Where does the time go?

It seems like every year I make a promise to myself to really get focused on Hey Lola, to start taking this blog more seriously and really define myself as a jewelry designer.

You guys....it's SO hard!

It's not really, it's just that I feel like I have the whole world at my fingertips and it's incredibly easy to get sucked into all of these other great things that I have in my life. 

Currently, I'm distracted by the tavern that my husband and I own together (Blue - have you been? You should go!) and the community association that I helped start (Renaissance Park Community Association - we're doing great things!). 

I closed the physical location of Hey Lola to really get focused on Hey Lola, but it seems like everything else keeps pulling me away.

The moral to this story? I'm bringing my focus back again. I have a pop-up shop at Blue every First Friday, the website - www.loveheylola.com is up and active, I'm sending a bunch of jewelry to LA for a photoshoot, and spending a lot more time in the studio working on new projects. Here's a peek at some of what I've been working on:


Earrings!


Bracelets!


Simple necklaces!


Statement pieces!


Thanks for sticking it out with me during my distractions - you are the very best!

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Setting Fire to New Year's Eve

About 4 years ago, I stopped making New Year's resolutions. My husband and I own a bar and we wanted to bring in our own new years traditions for our business  - resolutions just really weren't doing it for us. They don't really seem to do it for most people.

So we just started setting stuff on fire.

And we asked other people to set stuff on fire with us.  

Every New Year's Eve, we would hand out paper and pens and ask people to write down the worst parts of their year...

cancer.
divorce.
self loathing.
getting fired.
financial troubles.
getting laid off.
heartbreak.
loss.





Whatever was terrible about the year, we wrote it down. We folded up all of our terrible things and we threw them in a metal bucket. We doused the paper in charcoal fluid and at 11:45 pm we set it all on fire and watched it burn.

We burned it before midnight because we were not going to take any of that into the next year. We couldn't, because we burned it. It didn't exist anymore.

At midnight, we celebrated all of the possibilities that the new year was going to bring to us.


And when spring came in the new year, we took the ashes of the previous year's heartache and we mixed them in with the dirt of our wildflower garden so that something beautiful could come from the things that seemed to want to break us before.


Happy New Year.

I know you will do amazing things with it.


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It's Like Trying To Eat the Entire Pack of Starburst at Once...

...because you love Starburst so much that you just want to eat all of them, right now. And then you end up with a huge ball of Starburst in your mouth that you can't chew and and it's actually stuck in your mouth and rainbow drool is dripping down your chin and everybody that you love is looking at you like a giant idiot because everybody knows that you're supposed to eat Starburst ONE.AT.A.TIME.

This is my life. I am forever trying to cram the entire pack of Starburst in my mouth. And when you cram the entire pack of Starburst in your mouth, you usually end up having to spit it all out just so you don't choke to death on the giant wad of rainbows that's lodging itself in your throat.





 I am forever trying to cram everything that I love into every single day. I have a bar/restaurant that I love and I have so many big plans for it but wait!  Because I volunteer with dogs and I have big plans for that but I have a store and I have big plans and a freelance job with really huge plans and a community association with so many big plans and I just started wholesaling and AND THERE ARE SO MANY BIG PLANS!!!!

I can't breathe. I am choking on all of these rainbows.

I have taken on too much and instead of getting everything done, I am spitting all of my rainbow flavored candy into the garbage and am accomplishing very little.

So, it's time to scale back. Everything that I am doing is doing ok.  The bar, the store, the dogs, the community association, any number of other projects...they're all hanging on. But not a single one of them is really living up to it's potential.

I am a part owner of Blue and I work there but I have never really helped manage it. My husband has always managed it and I've always had something else going on.  Blue deserves two managers and my husband deserves a little bit of a break. Our customers deserve more from both of us and our primary business deserves a little more focus.

I own Hey Lola and have had it in some capacity for 10 years now. Once I re-opened the retail location, I quickly realized that in order for it to succeed, I would have to really be a retail store manager. Which means I create less. Which is why I started Hey Lola in the first place. So while Hey Lola the store is doing fine, I'm not really sure what I'm doing here anymore. Especially since I am receiving more and more requests for custom work that are continually being delayed because I have to run a store.

Hey Lola the store is competing with Hey Lola the merchandise and at this time, they can't exist together. They just can't. In order to keep loving and nurturing Hey Lola into the romantic and recycled and beautiful line that I KNOW it can be, I can't spend my days trying to be a shop manager. Especially if I need to spend my nights being a bar owner.  So Hey Lola the store is closing it's doors in the middle of January.  Not because the location isn't great - because it is. Not because business was bad, because it isn't. It's not fantastic, but we could have stayed here indefinitely and been just fine. Our customers are loyal and wonderful and add a bright spot to every day.  But I need to focus on the creative side of Hey Lola, and I'm losing quite a bit of that by trying to maintain the store.

We are fortunate enough to have studio space in our home, and that's where I will continue to work. Hey Lola merchandise is already being carried in 3 stores here in town and is available online. I hope to expand that, so that these beautiful pieces are carried everywhere. I am slowly building our Etsy shop back up and hope to be able to incorporate that with this blog and our website and create a real online home for all things Hey Lola. I have already made plans to take part in the Riverfront Market next year and will more than likely be taking part in other vending opportunities.

My husband and I are lucky enough that our customers at Blue have supported us through this journey and that we can afford to make decisions like this. I think in the long run, that this will benefit Blue, Hey Lola and the neighborhood in general. I am still committed to Renaissance Park/West Main and I still think it's a great place to locate a business.  Even more so, because I've now had two here, both of which have been successful and one of which isn't going anywhere.

I recently read this in a Forbes article and it struck a chord with me - (It's about Kathy Ireland and I LOVE Kathy Ireland.)

"Not every move you make is going to be a winner. So what? Pick yourself up, learn from it, and move on."

Opening a retail location at this time wasn't the right move, but it's a move I learned from, so it was important. In the end, closing the store wasn't even a hard decision to make, because it is so clearly the right decision. I just need to take smaller bites, so I can really enjoy everything life has to offer and focus on what's important - so I can do a great job instead of an ok job. I hope you understand and I hope that you'll continue with me and Hey Lola as we continue this journey. You are all appreciated so very much!





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Why Shop Local?



The big cry right now for lots of people is "shop local!" ...but why? If Big Business donates thousands of dollars to a local charity and a small business barely squeaks by but does nothing to contribute to their community, why shop with them over big business? Shopping local is great but it's better when it means something.  I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you the story of my business and the businesses around me and what it means for us when you shop local.


This is The Gaslight, a tavern my husband and I bought 4 years ago. 



It used to be run by drug dealers and murderers until the FBI and the DEA came in and threw everyone in prison. 


It was closed for 8 years after that, until new people came in and tried to start over. It didn't work. The bad element never went away. Drug dealers still wanted to hang out and after a year, it closed. Then somebody else came in and tried it. It didn't work. They kicked out the bad element and there was no one left to buy anything. They closed after 3 months.

My husband and I are apparently crazy, so we thought we'd give it a try.


We decided if it had even a chance of success, we had to change everything and we had to do it with almost no money. Because we're crazy.


We used a lot of blue paint...so we called our bar "Blue."

This is Blue.

Blue has been here for 4 years. My husband and I work almost every night and we don't let drug dealers hang out. Not even in the parking lot.



These are a couple of our customers.  They work for the local public television station.  The guys behind them are from a local church. They just finished a community clean-up because...

If you're going to locate your business in a struggling neighborhood, you should sponsor clean-ups. So we do. Every month, April through October.




We were incredibly excited when the guys from Excel and Urban Artifacts decided to take an old boarded up building down the street...







And convert it into retail shops, artist studios and two art galleries...



I liked this idea so much, that later on I decided to locate my own store right here!


My husband liked it so much that he decided to locate James McGhee Photography here:





Urban Artifacts and Excel decided to give us money to help with the neighborhood clean-ups. With more neighbors and more financial support we decided to take an empty lot...




And start a community garden.


When a business that had been here forever decided to close, we were disheartened.  Until somebody came in and opened the amazing Broken Tree Coffee in it's place! 



This is a mural in progress on Broken Tree's outside wall...The owner works on this in between running his shop, being a father and husband and helping out with the community garden and neighborhood clean-ups.

Meanwhile, across the street, we were looking at this...



Which was pretty depressing...


Until...


The Main Statement opened! Owned by a young couple with a brand new baby, they carry work from a large variety of local artists and help out with neighborhood clean-ups and the community garden.



Do you know what would be really great next to The Main Statement? An artist studio and gallery....so Russ Joseph opened one...


He keeps late hours and is helping us form a neighborhood watch program. His gallery compliments the already existing Backspace Collective, a "space for contemporary art and ideas."


In the meantime, the local karaoke bar shut down, leaving an empty storefront in the middle of all of our hard work....



Until....


Pitch Karaoke opened! The guys from Pitch not only help out with the clean-ups and the garden, but they also raise money for cystic fibrosis and the local humane society!

With more and more businesses coming into the area, we took on a couple more projects...



 This corner needed some work...



So we're working on it...a little bit at a time...



These planters always end up neglected...

So we clean them up...




The more we all do, the more people seem to want to be a part of it...


Like Jessica Ball, from The Art Garage!
(photo via Peoria Life)

Jessica Ball and her family help with the clean-ups, the garden, the landscaping and recently adopted a dog  through Foster Pet Outreach.

With all of this activity, we decided to start The Renaissance Park Community Association - a group of all of the volunteers, neighbors and businesses that are working so hard not only to build their own projects but to build this neighborhood into a community we can all be proud of. Other businesses in the area that have contributed to all of this hard work include the amazing neighborhood staple, The Costume Trunk and Mr.G's (now owned by the same people who brought you One World Cafe!).  We've even attracted help from businesses outside of the neighborhood, like Heading Om Yoga and Top Hat Productions!

And me? I volunteer for the local humane society, Foster Pet Outreach, Crittenton Centers and am one of the founders of The Renaissance Park Community Association. Don't be surprised to find me picking up trash and pulling weeds at midnight around here - surprisingly, it relaxes me.

So this year, when you think about shopping local, think about why...and hopefully you'll think about us!


 XOXO,

Lola








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Super simple pretty packaging

We like pretty packaging at Hey Lola, but we also like to keep our packaging pretty simple. Here's our simple solution to making a gift box just a bit prettier...a bit "giftier." 

Items needed:
Silk (or fabric) Hydrangeas
Satin Ribbon
Needle Nosed Pliers or Tweezers
Gift Boxes or Pillow Boxes


Pull your hydrangeas off of the plastic stem, leaving just the flower petals with the hole in the middle








Cut a length of ribbon long enough to wrap around your gift or pillow box and tie in a bow



Use your pliers or tweezers to push both ends of the ribbon through the center of the flower





You should have a large loop, with the ends of the ribbon coming through the front of the flower.




Pull your loop over your gift box...



Tie it in a bow and place a pretty gift card under the ribbon...






This makes great packaging for wedding favors, too!


XOXO,

Lola




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