How My Tramp Stamp Keeps Me Honest

A Tramp Stamp, as many of you know, is the unfortunate and hysterically apt description of a tattoo, often of a tribal variety, etched forever on the lower back of impressionable young women who prefer their dance floors to double as tables and their men to woo them with Alabama Slammers and muscle tees.

Five years prior to the induction of this trend and it’s accompanying title (thank you, Wedding Crashers), I was wrapping up my last semester of college before returning to Spain where I had been living intermittently for some time. I was quite pleased with myself for my brave and independent spirit and felt melodramatically moved to commemorate this youthful breeze with a tattooed reminder for keeping it real. “I can’t regret this”, I confidently reasoned. “Because that would make me the kind of person I’m warning myself against.” Twenty-year-olds! (shakes head slowly). So, I went to a little tattoo parlor in the yuppie part of Georgetown in D.C. and got some ink… of the lower back, tribal variety. “What a clever & concealable place to put such a brilliant reminder”, I thought. “So much more original than a Chinese character on my ankle!” Cut to…

Wedding Crashers Tramp Stamp

Well, crap. I didn’t see that coming.

The truth is I can’t even see it, and there are other more prominent tattoo trends-gone-sour that could be itching through my skin. But I’m embarrassed enough and conceal it when I can. It certainly doesn’t help that my husband does a Schadenfreudian chuckle when it comes up (*note…Schadenfreude is when you’re amused by someone else’s misfortune. There’s no less pretentious word that holds the same meaning here).

Dumb Tattoos

If you have one of these, don’t worry. I have a tramp stamp.

I’ve been in business 11 years, and as my company has grown (in breadth and community), I’ve felt inclined to suggest that my management has as well. But in actuality there has never been more than 5 of us. Like the tramp stamp, I hide something whose repercussions are artificial and probably nonexistent. No one cares how many people work at Catherine Nicole, so long as the jewelry is well designed, well-made and they’re treated like the most valued customers on earth (which they are to me). By concealing truths about the brand in an effort to control the company image, I inhibit my customer from truly connecting with me and my community of smart, kind, engaged women. I know many of these women, and the type of woman Catherine Nicole attracts wants to feel like her most independent and vibrant self. Of course, she can follow my post-expatriate example and tattoo her lower back as a reminder… OR we can just remind each other by keeping it real on the daily.

What can you do?

Celebrities with Tramp Stamps: Kate Moss, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Jessica Alba, Antonio Sabato Jr, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, David Beckham, Anna Kournikova, Christina Ricci, Kyra Sedwick, Danika Patrick, Angelina Jolie

Tips and Trends in Online Shopping Behavior

Business-owner to business-owner, let’s admit that it’s impossible to surf and skim every blog and industry article regarding the ever-evolving online shopping landscape. I can’t help you much there, but here’s a quick cheat sheet of the latest stats, tips and trends in online shopping behavior.

Tips and Trends in Online Shopping BehaviorInfographic Source

Giveaway! Gorgeous One-of-a-Kind Journal

I have the most gorgeous one-of-a-kind leather journal from Jenni Bick Bookbinding to giveaway. It has hundreds of handmande pages (that are all different) for all your dirty secrets, invention sketches, and the clever ideas that you’ll forget in the morning. It retails for $100 and is a truly beautiful bedside mate that won’t steal the sheets and will immortalize your brilliant thoughts. Here’s how to win it! (1) Follow @JenniBick on Instagram (or Facebook if you don’t ‘gram) (2) Comment here (or on my instagram post) that you want it! …Extra Credit… Pin some of these images!

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Sand Dollar One of a Kind Leather Journal from Jenni Bick BookBindingSand Dollar One of a Kind Leather Journal from Jenni Bick BookBinding

Sand Dollar One of a Kind Leather Journal from Jenni Bick BookBinding Sand Dollar One of a Kind Leather Journal from Jenni Bick BookBinding Sand Dollar One of a Kind Leather Journal from Jenni Bick BookBinding

 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Your Ultimate Guide to Mother’s Day 2015

No one will every say that motherhood’s a piece of cake. There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re charged with tiny human life and possibly a job, home, partner, pet, leaky roof, and infinite amounts of dishes, laundry and groceries. So, chances are, there’s probably someone you know who deserves a hat’s off this Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Ok, let’s break it down; first by person, then by price.

Your mother: She birthed and raised you, and she kept it all together for years and years. Now, she continues to give you unconditional love and support.

Mother's Day Gifts for your own Mom
(Click the last image or HERE for links)

Your baby momma: She hasn’t showered in 3 days, and she always has a snack in her purse when it didn’t even occur to you. She impresses you every day with how naturally she’s taken to all the newness in your lives and how she manages to remember everything that everyone in the house needs or may need. Yes, that’s an iPad speaker case.

Mother's Day Gifts from the Kiddos

(Click the last image or HERE for links)

Your grandmother: She sure would be touched that you thought of her this Mother’s Day. While you’ve been off discovering the world, she been quietly watching the whole time and telling all her friends of your triumphs.

Mother's Day Gifts for Your Grandmother

(Click the last image or HERE for links)

Mother-in-law: Historically and in popular culture they get a bad wrap. But not yours. Yours has been loving and accepting to you, and she’s taken you in as another child to her. She’s the kind of woman that would raise the kind of man that you want to marry.

Mother's Day Gifts for your Mother-in-Law
(Click the last image or HERE for links)

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Gifts under $25

(Click the last image or HERE for links)

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Gifts under $50

Mother's Day Gifts Under $50

(Click the last image or HERE for links)

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Gifts over $50

Mother's Day Gifts over $50
(Click the last image or HERE for links)

So, this mother’s day, make sure you let her know you appreciate her. Even if it’s simply a card or a phone call. …. But preferably jewelry from Catherine Nicole or a spa day.

The Ultimate Mother's Day Gift Guide

Bloomingville patterned bedding amara.com
Surya cotton blanket zincdoor.com

Chevron pattern blanket nordstrom.com
Succulent planter
fab.com
Teapot
worldmarket.com
Kitchen gadgets tool
tenthousandvillages.com
Drinkware
teavana.com
Primitives By Kathy drinkware
nordstrom.com
Voluspa Pink Citron 2 Wick Tin Candle
candledelirium.com

Ornate picture frame kirklands.com
West Elm Tablet Sounds Speakers
westelm.com
Gold filled bracelet
catherinenicole.com
14k gold bracelet
catherinenicole.com
14k gold filled necklace
catherinenicole.com
Pendants necklace
catherinenicole.com
Gold bangle
catherinenicole.com
Chain link necklace
catherinenicole.com
Cushion cut ring
catherinenicole.com
Statement earrings
catherinenicole.com
Cuff jewelry
catherinenicole.com
Tri color jewelry
catherinenicole.com
Bridal jewelry
catherinenicole.com

Bohemian jewelry catherinenicole.com
Pendants necklace
catherinenicole.com
Pendants necklace
catherinenicole.com
Body cleanser
beekman1802.com

Philosophy bubble bath nordstrom.com
La Marca Prosecco
wine.com
Islander Leather Photo Album Cranberry
jennibick.com
Sterling Silver Glass Locket (Long)
catherinenicole.com
Belle Glos Dairyman Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013
wine.com
Valentine Mini Heart Dinnerware
westelm.com
L’Occitane Beautiful Hands Set
sephora.com
philosophy The Lemonade Stand Kit
sephora.com
Objects to Desire | TokyoMilk by Margot Elena tokyo-milk.com
Coffee Ring statement Mug. “But First, Coffee Milk and Honey coffee…
etsy.com
Ulster Weavers Seasalt Cornish Garden Quacker Gauntlet
$18 – ulsterweavers.com
Home decor
illumecandles.com
Anemone Enameled Tumbler
illumecandles.com

New Trends in Wedding Jewelry and Accessories

If you’ve been harbouring a secret wedding board on pinterest for the last few years (I know you have), chances are it’s filled with dresses, decor, flowers, engagement rings, chalk board signs, couples posing inside an empty picture frame, etc… but with nary a drop earring or pendant necklace in sight. Your money and effort have gone into the gown, and the bridal jewelry is generally an afterthought. Don’t be mistaken though– if you think of your bridal ensemble as an opportunity to create a look that inherently expresses who you are as a woman (or to just be your hottest and most elegant self), then you need those accessories to take it from average bridal pretty to phenomenal.

Pinterest Wedding Board

Here in Austin, bridal jewelry is explorative, creative and unafraid, as is Austin fashion in general. While most brides want to focus all eyes on the gown they’ve probably been dreaming up since childhood, bridal jewelry (as well as head pieces and shoes/boots) is a great way to make that wedding look entirely original.

No matter what look a bride is going for, whether its modern, elegant, bohemian or classic, here are some new trends in the world of bridal jewelry and accessories that can fit virtually any look.

(pro tip: Long earrings will elongate the appearance of your neck in a lovely and feminine way)
Gold, Gold, Gold

White gold and silver have long been the classic accent colors for bridal gowns, but this season, embrace gold. This metal is a symbol of elegance, so why not wear it on your wedding day? Gold shoes, gold purses, gold belts and, of course, gold wedding jewelry can have you feeling like royalty on your wedding day. Personally, I think gold is more flattering to almost every skin tone (yes, I mean pale too).

Statement Bridal JewelrySarah and Rosina Photography
A Pop of Color

Unless you want to horrify grandma, you’re proabably wearing white to your wedding. But that doesn’t mean your accessories can’t bring a hint of color to the look. Go bold and add your “something blue” with a dangling pair of indigo statement earrings, or consider something more subtle with a light rose colored pair of crystal stunners. Color is a powerful way to express yourself, and wearing it on your wedding day is a great way to show off your unconventional side.

Something Blue #2all earrings – Catherine Nicole, headband – etsy.com, hair pins – etsy.com, veil – etsy.com 
Head Turning Veils

There are few more traditional wedding moments than when the father-of-the-bride (FOB, if you will) lifts his daughter’s veil and kisses her before giving her away. Let’s be honest, though, it messes up your hair and dilutes the wow factor of your big reveal. Most brides that wear a long veil don’t even take adventage of it’s face-concealing objective anyway. If you want to wear a veil as a nod to a classic wedding accessory, feel at liberty to play with veil shapes such as birdcage veils, or even consider the new trend of colored veils. The idea of a wedding veil may be traditional, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t make the veil itself more spectacular. The rose colored tinted veils are truly lovely.

Catherine Nicole Bridal Jewelry
Statement Pieces

Statement pieces are a great way to bring the wow-factor to a wedding gown. Brides wearing their hair up can opt for large chandelier or crystal statement earrings, while brides donning strapless styles, can go for a large head-turning statement necklace. A tip for brides, when it comes to statement pieces, only choose one item for your big day. While wedding jewelry is a great way to make a wedding dress your own, too many statement pieces at once can distract from the dress itself.

Smokey Quartz Teardrop EarringsBeret Fascinator by Milli Starr
Bride-Worthy Crowns

Every bride should feel like a queen on her wedding day, so why not wear a crown fit for a queen? Floral crowns are a stunning statement piece, as are vine-inspired metal crowns. These are a great accessory for a bride wanting to show off her ethereal side. The lovely bride shown below made her own. She’s also wearing gorgeous Catherine Nicole bridal earrings and kick ass cowboy boots.

Catherine Nicole Bridal JewelryBrad Barnwell Photography
Initial Necklaces

If you’re already layered up with a cool hedpiece and gorgeus earrings, you may want to go easy on the wedding necklace. Our letter necklaces add a sweet detail that pays homage to the vows you just took, and is the perfect transition into your new life as a ‘Mrs.’ You can wear your partner’s initial, your new last name, or both. (These neckaces can be made with as many letters as you need).

Triple Initial Necklace in Goldbridal-letter-necklace-in-your-new-initials-3

 

Cool shoes

There’s no need to wear white shoes on your wedding day, unless you found some you really love. You probably won’t see them anyway, and if you do.. well, that’s all the more reason for them to be strikingly great. Plus, you’ll be more likely to get later use out of them if they aren’t so bridally. That is, unless your new puppy destroys them soon after the wedding. RIP, my fabulous wedding shoes (bottom left).

Incidentally, if you want to follow our not-so-secret wedding board on pinterest, you can find it here.

What to Wear This Spring

When the annual New York Fashion Week and Fall previews blew through Lincoln Center, the ladies of New York donned their most camera-ready crazy and waited to see, read, and snap the stunning looks that came with it. The runways were filled with statement-making frocks, bold accessories and fresh florals that have us all ready for spring weather. While 2015 promises to have you running to the stores (…or rummaging through old clothes that are ready for their reprise), here are some ideas of what to wear this spring to stay right on trend through Fall 2015.

What to Wear this Spring

Brilliant Boho

Boho is back this season (for me it never left), and we couldn’t be more excited to see these earthy looks on the runway. We love the boho chic look, because its really got personailty and makes you feel a little more free. Even if you aren’t ready to don a floral kimono or long sleeve maxi dress, it is easy to embrace the boho style with the right accessories. Jewelry can go a long way when it comes to creating a boho look. A few of the right layered necklaces, stacked bracelets or even a fun headband can give a classic outfit a slight boho twist.

Spring 2015- Bohemian Cool

Feminine Florals

Can’t decide what to wear this spring? You can’t go wrong with anything flower print. While florals have been a staple in spring fashion for decades, this year, floral prints are getting a much more modern update. Bigger prints, bolder colors and more eye-catching styles are all in for this season. Everything from sleek boxy crop tops to floor sweeping maxi skirts are getting the floral treatment this season.
feminine-florals

Cropped Tops and Sheer Styles

Once again skin is in this spring, so expect to see lots of cropped tops and sheer fabrics. The great thing about the evolution of this style, is that many designers are making these trends far more versatile. Sheer mixed with daytime florals and more conservative crop tops are making these trends appropriate for everyday wear. Plus, we’ve found if you embrace this trend in moderation, any skin-bearing style can still have a hint of sophistication.

Crops & Sheer

Ladylike Leather

Leather is another wardrobe staple that was in last season and continues to be one of those must-have spring fashion trends. This year, designers are making leather much more spring-friendly, so you can wear this trend way past winter. Leather jackets, shorts and skirts were seen on designers from Saint Laurent to Chanel, in sleek, clean and ladylike style. However, the real way leather is going to stand out this season is in accessories. Wide leather belts are back, while bold leather accents, cuffs and necklaces can all add a hint of edge to an otherwise feminine outfit for looks that can be both bold and beautiful.

ladylike leather

Spring is right around the corner, and the spring looks are already here. Git your purse and go!

($5 from every CatherineNicole.com sale helps turn impoverished girls into
entrepreneurs. Shop now and a donation will be made from your purchase!)

Posted in Tips & Ideas | No Comments »

Five Unexpected Retail Collaborations

Late last year when our online jewelry boutique proudly announced our collaboration with Thought Collective and eight other Austin-based fashion companies, we were elated to be a part of such a shining example of business camaraderie. The sentiment is a beautiful one, and one that we here at Catherine Nicole love to see not only in our own community around Austin, but around the world.

This opportunity got us thinking about the idea of business collaborations, and of the willingness of small businesses to work together instead of escalating competition in the market.

In celebration of these fearless companies and their willingness to break the mold of traditional business competition, we’re going to share some favorite, and most unexpected, retail collaborations, as well as highlight some of the fabulous fashions that have come from these couplings.

5. Sperry for J.Crew

One of the most inspiring things about the Sperry/ J.Crew collaboration is that this is a true example of two competitors in the market coming together to offer the public something new. Both brands are known for their classic, preppy attire and both brands make popular duck boots, boat shoes and warm winter footwear. Sperry’s line was known more for their durability and J.Crew’s more for their fashion. When the Sperry for J.Crew line launched, shoppers were able to indulge in the best of both worlds.

jcrew-sperry

4. Alexander Wang for H&M

Alexander Wang may just be the epitome of cool when it comes to fashion designers. His high-end street-wear can be found on some of the biggest models and celebrities from around the globe. This is why we were pleasantly shocked when he announced plans for a budget-friendly apparel line for H&M, a company hailed for recently upping its ethical business practices. What made the announcement even better? He announced the project on Instagram during Coachella. Hrmmm, looks like they know their audience.

alexanderwang-for-hm

3. Mary Katrantzou for TopShop

Mary Katrantzou’s earthy floral prints are typically some of the most noticed on the runway. The fashion world’s “it girl” for eye-catching styles turned heads once again with her collection for TopShop. Where other designer’s have failed to make their lower-end designs look runway-ready, Katrantzou shined. Her pieces are hailed not only for their style but their couture look and quality.

Mary Katrantzou for TopShop

2. BaubleBar for Anthropologie

Costume jewelry favorite, BaubleBar, has been engaging in countless retail collaborations ranging from celebrity curated lines to pop up shops in Nordstrom. However, when this online jewelry boutique joined forces with Anthropologie, it created a truly collaborative new line of cheerful statement pieces. With the boho-chic styles Anthropologie is known for mixed with the bright statement piece styles from Bauble Bar, the result is a true blend of two very different companies.

anthropologie-for-baublebar

1. Halston for JCPenney

This is perhaps our favorite unexpected retail collaboration, because it was the first of its kind. In 1983, When Halston launched its JCPenney line, the fashion world was stunned, and a bit baffled. Designers were fuming. Bergdorf Goodman pulled the high-end line, but in the end Halston broke barriers for countless companies to come after them and embrace the idea of collaborative business. They were one of the first high-end designers to make their collection affordable for the general public and one of the first retail collaborations ever, and for that large and small business owners in the fashion world can be forever grateful.

 

As a long-time proponent of ethical business practices, we are proud to see these types of relationships forming in our field. Did I forget any of your favorites? 

Designed Just for You

My biggest failure as a designer was the season I most closely followed the trends and most accurately created the IN jewelry of that moment. The problem was that the “Market” was not actually the consumer, as the term might suggest. Rather, it was the fashion industry (buyers, stylists, editors, PR companies, etc..). I created what they dictated and diverged from my bright, bohemian, and worldly aesthetic to compete in a marketplace that was oversaturated with the dainty chains of my significantly more established competitors.

Catherine Nicole 2008

The jewelry was fine, but I didn’t create it for the right reason. How can you be inspired when you’re creating for a marketplace rather than for real people? How can you create interesting work when you’re following a formula that everyone else is also following, but with more money and better connections?

catherine-nicole-working2

Last week was New York Fashion Week and the fashion world was all aflutter. Were you? Did you even know it was going on? If not, here’s what you missed: lots of fur, front-row celeb toddlers, cartoonish accessories, and impractically-dressed girls lurking outside Lincoln Center hoping to be photographed. The images remind me of a time years ago when I was a fashion student in New York, and I was walking to lunch with my dad on the posh part of 5th Avenue. He looked at the avant-guard pieces in the windows of some high-end stores and guffed “Who wears that?!”. In a “geeze, Dad!” kind of way, I explained that it’s art and expression, blah blah blah. I don’t disagree with that notion, but I don’t feel the need to design for it either, because the fact is— I’m not designing for a window. I’m designing for you.

catherine-nicole-working

My customer usually isn’t a model, tv personality, or style blogger. She chooses pieces that feel like they’re meant for her; not for someone more fabulous, but for her. My customers are all fabulous… and sometimes short, busty, casual, glamorous, pregnant, or still trying to figure out their style. So why would I design for anyone else and, more importantly, why would I design the same thing that everyone else is putting out there? With that in mind, I am about to launch my newest line, debuting each piece as it’s ready and not waiting until the Fashion industry tells me it’s time for Pre-Fall or Resort or whatever season that has no bearing on jewelry. So stay tuned, and look out for the first piece next week.

In the meantime, here are some real Catherine Nicole customers…
catherine-nicole-customer-1
catherine-nicole-customer--8
catherine-nicole-customer-7
catherine-nicole-customer-6
catherine-nicole-customer-5
catherine-nicole-customer-4
catherine-nicole-customer-3

Work-Life Balance and Crazy Ambition

The blessing-curse conundrum of  “entrepreneurship” (that word is so tired it needs quotational support) is that your schedule is often at the mercy of your capricious fingertips. When, additionally, you have children, property, pets and marriage in your loving care, the business must nudge it’s way through a pile of housework, activities, appointments and errands. Your pesky home and life duties don’t give a crap whether your primary vocation is Stay-at-Home, occupational, or in any gray cloud that hovers these two worlds. It just needs to get done.

Work-Life Balance“Maternity Leave”

Lisa Wareham created the podcast “Crazy Ambition” to help the Entrepreneur-Mother organize her overwhelming, exhausting, and messy life. Amongst her first interviewees, I spoke with her about how I keep my company organized and how I intentionally directed the business years ago to accommodate the lifestyle I now have. I also give some marketing and money-saving tips.

Click here to listen on iTunes or here for a direct link.

(Keep in mind, these opinions reflect my own values and priorities and are not meant to suggest judgement on those who don’t share them. In other words, I sound a little bitchy and pompous about not wanting my kids in childcare while I do trivial work.

Work-Life Balancephotoshoot during my first “maternity leave”

Check out all her episodes and stay tuned for an interview with my stylist friend, Brooke Michie from Lyric Salon.

Many thanks to Lisa for helping me spread the word about the work I do.

Work-Life Balance