The Birth of Salt Hippy | Chasing Dreams

 

When I started my entrepreneurial path my plan was completely different. My intention was to open a brick and mortar filled with local handmade goods from mothers called Matriart (mother – art). As soon as I left the Navy I spent weeks researching how to start a business, open a store, real estate costs, social media, anything that I could get my hands on. My brain literally hurt with the amount of information I took in. After months and some advice from a mentor I started setting up at farmer’s markets. I spent $3000 on local merchandise from San Diego mothers and craft show supplies. Soon I realized that a brick and mortar would cost way more than I was comfortable loosing if things didn’t work out. Plus, the time it would take me away from my family wasn’t worth it. This completely defeated the purpose of leaving the military.

I kept the name Matriart and started the online business journey selling bohemian dreamcatchers. All the research told me to attract your target market by having a brand that reflected what your target audience wanted. Well, I couldn’t do that without actually being bohemian. As I tried to fit into that label I realized its not me and I couldn’t pretend to be bohemian to attract customers.

Two weeks after my youngest was born she started having issues with colic. Over 5 months she cried each night for 5-6 hours and nothing would console her. We were completed sleep deprived, and leaving the house was difficult because she would scream in the car with such ferocity I would literally burst into tears. Those months we felt so helpless and trapped. Nothing we tried help her.

At the same time I was having allergic reactions to food and pollen in my neighborhood that cause painful rashes all over my arms. My sanity was hanging on by a thread and I needed something to help me before I broke.

 

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One day I headed to the beach with baby in carrier. We walked for hours and it was the most peaceful time I had in months. She would sleep and the salt air eased my painful skin. Several times a week I would head back to the ocean. As it became routine I started embracing the sea back into my life. I had taken a long break from the beach after our move form Guam where my eldest’s father passed away.

I continued my business realizing I wasn’t bohemian, or a SoCal crunchy mama, or even a typical stay at home mom. It kind of drove me nuts trying to fit into a label. It didn’t feel right. Not even in high school did I ever fit into any social groups. So when it came to my business I decided to make my own name and my own style.

The ocean literally flows through my veins. My legs are always covered in salt and my bare feet in sand. Flip flops are my dress shoes, bikinis are my everyday wear. I feel the most confident when my feet are covered in sand. I feel normal. I feel at home. I realized as I fell deeply in love with the peace of the ocean that I can be who I wanted to be. I didn’t need to be accepted by any cliches on Instagram. I didn’t need my business to look like anyone else’s. I can do what I truly deeply love and connect with people who feel the same. Those were the people I wanted in my life. I broke free from what I should be and made my own label. The name Salt Hippy just came to me after I embraced my salty soul. But I didn’t change my business name until a year later. 

 

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Be you, even if you’re the only one that looks that way.

 

As I began to let go of labels and the desire to fit into categories on Instagram lessened, my business began to flourish. I held on to the name Salt Hippy for an entire year to make sure it wasn’t an emotional impulse (because that’s how I roll). A few months before our move to The Outer Banks I hired Salt and Cove to do my rebranding. It felt like is was destined. Her name had salt in it, she was actually vacationing to the Outer Banks at that time too, I couldn’t resist! I knew she was the one and that I was finally on the right path!

It was so wonderful to finally share that story with you! Do you have a similar story where embracing who you truly are has changed your life’s path? Please share it below, I’d love to hear it!

Live simply, so you can really live.

Love Sophie & The Fam

– Salt Hippy

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This Month’s Favorite Dream Catchers | Monthly Wrap Up

This month we had a little more color than usual between the rainbow moon phase dream catcher and the colorful beaded window chimes, which were my top seller this month!

In the past dying fabric and making vibrant dream catchers was a daily operation. But last year with our move across country from San Diego to the Outer Banks, I was forced to put away my fabrics and dyes because of the lack of space. It was a great way for me to use my imagination with minimal supply, and of course, order new supplies since half of them were in storage! I mean, that’s a valid excuse, right?

 

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Often I hold on to special shells or crystals just because there is something different about them that intrigues me. Then I’ll get a request for a custom order, and it hits me! I have the perfect thing for you! Last month it was a large cracked scalloped shell, that came out beautifully!

My client wanted a large pink shell, and honestly this one was THE one. This cup shell was the only one out of 12 that had pink! A special request for a self love altar, it only seemed natural to use a seer stone to translate the symbolism of looking inside oneself. A seer stone is a tumbled crystal with one face fully polished allowing you to see inside. The energy is so gentle and loving, it even seems to radiate out with the pink ridges of the shell. I really, really enjoyed creating this custom cup shell dreamcatcher.

 

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I couldn’t help but add this rose quartz necklace to the list too. The shell is a pink calico from Sanibel Island that I picked up during a trip earlier this year. The shells in Florida make me extremely happy. The whites and colors are so much brighter than what I’m use to here in North Carolina. This style of necklace, featuring African Krobo Beads, will become a permanent accessory in the shop. Yay!

 

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Throughout the month it was filled with my favorite beauties: shells and drift wood! Ever since my wonderful friend shared with me about the drift wood vines on the beach I seem to find them at least once a week now. They’re quite meditative to wrap as you’re walking along the shore. They also ease my irritation with the current high volume of trash on our beaches, so I’m very grateful to have them. Its a fair trade, pick up trash and receive these precious gifts from the ocean.

 

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This here “Namaste” sign was so majestically created by my friend Laura from Boho Beach Treasures. I just love it! I have two others from her, and they’re all so perfect! I wish that I could buy every single sign in her shop!

 

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Lastly, these starfish dreamcatchers were a huge hit! It was an accidental creation. I cut my string too short when weaving and decided to find something to fill the space instead of starting over. There were only five star fish in my pre-antishell shop stash (say that five times really fast!), so unfortunately, unless I can come across some more starfish to repurpose or non plastic starfish this style won’t be available again.

So which one is your favorite? Tell me below in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks so much for reading along for this month’s creative wrap up. I hope you enjoyed seeing all my favorites and learning a little about them.

Live simply, so you can really live.

Love Sophie & The Fam

– Salt Hippy

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Our Story | Chasing Dreams

Shell obsessed, salty mama of two mermaids + our 2 GSDs, married to my twin flame. We asked “why not?” and two years later made our dream to live by the beach a reality. But every happy ending needs a dreary beginning, right?

The Storm That Led to the Sunshine

All my life I’ve been a creator and a dreamer. So, when I joined the Navy my friends and family were shocked. Shoot, so was I! Always a trouble maker, the thought of conforming to military life was never an aspiration. I’m sure my family thought this was just the thing I needed to save me from myself. Honestly, it just happened as a way to get out of my sleepy beach town, where I had made a mess of things.

An incredibly hard 8 year journey began where I had the opportunity to work with my hands welding on U.S. Naval Ships. I grew the thickest skin and sharp wits learning to maneuver working in a man’s world.

I traveled the world. I gained experience, courage, and skills as a leader. I learned that there is so much more in this world than what you see right in front of your eyes. I learned that people are amazing, and cruel, and sad, and inspiring. I learned that culture is beautiful, and art is amazing. I found a love for color and textures while traveling overseas.

When my husband tragically died while we were stationed in Guam, I made the decision that it was time to leave the Navy. I wanted to focus on what was the most important thing in my life, my daughter. I was so scared to leave. How would I pay my bills, where would I live, how would I take care of my 3 year old alone? It was the most challenging period in my life to overcome; death, moving overseas, changing careers, single parenthood. I broke. Utterly and completely. Over and over again.

Looking into my daughter’s eyes, I knew that I had to be strong for her. So I did, and we moved forward with our lives the best we could.

After my daughter’s father died she began to have nightmares. I felt horrible that I couldn’t console her. Creating had always been a way for me to release my emotions, so we made her a dreamcatcher using vintage doilies and lace. We enjoyed it so much that we continued to make them for friends and family.

Some time later, I married the most amazing and supportive man that I could ever wish for. He loved my daughter like his own. He healed our broken hearts and taught me how to love myself. He challenged me to chase my dreams.

I wanted to open my own brick and mortar shop carrying only handmade items from local mothers. I read books, researched small businesses and reached out to local artist. I purchased $3000 worth of local handmade goods and vendor supplies as a trial run at craft events and farmer’s markets. It was a total failure.

Except for my dreamcatchers. And the experience.

My biggest fan, my husband, urged me to go off on my own and sell my dream catchers. With the help of my little 4 year old entrepreneur we began creating bohemian dreamcatchers to fill up my shop.

As my journey continued in the entrepreneurial world, and mother hood with my second child, I felt lost. I had not fully grounded myself from the years of pain from my past. I reconnected with my first love, the ocean, driving an hour to just to walk in her salty elegance. As I spent more time connecting with mama ocean I felt more like myself. That was the turning point when Salt Hippy was born.

At times I am soaring in pure bliss at how far we’ve come. Other times juggling two kids, pets, household duties and trying to run a small business from home can be overwhelming. But when my little girls tell me, “mama, I want to sell things when I grow up,” I know I am on the right track.

Our family has grown from two people to four, plus our two fur babies. From Guam, to California, and now with roots grounded in our dream home in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Our little business continues to grow and transform into something I could have never dreamed of. We pride ourselves in ethically hand-collecting our shells, and drift wood with the help of my two girls, and my husband (who lets us fill his pockets with sea glass and shells, thanks babe :).

We collect only empty shells, every beach trip is an opportunity for a beach clean up and honoring this healing gift, the ocean. We hope to share our love for the ocean with you and spread the word of ways to help save her before she is too far gone. 

We thank you for coming on long with us on our journey and we hope that we can inspire others to follow theirs.

Live simply, so you can really live.

Love Sophie & The Fam

– Salt Hippy

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Slowing Down as We Warm Up | Monthly Wrap Up

This month we broke free from the everlasting grasp of winter. At the same time I’ve quieted my mine from the need to make everything all at once. Creatives, you know what I mean: when your mind is buzzing with ideas and you have a million projects going all at once. Creative chaos, everywhere – kitchen counters, dining table, living room floor, your office. Instead, I’ve slowed my pace and let my heart lead the way. Creating from a place of absolute silence. Silence in my surroundings and stillness in my mind. The stillness has been powerful. It has allowed me to channel my connection with each element in my work. It such a joyful peace to create from.

Have you ever heard that saying, “just let it be”? It’s something often I find hard to do when working on a project. Sometimes I try to perfect my work to the point of perfecting it to oblivion. I will literally adjust it until I break it.

It’s been very important to me to find the right balance between my artwork, the business aspect of Salt Hippy, and my family. I’ve noticed a direct connection to how much time I spend trying to run my business and my children’s happiness (& behavior). I’ve learned to accept that I can’t work a normal 40 hour structured work week like a normal job. Instead of becoming frustrated when my children interrupt me while I work I try to to be more available to them. Often I am told they will only be this age once, so I really do try to cherish these moments with them.

Its also so wonderful to talk to them about what I am doing. I like to show the reasons why I choose each piece. Then they can learn to see the beauty of the tiny things around us that make the large big picture.

So here are a few of my favorite creations from this month. I am utterly in love with the stormy dreamcatcher. Can you guess which one that is? Which piece is your favorite?

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Custom Drift Wood Dreamcatcher | Inside the Art

There is something so satisfying about creating from the soul. It’s a place where your body moves without the lead of the mind. It’s a flow that is channeled from past experiences. It’s a dance between soul and hand on the dance floor of your art.

So when a customer tells me that they “trust my judgment”, my soul does a little squeal and a happy dance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a custom order where my clients like to be involved. Those carry a special place in my heart too. Working hand and hand with a client to create something from their mind into reality is really quite amazing. My heart fills with so much joy when they tell me “this was exactly what I was envisioning!”

My latest custom dreamcatcher is filled with everything that makes me feel at home with myself. You know that feeling when you’re happy with who you are and where you are in life? That’s how these drift wood vines dreamcatchers make me feel. A dear friend of mine gifted me these beautifully weathered drift wood vines from the coast of the Outer Banks. I was blown away by this precious gesture. These are drift wood vines, woven so that I could have the honor of making dreamcatchers! I know the words seem so simple, but who ever knew that such a beautiful gift from the sea existed. I held on to them for months. I knew they were special and had to be saved for when my soul was ready to tell their story.

 

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This past month, the transition from winter to spring brought so much inspiration after this incredibly long winter. Even though I’m a winter baby the cold is not my friend. I become sluggish and unmotivated, almost glued to the couch with my fuzzy warm blankets and endless cups of tea. Let’s face it, I’m at Cali girl, and island girl, we’re not made for these long stretches of cold. So when daylight hours extend and flowers bloom I can literally feel the energy of the world waking. That’s when I come to life!

“art combines slivers of your story into an emotional experience you can cherish in your home.”

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Past experiences leave an imprint on you. From the reason why you love a particular crystal, the way the ocean makes you feel; its all apart of your story. Putting these elements into a piece of art combines slivers of your story into an emotional experience you can cherish in your home. Thats why I love to ask my clients questions about their favorite elements. I want to incorporate pieces of their favorite stories into my work so that it inspires their soul.

This particular dream catcher contains amethyst and ammonite, which are favorite colors of crystals of my client. I also added amethyst and quartz both snug in a bed of moss to add a touch of woodsy vibes, which she also liked. Though the moss looks much like sea sponge it still has a wonderful feel and smell of the forest which won’t take away from the ocean theme of this piece.

Its been almost three years since I started Salt Hippy and I am still so honored to think that someone wants to hang my art in their home. The kindness from the people I have worked with makes this journey so incredibly rewarding. The way people trust to share their most precious experiences, the happy and the sad, with me. In those minutes we’re in the same story, the same moment, exchanging bits of our life, and that is such a precious gift.

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Live simply, so you can really live.

Love Sophie & The Fam

-Salt Hippy