New Sponsor :: Cupcake MAG

Welcome new sponsor Cupcake MAG!

A great spot to get your fashion fix. Editor Casi Densmore-Koon keeps us salivating with the hottest news from the runway as well as giveaways galore! Checkout her other site for happenin’ moms, Sprinkles!

{All advertisers on our blog receive a 220×100 spot and a blog post for just $20/month! email hello AT today to reserve!}

Freshly Launched :: KnotWork Shop

Launched: KnotWork Shop
Date: August 2009

LaunchHER says: We love it when people get creative with fibers! The apple and coffee cozies are our favorite!

The HER behind it: Diane Lupton

In HER words:
My name is Diane Lupton and I am an artist and owner of KnotWork. KnotWork is my collection of vibrant, unique and sometimes sarcastic accessories, jewelry and housewares.
I started the KnotWork line for two reasons. One, I love yarn and love to crochet. Two, I worked so hard at my career for so long and was unable to fully express my ideas and creativity at my day job. So I wanted something where I could be as expressive as possible and fully in control. Frankly, I needed one place in my life where oh yeah, I could go there, and not get in trouble for it. 
In October of 2009 I left my day job in order to spend more time with my family, be more in control of my life and focus more intently upon my craft. I have never regretted that decision and am blessed to have a growing business which would’ve been impossible under the constraints of a busy career.
The name KnotWork is a play on words. Knots of course are the basis of crochet because one uses a hook to create a series of knots. Additionally, crochet is never work for me. It is pure pleasure. So contrary to my day job, my crochet designs are not work or KnotWork.
If one browses my shop you can see two things about me immediately. I have a love for bold colors and a fresh sense of humor. If you dislike either of those things you probably aren’t going to be my customer. Yet I love to do custom orders because it is inspiring to bring to life someone else’s perfect and unique design. I get great fulfillment from a customer telling me that it is even better than they imagined it would be. Helping others achieve their goals was my greatest desire in my day job and still manifests itself in my craft.
I never would have guessed I’d find having my own business so rewarding. I encourage every woman out there to give it a go. You will be more empowered than you can imagine.

For LaunchHER readers :: Free Shipping with coupon code- MUFC

Freshly Launched : Silent Gypsy

Launched: Silent Gypsy Jewelry
Date: June 2009

LaunchHER says: We find that businesses are most successful when the HER who starts it is doing something she really truly loves!

The HER behind it: Monique Malkowski

In HER words:
Growing up in a small town in Connecticut, my family was always the outdoorsy type and I spent a lot of my youth and teenage years wandering and exploring my surroundings. I have always appreciated the beauty of nature and expressing myself through art and I think a lot of my inspiration comes from this nomadic time in my life. After working in the jewelry industry for several years under two other indie designers, I realized I was ready to express a personal sensibility through my own collection. I noticed a gap in the market for statement-making, fashionable jewelry that was truly affordable and I wanted to do something totally unique; something that worked for my friends and me, but also for women who appreciate the art of effortless style, and in early 2009 I came up with the idea for Silent Gypsy Jewelry.

Many people ask where the name “Silent Gypsy” comes from: I’m inspired by the gypsy lifestyle of moving place to place and not really having rules in terms of fashion…gypsies wear every piece they own at the same time; mixing metals, textures and pull it all together effortlessly. My collection is easy to wear; it looks amazing with a white t-shirt and jeans and equally good with a funky black dress. I strive to make really artistic, cool pieces but use specific metals and materials in order to keep the price point accessible. So far the line has done extremely well. I have already sold the Silent Gypsy jewelry collection to over 40 retail stores and I also own and operate my own retail site. The experience of running my own business has been an incredible lesson not only in my career but also in life. I have never been so busy before – in addition to designing, I also manage the production, website, shipping and accounting for Silent Gypsy – but because it is my passion, I absolutely live for it.

I am thrilled to be in boutiques worldwide and my complete collection is available online at Silent Gypsy has been featured in InStyle, Seventeen and on the Today Show, as well as on celebrities including Leona Lewis and American Idol’s Jordin Sparks.

For LaunchHER Readers : code SHOP for 10% off – it’s valid till the end of 2010

Freshly Launched :: Kimochis

Launched: Kimochis™
Date: February 2009

LaunchHER says: The mission behind Kimochis is so much more than a business plan. It is a plan to help children process their emotions. Something the founder couldn’t resist to do after witnessing tragedy. Sometimes that is what it takes to launch your dream.

The HER behind it: Nina Rappaport Rowan

In HER words:

There are very specific moments in one’s life when an event can change the way you look at the world. For me, one that really stuck was the horrible Columbine High School incident. To this day I am haunted by the idea that something like this could have happened. It made me dig deep and question. Why did this happen? How have our children become so disconnected and so self-destructive?

From those questions, I came up with a pretty basic idea. What if we could give kids, teachers, and parents fun and engaging tools to be better communicators? There are so many social challenges in this world. Life is hard. And being able to express yourself and your emotions is even tougher. What if we taught our children at a young enough age (when they are truly the smartest they will ever be!) to identify and express their feelings? I thought we could be on to something BIG. When kids are able to express their feelings, they build confidence, self-esteem and character. What more can any parent want for their child?

A new line of toys grew from this concept: Kimochis™…Toys With Feelings Inside. They were designed and developed to promote social and emotional education and wellness in children. Kimochi means “feeling” in Japanese. Each plush Kimochi character comes with 3 feelings and a how-to Feel Guide written with communication expert Ellen Pritchard Dodge, M.Ed CCC-SLP. The Feel Guide includes fun and easy activities and tips to help parents and children manage emotions in positive ways.

We have received a tremendous response from doctors, teachers, therapists, Child Life specialists, parents and children. We have donated thousands of Kimochis™ to children in distress. And we are currently working on the Teacher’s Edition of the Feel Guide that is designed to help preK through 5th grade teachers bring social and emotional learning to the classroom.

With Kimochis™, it is our goal to help children grow up to be healthy, strong, and emotionally well and to make the world a kinder, better, safer place.

For LaunchHER readers:: KimochiLHer2010 for 20% off purchases Feb 10 through
March 30, 2010

Freshly Launched :: Absolutely Audrey

Launched: Absolutely Audrey
Date: May 2009

LaunchHER says: Put a skip in your step by adding a bit of fancy confidence to any pair of heels or flats! However like founder Crisa says, they are not just for shoes– read on!

The HER behind it: Crisa Mitrou Barriball

In HER words:
My name is Crisa Mitrou Barriball and I am the owner of Absolutely Audrey, the leading shoe clip company. Inspired by Audrey Hepburn, Absolutely Audrey is a unique accessories design company that marries the elegance of vintage-inspired shoe clips with the latest fashion trends. As a young girl, I was dazzled by the sparkle of my mother’s shoe clips. I would spend hours playing dress-up with my shoes, attaching earrings, brooches, and fabric flowers to my sandals, pumps and boots to give them instant make over. I begun designing shoe clips for my family and friends and I founded Absolutely Audrey in 2003 in San Francisco, CA. As footwear trends evolve each season, I design shoe clips for the fashionable, creative and stylish woman in mind. Shoe clips are the “accessory of the accessories” since they can also be attached on hats, scarves, handbags, jeans, leggings etc!

Shoe clips come in various materials and shapes, from rhinestone buckles, to fabric flowers and pearl buckles. Today Absolutely Audrey sells in some of the most exclusive boutiques in the United States and around the world. Shoe clips have become the “accessory of the accessories” since they can not only be attached on shoes, but also on scarves, handbags, jackets, jeans, shirts, hats and leggings.

LaunchHER Readers :: Take 10% off code AUDREYCLIPS

Freshly Launched :: Be Nice Prenatal Vitamin Drink

Launched: Be Nice Prenatal Vitamin Drink
Date: August 1, 2009

LaunchHER says: LaunchHER needs her vitamins to get through the day! Especially when expecting. Be Nice is innovative and tastes great!

The HER behind it: Shawna Stevenson

In HER words:
When I was pregnant with my son Michael my OB/GYN advised me to drink plenty of water. However, it was just so plain. I also had a difficult time finding healthy beverages to drink – most were so loaded with sugar or caffeine or artificial sweeteners. Then one day, as I was swallowing that gigantic horse pill of a prenatal vitamin, an idea came to me. Why not create something that was healthy and delicious for moms-to-be? Why not make prenatal vitamin packets that can be added to water? That was the motivation for me to launch Be Nice, Inc.

One of the things that was really important to me was that our prenatal drink mix did not contain any artificial preservatives, sweeteners or flavorings. I didn’t want to consume anything that wasn’t natural or could be harmful to my unborn child. I also wanted a eco-friendly product. That’s why we use recycled paper for our packaging and our product is packaged in a factory that is 100% wind energy driven. Not to mention the fact that our sweetener and DHA are both derived from plants.

As as single mother and a cop, I know how busy life can be for mothers. We forget to drink enough water, we forget to take our pills, we forget a million other things. I wanted to make things just a little bit easier and healthier for mothers – it’s my hope that Be Nice can do that. As a company, we share a commitment to providing the very best for pregnant and nursing women and their growing babies. And we’ve made it our goal to do that in a way that also respects the health and well being of the world we live in.

I hope you enjoy our product.

For LaunchHER readers :: code: LHER10 for 10% off!

Freshly Launched :: Milk + Honey Handbags

Launched: Milk and Honey Handbags
Date: June 2009

LaunchHER says: LaunchHER loves a feminine touch. Milk and Honey Handbags has plenty of them and their zipper pouches are a must-have!

The HER behind it: Amanda Baker

In HER words:
Milk and Honey Handbags is a result of my passion for sewing. I have always been creative, but once I got my hands on a sewing machine it just felt right. I fell in love the first time that I threaded a needle and have been sewing ever since.

After I got a machine I became engrossed in learning how to sew and sew well. I read a ton of books to help me with my technique and got advice and tips from people who knew the craft. Then I spent a lot of time on the sewing machine creating things from old fabric that my aunt had given me. I tried a lot of things: pants, dresses, shirts, hats. Once I began to make purses I really found my niche.

I love creating something that is beautiful and functional simultaneously and that is what purses offer. I am inspired by nature, colors, fabrics, and photographs. I love grosgrain ribbon and you will find this Milk and Honey signature embellishment on many of my designs.

I strive to offer unique and well made purses and accessories. Each Milk and Honey Handbag is crafted by me from start to finish. I pay careful attention to detail and every bag is created with care.

For LaunchHER readers::
Type “LaunchHer” in Message to Seller for 20% off until March 1st

Freshly Launched :: Custom Toy Portrait

Launched: Custom Toy Portrait
Date: August 2009

LaunchHER says: A unique idea that we know brings happiness to her clients. When you do what you love and love what you do- how can you go wrong?

The HER behind it: Jennifer Maher

In HER words:
For a painter, stuffed animals are a quirky and forgiving subject matter. For the child who recieves a painting of a much-loved toy, the portrait can represent afirmation of the significance of her relationship with it. For an adult, a portrait of a childhood plaything can be a fun and personal addition to an art collection.

We tend to anthropomorphize stuffed animals in both design and love. When painting a toy portrait, I try to evoke the human creativity behind the toy as well as its importance to the child (or adult) who loves it. Finding the spark of wisdom or humor in the expression or the attitude of the posture is one of the great pleasures of my process.

The Custom Toy Portrait website has become an archive not only of images but also the wonderful stories behind each toy. When commssioning a toy portrait, a parent or relative will often share hilarious and touching tales of passionate friendship. The creativity that a child displays in developing a toy’s persona is astounding. The toy can be the subject of the child’s own projected emotions, and so it becomes a translator and friend to the parents as well! In fact, in many cases a portrait gift for a child has as much or more significance for the parent.

Toys have been a favorite subject of my painting throughout many disparate artistic phases. I’ve always maintained a collection of stuffed animals that I consider to be either unique, extra cute, or just beautifully designed. When I was preparing for the birth of my daughter, I wasn’t sure if I would share “my” toys with her, but of course I could not resist. Now almost two, she imbues them with funny personalities and, of course, purpose. When not working from commissions, I turn to Sonja’s stuffed friends. I love to look of recognition on her face when a painting begins to take shape and she smiles and shouts its name! My hope is that my toy portraits preserve and honor toys for children and art-loving adults alike.

Freshly Launched :: Megnificient Co

Launched: Megnificient Co
Date: 2009

LaunchHER says: The HER behind LaunchHER isn’t big on following directions to a tee, so knitting will probably never be her forte. She enjoys however, when others can knit and knit up scrumptious goodies that are useful, fashionable, and eye-catching. Megnificient Co is all of those things and more!

The HER behind it: Meghan K

In HER words:
Megnificent Co. is a company that was started with the goal of changing the way women accessorize. Specifically, the cold weather essentials are typically matching pairs of hats, gloves, and scarves with the chance of a pattern or splash of color. Megnificent Co. takes the essential accessories that a woman needs and makes them not only functional, but also fun, interesting, and fashionable statement pieces. Another goal is to change the way we view “basic” colors. Lemon-lime green goes beautifully with a navy coat. Hot pink pops against a black jacket. There was a real need to draw women away from the idea that they need to fill their closets with muted colors so that everything will blend and be practical.

As we continue to grow, we will also move towards incorporating knits into warmer weather accessories. We will focus on how one does not need to spend a lot to have a polished or unique look. Adding these eye-catching accessories into a wardrobe literally completes your overall look.

Megnificent Co. proudly presents items which are affordable investments in your wardrobe. Our new items for 2010 include one-of-a-kind muffs created from hand-spun/hand-dyed yarn and from alpaca fiber. We plan on expanding our collection to include faux cashmere and faux angora muffs that will appeal to the non-wool friendly customer. We always welcome custom orders warmly and strive to make our customers the happiest around.

My husband came up with the name of this company, having wanted to incorporate my name along with a potentially fancy edge (reminiscent of Tiffany Co.). It is a lot of tedious work, but I love seeing the potential in a ball of yarn, becoming inspired by the colors and thinking that something that I have created can make someone else happy.

I have many aspirations for what this company can evolve into and I love offering accessories that make someone feel beautiful, amazing, unique, and outstanding. I’m proud of myself for taking the plunge and am grateful to all of my customers, past and present, which inspire me and help this company flourish.

For LaunchHER readers:: Coupon code: cupcake
[10% off any non-sale item, expires 3/1/10]