Yesterday was a great Mother's Day. My husband made a super big English breakfast - complete with grilled tomatoes - and the teenagers were kind enough to get out of bed and join us. Then we had Portraits On The Pink Couch with Jude Mooney outside the shop. (We will be doing it again in a couple months so stay tuned!) Then, a party with lots of friends, kids, champagne and food. What a glorious day. Here is a funny photo of my and my adorable husband who I just love the heck out of. Wonder if every Sunday could be like that?
@ In The Making Studios
Saturday 10th 11am-6pm
This Saturday we are having a Valentine's Day party at our open studio space, In The Making! Shop our first sale, have a Valentine's portrait taken, and sip and munch some yummy treats.
All Pennyroyal goods - online or in person, in stock or made to order - will be 20% off. This sale does not include any custom work. Kearsten Leder will also be there to take some photos of you and/or you and anything you love. Dog, human, stuffy. Bring it down. For 75$ Kearsten will deliver two edited, digital, print-ready files.
We will have Prosecco and some kind of tasty munchies for you all to enjoy.
I'm looking forward to spending the day with you.
See you then!
This review...it means everything to me, business wise. It is the review I have strived my career for. Here it is. In all its glory.
"I moved to California 3 years ago and saw a Pennyroyal clutch in a boutique window. After visiting the Pennyroyal website, I made my first purchase. I now own 4 bags and clutches. They are classic designs that will never go out of style and look amazing with everything. The quality and craftsmanship that goes into each one is through the roof. I can't say enough about them! It's literally the only bags and clutches I own and I can't imagine I'll ever buy anything else again."
It's not easy to find a bag you love. I went years without a good bag. I used to have this super old name brand bag that I adored. It could have used longer handles, but in every other way, it was perfect. I carried it for years until I foolishly traded it for a bag I thought I would love, but sadly, did not. I ended up carrying whatever cotton grocery bag was available in the root vegetable drawer. I have been trying to emulate the feeling I got from that first bag ever since I started this business.
I really, really, really want you to love your bag. We spend hours perfecting each design to make sure it is just right. We test every mm of every design. Are the straps comfortable? Do they sit on your shoulder or in your hand just so? Is the leather natural and beautiful? Does it look amazing!? Did we remember the key fob???? Oh, the key fob. So very important.
After years and years of working towards this goal, I feel like we have a really beautiful collection of goods. I have, and continue to, carry each and every one. Ever refining. Ever improving. But I have to say, I love our bags. I hope you do, too.
This cute little bundle of love arrived while I was at Coeur trade show last week. 🐑🌈❤ It is taking all my will power not to sneak her into the house for a couch cuddle.
We have a new line of totes in the shop that are perfect for spring. Made with either metallic leathers or cow hide and gunmetal metallic leathers, these bags are great way to add a little sparkle to your day. ✨
Maya in Silver.
Maya in Gunmetal.
Maya in Rose Gold.
Debbie in hair on cow hide with a Gunmetal gusset.
Maya in Platinum leather.
A little peek of our new envelope wallets. A back pocket for your phone, zippered pouch, and six slots for cards. Available in lots of colors! Coming to the website very, very soon!
I think they would look super duper in silver or platinum leather!! Don't you? ✨
We put a lot of love into designing our bags. I love looking at all the pretty little details.
Stuart Brazell, TV host, entertainment reporter, actress, Pop Culture expert, and Lifestyle Blogger has created her own lookbook to celebrate her new Esther bag! Check out her blog post here. Thank you, Stuart!
The Bridle Stitch Tote is one of our most loved bags. It's easy, comfortable style and rich color make it an essential bag of the season.
After seeing how much people were using it - and how much they were carrying! - we updated the bag just a touch to make it more comfortable to carry. I think it would be great to add either a pocket or a removable pouch. What would be your preference?
Find yours online now and in stores!
I have been coveting this amazing lumbar pillow from The Citizenry. If you don't know about them, hop on over and take a look. Not only do they carry amazing hand made goods from around the world, but they have a business model even The Pope would approve of. (Disclaimer - I claim no religion, just really digging that guy right now.) In their words "Country by country, we partner with master artisans, blending our modern style with their time-tested techniques...With fair trade standards, our artisan partners are given the best prices for their skills." The lumbar pillow is fairly priced at $195. It is handwoven from naturally dyed sheep wool and takes 3 days to make by a fair trade cooperative of Zapotec women in Oaxaca. 3 days!! Totally worth it, right?
Then today, I fall down the rabbit hole that is Instagram - and I find this pillow...
...from Urban Outfitters. For only $69. "Imported." Which at first I was pretty excited about. But then a return to our Ethos: Buy Once, Buy Well. I feel like we should also tack on Buy With Purpose. The purpose in this case being to employ people who have honed their craft over generations and produce a spectacular product. People who produce with care and love and deserved to get paid for a job bloody well done! So I'm saving my coins and waiting to buy the amazing hand made lumbar pillow from The Citizenry. And when I finally get it, I will love that pillow and I will feel good about my purchase. More than a "oh wow! That pillow looks amazing" way. In that way you feel when someone makes you a cake from scratch, or knits you a scarf. Or the way you feel when you have waited for something for so long and it's finally yours and worth every second of the wait. Wouldn't it be great if every purchase felt like that? Yep. I'm pretty sure The Pope would agree.
Something to ponder as we begin another busy day. What do we really want? What do we really want to look back on? How do we want to spend this one, short, lovely, life?
the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations.synonyms: spirit, character, atmosphere, climate, mood, feeling, essence.
Buy Once, Buy Well. This ethos is the backbone of everything we make and everything we are drawn to at Pennyroyal. We celebrate craftsmanship. We love hand made. For me, personally, I would rather spend my money on one really lovely, well made, classic item than on a bunch of cheap goods I am only going to use or love for a minute or two. Slow Fashion, my friends.
So, in that spirit, a series of blog posts on my favorite hand made, well made, Buy Once, Buy Well goods.
The Chiapas Net Bag
I found these lovely hand woven bags in Tulum on our last trip there. They are traditional carrying bags from the highland Maya of Chiapas.
The fiber for these bags is from the Maguey plant - a member of the agave family. The process is long and labor intensive and done entirely by hand. The fibers are stripped from the plant using a machete and then rolled between the thigh and the palm of the hand and little by little, more is added to the length forming a tightly twisted cord. The finished cord is netted into a super strong, expandable bag. Each bag takes 3 months to make. 3 months! They should cost a million dollars. The ones I have are made using a smoked fiber, which gives it its lovely brown color and a slight smoky sent.
I use mine in combination with my Market Tote for the perfect non-disposable shopping bag combination.
Until next time,
You have to say that like a frat boy. Loud and with glee.
Every year we take a trip to somewhere in the middle of nowhere. This year we decided on Idaho and Montana. The yearly trips are mandatory. We need to get out and be surrounded by nature. Surrounded by silence. It hits the recharge button and makes us whole again. It helps remind of us of what is important. We get so caught up in the minutia of our daily lives that sometimes we forget to look at each other and say "hello." Which is just what we were able to do while we were away. I got to cuddle with the kids - now 15 and 11! - in the back of the car for hours while we toured Yellowstone. Their heads heavy with sleep on my shoulders and their minds quiet with the vastness outside the windows.
I am 100% sure I need a house there. A small old farm house on lots of acres with a creek and horses. And my lovely little family.
The MIA Project has been asked to attend the Los Angeles Remoldelista holiday market - and MIA was kind enough to ask me to make some bags for the show. And naturally, I said "oh my goodness, YES!!!" So if you are anywhere near LA on December 6th, do stop on by and take a peek at all the amazing artisans. You can find all the information here.
I have updated my "about" page. I had enough people ask me about myself to feel the need to actually write it down. You can also now find Pennyroyal Design bags at Mill Valley Mercantile in Mill Valley, and Virginia Carol in Healdsburg. I am so incredibly happy have such amazing shops carry my bags it kind of blows me away.
I also wanted to introduce you to my favorite market bag combination. With the plastic bag ban in Sonoma County just around the corner, it seemed like a good time to get together a stylish and functional way to get all your goods home. I get a lot of compliments on my market bag combination! It includes the Pennyroyal Design market tote, an Ambatalia furoshiki for all my soft fruit and veggies, and a hand crocheted and naturally dyed bag from Enhabiten that I added a leather strap to. I plan on carrying the complete set in my shop soon.
I am a very lucky woman. Not only do I have an amazing best friend, she also happens to be an incredible photographer. She came over to my studio this week and took some studio shots and portraits. Here is a little peek inside my work world. My studio is not spotless. It's not even tidy most of the time. It's the old fireplace room in our home in Penngrove. In this little space I make things I love. And my little business is growing. Biiiiiig smile. The photographer's name is Debbie Wilson. You can see some of her work here.
I used to keep these two beautiful little paintings as part of my display at Ethical Clothing in Petaluma. People kept asking to purchase them and I finally took them down because I was afraid someone was going to pinch them. I love their sweetness and authenticity. And they just plain make me happy. Which is why, I suppose, everyone is drawn to them. I asked the artist if she wouldn't be kind enough to paint some more that I could put in my little shop - and she did! Her name is Phoebe Brookes. I think she is an amazing artist. And I am biased, because she is also my beautiful sister. Here is a sample of what is available here.
Because, well, summer vacation just began for us and I love the muppets. Enough said. Enjoy! xoxoxo
This is my new mantra. "I just have to keep it together." As in, I just have to not loose my mind, not freak out, and not throw in the proverbial towel. Keep it together. I said this to my husband on Friday. Things are moving along. I just have to keep it together. And then Saturday, I lost my mind. I totally, completely, 100% freaked the hell out. Over what? Business. Money. The usual. But for some reason, on that day it all felt like too much. Like maybe this little company of mine could not make it. Or more accurately, I could not make it. Like maybe I had made one too many mistakes to rebound from, and the stress was so great that I couldn't take it anymore. "Throw in the towel" actually came out of my mouth. But worse than uttering those words (gasp!), I believed it. So I sobbed. And sobbed. And sobbed.
Then I called Siri Hansdotter. Who is an amazingly talented woman who makes beautiful things. And I respect her as a business woman. She screwed my head back on straight. Her advice: Sometimes things suck. And you go through it, and you keep swinging the axe. Just keep moving. Clean your studio. Clean the windows and let the sunlight it. So I did. At times like that I think it is best to take the advice that is offered to me. Because clearly, I can be my own worst enemy and I can get myself into such a state that I can not think my way out of a paper bag.
Like all the important things in life, sometimes they suck. Period. But you keep moving forward. Because, really, what is the alternative? Give up? Oh no. We can't do that. Go to bed? Well, maybe for a while. Call our friends and get back on track? Yes. Best move.
Today, I am back on track. And as an added bonus, I found out my lovely bags will be sold in two oh-so-beautiful stores. Both Souchi stores. One in Aspen and the other, Lincoln Park, Chicago. So that is a pretty big reward for "keeping it together."
Letting some sunlight in.