Today, we bring you a giveaway from SouleMama Sponsor, Swan&Stone Millinery. In Sam's words:
"We are Swan&Stone Millinery: Eco-fabulous headwear, handmade from the grass up.
SouleMama: Tell us about the beginnings of your business.
Sam: Nora and I met through our kids, and we were friends for three years before it dawned on us to go into business together!
The idea for our business came from a
series of small events. Since moving to Vermont from Manhattan 3
years earlier, our family had plunged headlong into mini-farm mode,
raising sheep, growing veggies, keeping bees and chickens, and
getting all meat, cheese and milk from ours and neighboring farms. I
had begun to notice that my two older children (Arlo was still a
newborn) continually asked questions about how things were made,
where the various ingredients for our meals came from, what goes into
a pair of jeans? My children (only 3 and 5 at the time and often
wearing mis-shapen, hand-spun wool sweaters) had a greater
consciousness of the origins of our daily commodities than I ever had
as a kid.
I thought of our friends back in the City and, like anyone new to a great revelation, I wanted to share! If I could figure out something that we could create with our hands that came from the ground that our friends would love, then whatever that item is could communicate the whole story. I shared this thought with my friend Nora, who surprised me and said, “Let's do it!” Turns out, my mountain-hermit friend Nora lived a fabulous former life making hats for fashion and Broadway in pre-bubble New York City. The vessel for our story was to be amazingly beautiful, eco-fabulous hats.
So, over the next few months, I taught myself to felt and Nora dusted off her old hat blocks and we got to work designing and experimenting with felt and feathers and grosgrain. We've been blown away by the response to our combination of Nora's incredible designs and my hand-made felt!SouleMama: What inspires you?
Sam: We are inspired by all the work and love that goes into living mindfully no matter where you are. We are also very inspired by the gorgeous and varied Vermont mountains we call home. We are endlessly inspired and amused by our sheep (more than you know!) and the colors, shapes and textures of leaves, insects, rocks and waterways. For example, when Hurricane Irene came through, Nora began to gather the chunks of rusted metal, tree roots and bits of debris the storm left behind. Turns out, rusty metal, felt, feathers, and beading compliment each other in new and interesting ways. Our Hurricane Irene line of hats was born.
But there's no need to wait for natural disasters to befall us! The late summer blaze of goldenrod, and sumac berries, the turning of the meadow, the twilight sky during harvest time and, of course, the explosion of autumn color in Vermont trees all inform our felt choices, our silks and feathers and metals, and the play between the natural and man-made landscape on each hat.
SouleMama: How are your children incorporated into your business?
Sam: Nora has one son and I have two boys and a girl. We met through our children; we chose this crazy, all-consuming, yet somewhat-flexible-schedule business because of our children; and, as they are getting a bit older (4, 7, 9 and 9), our children are a little bit more a part of the business. Mostly this means that Nora and I scoot around kids beading, drawing or playing with feathers on the floor, but our kids also help. 9 year-old Henry, who loves Leggos, is the mastermind behind the child's hat with Leggo trim that children can add to and build on. 7-year-old Clara and 4-year-old Arlo are our (extremely willing and hammy) models for our children's hats. And 9-year-old Luca helps me at farmers market.
Mostly, they just love coming to the studio (the school bus drops them off right at the curb!) and joining Nora and me in our own form of parallel play (Nora in the blocking area, me at the felting table). They create in ways they can't access at school and they love showing their friends how hats are made, from the grass up.
SouleMama: Tell us about your customers.
Sam : Our customers are cool people! They tend to have a good head on their shoulders (the better to wear hats m'dear), and they want to do right by the world and look darn good doing it! Our customers are self-confident, fun-loving women and men who appreciate well-crafted eco-friendly hats made of natural fibers. They are unwilling to compromise on ethics, comfort, quality OR esthetics (thank you very much).
We have the great fortune of selling directly to many of our customers at fine craft and art shows. We love it when someone comes into our shop saying “I look horrible in hats” and after a fun-filled interlude playing dress ups, they leave with a new spring in their step and a hat that suits them to a “T”.
For today's giveaway, Swan&Stone Millinery is generously offering the following gift to ONE winner:
~ One Sage and Pumpkin Wool Felt Cloche!
This is an extra-soft, super-luxurious hat made from our unique wool felt, handmade on a FeltLoom. We finish our cloche with an adjustable buckle and needle-felted leaf embellishment to create a cozy, delicious and crazy-beautiful cloche that flatters so many faces. Because it is adjustable, one size fits most.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
To enter today's giveaway, please leave a comment (one entry per person, please) in today's post. I'll close comments by 8 am EST on Monday, and announce the winner, chosen via Random Number Generator, shortly after. Comments closed! The winner is...
I always have said I was born in the wrong decade. Love the idea of
wearing a hat every day as ladies did in the past. These are just
beautiful! Thank you for the introduction and the opportunity!
Posted by: Dawn Harris
Thank you, Swan&Stone Millinery!