Friday, May 3, 2013

Behind the Business: Darlybird

Our daddy finally gets to come home this weekend after two weeks in the hospital, and we are looking forward to some normalcy. 

These kids miss their dad.  So do I. 

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While I finally carve out a little time to write this weekend, we welcome Darlybird back to ETST.
Darlybird = Happy Things.  A fun shop full of colorful home goods, vintage-inspired jewelry, creative gifts for kids, party things, homey things, happy things.

The best deal this side of the Mason Dixon Line?  Darlybird Grab Bags.  $45 worth of Darly items randomly chosen for you and tucked away in a decorative bag for $16.  They're fun splurges for yourself or a friend--or tuck a few away to have for hostess gifts or birthday parties. 
My goody bag came stocked with three pairs of earrings, fun washi tape, a chunky bead bracelet and a funny little change purse:

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Darlybird owner, Rachel, shares more about the inspiration behind the pretty products:

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Q: The first time I looked through your site, I remember thinking "this chick is in my head." I loved everything--the products you picked, the way you described them, the price point, the consitent "feel" in your shop (and yet you carry items in so many different categories). So, how do you pick things for your shop? What inspires you when curating products?


I am a seeker and a finder. I love the thrill of the hunt, but looking at product after product after product can get very tiring. I try to trust my first instinct. If I see something and if it resonates with me, and I can picture putting it in my house, or wearing it on my ears, or using it in a way that is both purposeful and makes me happy, then I'm sold. I've found that trusting myself is the best indicator of whether something will sell or not. Generally my DarlyDuds (as I call them) are items that I had to talk myself into.

I call myself a "color addict" -- and find myself inspired daily by color. My shop is a little bit helter skelter-- I sell cupcake liners, vintage earrings, and washi tape. I consider it a slice of a very particular aesthetic. Either you love it, or you don't. And color is a very unifying principle. Also, I am a deal hunter! I love bargains, so I only sell things I'd be willing to buy.


Q:  How did you go about starting your business, what inspired you, and tell me...what's behind the name?

After having my second daughter, I felt the walls of my house closing in on me. I had always dreamed of being a mom---even felt that was what I was born to do. But those closing walls and the conflicting feeling of not being totally fulfilled with the "most fulfilling" job of being a mother ate at me. I felt guilty for wanting an outlet, but also depressed that I didn't have one. One night I was talking to my husband about my discontent, and he said, "Why don't you follow your dreams? What do you want to do? You can do anything!" I think he thought I was going to say that I wanted to go back to teaching (I taught HS English for 4 years), but I found myself blurting out, "I want to open a store!" My risk-averse husband probably wanted to back-pedal on his pep talk. ;) For awhile after that day, I made up a million excuses why it wouldn't work. And then I realized that I had no choice BUT to follow my dream. I started with Darlybird.com almost seven years ago, and now have opened a storefront with my mom called Harmony. That collaboration is a dream come true!

Darlybird is a nickname my mom gave me when I was a little gal. When I was thinking of a name for my store, nothing seemed right. And when I thought of Darlybird, it was instantly the name. Everything else was off the chopping block...and I think it's the perfect name because it's cute and whimsical, and also has such meaning and history for me.

Q:  How do you incorporate your daughters in your business, and how do you balance being a mama with running a business?


My daughters are everything to me. They are product-testers, cheerleaders, models, last-minute helpers....but most of all, they are my heart. As they get a little older, I hope to have them work for me and earn money for college. They often "help" out now, too, and I know that they're proud of me for having this business. That means everything. ;)
The balancing act is way harder than I thought it would be. I've learned to let go of everything business-related to comfort a sad or hurt child. And I've also learned to let go of guilt when I need to work and my kids want to be with me. I love the "it takes a village to raise a child" metaphor, and I've found my village. I've surrounded myself with women (and men) who adore my girls, and are invested in their success. There are times when I feel like a total failure at this working mother balance. But when I take a deep breath and think about it, I know that my example to them of following my dreams and loving them fiercely at the same time will be invaluable.


Q:  What are your top three items you carry?

*Vintage Earrings! I can't pick a certain pair....but earrings are my specialty. They can take an ordinary outfit and make it extraordinary. I make most of them; it's so amazing finding these old stones/flowers still wrapped in their original packaging from the 1940s-60s and then making something new out of them.

*Party decorations (huge balloons, paper straws, tissue fans): Bang for your buck! Having a few of these items takes a party from ho hum to freaking amazing....and it's hardly any prep on your end at all...just sayin'.

*Owl Wallhanging: Ever since Kelle put it in Nella's room and shared it with her readers, it has been a smash hit seller! I'm currently backordered till June, but will be getting tons in then. Pre-orders are welcome. And they really are amazing!

*Oops! Almost forgot the Grab Bags. They are a smash hit....and this time I've packed them with more cuteness than ever.

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Another grab bag:  necklace, two pairs of earrings, decorative paper straws, gift tags and butterfly stickers


We have a lot of fun Darlybird items in our home and we love the homey, colorful touch they bring. 

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Have a wonderful weekend, friends.