It's already the second month of 2021, wow! Since having unexpected back surgery recently, it’s been hard to perk myself up and truly feel like ‘myself’. However there are things that have kept me feeling good, and that I really feel grateful for lately. I’m sure I’ll feel much better soon, but for now, here are 5 things I’m grateful for during this winter recovery (and 'discovery').
1. Things to look forward to – Staying positive is easier when good things are on the horizon. We have our big move to look forward to, our sixth Summer living together in Maine, outdoor improvements on our home, our grandsonshine Cruz turning the big ONE, and lots of little adventures to come.
2. Barry – I’m always grateful for B, but especially lately he’s been my rock. Always willing to do anything to make me smile, and nothing is ever too much trouble. I’d be absolutely lost without this man.
3. Contribution – When I’m feeling down, doing things for others brings me joy. So I’ve tried to keep that in mind and do a variety if things to spread some love and kindness if possible. Raising awareness about self care and self love, getting more involved in local fund raising, and planning to volunteer somewhere will all be the focus this year, and I’m so grateful to be able to do so.
4. New inspiring (feel good) products – If all else fails, retail therapy! I have only bought one or two bits here and there; but it feels nice to treat myself something for once, because I so rarely do. You’ll probably see some reviews popping up soon of my new buys! So keep an eye out.
5. Friends – So many lovely people to thank, I’d be here all day. Special shout out to my sweet neighbor & friend Tracy for both dropping off her amazing Body Frost Sugar Scrubs tub soak (that I desperately need) and her best homemade chocolate chip cookies, just to make me smile! It’s so important to have a good support system and I truly believe that. We all have our ups and downs so talking really does help in so many ways, don't be afraid to keep it real.
February is also known to be full of romance and food...two things that make the world go 'round, am I right! Sea Love had welcomed Alison Rose Vintage prints and cards to our boutique this past year and getting to know her has been inspiring in many ways. Alison is one of my favorite people - always honest and transparent and genuinely a lovely person. It seems appropriate for the time of year to feature her unique designs because I also prioritize love, memories, and moments over “stuff”. Read our Q & A and meet her for yourself!
- Tell us about your business and what you do (name, location, type of business).
Alison Rose Vintage is a shop filled with thoughtful, vintage-style word art on beautiful handmade paper and cardstock. The core purpose of my business is to spread love and hope, giving people words or mantras to look at each day that encourage, inspire, and comfort.
It’s just me, my Chief Cuteness Officer Shiloh (my doggy), and my parents helping out here and there. I recently moved from Sudbury, Massachusetts to Sevierville, Tennessee, but my shop is on Etsy at www.alisonrosevintage.com.
- When did you open your business and how did you get started?
I opened my business a little more than 3 years ago. I started out making word art for my own home. The very first definition prints I made were for the words “Admire,” “Adore,” and “Cherish.” I started to get questions from people asking to buy my work, so I spent about 3 months researching opening an online shop and making products. I launched my Etsy shop in October of 2017. Shortly after I started selling at craft shows and wholesale to local shops.
- What is your favorite part of being a store owner? Least favorite?
I love working closely with customers to create something that is personal to them and their loved ones. I get to read the most beautiful wedding vows, hear fun facts about siblings and grandchildren, learn about cancer survivors and those battling depression, and grieve losses alongside people I’ve never met. I truly value being a small part of these life moments, sharing in the joy and the pain.
I also love buying from and collaborating with other artists and small businesses. The handmade paper I use is made by Kelsey Pike from Sustainable Paper+Craft, and all of the illustrations I use are painted by artist Patricia Shaw. I can’t even count the number of amazing shop owners I’ve met through this business and how blown away I am by the words of encouragement and support.
If I could outsource some things for my business they would be accounting, taxes, and photography.
- From where do you draw your inspiration and decide on the products you want to offer?
There are so many sources of inspiration for me. I’ve been mailing letters and cards to my 96-year-old Great Aunt and my childhood best friend for 25 years. I’ve formed very special bonds with them as well as other family and friends that I write to, and I want other people to be able to connect in the same way. My customers and other artists inspire me over and over with ideas. And I look at my own passions for inspiration—like my family, my dog, reading, snail mail, volunteering, flowers, and antiques—and I make art that reflect those passions.
Because I print on-demand, I can make pretty much anything without worrying about whether I’ll sell through inventory, so I usually pick words and quotes I love, and hope others will love them too.
- What values does your business embody?
The core purpose of my business is to spread love and hope, in good times and bad. Our loved ones, neighbors, colleagues, caregivers, and teachers all deserve appreciation, even for the little, everyday things they do to make our lives better. And they especially deserve it when they are in the thick of hard times or grief and need extra comfort and support. Even on our worst days, there can be a sliver of hope when each of us is responsible for delivering it. And what better way to deliver it than with a thoughtful keepsake.
Giving is core to who I am, not just gifts, but also volunteering my time and donating my money to social justice and mental health initiatives and non-profits. I also try to give a piece of myself through my social media posts and with every order from my shop. I’ve experienced a lot of joy and pain just in the 3 years I’ve been in business. I always want others to feel comforted by my humanity, vulnerability, and giving spirit, and to also remember that we can always love ourselves and others a little bit more.
- Is your business a full time or part time venture? Do you have plans to grow/expand?
I am leaving my full-time job next month to focus solely on Alison Rose Vintage! I AM SO AFRAID, but I’m also super excited. There are so many things I could be doing to promote my shop, but I just haven’t had the time. Ultimately, my dream is to open my own gift shop filled with other small business makers and artists. Gifts are my love language and I can’t imagine filling my days with anything better than helping people shop for gifts for their loved ones. We’ll see!
- There are many challenges that come along with running a small business. What is your biggest challenge and what is your biggest reward or success?
The biggest challenge is having no idea what I’m doing. I’m learning as I go, but it’s completely overwhelming when I think about it too hard, so I try to center myself on the rewards. The rewards are endless: phenomenal customers, wonderful wholesale partners, and a wildly talented artisan community that all keep me motivated and inspired.
- How do you spend your time when you aren’t in your store or creating your product?
I love spending time with my parents and nephew, walking, exploring, and snuggling with my dog, reading non-fiction and poetry, writing snail mail to my friends and family, and working on remodeling my new home—I like to think of myself as an amateur interior designer! I also love to travel so I can’t wait to do that again.
- How did you discover Sea Love Candles & Company?
A year and a half ago, you saw my “Profound” definition print at the pro.found market in Mary’s booth from On the Road Again, and you reached out to me on Instagram. You then sent me a couple of amazing candles and I made you a custom “Sea Love” print… and the rest is history! I’m so happy we met and sincerely cherish our friendship and wholesale partnership.
- Where can people go to find more about your business (website, social media accounts)?
My Etsy shop can be found at www.alisonrosevintage.com or you can follow me @alisonrosevintage on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like readers to know?
Yes, I would love to add all the small shops where you can find my products besides the lovely Sea Love Candles shop!
- Avenue C in Framingham, MA
- Bird and Bear Collective in Medway, MA
- Burncoat Center for Arts & Wellness in Worcester, MA
- Decor & More in Westwood, MA
- Five Crows in Natick, MA
- Framed in Time in Framingham, MA
- Gracefully Restored in Holliston, MA
- Home and Garden Vermont in Burlington, VT
- Kitchen Sink Candle Company in Bolton, MA
- Laurel Grove in Sudbury, MA
- Lewiston Love in Lewiston, NY
- Locally, Yours in Plymouth, MA
- Neatly Nested in South Boston, MA
- Proud Mary Gifts in Needham, MA
- Salt and Branch at saltandbranch.com
- Sudbury Historical Society Gift Shop in Sudbury, MA
- The Cozy Cottage in Troy, NH
- Vintage Whimsy at Mill 77 in Newburyport, MA
- Wildflower Flower & Gift Shop in Wellesley, MA
- Willow in Windham, NH
If you have a favorite local shop, mention Alison Rose Vintage to them, and maybe you’ll see my products there next! Thank you so much for all of the love and support. Xo.
Thank you for taking time to chat with us, Alison! :)