Quebec has Style

As many of you may already know, because of my many Facebook and twitter updates, I’ve been spending most of January traveling throughout our beautiful province of Ontario and also venturing over into Quebec!

Quebec is fairly new territory for me as a jewelry designer. I’ve heard mixed opinions about doing business with our French neighbours and have even had a few negative experiences myself.  My first crack at it was a three day trade show in Montreal. 100 stores came through and I ended up with a whopping 0 orders (yup, that’s right… zero, zilch, nada!), and that scared me!  That’s when the road down negative lane began.  How could this have happened?  Why me? I’ve NEVER had an experience like this before.   I asked everyone for their opinion! Here were some of the answers that I got.  “Quebec people stick with their own designers”, “If you can’t speak French just forget it”, “Your colours are too bright”, “They like metal, not beads.”  Writing these reasons out now makes me realize how ridiculous they are.  For some reason I wasn’t processing these opinions, I was just letting them validate the reason why I was being rejected by Quebec!

You know when they say, NEVER let your ego guide you through life, ummmm I think this is one example of what they’re talking about.

I kept those stories about Quebec in my head for 3 years!  Then one day I was speaking with a good friend, Brenda Beddome, who is an incredible clothing designer!  We were discussing our retail accounts and giving each other leads.  Brenda then said to me, “Why aren’t you in Quebec?”. I opened my mouth and out came the “stories”…. blah blah blah…. It sounded terrible just to repeat what I had heard.  Brenda said, “I don’t speak French and we have some great accounts there, here are some names, go visit them”…. WHAT????? REALLY???? I was sure that Brenda must know of some secret formula that I didn’t have. I phoned those stores to make appointments… and they all said, YES!

First appointment was in Montreal; they loved the julz and placed an order!  Second Appointment in Montreal, they loved the julz and placed an order!  Then over to Saint Lambert, you guessed it, LOVED glamjulz!!!!!!!!!!! Woooo Hoooo!!!! I was thrilled and relieved, and my love for Quebec was reinvigorated!

It’s been such a pleasure visiting with them all over the last week and showing them the 2012 spring collection.  They all mentioned that they especially love the julz because they dress up any outfit. Walking through Montreal I had noticed how “together” the women and men look.  There are no track pants and hoodies, 80% of the people are “dressed” when they leave the house.  Stylish, coordinated, and proud of the way they look.  I think that’s one of the reasons why the boutiques here do so well, the staff is trained to “style” their customers and give them lots of attention. Customer service is always the first priority in any business.  It’s wonderful to see, and the French language makes the whole experience even more romantic.

By the way, if you want to do business in Quebec and, like me, you barely passed French because you were too busy chasing boys or passing notes back and forth in high school, don’t worry about it!  Just smile!  Say “bonjour” and try your best!  Vive le Canada!

Curling with August Moon

Last weekend I was invited by Ashley Waye, Owner of August Moon to sell glamjulz at the Royal Canadian Curling Club in Toronto.  She and her team mates were participating in a “Bonspiel” and wanted to have some great exhibitors there so they could shop between games. Ashley is not only the owner of two beautiful locations in Rosseau and Port Carling but also a lawyer and curling since the age of 6!  This 20 something entrepreneur is a real firecracker!

Okay so let’s back it up!  What the heck is a “Bonspiel?” A 20 something girl that curls? I thought this sport was for the over 40 crowd! A glamjulz booth at the game? I’m gonna freeze!!!! Well, my curiosity got the best of me and I graciously accepted the offer.

Pulling up to the building that day actually gave me goosebumps! A gorgeous historical building tucked away at Queen and Broadview. The building was built in 1906 and originally called the Royal Canadian Bicycle Club. In addition to cycling the club also offered ice skating, hockey, curling and 5 pin bowling.  In 1953 the club changed it’s name and focused only on curling.

When I walked in I was surprised to see over 100 women out on the ice, all different ages, ranging from 20 to 60+!  It gave me such a great feeling.  Another “proud to be Canadian” moment I suppose! And it was definitely NOT freezing! This club had the best set up. A beautiful lounge that overlooked the ice that was toasty warm. The players were greeted with Bailey’s and coffee which I’m sure kept them warm on the ice too! The “Bonspiel” simply meant that this was a tournament played for fun between several different teams. Some believe that the term originated in the mid 1800’s when a French/German immigrant yelled out, “Bon Spiel” at a game, translation  “Good play”. I suppose that makes sense!

The day was filled with fun!  It was great to see Ashley out there with her teammates and I met another courageous entrepreneur Alicia Vianga who owns her own lingerie store Premiere Jour, and is also a blogger for the Huffington Post. Alicia was also thrilled when she won a glamjulz necklace from the “Bonspiel” raffle!

What a great adventure self-employment can be. Opportunity knocks all the time and you never know which door is going to lead you to something new. Making connections and having fun is what it’s all about.  I’m so happy that I ventured out and had a great time with some amazing women on a cold day in January!

Recession = Creativity = Prosperity

It seems like the last few years all we’ve been hearing on the news is how brutal the economy is and how we’re going deeper and deeper in debt as a nation.  Do you believe everything that you hear?  Do these accusations from our media keep you up at night? Or when you hear them do you choose to switch the channel and listen to something more uplifting that will help you approach your day in a positive way?

I think sometimes it is difficult to stay positive, fear is something that we will often allow to seep in.   Fear possesses our minds for a short time or a long time but at some point we need to find a new perspective.

In the fashion business I’ve noticed that colour trends have been somewhat conservative over the last few seasons, lots of grey, lots of navy, black, white and very monochromatic colour palettes featured on all the runways.  My pride in glamjulz is that we really try to keep optimism, joy and hope alive in our jewlery and the mixture of vibrant colours in a necklace can be just the right pick me up for someone that wants to express those feelings.

I’ve seen GREAT success out there with many of the retailers that are carrying glamjulz in their stores.  Despite what the media is saying.  I find that these entrepreneurial store owners all have the same thing in common.  Great service!  They take great pride in the relationships they have with each person that walks through their door and really take care to make sure customers leave the store wearing an outfit that makes them feel fantastic, whether it cost $100 or $1,000!  These women have their perspective in check!  They stand by the dream that started their business and they never waver.  That takes courage and a willingness to create a world which others may think does not exist.

I’ve noticed that some of the most successful people in the world have thrived when economic conditions were not ideal.  I heard a recent interview with Peter Gabriel where he said, “I think the worst thing you can do for any artist is give them complete freedom. If you say to an artist, you can’t do this and you can’t do that and you definitely can’t do this then by nature they are devious and they start thinking of solutions in more creative ways.”  He closed the interview by saying that “limitations are your friends”.

What an interesting perspective.  We do see in society that often it is external limitations that gives us the fire to create!  Here are some really amazing people that are doing just that today.  Take some time to listen and watch these amazing people change their worlds.

Twenty-somethings changing the city of Detroit as we know it.

A man who came to the Yukon to farm for mushrooms and created thousands of jobs when he found gold.

In the meantime enjoy your glamjulz pieces!  Show off your inner vibrancy, layer your lime green necklace with your purple one if that makes you feel good and for goodness sakes if the media is telling you stuff you don’t want to hear change the station and make a change in your life for the better!

Costume Jewelry vs. Fashion Jewelry

My husband, Wayne said something interesting yesterday.  He said, “It kinda’ bugs me when people refer to our pieces as costume jewelry. They are not for costumes. You don’t see Batman running around wearing glamjulz… Not that there would be anything wrong with that!”

Okay I could only disagree with that statement if I was making julz like these ones that our dear Elizabeth Taylor is sporting, but Wayne was absolutely right.  Then I asked myself, where did that label ever come from? So I decided to dig a little deeper.   Apparently the term costume jewelry dates back to the early 20th century.  At one time we humans used the word “costume” to refer to what is now called an “outfit”.  An example of this would be, “a gorgeous dining costume of purple silk.”  So the whole theory is that costume jewelry is meant to complement your favourite fashion garment! Hence the name “costume jewelry”.

Now I don’t know about you guys but the last time I went out to the pub with my friends in my best Jeans and new sweater, I certainly didn’t ask my husband if he liked my costume.  So I would have to agree with Wayne, costume jewelry is not the label I would put on glamjulz.  Maybe not even fashion jewelry.  What we need is for someone to create a new name that describes “Amazing custom handmade jewelry which is a vehicle for women to express their uniqueness and individuality and who cares what everyone else is wearing, jewelry“?  Now THAT would be something!

Time to Veg

Every Holiday season I go through the same thought process.  I can’t wait for that week off!  I am going to sit on the couch, eat whatever I want, drink whatever I want and do NOTHING! Every year I have the same result, I have one day like this and by the end of it I feel bloated, tired and guilty for being unproductive!

This insane behaviour does make me laugh.  It’s the time of year when I’ve been on the go with glamjulz working long days from Halloween to Christmas and it feels almost impossible to just relax and do nothing.  Kind of like I’ve had an amazing workout with no cool down, just a quick drop to the ground!

Being self-employed there is an irrational and underlying fear that if I relax for too long I won’t ever stop.  I’ll sleep in, watch TV and never leave the house.  As I am writing this I realize how ridiculous this sounds.  That behaviour is not even in my personality.

Rest is important and we all need it, as a woman that loves to work I have decided to look at rest as the “work” I need to do to ensure that my brain functions properly so that I may be even more, strategic, inventive, creative and inspired to take all facets of my life to the next level.  In life we are constantly growing and learning, resting can teach us too!  We deserve it!

So don’t feel guilty, let your calls go to voice mail this week and become one with your couch!  You need it!

Shop Till Ya Drop

So how is everyone feeling today?  Ready to hit the streets for Boxing Day deals? Or too tired to even look at another mall until January?

Generally I am not much of a shopper.  I go out when I need things and then I expect to be served.  I want to be in and out as quickly as possible.  I think this attitude I have about shopping may be for a couple of reasons.  First of all I rarely have time to shop, I try to watch my dollars and like to resist temptation, I’ve always liked the idea of spending money on an “experience” rather than a “thing”.

While I have been out there for the last couple of months picking out special gifts for my loved ones I have seen many beautiful must haves for myself and I certainly have indulged myself and guess what? I didn’t break the bank.  I just felt good!  I think I am starting to understand “retail therapy” a little better.

Growing up as a tall kid and then developing hips as a teen clothes shopping was always a nightmare for me.  I would see what my friends were wearing and what the magazines were showing and desperately tried to squeeze myself into that mold.  Usually ending up with floods and pants that were tight on the butt and swimming around my waist.  Not too attractive!

I have decided to put that nightmare behind me and make shopping an enjoyable experience.  There are so many beautiful clothing lines, fragrances, pretty items for the home, little pick me ups that can make us feel better and inspired.

Here are some tips on great places to shop this week and get some fantastic deals on beautiful must haves:

Joelles and Jeff’s Guy Shop 457 Brant St, Burlington, ON

A Passion for Living 2435 Appleby Line, Burlington, ON or 1090 Wilson Street West, Ancaster, ON

La Senza

Lush.ca

Chapers.Indigo.ca

Sunrise Records.com

Happy Shopping Everyone!  Get out there and feel good!

 

 

Let’s Party!

Thanks to everyone that attended our Grand Opening Christmas Party!  The evening was a huge hit!  Here’s how great the place looked before the guests arrived!  Please remember to join our mailing list to get an invitation for next year’s bash!  Here are some SPECIAL thank you’s that we sent out to the people that helped make the party a huge success!

Fig and Olive Larder
Jackie!

What a GREAT night!!! Thank you sooooooo much for those beautiful platters!!!

We were totally in awe, everything was so delicious! Everyone LOVED the food!

You ROCK girl!!!
Monica xo.

a little affair
Cheryl!

Your cupcakes were a HUGE hit at the glamjulz Grand Opening!

We really appreciate all the work you put into them!

The pink and blue icing was such a nice touch.

Thanks for helping to make our event special!

Monica xo

Christy’s Gourmet Gifts

Christy!

Thank you so much for the delicious sweets!

Our Grand Opening was a big success and we were so happy to be able
to feature your amazing CRUNCH!

All the guests loved it!

Monica xo

Tracy’s Wine Jelly

Tracy!

Thank you so much for the beautiful wine jellies that you gave us for our Grand Opening!

The guests LOVED all of the flavours!  The Cranberry-Rasberry Merlot Jelly was so popular!

We really appreciate that you were a part of our special night!

Monica xo

 

One of A Kind

I remember that feeling a few years back when I used to walk the One Of a Kind show and think, one day I want to be a part of this.  This show is beautiful!

I thought you might like to take a look at the state of the Direct Energy Centre before you shopped your way through the One of a Kind Show over the last 11 days.

These amazing artisans from all over Canada are creating their own 11 day “boutiques” for you to enjoy.  Many build walls, drill holes, install shelving, paint, hang lighting, the list goes on and on.  800 artists, with their own vision but all with the same goal, to be a proud part of the most beautiful craft show in Canada!  Just think, the majority of these artists have been hand making products for months for the show and now here they are taking two full days to build their booths.

As I am now a proud member of this group I have to say setting up the booth is one of the most rewarding  jobs.  It allows me to create my world, the glamjulz world, in a 5×15 space to show off to all of you.  Making you a part of this world and feeling great when you come to my booth brings me so much joy.

I think I speak for every artist when I say that those of you that come to One of A Kind really are a special group.  We strive to make you feel good in our worlds and deliver to you a quality product that you can enjoy but the feedback that we receive from you is ten fold.

Comments like these is what makes us feel great as artists and know that we are creating beautiful products for tremendous people:

“I LOVE buying from Canadian artists, I ONLY do my Christmas Shopping at this show!”

“I can’t believe you made ALL of this by hand! WOW!”

“It’s so amazing that you are doing what you LOVE as a carreer”

“Your booth looks fantastic, I had no trouble finding you”

“I have told so many people about you, can I hand out some cards for you?”

These are just a few of the comments that I have heard as well as other artisans.  I think that’s why we all kind of float around and feel warm and fuzzy all over for the month of December.

Thank you all for your purchases, visits, votes of encouragement and loyalty to us and the One of A Kind Show.  I hope you realize how special you are.

 

 

 

 

Helping Those in Need

In 2010 glamjulz started the “3 Little Wishes Fund” which is an ongoing project where every Christmas season we donate a percentage of the sales from a specially designed glamjulz piece towards families living with cancer. We had amazing success with this last year and love the fact that our friends out there (that’s you) wanted to help out.

This year we present to you the glamjulz Swarovski Crystal Snowflake Bracelet, and are honoured to introduce you to Christine and her Family.

Christine is a devoted wife, a mother of two children, aged 12 and 14, and has been fighting a battle with breast cancer for more than 6 years.

After Christine’s initial diagnosis, a mastectomy, extensive chemotherapy and radiation then followed. Even after all of that, the cancer returned to the original site and has subsequently spread to her remaining breast.

She has undergone a number of drug-based treatments including specific targeted therapies offered through several drug trials at Sunnybrook and Princess Margaret Hospitals, but the tumour presence is described as advance stage localized cancer, and at this point, considered too deep for further surgery. Christine now relies heavily on pain and nausea medication for relief, while facing an emotionally charged, painful and draining battle.

It’s 2011, and the definition of a “Family” has changed dramatically just over the last decade. Whether it be the classic definition of a family or one Mother, one Father, Heterosexual, Homosexual, young, old, black, white, biological, adopted, dogs, cats, or maybe your family is the group of your closest friends, we all need people around us for love and support.

We at glamjulz like to think that deep within everyone is the ability to share that love to someone outside of their family who may need a little extra support. Last year you proved this to be true, and we hope that you can help this year, keep this family in your thoughts and cherish every single day you have with the people that you love.

Thank you for your support,

Monica and Wayne

In the Spotlight

Woo Hoo!!!! The booth is all set up for One of A Kind!!!! Doesn’t it look amazing????? I feel so proud!  Wayne re-designed the whole thing, beautiful hot pink drape, made lovingly by my Mom, tons of space for tons of new julz!!! I’m so excited to show you all!!!

Well I’m afraid I’m gonna make this a short one….gotta get some rest!! I had an amazing “Monica” day!  Nails are done, hair is done…..I did a hot yoga class!  I feel like a ROCKSTAR!  LOL!

I’m all ready for the show!  11 days of FUN!!!!! Can’t wait to see you there! xoxo