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I'm so grateful to have my bags in Supreme Florist, a floral and gift store in Red Bank, NJ, which is one of my dream towns that I wanted to retail in. How this came to be, is a rather amazing story that left me thanking the universe. Briefly, I had decided to look for a writing job. So I opened a new tab and typed in 'local magazines near me' thinking I'd find a list of contacts that could be useful and get me a step closer to my goal. What I got was so much better. As I was scrolling through the website of Red Bank Green, a local business spotlight blog, I was stopped by a portrait of a woman with long black braids (and red highlights...hey guurl), a tentative but wide smile and the brownest of brown skins. I stopped because no one else on the entire feed had looked like her...and she looked like me. Bias, absolutely, but I'm only human and Red Bank is not a town known for its African influence or even presence, so when I learned that two Africans (the Nigerian woman I saw in the picture and her Liberian husband) had just opened a new floral business, I HAD TO go and see it!

Here's a super cute bouquet (and my favourite) that I made today.

So off I go on Tuesday morning, with my mother because she is visiting from South Africa and it just so happens to be her birthday-and I've promised and am determined to show her a great day. So naturally, I drag her along for my florist visit, insisting "we just have to go" while being ever so grateful that my mother is gracious. When we walked in, we were both instantly absorbed into a better space. A space I wanted to stay in. We stayed around long enough to get the attention of Sakor (the Liberian husband and co-owner), who had until then been at the back cutting handmade, floral scented soaps. In the store his warmth filed the space, his relaxed smile, kind face and rich skin radiated out and we were drawn in and the conversation was instantaneous. "So what country are you from?" was the first thing he said to us after "hello." My mother answered 'South Africa' and the rest I couldn't tell to you if I tried, it was just Africans connecting unexpectedly, somewhere in America.

Here's another stunner I made today. (I love, love, love a lily.)

Somehow in the whirlwind of our excited conversation, we got to how he was looking for help. He needed a store manager because they were simply too busy and he was struggling to keep up with orders. Further still, we got to how I am a designer and maker of handcrafted bags and clothing items- which inspired my mother to promptly pull out her phone to show him- and his amazement was transparent. “We should sell your stuff here,” he declared and I felt my whole heart smile. I could tell he was serious, and I’m still so grateful for that acknowledgment and kindness. As I told him how bizarre it was that I even came to be standing in front of him, we both marveled at the power of the universe. As it turns out, he hadn’t even tried to to get that article written about them in that blog that I read it from. As the story goes, they had simply decided to pull down the brown paper from the windows without announcing any grand opening, and just see what happens. In a manner of minutes the gentleman who would take Abby's picture walked in, explaining that he ran a local blog and would "love to take some pictures." Amazing isn't it?

This was a first. A super fun, super prickly learning experience.

I'm always amazed at the ways of the universe, always giving me winks that let me know that its got my back at all times, even when I can't see it. I've been working for Abby and Sakor for a week now and it's been amazing. The work is challenging, exciting and fun and I've already learned so much. I'm constantly just walking around being happy (I mean, I seriously LOVE flowers) and more importantly, I share and m excited by their vision for the store. I have ideas to improve the business coming out of my ears, and what's great is I'm encouraged and supported in every way. Today, I also brought in my bags to the store, priced them and added them to the system. My bags are officially in a retail store...I almost can't believe it. I know I haven't been brought here by chance, there are reasons and I believe one of them is to learn what I need to know for the next phase of my own business growth. To take what I learn here, and use it to get into more stores. To be a wonderful and meaningful addition to this store and to help them reach even further in every way that I can. I can't wait to uncover it all. I cant wait to bring the full extent of my brand of spring inspired fashion and decor to this space and others.


This is going to be an exciting journey. I'll keep you posted.


With gratitude,

Noni



Nothing much, I just wanted to stop in and bring your awareness to the fact that we now offer Beach bags! Looking at them now, one is literally in front of me as I type this, I guess it was really just a matter of time. They came about as a response to my need for something beautiful, practical and easy to sell for the craft fair I was just a part of. Aaaand.....I love them! They are gorgeous and my current favourite thing! They can be your current favourite thing too because I've added them to the shop. So, when you're done here, feel free to head over to the online shop and browse all the size and colour options...I have it in yellow too!


Sending you warm daisy wishes,

Noni



Yes that's right. Why? You may be asking, why go through all the trouble of re-branding (that first time...see previous post) only to do it again now. You know what...that's a good question. I'm not certain I have a good answer, but I have something...here goes:


Something just didn't fit with the original idea, 'embrace the whimsical' was a great line in my head until I created a collection and then basically couldn't create another one that I thought fit that tag line. In short, the brand I'd created was ill defined, too wide in it's scope and the result was that I essentially had no brand identity. Now post first collection and a whole re-branding announcement is a rough way to find that out...but I found it out.


And when it came time to rethink my branding, I was determined to learn from my mistakes. It actually just came to me, I looked at the collection I'd made for Londiwe and realised that I was continuously inspired by things in bloom, inspired by Spring. I had named the collection 'Secret Garden' for example and I fell in love with and made repeated use of this one trim with a daisy design. I love that trim. And as I spent more time expanding on my new shift, it occurred to me that I couldn't find a better symbol for what Londiwe had evolved into, than that daisy. And here we are. Londiwe is spring inspired fashion, and my branding finally matches my vision.


I've chosen to start off small by putting together a Swim collection, 10 pieces in total, and letting this be the way I introduce Londiwe to the world. I love this collection, I think it captures the essence of the brand, I think it's fresh and vibrant and I think it lives up to the the new wording- eternal spring. When you're done here, why not head over to the shop and see it for yourself. I know this brand will find an audience, those of us who love the Spring time and wish we could somehow bottle it up and keep it with us at all times. This brand is my way of helping us get closer to doing just that. You'll also love this brand if you simply love beautiful clothing, made well and priced right. Pieces that make heads turn and make strangers give you warm smiles. That's us. Eternal spring.


Best,

Noni

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