I spent a few days last week in Virginia Beach at the Regional Apparel Market where I found some new, fun goodies --duds and jewels-- that are sure to make your heart sing as we ring in Spring and lean longingly toward Summer.
And speaking of Duds (?)… interestingly enough, my featured artist for is Elisabethan, located in Paonia, in rural western Colorado -- and their corporate email is firstname.lastname@example.org! Coincidence? Maybe...but the Owner and Designer, Elisabeth Delehaunty (aka Beth), and I, even though we've never actually met, have identified as "Kindred Spirits." AND the "official" corporate name of All Ducked Out is "Gladragz" (bet you didn't know that!) -- which is a word that works well with "Duds".
I've carried Elisabethan since my 1st year, and the Collection continues to be a best seller. It is funky, bright, colorful, cheerful -- and just plain FUN -- making it THE PERFECT LINE for the shop. I have many Cottage-Craft artisans whose unique works fill the racks and shelves (and even baskets on the floor!) but Elisabethan is a commercial company with a team of artists who create with that same individual spirit.
When customers see Elisabethan, they know right away that they are looking at something truly special. Each piece (no two alike!) is lovingly crafted by hand from POST-CONSUMER materials. Elisabeth decided early on that she wanted to create something NEW -- not something MORE. I have come to think of them as Santa's Elves (maybe it's that cold and snowy Colorado "thing"), working with care to craft unique treasures the world will love.
And there's no doubt that MY world of customers love them -- every Tee, Tunic, Dress, Skirt, Scarf, Mitten & Hat they discover here at ADO. Imagine, as I do, a storeroom filled to the brim with bags and bales of cast-off t-shirts, cashmere and lambs wool sweaters, and other "experienced" textiles, as Beth calls them. Then throw in a dedicated team of folks eager to cut and combine to re-purpose these past fabric gems. The ingenuity that goes into the creation of each piece shines through when you examine them. I LOVE opening the Elisabethan boxes, and so enjoy seeing the thought that went into each new item -- a Christmas-time scarf made from bits of vintage fabrics combining Santa, igloos, Frosty and yummy ice cream cones -- now THAT's creative!
If you know me, you know I LOVE things with words, so I especially treasure the tees’ and tunics that include words or images from concerts, locations, causes or WHATEVERs. What fun to try to put yourself into the artists' heads -- and my customers LOVE to walk out with a piece that somehow speaks to them -- as if it were created just for them. Each piece, "Made With Intention" (another Beth'ism!)
Now, of course, ALL the ADO artisans are special, but I love to share with you the wonderful things they are doing to make our world a better place, and to highlight their awesome work in their Communities. Now, obviously, the recycling/re-purposing on which Elisabethan was founded is terrific, but get this -- a lot of the t-shirts they use come from Heirlooms for Hospice Thrift Stores, a group that supports Hospice endeavors in Western Colorado. Another "give-back" I love takes place at an annual Kansas Art Festival, where Elisabethan donates clothing items to the "First Treasures" program. There, KIDS ONLY (with no adult help!) are allowed to purchase an item that they love for $5 or less (sounds like a place where "Shopping Divas" get their start!). And for all you cat-lovers out there, Beth herself is a "Cat Lady," and has supported CAWS (cawsonline.org), the local animal welfare association in many ways, including adopting kitties for home, and even one very special "Duds-Cat" whom I understand loves snuggling up in the cashmere in the Elisabethan storeroom!
Beth was telling me that unless you're in the used clothing business, you can't begin to imagine just HOW MUCH STUFF is out there. She and her team are committed to using EVERYTHING, so after the "Elves" are done cutting and stitching and appliqueing even the tiniest pieces of prints and colors from the materials they bring in, they assemble the now locally famous "FREE PILE!" to give others in their small community a chance to continue the Elisabethan traditions of loving to RE-use & RE-create, rather than adding MORE to the already overwhelming stockpile.
My customers who buy Elisabethan return to buy more -- and without exception they tell me they get compliments and "Where'd you get it's?" every time they wear a piece. And even more importantly, especially these days, they tell me their "duds" make 'em feel HAPPY!
SO...come to All Ducked Out to get All "DUDDED" Out!
Hurry up spring!