March 2017 Featured Product: Okie Crowe Soap

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“Okie Crowe’s current featured soap scent is Oatmeal Stout, one of our original fragrances. With hints of creamy oatmeal, orange peel, butterscotch, farm-fresh milk, nutty almond, and rich vanilla, I had no idea that this scent would be so popular when I created the recipe in 2011. Customers tend to buy Okie Crowe Oatmeal Stout soap in multiples, one customer opting for an entire dozen for her father! Our second all-time most popular soap moisturizes with luxurious goat milk and exfoliates with natural oats. Come try before you buy in-store at Okie Crowe (while supplies last) or purchase online at www.okiecrowe.com. Made in Tulsa, Oklahoma. $7 each”

–Kelli Brown

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March 2017 Featured Vendor: Turtle Lane

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Who?

Corinne Garcia of Turtle Lane

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What?

Handmade pottery

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When?

“I was drawn to art at an early age and I never forgot those wonderful moments at that local pottery studio in Switzerland.  I worked with clay on and off as a young adult and now follow my dream by owning Turtle Lane, a small pottery studio in the heart of Oklahoma. I currently focus on functional pottery, which is available in our artist shop, in local stores, and on Etsy. I believe in embracing creativity and encouraging my students to leave behind their expectations and just enjoy the process of creating with their hands, a truly therapeutic and relaxing process. I love the fact that people actually use my products as part of their daily routines. I think of the many conversations they have , sharing a cup of coffee or tea, while using my pottery pieces. It is like I am able to pass a little love to them, as I feel that each piece I create is made with the most loving intentions.”

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Where?

Turtle Lane Pottery Studio and homestead is on the south end of Harvey Young Airport on U.S. Route 66 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Why?

“I love clay! It’s such a simple substance, but you can turn it into so many beautiful things. I love the process from beginning to end. It has been such a blessing to be able to create with, teach and meet wonderful people along the way.”

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February 2017 Featured Vendor: Old Skool Vintage Designs

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Who?

Steve Hammons of Old Skool Vintage Designs

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What?

Vintage inspired clothing and accessories

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When?

“I’ve always drawn – some of my earliest memories are as a kid laying on the floor with a sketchpad and the comics section and re-drawing the panels for practice.  Vintage cars have always been in my life as well – from the age of 10 we were restoring cars as a family, so that aesthetic was a huge influence on me.  After going the corporate route working in an art department for a huge watch company, I decided I didn’t want to be in an office, so moved back to Tulsa and began learning some of the old sign making techniques (which 20+ years later, I’m still learning). I decided back in 2013 to start a Kustom Kulture inspired clothing line (simple, clean design with aging) and from that have moved to Oklahoma themed items as well.”

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Where?

“We have a small warehouse/print shop next to my sign shop in [Broken Arrow, Oklahoma].”

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Why?

“I just love the old aesthetic–street rods, tiki culture, vintage motorcycles–and wanted to create a line of items that gave respect to that era.”

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What’s Next?

“We’ve been playing around with skateboard decks and gold leafing on glass signs. We’ve got more Oklahoma themed clothing in the design stage with one that I think will blend the best of both worlds (the hot rod and Oklahoma).”

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February 2017 Featured Product: Stephanie Ellis Designs Clay Hearts

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Stephanie Ellis Designs clay hearts were a sweet stocking stuffer for Christmas and will make an even sweeter Valentine’s Day statement. Last month, one customer bought every single heart of Ellis’ we had in stock to gift them to her friends! How sweet is that? Made in Tulsa, Oklahoma. $1-5 each

“A labor of love and friendship–In college, a group of friends decided to make small pieces and trade (some prints, ceramic cupcakes, etcetera). I made clay hearts. I continued to make them and give to friends over the years. I am making them custom now, in favorite colors and sizes and everyone gets to spread a little love. These simple little pieces are time consuming from forming, days of drying, firing and then adding color, metallic powders and top coats. They can have so much depth in color this way. I hope you enjoy gifting these little tokens to the people in your life.” –Stephanie Ellis

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January 2017 Featured Vendor: The Lotus Boutique

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WHO?

The Lotus Boutique By Erica Forbes-Ortiz

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WHAT? 
Handmade Jewelry & Organic Clothing Online Boutique
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WHEN? 
“From a very young age, [I] was always interested in jewelry making and live music. Nature, flowers, ocean, and  love of music inspire my life and my art. I began making jewelry at a young age, beginning with bartering for supplies, which eventually evolved to a jewelry line. I had a boutique for over ten years in Santa Barbara, California. We focused on organic merchandise and local artisan items.  As we enjoyed our storefront location, we decided to switch things up a bit. We attended music festivals, rocking our gear in several boutique style booths. Because of our young family, we now are online and our items are available in some great mom and pop shops in good ol’ USA.”
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WHERE?
“We are located in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. On the Golden Central California Coast.”
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WHY?
“I have always been a creative spirit.  Always interested in creating art, jewelry, sewing and fabricating anything that would come to mind.  As a young child, it was something that I was always drawn to. My love of silver and gold, using tools, fixing things and forging new shapes.  I am drawn to natural beauty of Mother Nature and creating pieces inspired by nature.”
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 HOW?
 All of my shirts, are silkscreened, one by one with so much love. All of my jewelry is created in my home jewelry studio, which is within walking distance to the beach.
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WHATS NEXT?
Always more jewelry and more clothing… Always making new pieces of jewelry and exploring new ideas. Going to new festivals & meeting people!
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Vendor Questionnaire: Prison Art

The thought of prison doesn’t make me giggle. Incarceration for crime is a serious matter. That’s why I’m surprised by the humor I have found working with W.B. Livingston III of Prison Art.

When Will and I first began conversing through letters, he wrote once apologizing for his delay in responding to my letter. He said that it’s hard to believe, but he gets awfully busy in prison. While it’s not really funny, it was. I laughed and it made my heart happy to know that Will stays busy educating himself, helping other prisoners with their art, and completely immersed in his own art. Can you imagine what you would do to occupy yourself for 40 years?

Hearing Will’s parents talk of their son sounds much like most parents gushing about their children. His father recently told me what a kind-hearted person Will has always been, but mentioned that Will has one heck of a sense of humor. When I sent Okie Crowe vendors a post-holiday questionnaire, I never expected Will’s responses, but he definitely made me laugh. I can’t help but think Will’s sense of humor is something profound given his acceptance of his sentence. In spite of knowing his fate is behind bars, his light still shines. In spite of a sentence that often defines him, he is still a caring friend to his fellow inmates.

Will is a constant inspiration wrapped up in a cautionary tale to not drink and drive. Will is any one of my awesome friends that has chosen to drink and drive. He is someone’s son. He is someone’s father. But unfortunately, he is also Oklahoma’s inmate. Thankfully, he has chosen to keep his sense of humor about the things he can.

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January 2017 Featured Product: Badge Bomb Cattitude Buttons

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This year, we are adding a new blog! This specific series will feature our hottest products, like December’s most popular item–Badge Bomb Cattitude Buttons! Last month, Okie Crowe customers stocked up on 1″ Cattitude buttons by artist, Gemma Correll, for Badge Bomb. Most customers buy one button for themselves, then one or a few more to gift to friends. Made in Portland, Oregon, Badge Bomb buttons are printed on 100% recycled paper and made with at least 50% recycled steel.  We are beginning to become limited on the quantity of styles available–stock up while supplies are still available! $2 Each

Cattitude series features 20 different buttons:

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Okie Crowe Meet Prison Art

Finally meeting W.B. Livingston III was seeing someone I know but never have met. I am honored that his parents included me in their private family time so I could meet the person behind the art, letters, and phone calls. Will is their only son, a father of two children. He is a talented, well-loved friend. Will could have been you. He could have been me. Instead, his choices sentenced him to forty years in prison.

Beyond the razor wire, multiple security doors, sign-ins, pat-downs, and dismal grey and white interior was a room full of someone’s loved ones. In spite of whatever crimes they have committed, they are still someone’s family. The prisoners looked like normal guys, despite sentences that deem otherwise. Children smiled to see their fathers. Wives sat across from their husbands and parents across from their sons.

I got to hug the person whose story I know too well. I’ve heard the story with multiple endings for my family and friends–arrests, multiple DUIs, wrecked vehicles, jail time, and prison. Will is a reminder to not drink and drive. It is hard to imagine the kind-hearted guy I met today hurting another person, but driving impaired causes amazing people to make terrible choices. I cried when I got home because I can see how much his family loves him. Then, I cried for the family whose son is gone. And I cried again because prison is not meant to be an enjoyable place to pass a lifetime, but I can see the heart in Will’s art in spite of his surroundings.

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Happy 2017!

Happy new year, Okie Crowe friends! It is hard to believe this is the beginning of our seventh year in business, but here we are! I am not sure if it is the “seven year itch” or simply reflections from the previous year as we celebrate the new start, but we definitely hope to make some great changes in 2017.

I began my business as a hobby, but soon after creating my first bars of soap, a friend suggested that I sell my products–so I did! I bumbled along with a home-based business doing special events and festivals for about two years until I stumbled into the opportunity to open a retail store. It was a challenge I could not pass up. For the past three and a half years, we have ridden the rollercoaster of lessons, including the occasional minor success and some “please, let’s not talk about it” moments.

When I began Okie Crowe, I had the support of my husband. Later, he began to assist heavily in the production of our Okie Crowe products, which helped me concentrate on the not so creative aspects of running the business. When life happened and we got divorced, it severely affected my business’ capabilities. I had been so fortunate to have so much of his help, that even I did not realize the impact life’s change was going to throw my business.

The tiny square footage of my original store hardly provided a paycheck. With my heart and soul so deeply invested in that store and the inability to face another change in my life, I fought to keep it alive in spite of my financial changes. My retired mother has volunteered for several years. Very occasionally, we have a family friend we pay to work in an extreme pinch. Being single again has meant working a variety of jobs hoping to make enough to stay afloat–Uber driver, Lyft driver, accounts receivable admin, paid survey taker, day laborer, restaurant server, road merch for Todd Snider, road merch for The Hardworking Americans, house merch for Cain’s Ballroom, art agent, office assistant, box office assistant at Cain’s Ballroom, and more.

After working one or a few jobs in a day, there is still my own business to conduct, but not much time to relax or have fun, let alone be creative. Churning out bath and body products like a machine at the end of the day has become impossible and production has greatly suffered. We have added some other really awesome products to make up for the lack of Okie Crowe products in-store, but we still have disappointed and frustrated Okie Crowe lovers. We relocated the store in September to a space we have had a commercial sink installed, hoping our new setup would improve business and the holidays would get us through the new year until we could get the soap studio moved in and production going again. Our shop is on a slightly busier street now, but holiday sales were the worst our retail business has ever seen.

We want to make our Okie Crowe fans happy and offer them the selection we have always wanted. We have so many ideas up our sleeve, but are caught at a crossroads where there is only enough time in a day and a very small budget. If our production were up and running in 2016, we could have potentially had our best year ever. (Or perhaps the fumes from my burnt out heart have gotten to me!) I believe where there is a will, there is a way, but am finding it harder to see which way to go.

How do we find the manpower and working capital to get production where it needs to be? Do we need a business partner? Do I simply learn to accept that life has changed and beg to go full-time at my other job instead? Will this be the year the rocketship gets off the ground or goes in for its final landing? Thankfully, that is the magical idea behind a new year–new possibilities for success!

I am too stubborn to give up on this adventure, but know I have too many irons warming in the fire. I desire more balance in life and am struggling to determine how to achieve that for my well-being. I love what I get to do because of my many interests, but know I cannot keep up the same pace another year. What changes would our beloved Okie Crowe friends like to see in 2017? Will we make this the best year ever or the year we make a great alternative evolution? Will we soar or will we roar?

This entry was posted in Business, Musings, Products, Store and tagged in , , .

August 2016 Featured Vendor: Eastside Design Co.

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WHO?
Eastside Design Co. by Chris Crockett
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WHAT?
“I love graphic design, lettering, and illustration and I think the best way to take something from the digital world to the physical is through screen printing. So I make shirts, posters, and stickers. Outside of screenprinted things, I love collecting and making enamel pins. They are like a little bit of art you can carry with you.”
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WHEN?
“I’ve been messing with graphic design since I was 13 or 14. To give that context, I’m now 37. I had done some screen printing in high school and college, but it wasn’t until last spring when I finally got my own setup and started screen printing for others.”
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WHERE?
“I started screen printing in my garage on the eastside of Norman, OK. About 9 months later I was able to move into a studio in downtown Norman, just east of the train tracks. It’s mostly a private studio but I do open for 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk when I am able to and let people come up to see my space and buy stuff. I have one big blank wall that I let other artists come in and show their work.”
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WHY?
“I’ve always been the kind of person that sees cool stuff and thinks ‘I want to make that.’ That’s probably why I have hobbies like music and brewing beer too. I just can’t enjoy stuff, I have to make it my own. I don’t really even make my products for any other reason other than I want it to be made and in the world.”
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HOW?
“By any means necessary! Seriously, if I think a style or technique or process is cool, I have to make it mine. On the computer, I mostly live in Adobe Illustrator. I feel like its scalability allows me to take what I make in there and transform it to anything I want from tiny enamel pins to t-shirts and posters.”
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WHAT’S NEXT?
“Skateboards. I have always loved skateboarding and the style around it. I want my graphics on skateboards. Also, I really enjoy making enamel pins for other people.”
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