Sitting Pretty: A Conversation with Jorje Schilling of D&G Boutique

a1Wondering what to get this holiday season for the young mothers on your gift list?

If you’re looking for something unique, we’d like to introduce you to Jorje (pronounced “George”) Marie Schilling.  The mother of six and owner of D&G Bowtique, Jorge creates exquisite handmade hair bows that make the most special of gifts for mothers—and their daughters—everywhere.

And what is even more touching is how these beautiful bows were the way that Jorje created a new life for herself.

How these beautiful bows allowed her to reclaim her life after the heartbreak of domestic violence.

Here’s her story…

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Jorje: I’ve always loved ribbons and bows.  When I had my first daughter, I never could find anything I really liked.  So I decided to start making bows for her myself.  For all her different outfits.   As I kept making them (and they kept getting better with practice), I started to get comments like “Oh you really should get into business with us. These things are really nice and we like these.”

To be honest, making bows for me is really therapeutic.   When I have my hands in the ribbon, it’s one of the rare times where my mind isn’t floating in a thousand different directions.  And when I can forget the heartbreak of what I lived through in terms of the domestic violence.

It is healing because I get lost in that whole thing and my creativity starts flowing.

It’s where I’m most peaceful.

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Jorje: I get my inspiration from a lot of things…Each bow, even though they may seem similar, is different because I don’t have a template or measurement. They’re all unique.

Having said that, when I make a bow for someone, I try to get their vision in my head. What is it that she wants?  What outfit is it for? What is her child’s personality?

My clients often send me pictures of outfits to see if I can make something to go with it; my most important inspiration is trying to see what the customer is looking for…

Also, my own kids inspire me. I have three little girls and I watch them put together clothes when they’re playing dress up. And I think to myself, “Oh you know what? I never even thought that that would go together!”

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Jorje: My favorite part of the holidays is to have my whole family together. That is really important to me. I treasure it. I call it my beautiful chaos. Everybody gets together, talks at once, giggles, laughs, jokes and just plays around. I can sit back and listen to that for hours. We do cook too. My oldest ones, they’ve been talking about baking for two weeks now. “Are we going to make the Kool Aide pie? Are we going to make this?” I’m just looking so forward to it.

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Jorje: Describe my business in one sentence? This one is hard.

My business is more than just bows; for me, it represents hope and life.

I had a tumultuous marriage and making these bows allowed me to reclaim my life—and hope.

Creating these bows is a restoration process that has helped me enormously. When you first get out of a bad marriage you’re full of emotions and things. You try to regain confidence and strength.

So I think what I’d like to eventually have in my business is to be able to extend the same kind of opportunity to every woman getting out of a bad marriage.

I’d love to give them the same kind of hope and inspiration that I found working with these bows.

I’d love to help them get on their feet and give them an opportunity to work.

I’ve had several ideas such as collaborating with a local shelter.

My bows are beauty birthed out of brokenness.

Cute, colorful, sassy and fun. Jorje creates bows for all types of little girls.

This year give the gift of style.

Created by a woman who traded in being broken and hopeless for beauty and hope.

Check out Jorje’s latest creations here. b

 

Let’s Jam! An Interview with the Owner of Jams by Kim

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We’d like you to meet Kim, the entrepreneur and owner of Jams by Kim whose tasty delights won the American Small Business championship.

Kim is a quintessential artisan.

The word ‘artisanal’ means having something made by hand.

You can tell that Kim is a complete artisan, a true craftsperson who pours her heart into every single jar of jam she makes.

Blending the tradition of jam making with new and unique flavors like Bartlett pear, roasted garlic, sweet onion, ginger and peach margarita, Kim’s creations are a must have at your next holiday meal.

Here’s what she shared with us…

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Kim: I made my first jam when I was 12 years old, so I’ve been making jam a really long time. Before this I was working in corporate human resources for Prudential Financial. I was laid off but I had been there long enough that I was able to turn it into an early retirement. Right now I am president of the central Jersey chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Oh and I must say –I’m having a ball and doing what I love to do.

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Kim: The first jam I ever made was grape. My grandfather had grapevines and he used to make homemade wine. When we were younger we used to go into his house and you could smell the grapes fermenting in the basement; it was wonderful. I remember he would let us taste the grapes in the beginning when they were ‘just’ grape juice but as soon as it became wine, we were no longer allowed to drink.  I can still remember him bringing me grapes for the jam; grape jam has an amazing flavor and I continue to make it to this day.

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Kim: I love the process. I’ve always loved to cook. My mother made jam, my grandmother made jam, so I was always in the kitchen. The fragrance that fills the air when the jam is cooking is amazing. When you fill the jars and process them, they’re gorgeous. Sometimes they look like stained glass windows. It’s really beautiful. This is definitely what I’m supposed to be doing with my life right now.

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Kim: I have an online store and I do farmer’s markets primarily. I typically do 3 farmers markets a week. My jams are in 3 small local stores but will hopefully grow to a few more. One of the stores is called the Better World Market. It is located on Route 27 in Somerset. I do jam sessions in my kitchen, teaching children and adults how to make jam. I teach people how to use jams in different ways. (It’s a whole lot more than just butter and toast.)

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Kim: The inspiration is really that I get to do what I love. I’ve always loved working in the kitchen. I love making jams. Having this business allows me to do that and make a little money. I meet great people, I source beautiful produce and it’s a blast in the kitchen. I have a great time making jams and selling jams.

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Kim: November and December are my busiest times because jams make great holiday gifts. One of my flavors for this season is a cranberry chutney. Cranberry chutney is great with any kind of poultry for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I do gift boxes for people and I ship jam. If you wanted to ship jam to a friend or family member I could put a hand written note in the box for your loved one with your gift.

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People love consumable gifts- nobody’s going to re-gift a jar of jam. It’s the perfect gift because it’s not masculine or feminine. I also do some nice wine and cocktail jellies.

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Kim: Thanksgiving was my mom’s favorite and it’s all about food and I love food. I get together with my brothers and sisters and their kids and grandkids.

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Kim: In one sentence- oh my goodness. I’d say: Jams by Kim are made by hand the traditional way, balancing creativity and authenticity.

You can’t compare them to something you would buy in a supermarket.

Thanks to Jams by Kim, you can officially say goodbye to boring stock stuffers and hello to flavorful, fun jams.b

 

 

Pink Room Therapy Anyone?

a1We had the pleasure to meet up with Cammy Wall, the inspired owner of Pink Room Therapy. The mother of two beautiful children, Green Bay Packers Fan and breast cancer survivor, Cammy is a Wisconsin girl who fell in love with stamping in 2006 and parlayed her passion into an exciting and unique business.

Here is her story…

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Cammy: Well, I guess I’ve always been a little creative. I’m from Wisconsin originally, and crafting was a big thing in my family. My mom and grandmother sewed…I had grandaunts that sewed Barbie doll clothes. It was only once I got married and started a family that I was introduced to scrapbooking.

But scrapbooking just took so much time.

So after I had my daughter I decided to stop.

Shortly after, I attended one of those home party things for rubber stamping.

The rest—as they say—is pretty much history.

That’s how I got started and it was an absolute great journey. I absolutely loved making cards and stamping. As a busy Mom, it was also the absolute perfect thing to do; while my daughter napped, I could dash out a card.

I’ve now been doing this for almost 10 years!

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Cammy: Well, it’s really therapeutic. For example, as an adult, no one ever thinks about coloring. It’s something I absolutely adore to do. So a lot of my cards feature hand-colored images.

There is nothing better than sitting down and hand coloring an image.  (Although I think the whole world is catching on to this with all the adult coloring books that are being introduced nowadays).

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Cammy: I actually don’t have a brick and mortar store, it’s just me. In 2007 I was pregnant with my son, and we had a room in our house that led out to a three-season room. It wasn’t being utilized in any useful way, so we converted it to a craft room for me. It was painted hot pink, which became mommy’s pink room, and eventually became Pink Room Therapy. That’s how the name of my business came about.

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During that time I started developing my skills – obviously your style changes a bit as you work on things. A little bit after that, I was asked to join a design team for a digital stamping company.

So I had started doing that and blogging, and that’s kind of where it took off.  Along the way, people would say “Oh do you sell your cards?” and I’d be like “Well, I can sell you a card.” For the most part, all the cards I create are one-of-a-kind pieces. I could easily duplicate and replicate things, but for the most part, they’re one of a kind.  I don’t have a physical shop to put them in. Eventually, I was approached to do a ShopOnMain store where I could feature them, so that’s how I ended up here.

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Cammy: Creating peace of mind while creating handmade cards.

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Cammy: I’ll definitely have some awesome teacher gifts and so forth that I’ve made. And during this season, I definitely don’t just stick to cards, I’ve done little gift items too. For example, I created a gift of ‘elf vitamins’ that goes with the theme of Buddy the elf from Elf.

So I definitely have some great teacher gifts, and gifts for maybe an aid in your child’s classroom. Or even the mailman or your UPS guy. Just something to be able to say, “We’re thinking of you.” I also like to emphasize the packaging, trying my best to make the packaging look beautiful and nice.

Want to give a unique gift during this holiday season?  We’re brimming with ideas on ShopOnMain.  Check out our featured gifts list (LINK TO GIFT LEAD MAGNET) And to discover some of Cammy’s Pink Room Therapy treasures, go here (LINK TO HER STOREFRONT)b

 

Naked and Afraid—One Online Retailer’s Journey

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From “Naked and Afraid” to DoGym owner to online retailer, Hakim Isler has a dream.

A big dream.

Not to mention quite a story to tell.

He’s a lot like many of the trend-setting, trail blazing shop owners here at ShopOnMain.

Today Hakim agreed to sit down with us and talk about his fascinating life, his trademarked DoGym, Elevo Dynamics and his unique ShopOnMain storefront.

This is what he told us…

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What about me? Let’s see…I was in the military until about 7 years ago. When I got out, I started the Elite Training Center, a martial arts and fitness facility. 5 years later, I opened the world’s first DOGYM, a 24-hour Family Gym and Ninja Martial Arts facility. Since 2008, the business has grown three times; I finally got to the point where I purchased a 10,000 square foot building in Historic Downtown Fayetteville. We named the business Elevo Dynamics, which means, “to elevate people”.

 

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I wrote a book, “Modern Hand to Hand Combat”.  It’s about how modern military fighting in body armor can use knowledge and concepts from the Japanese Samurai of fighting in body armor as a means to enhance their ability to be combative in armor. It’s about some of the ideas and concepts of the past that we can use today.

Yes, I’m an inventor. I have several patents on file for things that I’ve created. One is an axe called a Tengu Ono. It’s a multifunction tool that I used on both “Naked and Afraid” episodes to survive. It’s for sale through a company called RMJ Tactical.

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I appeared as a cast member on two episodes of “Naked and Afraid”. In one, I survived 21 days in the Himalayan Mountains of India through 40-something degree temperature with no clothes, no food, no water, no shelter. I had to figure it out with my partner. Then I survived a week in Colombia in the same type of situation with a group.

So…I’ve done that.

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As I said, Elevo Dynamics has been established to elevate people. To that end, we have four main things that we do with our business.

  1. We teach the Ninja Martial Arts. After having studied and trained with Stephen K. Hayes for five years, I’ve been teaching the ninja martial arts for the past 15 or 16 years.
  2. We also have the 24-hour gym. People have key card access, so they can swipe in anytime and enjoy training physical fitness in a fully equipped gym.
  3. Third, we designed a cardio kickboxing program called “Pressure Point”. It’s based on my own kickboxing experience – that people really like a full kickboxing experience. So they’re actually hitting targets and hitting bags and building jack ropes, etc. People like that.
  4. Finally, we have Kali, which is Filipino Martial Arts. I have a black belt in that martial arts system. Our program is bare bones and to the point, which is why it is very popular with people who are in military and law enforcement.

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So these are the four main categories we operate in.   However we also sell products that are related to these four categories….

We have uniforms. We have defensive tools, like training knives, training pistols, and stun guns… an array of tools people use to defend themselves. We also have sticks for training and protective head gear, chest gear and gloves…that kind of thing. And we have sweatshirts and t-shirts with our logo and name on them, too.

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In today’s world, there are so many things we have to protect ourselves from. Health-wise, we have to protect ourselves from, cancer and diabetes and obesity and things of that nature. Mentally and emotionally, there are things we have to protect ourselves from, like depression, fear and anxiety.

A lot of people think self-protection means only the physical. So if you get into an altercation physically, you have to know how to defend yourself. But the reality is, is that self-protection takes on a more internal world when we’re just dealing with an average day in life.

So our ninja martial arts program is multi-faceted – teaching people to how and what to defend against in their own personal lives. We deal with all levels–the emotional, the mental and the physical.  But in reality, the physical is a very small portion of it because most places have some sort of security or police force. And we have laws. The average person isn’t going to find themselves in physical altercations every day.

But what is more common is that people are faced with emotional and mental challenges. For example, where people at work might be saying, “You’re worthless.” Or, “You don’t know how to do this?” That’s la mental and emotional attack; you have to really understand how to defend against it.

Just take the example of kids. With kids, bullying is a big thing. Sometimes both bullying and cyber-bullying have nothing to do with physical stuff. But it is still super powerful—and destructive. It’s made people kill themselves – young, little balls of potential. Kids killing themselves because they can’t get past a name they were called…or the way someone treated them…

Knowing how to defend against that is very important.

Wow.

Hakim doesn’t just have a store—he has a VISION.

A big one.

We feel honored he has chosen to be one of the amazing shop owners here at ShopOnMain.

A place created precisely to support the dreams of entrepreneurs and local shop owners throughout the country.

How about you?

Do you have a dream?

Why don’t you contact us and see if we can help you move that dream along…  2a