The story behind... Our ILC collaboration. January 24, 2017 21:57
I think we were the last thing Marisa Kroll expected to crash into her life... But I think she would agree, we are all better off for it!
"Ok, so there's this girl..." is usually how Mary begins, when she has found somebody she really wants to meet. Me, being slightly skeptical, mildly antisocial, and maybe a bit insecure, tries to hide or becomes selectively deaf to her voice. "...And we have to find her and introduce ourselves." At that point I am usually taken by the hand, and on the hunt for said person we go. In this case, we left our booth at a public market at our first outdoor show (another story entirely, I assure you!) in the hands of our husbands, and were off on a mission. In the time it takes to find Marisa, I am given the back story... "Jewelry designer; article in that magazine you read; beautiful work; need to collaborate". And there we are, in her booth. She is sitting behind a display, sort of hiding...oh no, you cannot hide from us, WE SEE YOU!
And that's when we go in for the kill... "Hi!, we wanted to introduce ourselves we are Emerson & Oliver..." Suddenly the world stops, she looks up, and says, "I've been meaning to find you guys...you are everywhere! WHO ARE YOU GUYS!?"
Wait, what?! Honestly, I don't remember anything after that!
We had our first event together, then another, then another. She designed a charm for us, then another, then another.
It's an easy fit. We meet for coffee (and cocktails), stop by each other's work spaces, have ongoing group texts where we discuss projects and collaborations (our own, as well as others). Those group texts are a mish-mash of "Need more charms!", "Miss you...Stop by!", "Let's plan an event?" and "Meet for coffee?".
All of us consider ourselves so fortunate to be able to share what we are going through as business owners, artists and women, as well as keeping our professional relationship. Trust your gut (and your best friend), sometimes meeting new people can change your life!
Marry Well... June 09, 2016 00:21 1 CommentI recently went to a talk, by the lovely Sir Rocha Says, for bloggers - which we are not, but I was curious & there were cocktails involved! However, a lot of what Linh said resonated with me on a greater scale, especially her "Lesson":
MAKE FRIENDS WITH TALENTED MOFOS
- Meet Other Creatives
- Marry Well
- Seek Ways to Collaborate
- Build Each Other Up
because Mary & I already live by this formula!Meet Other Creatives...hell, we were raised by them!! Mary's mother is a combination of MacGyver & Martha Stewart. Her cousin is a killer spoken word poet (who performed at both our weddings!) My grandmother was a painter & my father played a '69 Gibson, that could make you cry.
So, it is no surprise that we both married creative people! Mary's husband is an industrial designer & furniture maker, and mine is a Printmaker & avid art collector.
While in Barbados, some of our best friends were artists, singers, drummers & guitar players. Seeing art exhibitions & listening (and dancing!) to live music, are some of my children's earliest memories!
Marry well. uh, duh! Mary & I often tell people that we have been together 25 years. More than once, we have been mistaken as being each other's "life partners", and in a way, we are. Mar & I became best friends under unusual circumstances for 9 year olds. Our first sleepover, was the night of her father's funeral, after spending a long day at his wake. I met the entire family that weekend, and have been a part of it ever since.
People say not to go into business with your best friend... for us, it was only natural to. There aren't too many other people we would trust enough to take this journey with.
Seek Ways to Collaborate. The phrase "when you know what you want, you have to go after it" rings true with us. Since E&O began, we met with, aka. forced ourselves upon, so many wonderful people, from Barbados to LA... jewelers, designers, boutique owners, even flip-flop makers!!! Most recently we have teamed up with Kerry Haley - Little Brick House - who has made our "perfect little bag" vision come to life! When we met Marisa Kroll - Interstellar Love Craft - we stalked her at a show, barreled into her tent, and said (probably yelled) something like: "Hi! we are Mary & Laura from Emerson & Oliver and we love your work and really wanted to meet you and introduce ourselves, and maybe we could collaborate with you someday!" I'm pretty sure her response was "Where did you guys come from?!" We knew we were going to walk away with a new connection for a collaboration, but never would we have thought that such a wonderful friendship would also form from that meeting.Build Each Other Up. My grandmother always said, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. This rings true 98% of the time. I was an exceptionally unattractive baby, and when Nana met me, she looked at my mother and said "She has your eyebrows!" HA!
Let's be honest, we all went to Jr.High, we have all seen the movie, Mean Girls really do exist. So, as women & mothers we feel it's our responsibility to not perpetuate this. Mary & I have been so fortunate to have been embraced and welcomed into a "girls club" of so many wonderful female business owners. We meet up, drink wine, talk business, share knowledge & experience with each other (from "how to's" of employee insurance to social media). Then, since we all also have husbands, wives, children, 2nd/3rd jobs, we talk about our kids, our lives, and how we can support each other's endeavors. Not to worry though gentlemen, we are equal opportunity supporters!! There are many extremely talented men whom we work with and support, from wonderful photographers, to our resident donut king!
All points in the "Lesson": MAKE FRIENDS WITH TALENTED MOFOS, are really so relevant to everybody in everyday life. So go on & do what SirRocha Said: Get out there & make friends with some talented mofos!!!
E&O Year 3 April 12, 2016 18:23
After 25 years of friendship & 3 years of E&O I think we can finally say, we are really doing it.
Meet Rachel...our hummingbird. September 26, 2015 00:34
Rachel Westlake is a beloved sister, daughter, friend, and aunt. All of us who are lucky to have her in our lives know that her smile and spirit can instantly light up a room. Rachel beat non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma as a teenager and no one expected she would ever have to face that fight again. After graduating from Penn State, Rachel has found diverse work and life experiences, and has made California her home for the past 11 years. Her life has been committed to making the world a happier and healthier place to live. She has a passion for holistic and sustainable health, of our bodies and our planet.
Almost exactly 20 years had passed since Rachel's first fight with cancer. She was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. As a long-term cancer survivor, no one was prepared for this news. Rachel experienced a knee injury about a year ago and was starting to have increased knee pain. She went to have an MRI to determine if there was substantial soft-tissue damage requiring surgery. There she learned the pain was not due to a lingering injury, but rather lymphoma throughout the bone marrow of both her legs. After diagnostic testing and receiving her formal diagnosis in California, Rachel made the very difficult decision to uproot her life there, leaving friends who had become like family to her, and return to Upstate New York to seek high quality medical care with the support of her immediate family and friends.
Leaving California left Rachel with no job or income - certainly a scary prospect for someone battling a very serious illness. Rachel plans to take a comprehensive approach to treating her cancer, working with her physicians to determine the best therapy options for her case while also focusing heavily on nutrition, stress-reduction, and complementary medicinal support to not only kill the cancer invading her body, but to fully heal her body from the inside out.
Rachel was able to quickly enroll in New York State Medicaid and is able to live with her sister and brother-in-law, and their three young children while she receives treatment. There will be numerous additional medical and living expenses she and her family will not be able to cover alone - and they will add up quickly.
We are here to help raise the money Rachel needs, to spend this time and energy focused on regaining her health.
Thank you all so much in advance for your support!
Random Acts of Kindness June 02, 2015 10:15
"Smile on your neighbor" & "Make the world a better place because you're in it" were the 2 things Mary's mother would say to us every time we walked out the front door. These words have carried us into peoples lives, made us question ourselves, and helped define who we have become.
The other day, while Mary waited (somewhat impatiently) to get her morning coffee, a woman cut her off and got in front of her in line... When it came time to pay, Mar was told that the woman in front of her (the budger!) had paid for her breakfast. We talked about this throughout the day... Did the woman budge her just so she could pay for her? Did she pay for her because she budged her? Did it matter?
Over the years we have made a point of complimenting people randomly. We will hang out a car window & yell "We LOVE your HAT!!" or stop a girl & tell her how great her hair looks. So often we see somebody & whisper to our friends, "That was a great pair of shoes!" Why don't we tell that person? Fear? Embarrassment? Silliness. How are we going to make the world a better place, if we cannot even compliment each other? Try it! It will surely put a smile on that persons face, and yours! We usually have sets of Dia or Freshie packs in our purses, so when people complement us, we can return the favor, by giving them a sample or a set! EVERYBODY likes free stuff!!
There are also times, you don't even need to say anything. About a year ago, I was sitting in JFK airport, crying. A man walked over to where I was sitting all alone, smiled and sat right next to me... Just sat. I have thought about that man so many times since. He didn't know me, he didn't know what I was going through, but he knew I was alone & very sad. And he smiled on his neighbor.
You're up. Make the world a better place because you're in it!