home-spun. This season’s rustic trims, like burlap ribbon, twine & wool plaids.

Gold: once out of favor, gold, and its cousins bronze & copper, are back in a big way this year. The most exciting look today is combining both gold and silver together.”

Whatever your style is, come in and experience ours! There’s lots to see - I think we’ll be able to give you a little inspiration, a little whimsy, a smile and some helpful advice, if needed. Don’t forget to check our website, Twitter and Facebook pages for product updates and social happenings - just click on this post's title to get to our site. Valentine’s Day is looming and we’re all decked out for it – hope we see you soon!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Our Facebook Fan Page Tells The Story

Those of you who read my personal Facebook page know that Scott and I have been experiencing a real doozie of a plumbing catastrophe at home. The concrete box that encloses our water meter out in the sidewalk in front of our home is crumbling away and has created a leak in the main water line. DWP turned off our water last Monday evening, just as we were getting home from the store, so we're on day 7 of no water. There's been no response from the City or DWP despite our daily calls. Tomorrow morning we take it to our Councilman's office and hope for resolution.

Challenging as life without water at home may be, business must go on. And so it does, as we enter into Market Week. The California Gift Show starts this Tuesday, as mentioned previously, and we'll be there to see all the new offerings for the season. I'm really looking forward to discovering unique items made here in the U.S. or even better, locally. We get such a charge out of picking products that pass our high standards, and it really is a collaborative process here at WFS. Be sure to join our Facebook Fan Page (simply click the title of this blogpost) for updates from the show and the latest news of what's uber hip and cool!

There's a lot of mention about WFS in the press lately and you can read about that on our Facebook page as well. Noted author Ellen Snortland wrote an article that appeared in the Pasadena Weekly (and will be in the Huffington Post soon) called "Homeland Security" that touts The 3/50 Project and mentions us. Hometown Pasadena and Eat L.A.'s lovely Colleen Dunn Bates just posted an article called "Local Heroes: Retail" on her blog and it mentions us, too! And our own Altadenablog reported on WFS' donation to Danny's Farm last week. A huge thank you from WFS to all our supporters - we appreciate you so much!

Until next week (when I can hopefully report that water has been restored to our household),


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Trending Forward in 2010

Last post I reviewed our progress in 2009 and now I’d like to take you along with me as we look at what 2010 will bring us.

“Trend” is a word that causes a lot of retailers to quake in their boots, because purchasing “trendy” items means risk. Risk that the “trend” may well past its prime before you jump on the bandwagon, or that you’ll ride the “trend” only to discover that you’ve got way too much invested in it when that “trend” starts wearing thin. I like to stick with a more classic sensibility, because that’s what’s seen me through years of decorating – and we all know how fickle decorating trends can be.

Trends are like myths, in a way. They say there is a grain of truth at the root of a myth, and there are solid, classic ideas in each new year’s color trends, presented by Pantone, the world’s top trend forecaster. They set the color standards for the fashion and home décor industries and this is what they’ve foreseen:

Their color of the year for 2010 is turquoise. According to Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s Executive Director, “Turquoise is believed to be a protective talisman, a color of deep compassion and healing, a color of faith and truth, inspired by water and sky”. “Appealing to both sexes, turquoise can look elegant or casual and because of its warm and cool undertones it pairs well with any other color,” she says. “It adds a splash of excitement to neutrals and browns, compliments reds and pinks and creates a classic maritime look with deep blues and is especially flattering with yellow-greens.” People who like turquoise tend to be complex, imaginative and original. Turquoise and other ocean-inspired blues are “eco-colors” that reflect increasing consumer appreciation of the environment and nature.

They advise using turquoise as a wall color sparingly....high voltage colors normally are best confined to an accent wall or powder room. However, I know several people who’ve used this color successfully in living rooms, great rooms and bedrooms. It’s a stunning color when used with lots of white trim! But if you’re not ready to paint your room turquoise, that’s fine. Updating your accessories will do the job nicely, like the pop of color a turquoise lamp or pillows gives an otherwise neutral room. You can also use this color on picture frames, towels, glassware (think translucent turquoise vases or bowls) and my personal favorite, a painted chair or side table. Check out my friend Kim’s blog, Dear Daisy Cottage (link below in our blogroll) for wonderful color inspiration.

It’s a good thing that I love the color turquoise in all its guises, from lightest ocean blue to deep peacock! We’ll be bringing in décor items that you’ll love in this luscious color – so great for bringing the warmth of summer into drab winter months and wonderfully cooling later on in the year. I also hear that ice blue, turquoise’s cousin, is hot for holiday 2010! Look for new product arrivals after Valentine’s Day.

Next week brings the California Gift Show at the LA Mart and Convention Center. We’ll be there from the 12th through the 16th and we’ll scour the showrooms for the best of the best. I’ll be posting from the show and tweeting about interesting finds, so be sure to watch for that. Until next week, here are some more “trends” that are said to be hot for this year…..let’s hear what you think about them! They are:

Mixed prints, platform clogs, red lipstick, distressed jeans, Lucite & Bakelite jewelry, nautical stripes (I swear, this one is on the list each year, and I hardly ever see them much here in L.A.), slick leather dresses & skirts, copper & bronze tones, 70’s inspired wild florals, big sunglasses (Jason Wu is a name to watch), jewel-encrusted and enameled animal jewelry, pastel shades for eyes, 60’s artist Claude Lelamme, chandelier earrings and platinum blonde hair color.