Friday, September 29, 2006

View the Video

Check out the little video about our store at this link. You can catch it on the Seattle Channel, or you can watch it right on your computer (see the link at the right of the screen).

It's a three minute vignette that was filmed as a part of our prize for winning the Seattle Mayor's Small Business Awards 2006, along with nine other great companies. Don't miss Otis the pug's TV debut!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Project Runway: Episode 10 Flashback

We’ve all be going through withdrawals as PR is taking a little inexplicable hiatus. Check out the next new episode ton ight, September 27th!

We usually re-cap at the beginning of each blog entry, but really, you’re probably watching by this point! There are just to many things to discuss for this episode, so straight to the Q&A we go.

Bringing back Angela and Vincent: Thoughts and feelings?
Ashley: Never have I been closer to heaving the remote through the television screen. It was both Angela and Vincent’s time to go even before they were each actually Auf’d, so to give them a second shot was absolutely ridiculous to me. And why bring back the two most obnoxious people? Why not some of the more well-liked, perhaps kicked-off-before-their-time folks? All in all, I am just really glad neither Angela or Vincent made it through to safety as that would have been the height of unfairness.

All I have to say is this: It was great TV. I love all of the shots of Jeffrey’s grumpy face as Angela arrived.

Who’s design was best this week? Worst?

Laura: I thought that Uli’s was terribly under-rated. He sort of ‘60s mod look was perfect for a black and white challenge. They were too hard on her. I thought that Michael’s and Laura’s were both lovely. Laura’s lace overlay dress definitely looked high-end, which was impressive.

My vote for best is Michael. He not only designed a beautiful dress, but designed it with the end-user (in this case his model) in mind. He continues to impress me every week with his proficiency in designing for a woman’s body. The worst was by far Angela’s countrified Dracula ensemble. As Tim Gunn so eloquently referred to in his podcast, “a fleurchon, Jubilee Jumbles extravaganza”. Scary.

Was Kayne the right choice to be Auf’d?

Ashley: As much as I love the guy, yep, it was his time to go. He’s definitely improved over the course of the season thus far, but it seems that his improvement increments have been smaller than those of the other designers. He’s such a talented designer in his field, and I think being on Project Runway forced him to stretch in ways that will really help him better serve his clients once he’s back home.

Laura: I’ll miss Kayne’s silliness, but I agree with Ashley. He should have gone. I was surprised that he bombed this open-ended challenge. He could have done something really cool and more “Kayne” and been great. I thought the purse he made was really cute though.

Prediction time! Who’s in for Fashion Week?
Laura: I am tired of Jeffrey’s Rave version of Rock ‘n’ Roll clothing. I hope he’s out, and Uli, Michael, and Laura are in. I’m still sad that old-timers Alison and Milan were kicked off. They had lots of potential and I would have liked to see an entire collection from both of them. They all get to show at fashion week to keep the final three a secret, so they’ve all won in a sense.

Ashley: My prediction for the top three is Michael, Laura, and Uli. However, I am pretty tired of Uli - it seems like she makes the same thing every week! So my dream top three at this point would omit Uli and add Jeffrey. Yes, he does have to insert his ‘rock and roll vibe’ into everything, but I like it. Also, if my fantasy top three were to be reality, it would mean three very different runway shows as opposed to the similar styles of last seasons final three. The judges really seem to love Uli though, so I’m hanging on the edge of my seat!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thank You

Last night we enjoyed a special treat. We are honored to be chosen as one of ten winners of the 2006 Mayor's Small Business Awards here in Seattle. All of the honorees attended a swank party at Town Hall, were given a lovely crystal trophy (see above), and schmoozed with Mayor Nickels and various business owners at a reception. For me, the highlight of the evening was watching the short videos about each business. I was truly inspired by the passion and drive displayed by each owner.

Thank you to the City of Seattle for recognizing the hard work and perseverance that it takes to start and run a small business. Thanks to the judges who chose Laura Bee Designs from a terrific pool of nominees, and to our customer Jill who nominated us. And thanks to you, dear customers, for shopping at our store, telling your friends about us, and for supporting our work! I feel so blessed to be among such creative stars - customers, employees, and vendors!

Please visit the check out the other nine talented winners. What a great bunch of folks!

BiXchange - Bob and Chris, owners

Gracewinds Perinatal Services - Christine, owner
Great Dog - Leslie and Judith, owners
Marjorie - Donna, owner
Montessori Garden - Kathleen, owner
SAI Real Estate - Deloris, owner
Second Use Building Materials - Michael, Patrick, & Dirk, owners
Soundview Medical Supply - Laura, owner
Parsons Public Relations - Joanie, owner

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Camera Hog

Earlier this week Otis stole the show once again. The human in this picture is Tom from the Seattle Channel. He came to the shop to film a video vignette that will air on the cable channel in the coming weeks. Tom wasted no time in relaxing on the floor giving Otis full romping access.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Project Runway: Episode 9 Faites-lui le travail! (Make it work!)

Ah, Paris. This episode finds the designers all settled in to their new digs and getting comfortable with the Parsons Paris workroom. After an evening stroll of the city and a Parisian dinner after the Auf-ing of Angela, the designers meet the next morning to hear their new challenge: Couture. As Tim described on the show, designers in Paris must be ushered into the world of couture by way of a vote by the French government. These designers have innumerable years of training and are incredibly skilled in the arts of hand embellishment and patience, so to be told to create a couture evening gown from scratch in two days? The PR contestants were floored. Most of them managed to… well… make it work, and the results were quite an amalgamation of each designer’s unique tastes.

Jeffrey - Two wins too many?
Ashley: I do struggle with whether I like Jeffrey as a person or not, but he’s really beginning to prove what an excellent designer he really is. I absolutely loved his couture creation this week – very much of the voluminous plaid and menswear trend of the season now. As Catherine Malandrino mentioned on the show, it was not only a daring color choice but to use a cotton fabric to make an evening gown was also a gutsy choice. Cotton doesn’t move in the same way as the silks and chiffons that are usually chosen do.

What was the deal with the egg toss?

Ashley: L’enfant terrible! I’m sure it was some kid in the nearby apartment building trying to entertain himself. I was so annoyed by Richard Tyler’s comment during judging that Michael “should have been watching [his dress] every second. Um, he had linked arms with his model. Could he be any closer than that? Grr.

Au revior Vincent!! Thoughts?

Ashley: It’s about time. And, might I add, we called it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Under Construction

I'm excited to announce that our store is expanding! We're going to stay in our current Ballard location, but we'll double in size by adding the corner unit. My husband Jeff is already hard at work on construction.

Ultimately, we'll have more than twice the space for retail, for production, and for custom design. It's going to be a long process to get the new space ready, but I couldn't wait to share the good news!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Our Little Corner of the World

Ashley Poses with Coffee

We had a little photo shoot at the shop today. Here's a picture of Ashley pretending to read as part of our "action shot" experimentation. I'm going to put several new bags on the website in the next few days. Our fall collection includes ruched wristlets, some new medium bags, and a bunch of mini wallets and jewelry. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Project Runway: Episode 8

Ooh la la! This episode’s challenge brought all manner of surprises, including a famous guest appearance (amazing New York-based French designer Catherine Malandrino) and even an international flight. The designers were told they would be creating a look for an international jet setter.

It was then revealed that said jet setters would be the designers themselves! There were a variety of reactions, and needless to say, an incredible variety of designs. On the runway, another surprise: The designers would not be judged until it was determined how each garment travels. They are then packed off to the airport where they find out they are bound for Paris. Once everyone has recovered from Angela’s ear-shattering shrieks, they board first class for Paris where the judging ensues…

In which outfit would you choose to jet set?
Ashley: I’d like a toned-down version of Uli’s dress. I always pick a halter neckline over anything, and then could combine it with my nearly surgically attached flip-flops and a denim jacket for an extra layer. It really was the perfect travel outfit: Chic, non-binding, and easily layered.

Laura: I prefer to wear pants when I travel, so I would have had a difficult time with any of the outfits. I guess I would say I’d wear Michael’s, but modified for a female. The seersucker pants would be comfy and airy. That’s a pretty huge stretch though. I would also like Laura’s dress in a jewel tone, rather than the pale flesh tone.

Did the right designer win? Lose?
Laura: I like Michael’s outfit. It was less predictable than Jeffrey’s ‘rock star’ garb. Jeffrey looked like Bono circa 1993 to me. His outfit was well-made and fit him closely (a little too closely in the pants if you ask me). However, it just seemed a little bit obvious that he would make that exact outfit since that has been his style all along. Michael took a preppy fabric – seersucker – and created a totally unique, yet wearable garment. I agree with the decision to Auf Angela. She was the obvious loser here.

Ashley: A whole-hearted yes to both. As soon as Jeffrey started picking fabrics I knew he was going to be at least in the top two, and a reversal of the same for Angela. Jeffrey’s garment was so unquestionably him, and he took it perfectly over the top – not too much, but just enough to look like a legitimate rock star. Angela: a silk-linen blend for a travel garment?! Seriously. Even without adding rosettes on each… er… cheek, and piling on a crazy bag and blowsy tank top, she was done for with her fabric choice. As a side note, I thought Michael in second place was a great decision. His garment was immaculate and yet still held fast to his hip-hop roots. Kayne in second-to-last was also the right choice. He really did look like a butterfly masquerading as Elvis, but at least the fit was perfect.

Was Catherine Malandrino too harsh in her judging?

Ashley: She definitely had more of a bite than the American judges, but I thought her critiques were right on. It was kind of refreshing to hear an unbridled opinion.

In his podcast, Tim Gunn said that they had to film Malandrino’s comments four times because she was so incredibly harsh. We actually saw the “toned down” version! I thought she was hilarious.

Who do you think will be Aufed next?

Ashley: My prediction is Vincent. Even though he won two weeks ago and was comfortably in the middle of the pack this week, he’s too much of a loose cannon, and he’s held on for too long. I’m also really hoping Kayne pulls out of his recent semi-slump. He could be on the chopping block very soon if he continues the way he’s going now.

Laura: I agree with Ashley. I think it will be Vincent, and I hope that Kayne will step up his game with some classic designs.

Learn more about the edgy-yet-feminine fashions of Catherine Malandrino (one of Ashley’s long time faves!) here.