Festival Season is Here, Get Ready With These Looks!

To commemorate one of my favorite places in Cali (and, let's face it, a darn good music festival) I am releasing a new earring: The Coachella Gemstone Earring. Just in time to make your last minute fashion preparations for a weekend of desert, tunes, and limitless fashion potential.

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1990's Fashion Resurgence

There are definitely some pictures of me from the 1990s-early 2000s where I facepalm myself and think "Dear God, what were you thinking wearing that?" I plucked my eyebrows too thin, I gelled my hair when in a ponytail, and I used an obscene amount of blue eye shadow. I layered my clothes with wild neon patterns, on top of jean, on top of spandex leotards and leggings. It was, at least half of the time, a hot, hot mess.

Here's just a few of those fashions from the 90s that the world wasn't ready to retire.

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Attack of the Lilac

Winter may strike visions of ice blues, aspen whites, and candy cane reds for some. But as we move from January to February, the color of the moment is: LILAC. That icy, satin, light purple that is sweeping every clothing and home goods store at the moment.

It is EVERYWHERE you guys, and it is absolutely killing the game right now! 

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Scottish Tartan Christmas Party Decor

I'm just gonna get right to it. I'm a BIG fan of the Starz show "Outlander." What I love most about the show, aside from the obvious (Jamie & Claire's super hot relationship) is the overall Scottish culture, costumes and decor! I LOVE tartan! Which in America we know as plaid, but Scottish Tartan is the real deal ya'll.

I also love the grey, winter tones that generally permeate Outlander. Thus! It feels like a show of permanent winter! So what better show to let inspire the decor of this year's Christmas party!

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Unicorn Mania

I've always been a big fan of things from our childhoods making a come back in popular culture, and the unicorn is galloping through most stores (and pinterest boards) at the moment.

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Say Hello to Our Monthly Leather Earring Sales!

If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram you may have noticed we've been running a monthly earring special for the past few months.

Its been a great way for our customers to try out some colors and leathers they've been considering. And for us; its an awesome way to introduce new leathers as well as offer some limited quantity lots we scored by chance. This month we decided May's Earring would be our entire Turquoise Ocean collection.

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The Hustle is Real, But Is It Productive?

It's easy to get caught up in producing and pushing and hustling in life. These are all activities that give the illusion you are doing something worthwhile and using your time well. I use the word illusion because its exactly that.

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April's Aha Giveaway!

Hello to our Aha Tribe! Our April give away is up! We’ve partnered with the lovely and sweet blogger Katelyn Michelle from Katelyn Blogs to give away two pairs of our “Gold Luster” Classic leather earrings! We discovered Katelyn on Instagram, and we were immediately drawn in by her clean and beautiful images on her feed. We headed over to her blog and found it to be equally lovely! She's got awesome posts on DIY, Lifestyle and Beauty!

To enter our giveaway head on over to either our Instagram feed @ahacrafted or Katelyn's @Katelyn_brewer and follow the instructions on the giveaway post. Contest runs through the weekend, and winners will be announced Monday April 25th. We can't wait to send the two lucky winners their new Aha! Be sure to check out Katelyn Blogs here!

The Brown Leather Earring You've Been Searching For

Before I started Aha Crafted I was constantly on the hunt for the perfect brown or neutral earring. There was always tons of other brown leather accessories available, but never earrings. I'd describe my personal style as boho or hippie chic so accessorizing with earth tones is always key. Plus I love wearing statement earrings, hence one of the reasons we started designing leather earrings!

For our Spring/Summer 2016 collection we've recently updated our "Desert Daughter" collection to the most beautiful brown ever! Believe me when I tell you this is the perfect rustic color. Mix these babies with blacks, nudes, and other shades of brown; they WILL go with everything! And if your headed to Coachella, or any other festivals this season you'll want to pack these with you. They'll not only complete your festival and Coachella outfit looks, but they're guaranteed to make heads spin. :)

Our new "Desert Daughter collection is available in our Classic, Linked, Gemstone and Cut Out versions. Check out the four styles below. Currently we are offering them with 14K gold-filled findings, but stay tuned as sterling silver findings will soon be in the mix.  Live light, Be light!

Creating the Aha Craft Show Display

Craft Show Display 101: You can spend thousands of dollars purchasing a display for your booth, or with a little creativity and know-how you can do it all yourself.

We launched Aha Crafted in the Fall of 2015, so with a brand new business and the holiday season right around the corner we decided that to display our earrings at some type of craft show or holiday bazaar would be the perfect way to create some buzz around our new brand. I looked into a few shows in the New York/New Jersey area and when I came across the Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar I thought it would be the perfect fit for us. I'll leave our experience with the actual bazaar for another post and focus on how we created the displays here.

After we signed up, we had a little over a month to find displays for our leather earrings (and get everything else ready). We started by poking around online for displays and nothing really fit the bill. We then looked into having custom displays created by craftsman on Etsy. Unfortunately anything that would need to be custom built and shipped to us came in way over our budget. Thinking we might be able to score some types of antique wood displays we took a Sunday to drive around to all the antique shops in our area. About four hours and ten shops later we had only come across two pieces that could possibly work. The pieces weren't exactly what we were looking for and to be honest, they were way overpriced. Jeez; I never imagined this would be so hard! 

We both agreed that we loved the look of anything that had a worn, antique look. It started to seem impossible though to find pieces that were aesthetically pleasing and functional. As we hopped from store to store I became more and more discouraged. But I could see Jamie's wheels starting to turn and finally he said: "If we can find this type of 100 year old wood, I'll just make the displays myself." Aside from a couple cool shots taken, the day was a total bust.

When we got home I google "reclaimed wood" and the first site to come up was for Real Antique Wood in the Newark area. What a find! If anyone is ever considering making their own pieces of furniture this is where its at. The show room was filled with custom made furniture that they sell, and the rest of the place was pretty much a lumberyard filled to the brim with antique wood. Turns out the owners scour the east coast for old barns and homes being torn down, and instead of the wood being burnt, it's collected for re-sale. (I was thrilled to hear all this, because I love the idea of anything up-cycled!).

Real Antique Wood Showroom

We had no clue where to start, so one of the owners was kind enough to show us around and school us a bit on types of wood. With 15' tall piles of wood all around us, my head started to spin almost immediately, so I let Jamie take the lead and I trailed behind snapping pictures.

Reclaimed Lumberyard

Once we had the wood, creating the actual look and functionality of the display was next. Jamie put together a graphic designed replica of what was bouncing around in his head.

Aha Crafted Display Design

From there it was all hands on. I'll admit, I was surprised and impressed to see him put this together from start to finish. I had no idea his talents stretched to furniture/wood working.

Below is one of the finished pieces without any stain or varnish. We hemmed and hawed for a couple of days on whether or not to put a coat of varnish on it. The raw wood was so beautiful in its natural state, but we thought that a clear coat might give a sleeker look and that it would be more appropriate to display jewelry. If this was going to be for a different use though, I think we would have left it as is.

And then came the varnish. Surprisingly one coat of varnish darkened the wood about three shades.

Next came small LED book lights picked up at Barnes and Nobel. (Jamie secured small iron handles to the back that the lights could be clipped onto.) He also added two strips of wood to the back that helped to keep the piece upright and could be folded in. 

We built three displays for our booth. I'll finish with an image of us behind the finished product and about 100 handmade leather earrings!

And one last picture of our booth from afar, at night, with lights and all. A few posts from now I'll share our experience at the show and some tips to prepare for a craft show. If you haven't left your email yet, be sure to do so we can share our journey of our start up company with you!

The Birth of Aha!

Starting a business with your partner

A few months before I turned 40 I met Jamie, and my whole world changed. Id never been in a relationship before with someone I was so compatible with. We wanted all the same things and had unimaginable amount of fun together. Also, I had never dated an artist before. It was exhilarating and I was quite literally in awe of him and his talents. As a freelance designer I observed him take on many different roles in his company Jamie Alan Design. His work in every way was impressive, flawless, and like nothing Id ever seen before (but of course, he was a Parson's grad)!

It was always a dream of mine to start my own business. I dabbled in a few projects that never took off,  and wasn't ready to give up. I spent the majority of my career in sales and business development in the corporate world and desperately wanted to break out into something creative. But how and with what?

And so it was pretty early on in our relationship we realized that by combining forces he and I would have everything it would take to create a successful business together. It was just a matter of coming up with a great product. I'd always had a love for fashion and designing handcrafted jewelry. My sister had recently started handcrafting leather clutches, which was the beginning of our inspiration. One day it came to us during an "aha" moment: Leather earrings....why not craft leather earrings?! It was a fresh idea and one that we could both sink our teeth into.

And so we began building the Aha Crafted brand, like creative warriors....on a mission. We made a commitment to give this our all, and went ahead full speed. We found ourselves brainstorming over drinks, during Sunday brunches and every where in between. Its been a whirlwind of many things and a learning experience in more ways than I could have imagined.

I'll use this space, "The Aha Blog" to share our journey of owning and launching a startup business. I'll throw in some fashion, some travel, maybe some food and overall stuff that will make you think... "Aha"! Looking forward to sharing this journey with you, thanks for following along. XO

-Heidi