Sarah from Ellie Fun Day

One of my least favorite things in the world is crappy fabric. Lucky for us, Sarah Lin, founder of EllieFunDay, "delights in all things beautiful and dreams incessantly of a better world" -  which includes making some of the softest and loveliest baby hats and blankets ever! Today, in true Treated fashion, we chatted with Sarah about what she does to treat herself and asked a few questions about her booming company.

1. What do you do to treat yourself?

I'm constantly working at a fast pace, so any sort of break away from work is really a treat! There is a local Korean spa that I like going to for a good soak and a full body scrub (and when I mean FULL, every single crevice!). I feel like a newborn baby after it! 

2. What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten or given?

I'm a gift giver and LOVE curating JUST the right gift for someone. 

For my cousin's wedding, who are both writers/reporters for the Washington Post, I gifted them my first edition of Cyrano de Bergerac (their favorite book!) It was a leather case-bound book with letter pressed pages and full color illustrations. They loved it since it was not something from their registry and it was so meaningful to them.

3. In your city of San Francisco, what’s your favorite spot to grab a bite to eat and why?

San Francisco is so full of excellent restaurants! I tend to like hometown, non-froufy places. San Tung has the best dried fried chicken and dumplings. I also like The Progress for innovative and farm fresh food.

4. What is a mistake you made when you were starting Ellie Fun Day? What did you learn?

I think that coming from the graphic design world I was trained to make everything pixel perfect. So when I started designing our patterns and working on samples I expected it to be "pixel perfect". Which is pretty impossible in the manufacturing world. I learned to allow a margin. 

5. It sounds like it took a long time to find the right group to partner with in India. What were some of the factors you took into consideration when making that decision? What were you looking for?

I don't come from an apparel manufacturing background so I had to learn everything from scratch. I felt strongly about working with a sewing unit that believes in empowering the poor through a fair-wage and dignified employment. So much of our clothing is made unethically, so I really wanted to make sure that our products are made fairly. We are also committed to sourcing as much GOTS organic cotton as well for the very same reasons. Because we are such a small buyer, many of the larger mills won't even pay attention to us. But luckily we've found an amazing mill that believes in what we are trying to do that custom makes all of our fabric for us. 

6. Did you consider other countries or just India (why India)?

Our vision is definitely to expand outside of India. But we also believe in building good and strong partnerships for a long-term relationship which takes time. 

Kristen from P.F. Candle Co.

Who doesn't love discovering a new candle? It's is one of my favorite gifts to give. But as someone with a sensitive snout, I'm picky about what I burn and what I give to others. Lucky for me a few years back I discovered P.F. Candle Co.'s Teakwood and Tobacco scent and since then it's faithfully burned every night on my bedside table. This week we chatted with P.F. Candle Co. founder, Kristen Pumphrey, about all the thought that goes into her candle scents—as well as our mutual love for cheese.

1. What do you do to treat yourself?

I love going to the cheese shop at Grand Central Market in downtown and getting a bunch of different cheeses, crackers, and spreads. Other than cheese treats, it’s also a treat to go camping and get off the grid for a couple days. I love waking up in a sleeping bag, haha!

2. What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten or given?

My mom gave me a sewing machine for my 20th birthday, and it’s gotten a lot of use. I love that it’s a gift that gives you the ability to make something - so the gift has a purpose further than the initial “gift giving" one.

3. What were you doing before P.F. Candle Co.?

Before I founded Pommes Frites in 2008, I was working at a craft magazine in New York. It was 2008, right before the recession hit, and the magazine ended up folding. I took it as an opportunity to follow my dream of becoming a maker, and moved to Austin shortly after that.

4. What was the hardest thing about starting your own business?

There was a point I came to when I felt like giving up, when I was scrapping to make ends meet while Tom was in school. We were living off the meager amount the business brought in and student loans. It challenged me to think about if I really wanted to own my own business - or even if I should. During the holidays, things were fine, but the rest of the year was incredibly challenging. I started to consider looking elsewhere for employment, because I didn’t know if P.F. would be able to support me. Things coalesced at the beginning of 2013 - I got an order that was big enough to sustain me for a couple months, then another, then another, and it snowballed until we got picked up by our first national retailer mid-2013. That’s when Tom came on board, and the rest is history.

5. How do you develop new scents for candles + diffusers?

I work closely with our Production Manager, Carly, and my husband/business partner Tom to develop most of the scents. Sometimes we will have very specific ideas in mind for a scent - say, our Golden Coast and Mojave, which were inspired by two California habitats. Sometimes, we just sniff oils we have on hand and free-form our inspiration. There’s always some story behind why a scent is developed, however. Even one like Patchouli Sweetgrass - I usually say “it just smelled good!”, but in reality, what led me to pick a sweetgrass scent is that it reminds me of growing up. We always visited Charleston, SC in the summer and shopped at this giant market in the center of town, where vendors would sell these (incredibly fragrant) sweetgrass baskets.

6. In your city of Los Angeles, what’s your favorite spot to grab a bite to eat and why?

I love going to Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles and getting food from the different stalls and shops there. It has taco stands that have been around for ages, right along side the aforementioned cheese shop, the best bagels I’ve found in Los Angeles (Wexler’s Deli), Texas-style BBQ (Horse Thieves), pizza, and excellent coffee. You could make a whole morning, or afternoon, or day, out of exploring that area!

 

Stuff We Make

A treat is inherently something that you don’t indulge in every day—it’s special and unusual. Which is exactly why we want our Treated boxes to feel unexpected and delightful; like everything inside was selected and packaged with a lot of care (because it was!).

This is why there’s a handwritten card in each of our boxes listing the contents and the makers behind them in each of our treats. Plus why we might just slip in a few “snail mail forever” stickers. And why we’ve designed recipe cards to accompany the bitters from Jack Rudy and truffle salt from The Filling Station in our boxes (and also because honestly we had no idea what to do with bitters the first time we got some).

All the things you give (or get!) in a Treated box should feel lovely, useful, and like a tiny surprise. We want to make sure those delicious jars are truffle salt aren’t going to sit in the back of a pantry with the neglected can of chicken noodle soup everyone keeps around “just in case” so we thought we’d include the tastiest uses for it. It’s a small way we’ve found to make our gift boxes that much more thoughtful.

Ultimately we tuck in recipe cards, write out content lists, and slip in pencils and stickers because it’s the icing on the cake. We don’t want you to be opening just a box of nice stuff, we want you to be opening a treat! 

-Delaney

   

 

 

Dan from Snake Bite Co.

This one time, I walked into a store. But not just any store... my favorite one. And I spotted The Original Snake Bite. It was slick, yet useful and I immediately made a mental note to buy it for my future boyfriend (I do this a lot). Surprise! There wasn't a future boyfriend. 

Now, you can find The Original Snake Bite along with a bevy of other treats in The Dude—the perfect gift for boyfriends (real or imagined), girlfriends or whomever, really. 

Recently, we chatted with Dan Peskorse, co-founder of Snake Bite Co. and got a glimpse into his product development process as well as some insider info on the best place to eat in St. Louis!

1. What do you do to treat yourself?

I’m a big fan of chef’s tasting menus! When you go out to eat with friends or family, and there is an option to do a tasting menu…do it. Even if it’s more than you were planning on spending for your meal the experience will be worth it. It’s more exciting, unexpected, opens you up to new experiences, and always creates great stories and memories. I’ve never had anyone say “that wasn’t worth it”.

2. What's the best gift you've ever gotten or given?

In my opinion the best gifts are always experiences. A couple of years ago I was traveling for business, heading home after a long week, and was expecting a ride to pick me up at the airport. My ride was very late and I was tired and just wanted to go home.  Little did I know that my wife and friends were picking me up in a limo for a night out as an unexpected surprise for no particular reason. I will always remember that great experience as one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

3. In your city of St. Louis, where's your favorite spot to grab a bite to eat and why?

There is a great place in the Central West End of St. Louis named Little Saigon Café. They have been around for over ten years and never disappoint. They have a signature drink that’s off the menu called the “Leche de Buffalo” which is Vietnamese iced coffee and Buffalo Trace bourbon…it’s amazing – don’t knock it until you try it.

4. What was the hardest part about starting your own business? What were some mistakes you made?

The hardest part is dealing with the amount of time that it takes to get something off the ground and staying motivated. Ideas are simple but taking an idea, turning it into a product, and then bringing that product to market is extremely time consuming. I made the mistake of thinking that everyone I was working with (vendors/partners/suppliers/etc…) would have a clear understanding of what it was that I was trying to accomplish. The reality is that in all things, there will be multiple revisions, iterations, and prototypes all of which eat into your ideal timeline. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everything will proceed quickly and smoothly – expect the exact opposite.

5. You developed The Original Snake Bite (bottle opener) first and now you’re working on beanies— how do you decide on new products to create?

We designed The Original Snake Bite, and that bottle opener built this brand. As Snake Bite Co. grows and evolves the three tenants that guide us in developing new products are Quality, Consistency, and Fun. All of our products need to be extremely high quality, 100% sourced and made in the USA, and fun to use and/or wear.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously and like to offer items that we want ourselves. For example: I really like big pirate flags…so now we have awesome Snake Bite Co. flags available. Sound business decision? Probably not…but I really like those flags.

6. What else can we look forward to from Snake Bite Co?

We are actively working on three more patent pending flagship products that will be launching during 2016. The first of these is going to be an extremely high quality bartender’s tool unlike anything on the market today. We’re very excited to get that out as soon as possible. We’ll also continue to create more high quality and fun Snake Bite Co. apparel and accessories as we come across new ideas…drop us a email if you have an idea of what we should make next!

Carissa from People I've Loved

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As a self-proclaimed stationary hoarder, I pride myself on having the perfect card for every occasion, which generally means I have about 5-10 People I've Loved cards stashed away. Their cards are not only unique, but capture a lot of comical minutiae that often goes unnoticed in relationships, which is why we HAD to have something from these clever printmakers. (Their cheeky dish towel is in The Couple). 

Meet Carissa Potter Carlson, one half of the dynamic duo behind People I've Loved.

1. What do you do to treat yourself?

OK, these days, I treat myself by living in the real world. I tell myself, I don't have to check my email for an hour I can just drink a cup of tea and read and that's enough. There is just something about sipping something with all that heat and savory smell in a nice mug. I also am on this kick of working out, to try to keep me sane. Afterwards, I treat myself to scrubs, handmade bath products, and oils that are relaxing and refreshing. I was really into lavender for a few weeks but then I ended up using it right before I went to bed and having dreams about a past love who used it. So now I am on to sage. 

2. What's the best gift you've ever gotten or given?

I don't know... Probably love? My partner showing up to things he said he couldn't, saying to me he lost his wedding vows and then finding them just in time for our one year anniversary. 

3. In your city of Oakland, where's your favorite spot to grab a bite to eat and why?

I really am into Boot & Shoe. I also love Dona Thomas. It's just really always good food. We get so spoiled here with good food in the Bay Area. I also love love love the Tea Leaf Salad at Burma Superstar. I cannot handle the line there all the time, but man, Josh and I fight over who gets to get that salad and most times we just both get our own because turns out we are bad at sharing even when we agree on what to order...

4. Which part of your card development process to you enjoy most and why?

I like coming up with the ideas. I think about them in the shower. This morning I was thinking about how you can see someone from your past and they look really good and/or are doing really great. There is this like direct connection to longing for the past but also joy of the present. Feelings are so complicated and beautiful. I just take so much delight in them. 

5. Tell us about a mistake you made when you were first starting People I've Loved (please!)

Well, let me tell you about yesterday, I wrapped all these towels up and they were all the wrong size until I was on the last one I noticed something was off... I make many mistakes each day. The main thing I feel like is just trying to put it into perspective, like is this really going to effect you in a year? Most likely no. So I just have to catch myself and move on... 

What We're Doing

When I pictured Treated, it was more than just giving a gift or treating someone who did something awesome that one time. It was about giving a thoughtful gift. One that someone had put a lot of time into and one that someone (cough, me) agonized over for probably an unreasonable amount of time. And even beyond that, it was about supporting a community of people, many of who I've looked up to for years, and ensuring that their products and creations are known and loved.

I hope to use this blog section to showcase some of the truly lovely and talented people Delaney and I have met along the way, because they rock and their stories do too.

So when it's Father's Day and you'd rather die than give him yet another tie or when it's your best friend's birthday and you want to surprise her at work with something that's not crappy cupcakes from Safeway, we hope you'll ditch basic gifts and think of Treated! 

-Allie