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Back in March, I got an Etsy Conversation notification from another Northeast Ohio entrepreneur who encouraged me to view her Kickstarter video and then get back to her if I was interested in sewing aprons for her soon-to-hit-the-streets vintage trailer bakery!  I know a great idea when I see one, and by the end of that day, I had a new business associate and friend, Shannon Keiber!  We worked together to select fabrics to compliment her logo and color scheme, I placed a huge fabric order and she gave me a down payment on 10 aprons that would be worn by her and her sales helpers, as well as be given out as rewards to her Kickstarter backers. 

We selected an adorable Tossed Trailers print fabric from Timeless Treasures for the apron skirts.  The pink background coordinates perfectly with the flowers in her Floured Apron logo.  The gingham in the logo is reflected in the bright blue Riley Blake fabric I ordered for the apron bodices and adjustable neck strap and ties.  Shannon liked the idea of using teal ric rac for accenting the deep functional pockets and apron waistlines.   Reminded of the old adage, “measure twice – cut once”, I measured about five times and did all sorts of mind-numbing calculations before I cut into the fabrics.  My other challenge was printing a simple black version of her  logo onto white fabric for a colorfast image that would withstand washings. 

Shannon understands branding and marketing.  She brings the knowledge she gained over twenty some years in corporate America together with her love for baking together in her new business venture.  Her Kickstarter goals were met, her custom vintage style trailer was built, and she is making her dreams come true by delivering “Homemade baked goods, straight from the heart!”  She uses high quality, local ingredients and bakes cupcakes, brownies, cookies, pies and breakfast pastries that are simple, beautiful and above all, delicious!

And, Shannon really loves aprons.  Check our her three part series from her blog here.  I was so pleased when she told me she had chosen me to make her aprons because she loved the many aprons I have available in my Etsy shop. After I had the 10 aprons made, we decided on a Starbucks about half way between our two homes as a meeting place.  I recognized her immediately because she was carrying a box of cupcakes (for me!).   

I felt an instant kinship with Shannon.  We sat over coffee and talked about our upcoming markets, problems with establishing fair pricing that also yielded profits, and the things that keep us awake at night. At that point, her trailer, which she named Rosie, was not finished.  She had debut dates lined up and I promised to keep in touch for progress updates.

I have to sing the praises of her product.  These chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache icing and fresh raspberries did not last long at our house, and even made a great breakfast the next morning with coffee in my new Floured Apron mug.

Since our first meeting, we have kept in touch.   The Floured Apron was a hit at its Cleveland Flea debut, made a local television morning show appearance, and I hear a Cleveland Magazine feature is upcoming.  Shannon said there has been enough interest in her apron that she would like to sell them, along with a few of my other aprons.

Just yesterday, I surprised Shannon at Aurora Farms where she was parked selling coffee, cupcakes, brownies and cookies.  I brought her an armload of aprons for her holiday weekend vending events.  And I finally got to see Rosie!  Bright blue and shiny white – you won’t be able to miss her this summer.

  

  

And as of today – there are aprons for sale!  Unfloured, one of a kind aprons, handmade and straight from the heart! 

All the Bright Places

I don’t want to give too much away, but the moment I finished reading All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven,  I posted a quick message to my teacher friends alerting them to tell all their book-craving students to put this title at the top of their summer reading lists.  The unlikely relationship between Theodore Finch and Violet Markey begins when they meet atop their Indiana high school’s bell tower.  In that instant they become “lifesavers” for one another – bouying each other through mean cliques, exaspering teachers, family issues, the wounds of the past and the uncertainty of the future.  

I fell in love with this book!  I devoured it.  It made me laugh and cry.  If I were still teaching I would be buying copies as end of the year gifts for my favorite students.  Of course Niven’s story is not entirely unique.  Of course the movie version, reported to star Elle Fanning as Violet, will be a hit.  Because the prose is smart and literary, the characters are flawed and real, and the theme strikes a chord with teens that still resonates in adults, All the Bright Places will become the next essential YA novel.