Have these short days got you down? Ice and snow got you in the doldrums? That may be more than just Post-Holiday Depression and having to shovel snow off your driveway. It’s possible you’re suffering from what’s known as Winter Blues, or it’s more virulent cousin Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s unclear whether the acronym was intentional, but there’s no denying that it’s accurate. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines SAD as a pattern of major depressive symptoms during the winter months, followed by full remission when the seasons change.
If you have seasonal depression, be it mild or monstrous, you’re not alone. According to Mental Health America, roughly 5% of the U.S. population suffers from seasonal depression. The condition manifests most frequently in women ages 20-30, right when they’re trying to build a life for themselves.
Adorned with colored glass, the light beaming out of them is transformed into a radiant painting. Maximize the brightness with LED lights, or even use scented candles to add an element of aromatherapy. Art is always more powerful when experienced with all of your senses.
If you know someone who struggles with seasonal depression, remember to treat them with patience and understanding. If you are the person struggling, remember to offer yourself that same kindness. If you’d like to support an artist dealing with this all-too-common affliction, or just personalize your home with artisan glass work, check out Ravenwolf Creations by Maria Jordan.
In a previous post, I opened up to you that it was my dream was to have a real Brick and Mortar boutique. That dream came true sooner than I had imagined. On February 11th, 2017 The Eclectic Chic Boutique had its first Open Studio Store Night at Studio PURE and The Natural Store, located at 4 Midland Ave, Montclair, NJ. We set up our Pop Up Shop, which happened to coincide with a Greeting Card Making Party and Head Wrapping Class that were also booked that night. Studio PURE is mainly only open by appointment for clients, but on Open Studio Store Night, the studio is open to the public and potential customers can walk in and shop without an appointment.
We at The Eclectic Chic Boutique are proud of the help and guidance that Myrtle&Flossie has to offer, and look forward to working with her brand in the years to come.
Back to the night in question; my friend and business colleague Ahava Felicidad, owner of Studio PURE, invited me and Nia to set up shop in her store during Open Studio Store Night. It was not the first time Ahava and I had done an event together in her studio . Only a week before, we coordinated a Valentine’s Day Pop Up event we called Art With a Heart. After witnessing the overwhelmingly positive response and realizing how beneficial it was to both of our businesses - we made the decision to join forces and create a shared store and studio space. Ahava provides hair consultations, natural hair advice, and other client-based services. The products I provide in shop offers a shopping experience for her clients, and allows me to have a brick and mortar presence in the community.
The Eclectic Chic Boutique will be popping up at her store 2 to 3 times a month, hosting a variety of craft and shopping events, plus meet and greets with our Member Artists. If you sign up for our e-newsletter, you will be alerted as to when we are popping up, what our hours will be, and what kind of promotions you can take advantage of.
I can’t express in words how thrilled I am that I was able to connect with such amazing artists through networking, aligning and joining forces - or how honored and humbled I am that they have accepted me as one of their own. Together, we were able to build a strong foundation for a business based on supporting local artisans and promoting a healthy lifestyle. I hope you all stay connected to see where this wild venture will take us.
My name is Kristen Zachares, I am an artist, and the owner of The Eclectic Chic Boutique. I grew up in Woodland Park, but feel more akin to Montclair than anywhere else I’ve lived. Montclair is one of my inspiration for my way of life - the artist lifestyle. I am creative, organized, and productive. Being creative is just as important to me as running my business. At the moment, I wear a number of hats, and do my best to juggle them with the help and support of friends and family. My next goal for my website is to start a blog.
I’ve wanted to create a blog for while. I have a million ideas, but had no clue where to begin, and I didn’t want to start with a random topic. Creating a good first impression is very important to me. And that got me thinking: what makes a great first impression in the websense?
In person, when I want to make a good impression - I put on a great outfit, wear some of my favorite handmade jewelry, smile confidently, and introduce myself. When I think about it in those terms, it makes sense to start my blog off in a similar fashion. I’ve written about myself in the “About the Owner” section of this website, so I won’t just copy and paste what I have there. Instead I would like to highlight my Why - the drive behind my passions and my business. Its Why I started this, where I want it to go, and where I hope to take it.
Where it Began
Ever since I was little, I wanted to be an artist. Now that I think back on it, I really didn’t have a clear idea of what that actually was. I just assumed you get to create your art and you would live a happy life.
I didn’t live in the most ideal family situation - my parents were divorced, and I had two disabled younger brothers that required a lot of attention. I didn’t get to participate in many of the activities that other children my age did. Art was my escape, and my outlet. I could create whatever I wanted with what I had, and one one could change that. Art was empowering for me, especially because I was very shy and introverted. It also provided a way for me to connect with others - students would ask questions or complement my work, and it would spark me to engage and develop connections.
Eventually I did find my chique - nerds. I was a nerd girl, and I’m still proud of it to this day. I loved video games, movies, and drawing my favorite characters from those media. Soon my friends started requesting me to draw their favorites, or drawing their original characters. Some students would offer me money in exchange. That's what helped bridge the gap for me, between art and business.
Why I Started a Business
Starting a business became my dream. For me it was the ultimate independence - being my own boss, creating my life, and paving my own path. I created a brand name, called YinYang Remix, and it comprised all the things I loved creating - illustrations, comics, and jewelry. Then I took the next step; setting out and selling my work.
Craft shows became my favorite summer activity. The thrill of setting up in a new place, arranging my display, meeting other artists, and sharing my work with new people - it was thrilling.
It was also a learning curve. I realized craft shows were more than about sales. There were many factors that I didn’t take into account - how to create a proper display, talking to customers, tracking inventory, understanding if I was actually making a profit, etc. One of my flaws is that I can be very stubborn, and at the time I really felt I knew exactly what I was doing, and didn’t need to learn anything else.
Finally I came to a realization; as determined as I was to make this business a success, it wasn’t going to get off the ground unless I swallowed my pride and actively learned to navigate the business landscape. Even things I already knew I would have to re-evaluate, or else become a victim of my own hubris.
I decided to take a chance and applied to Rising Tide Capital - a nonprofit that provided hands-on business courses that instructed the practical aspects of running a business. The program covered all facets, including marketing, advertising, budgeting and financials, and other topics. Just the application process asked me questions about my business that I hadn’t thought of before - Who was my target audience? How much profit was I making? What needs was I fulfilling?
It spring-boarded a new path in my business journey.
Why I Started The Eclectic Chic Boutique
After graduating Rising Tide Capital, I felt enlightened. I finally figured out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to take my business. I discovered that, as much as I loved being an artist, I also loved helping people and sharing my work with others. It wasn’t just about making money; it was also about sharing the joy of creativity with others. I found my Why.
I restructured my business, and The Eclectic Chic Boutique was born. I opened up my business to artists who, despite having great deal of creativity and drive, lacked the business savvy necessary to monetize their talents. I shared the knowledge and skills I had acquired, and helped them bridge the gap between art and business.
If you were to ask me why I started my business, I would tell you it’s because I love being creative, running a business, and sharing creativity. The goal of The Eclectic Chic Boutique is to help artists get their work out there, and connect them to customers who are willing to support their talents because they appreciate the love and care these artists put into their craft.
Where I Want to Take my Business
As of the date of this post, I have been making and selling crafts professionally for 6 years. As of June 2017, it will be my first year as head of The Eclectic Chic Boutique.
My dream and my drive is to one day have a brick and mortar store, where customers can come and experience all aspects of creativity. There will be craft tables, where children and adults can take a break from their daily lives, to make a craft project and experience the joys of creativity. People can shop for all manner of handmade goods - from clothing to jewelry, to soaps and sauces. They can access the tools they need to create their own artisan lifestyle. There will be space reserved for parties and classes, and for artists to come in and create their wares.
That is my next dream. I thank everyone who has supported us so far, and I appreciate that you will continue to as we build momentum and grow.
What Can We Expect With the Blog?
The Blog will have several purposes. It will be an informational extension of the website. For customers, it will help provide insight into what goes on behind of the scenes of The Eclectic Chic Boutique, as well as informing you of the various tutorials on products and items available on our online store, and provide interviews with our member artists. For artists, we will provide useful business tips, ideas and information for craft shows, creating events and other topics.
If you would like to receive updates for future posts, subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us on our social media platforms. Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section, I love getting feedback.
Once again, thank you from your dedicated CEO, Kristen Zachares.
Kristen Zachares, owner and founder of The Eclectic Chic Boutique.