Friday, 16 November 2012

Reese and Taylor bracelet giveaway!

Did you read my Reese and Taylor bracelet review and interview with the fab Audrey and Sue here? Even if you didn't, what with it being the season of good-will and whatnot, I'll be ever so nice and let you in on this here giveaway. Santa's nice list here I come! You can win one of these handmade beaded leather bracelets in either gold/brown or silver/black. Whether you want to win it as a little Christmas gift to yourself (well why not?) or as a stocking filler, little gift or secret Santa for someone else - simply enter via Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open worldwide and will be running for 14 days. You are guaranteed at least 3 entries :) 

The lucky winner will be announced in a blog post by yours truly and on my Twitter (dottydotdot_) on Saturday 1st December. An email will shortly follow so you can claim your prize, yay!
If you have any other questions leave me a comment and I'll get back to you asap.

Important: Please, please, please make sure you leave me which colour you would like and don't forget, you need to be following R&T on Facebook as they are the brilliant ladies providing the prize -I'm just the host!

Good Luck and Love!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Introducing: Reese and Taylor

Giorgio Armani admirably noted that "Accessories are important and becoming more and more important every day. They can completely change the look of an outfit, and women like the idea of having a wardrobe that's versatile." How right was he? The ability for accessories to transform an outfit from one style to another, up or down is truly satisfying.  
I'm a real lucky bunny as I'm able to introduce you to a new jewellery and accessories company called Reese and Taylor. Ran by childhood best friends Audrey and Sue, based in the USA, they aim to offer trendy yet affordable jewellery to young women like our bloggy-selves. At the moment they're working on an online shop but they've an ever growing Etsy store which is absolutely worth checking out regularly as new designs are often introduced and their Facebook page is great for keeping up with updates about new designs in progress. If you are after something special for a friend for Christmas or don't quite like or can't wear a particular type of chain/tie then bespoke designs are happily offered. With both extensive business and fashion experience under their sparkly belts we are in good hands with Reese and Taylor! 

I was sent these two gorgeous leather bracelets which retail at £11.63 each which is a truly reasonable price taking in a recent experience of a craft fair that was selling simple threaded 'friendship' style bracelets for £30. No faffing about one-handedly trying to measure your wrist size is needed as these are fully adjustable and no, once the bead is pulled to where you want it, it doesn't seem to want to go anywhere so you don't need to panic about losing your latest arm candy. They are made of great quality leather as they certainly don't feel like they are going to snap or stretch and are ideal for the military, equestrian and glam rock inspired trends hitting the high streets. 

These bracelets won't be for you ladies who are vegan, vegetarian or those who simply don't like wearing leather- but don't turn away just yet, there are plenty of other items on offer like this gorgeous 'Two Birds on a Branch Necklace' or this sparkly 'Purse with Snap Closure and Chain Strap' ideal for festive parties and adding a little sparkle and personality to an outfit. 

I can't go chattering on all the time, so what better way to get to know the ins and outs of the company than a little interview? I caught up with the ladies behind the creations... 

Hi Ladies! Where did the name Reese and Taylor stem from?
We came up with the name Reese and Taylor after going through a hundred possible business names that we could use. Sue was the one who thought of it when trying to combine her favorite shopping places but to break them into words. We were narrowing it down to two business names and felt Reese and Taylor stuck better because it definitely sounded catchy and professional, so we chose that one!

So, what inspired you to get started?
Audrey and I have always wanted to open our own business but never took the leap of faith until now. I went to a beading store over the summer one day in downtown DC during my lunch break and saw the most beautiful beads in there. I immediately started to gather a bunch of beads and put them together along with the materials to make a bracelet. However, I have never been very crafty with my hands so when I went up to the counter and asked if they could make the bracelet for me, the storeowner said they only sell the materials, not make them for you. That is when I started brainstorming and realized that a niche is missing in today’s market. I immediately phoned Audrey and told her my idea, that we should start a jewelry business where we can customize orders for our customers. Audrey and I grew up together and knew each other since elementary school. I couldn’t have picked a better partner and since she has a background in fashion and my background is in business, we believe our company will be very successful. 

You obviously already have a lot of skills, but what have you learnt since this venture?
What we both have learned since this venture is that in order for any business to be successful, we must be patient and take it one step at a time. You hear stories all the time of failed businesses that try to do it all at once because they want to have success overnight and end up failing. We know that it definitely takes a lot of hard work, patience, and motivation to get where we want to be one day, but we also know where our limits are. We know that as long as we are there for one another and that it takes time for success to grow, we will make it in this business. 

How do your design processes begin? 
We both obviously do a lot of research and brainstorming, but in order for any process to begin, we must have a plan in place. We do market trend reports and find the gap out there. We also ask ourselves, if we were the buyer, what would we like to see out there? So, there is a lot of back and forth before we begin the design of a jewelry piece but we always make sure our customer is happy with the end results. That is where customization comes into place. We adjust the end results for our customers and able to make any changes for them.

How would you describe your personal styles?
Audrey’s style is very edgy and eccentric. She is always in the current trends and tailor her styles that way. She is very stylish and not afraid to take risks.
Me, on the other hand, tend to go for the more conservative, modest but yet trendy look. I sometimes hesitate to wear what may be risky for me or out of the norm in my closet. That is why Audrey and I make such good partners. She always encouraged me not to be afraid to wear what is fashionable and stylish out there.

What is your most worn and loved jewellery item? 
Our most worn and loved jewelry item are the ones that Audrey created for our clients. She made this beautiful double rhinestone necklace that was a best seller at our recent expo and we both wear it also. We get compliments on it all the time about how great it looks for the price that we sell it at!

Do the roles of business and design remain separate between the two of you or do you both like to contribute to each area?
Audrey has always made jewelry since she was a little girl and I still remember to this day that she made me a pair of beautiful, blue crystal dangly earrings. She gave them to me in sixth grade and I will always cherish that memory. She has always been the more fashionable, talented individual when it comes to making jewelry and to this day, she is the same person but better at what she does. She is just absolutely impeccable and a perfectionist when it comes to her designs. That is why she went to fashion school. 

I, on the other hand, am more business oriented and that is one of the reasons why I went to business school. I love coming up with new ideas and making those ideas happen. Every time I think of a cool idea, I immediately share it with Audrey, whether if its over the phone, text or email so I can get some feedback and to not lose that train of thought! We do at times share our thoughts and give each other feedback, so even though Audrey is more design oriented and I am more business oriented, we still compliment each other by giving each of our inputs. 

What’s next for Reese and Taylor?
We have so much more coming for Reese and Taylor and cannot wait to share with our fans! We are coming up with a jewelry kit where we will teach you how to make the jewelry that we are currently selling and also, we are working towards building our own website. What we will promise to our fans is, Reese and Taylor is not another jewelry store that sells trendy pieces for our targeted audience. We are a company that will offer conveienence and plenty of niches that people have never even thought of before, which will make us stand out in the jewelry business. 

We sincerely thank Claire for this interview, to our fans and anyone that is interested to see what Reese and Taylor will be offering and bringing into this market! 

Sue and Audrey will donate 10% of all profits during November to help victims of Hurricane Sandy - a beautiful gesture.

Would you like to win one of these gorgeous bracelets? Keep your eyes out for a giveaway that will follow shortly accompanied by a discount code!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

You better hope she's not a fan of Bambi

Wearing: Biker Jacket from New Look,
Tube Skirt from H&M,
Boots from Primark and Top from Asda (Old)

Yes, it's that jacket again! This was not the most appropriate of outfits to wear for a forest walk, as I always say I'm a nightmare with tights so watching me try to dodge thorns and thistles must have been a sight to behold. These boots are a relatively recent purchase from Primark and were a bargain at £18, when I say relatively I'd say they're about a month old so you might still be able to find them. I fell in love with their beasty studs and thought the placement of said studs was perfect and undoubtedly different to any other high street offerings. Unfortunately, they really aren't made for slipping on mud and panicking as you walk (knees knocking together) along a muddy woodland path sloping downwards towards a 6/7ft drop, as a small bit of the sole has come away from the toe of the shoe. Other than that, they are perfect if you make a habit of walking in normal places, i.e concrete!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Gifts Vouchers Blogger Challenge

Fantastic Fashion gifts for £35 or less.

This challenge is perfect for the lead up to Christmas and I love a challenge. I must admit, I'm late at entering as I was contacted early October! My original excuse (to myself) was to wait so I could see what Christmas gifts were being offered up closer to the deadline but it turns out nothing from what I've chosen is in a Christmas collection.
I pride myself on my gift picking at Christmas, I love the buzz I get from seeing people genuinely impressed and grateful for their gifts wondering how on earth I found them. If you 'have an eye for quirky, stylish and cute products which would make great presents' like me, then this is a fab challenge to show everyone some great gift ideas for reasonable prices. All you have to do is search the web for at least 5 different gift ideas each of which must not cost more than £35. Entries end TOMORROW and you can find more information here.
Here are a few of my ideas: 

1. Kensington Lunch Bag- Yes, you're reading it right, this is a stylish lunch bag! From the outside it looks like a normal croc effect handbag with a cute Jammy Dodger-esque pendant, but really, it's a great insulated lunch bag! What better gift for a fashionable girl about town who needs to carry her lunch in style without the embarrassment of a kids lunch bag/box stuffed inside her handbag. The Kensington lunch bag is available direct from Clippy London at £24.50 plus £3 postage. It comes with a great accessory pouch so you can pop in your money, phone, sunglasses or any other bits and bobs that you don't want to be cooled alongside your sarnie or pasta salad. It's fully insulated with a zip closing to keep contents cool and fresh and has a handy shoulder strap. Different, stylish, useful and PERFECT!

2. Personalised Stitch Your Own Journey Map Print- I love a personalised gift, and I'm not talking about the hairbands or hairbrushes you used to get as kids with your name written on them in fabric paint (remember those?!). I find this Personalised Stitch Your Journey Map Print from beautiful. Ideal for a special couple to stitch their life journey, a family to stitch their family holidays around the globe or a friend to mark your escapades together. 
Choose from UK, World, America, Ireland, Europe, Australia and New Zealand maps, print size a4 or a3(+£5.00), map colour and thread colour and input personal map title and date for title if required. For it to be within the £35 mark the recipient would have to stitch it themselves- but that's part of the fun and romance of a gift like this. 

3. Mens Yoda Dressing Gown- Do you have a geeky guy in your life or a guy that just loves random character based things? Well, Sheldon Cooper eat your heart out, get your fella or brother this Yoda Dressing Gown from New Look for £29.99 complete with Yoda ears. 

4. Bookshelf Curtains- I just LOVE these curtains. They're ideal for a bookworm's bedroom or hideaway, a study or a children's bedroom. From H&M home for only £12.99. The website says 'curtain' so I'm unsure if they only sell one side? Either way even if you had to buy two you'd be in budget.

5. D.I.Y beauty sample kit- This is quite possibly my favourite gift idea. There wasn't anything in the rules explicitly defining what a 'gift' is, so I took this as an opportunity to get creative and think outside the box - a d.i.y beauty set featuring some of my favourite different brands and items ideal for someone who wants to try something different. I suppose you could plonk all these items in a gift bag, but isn't it just better value if the thing your items are presented in could be a gift itself. These baskets are perfect for presentation of your gift but also perfect to use about the house or in your bedroom for storage- something we all need more of I'm sure. This one I found on ebay for £1.99 and 50p postage, the same price, if not less, than what you would pay for a gift bag in generic high street card shops. I like value for money so not only is your presentation a great gift itself, but Superdrug have a 3 for 2 promotion on hundreds of beauty items, free delivery AND points on your beauty card for yourself! 
I've included Barry M's NEW Hi Shine Gelly nail polish from Superdrug for £3.99, MUA undressed palette from Superdrug for £4, Revlon Colorburst lipstick from Superdrug for £7.99, NEW limited edition Vaseline Pink Bubbly Lip Therapy from Superdrug for £3.49, Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner from Superdrug for £1.69 and finally the cute And Mary Enamel Mirror Compact Necklace from ASOS for £15 (half price!). Including the Superdrug 3 for 2 offer and free delivery this whole gift amounts to £34.66.

Regardless of this being a competition entry, I hope you have all taken some inspiration from this for Christmas gift ideas.