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April 28, 2017

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Because Mom deserves a meaningful gift, give her a Mother's Day small batch treat. Our collection of Mother's Day gifts were curated with her in mind.

Here are the Gift Batch highlights from our Mother's Day Gift Collection:

Mother's Day Austin Gift Batch

Filled with the flavors and scents of Austin. The Benjamin Soap Co. basil mint candle and the Latika Body Essentials milk & honey lotion provide an escape for a moment. The sleek Newton Supply Co. Texas mug is ideal for Little City Coffee or Cat Spring Tea (also a pair of our Austin favs). 

I Don't Know How She Does It Gift Batch

Inspired by the women in our lives, this gift set will pamper the mom who is always taking care of everyone else. These items are a relaxing getaway in a box (minus the stressful travel).

Choc-a-Lot Gift Batch

Packed with chocolate sauce, snacks, toffee, peanut butter, bar, and ganache, this chocolate overload is enough for any chocaholic. These treats are all handcrafted with many different kinds of chocolate.

 With Love From Nashville for Her Gift Batch

With items for (almost) all of the senses, this gift is perfect for mom so she'll know that you're thinking of her. The special touches in this set include the luscious lavender soap and the grapefruit mangosteen candle.

April 26, 2017

Meet the Maker: Newton Supply Co.

Laura Davis of Newton Supply Co. has only been in business for a few years but she caught the attention and visited with President Obama because of her work with Open Arms in Austin. We got the details on that exciting invitation and her path so far and plans for the future.

Laura Davis of Newton Supply Co.

What were you doing before you started Newton Supply Co.?  

I finished grad school (MFA in Furniture Design) and got a job as a designer at a large national retailer, then moved to a smaller firm where I could oversee projects from start to finish and work directly with factories. I think it was that involvement in every step of the process - including the production - that motivated me to do my own thing.

What led you to start your business?

Several years ago, I began sewing bags from leftover upholstery scraps in my spare time, and eventually that led to some local craft shows. I quit my job and started working as a freelance designer, still working on mass-produced pieces for large companies, but found myself more drawn to being a maker. After I realized this could be my full-time thing, I rebranded and started Newton.

Tell us about your partnership with Open Arms?

Working with Open Arms has been the best thing to happen to my business! I needed outside manufacturing help, but really struggled with the idea of outsourcing and wanted to find the right fit - and still have involvement in the production side of things. It just seemed to click right away with them, and we’ve grown our partnership from production of a few items, to almost all of our bags. I’m able to remain involved in the whole process and get to know the women making our products, which is amazing. 

Has a president ever mentioned Newton Supply Co.?

Hmm, funny you should ask! Yes, actually… this past September I was invited to participate in a roundtable meeting with President Obama, as well as several CEO’s, to discuss how the corporate sector can provide assistance to refugees. In his speech to the press, he mentioned how we are growing our partnership with Open Arms - it was pretty surreal! Since almost all of the companies at the meeting were huge corporations, they invited me to represent small business owners, and I spoke about refugee employment and assistance after resettling in the US. (And I got to sit between President Obama and George Clooney!)

You're packing your bag for a weekend getaway, what are three essential items?

I’m not sure that I have essential items, but more of an essential packing method - I like to be as prepared and organized as possible, but take as little as I can. Usually I end up taking our overnighter with a few smaller pouches inside to stay organized, and try to avoid having to carry liquids to make airport security easier. Benjamin Soap Co’s lotion bars are definitely a travel staple in that regard!

Where's your favorite weekend getaway?

I’d say either West Texas or New Orleans…total opposites in many regards, but both near and dear to my heart.

Besides bags, what else do you make?

Since our Texas print is so popular, we starting offering it on drinkware and pillows as well. 

Newton Supply Co. Texas Mug


What locally-made products do you use?

Our waxed canvas is hand-waxed in Houston, and our supplier is actually moving to Austin later this year! We also work with local printers (Elgin and San Antonio) to screen print the fabric for our Texas bags.

What is one of your favorite gifts to give?

I love gifting a pouch or bag filled with goodies, whether it’s a cosmetic bag filled with locally-crafted soaps and candles, or a market tote filled with local special food items (Barton Table and Great Bean are some of my go-to’s.) Many of my friends and family are spread across the country, so giving something local gives me a way to show off Austin.

What would you be doing if you weren’t making bags (and more)?

I think I will always feel the need to create, whether it is bags, furniture, textiles etc - but if I had to do something entirely different, I’d love to study applied animal behavior. 

Check out the Newton Supply Co. Texas mug featured in our Don't Mess with Texas Gift Batch

April 21, 2017

The Only Honey Mint Julep Recipe You'll Need

It's Mint Julep season in the South so we asked Laura Kimball of TruBee Honey for her favorite Mint Julep recipe—of course, it includes Trubee Honey!

Honey Mint Julep

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons - boiling water, (easiest to pour from a kettle)
  • 8 - mint leaves
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons - TruBee Honey
  • 2 oz. - bourbon (or whiskey)
  • Crushed ice
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish

Pour boiling water from a kettle or pot into a small bowl. Add mint leaves; stir until wilted. Add honey; stir until dissolved. Let mixture stand until cool; strain and discard mint. Combine 2 oz. bourbon with honey mint syrup. Pour bourbon mixture over crushed ice in frosted tumbler or tall glass. Garnish with mint sprigs.

April 20, 2017

Peek inside the Family Batch Subscription Discovery Box from February 2017

Here's a look at the handcrafted goods we sent in our Family Batch Subscription Discovery Box in February 2017. Order today to get the next box and discover your new favorite makers. 

The Family Deluxe Batch Subscription Box

Gift wrapped Family Batch Subscription Discovery Box

The gift wrapped mailer is shipped inside a carton. Not only does this protect the items inside the box but it also makes for a pristine packaging when it arrives.

The Family Batch Discovery box

In addition to sending our favorite finds from Nashville, Austin, and around the South, each box has a custom insert card highlighting the makers. We highlight the people behind the products so you can get to know the small business men and women following their passion.

The Family Batch Subscription Discovery Box

Here's what our subscribers discovered in the family deluxe box:

From Honest Coffee in Franklin, TN, there's a double shot of their Double Axes blend. When asked to explain coffee to someone who has never had it, Brett Henry, the founder of Honest Coffee Roasters, offered, "Gertrude Stein said that “Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening.” I think that sums up how I feel about this mysterious drink that is loved and consumed by so many people."

Sweet Stash, our neighbors at the Nashville Farmers' Market, baked a chocolate cupcake with decadent vanilla icing.

Ruby Ridgetop makes all natural, plant-based body products including this organic beeswax lip balm that is excellent for healing chapped lips.

From Ashwood Estates we included Foam It, their all natural foaming hand and body wash. The combination of wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary will make your hands feel and smell fresh. For your home, Ashwood Estate's Clean It Up is the perfect multi-purpose spray to clean, disinfect, and degrease.

For when you're in the mood for a fresh-from-the-over breakfast treat, we've provided the Sea Salt and Buttermilk Biscuit Mix from Forage South. We wouldn't have included the biscuit mix if we didn't have a plan for them so top them with the Orange Chile do Arbol Marmalade made in Austin by Confituras.

CatStudio makes iconic towels and pillows inspired by cities and countries and more so we included the Nashville dish towel with many of our favorite destinations.         

The Family Standard Batch Subscription Box

Gift wrapped and ready for the lucky recipient, our Women's Standard Batch Subscription Discovery box is an edited selection of our deluxe box.

The Family Standard Batch Subscription Discovery Box

The next box ships in May so order today.

April 19, 2017

Meet the Maker: TruBee Honey

The first Batch subscription box

The first subscription box we shipped in August 2013 included 10 ounces of TruBee Honey's wildflower honey. Since then we've sold thousands of jars of this bestselling nectar. We interviewed Laura Kimball to find out what she was doing before starting TruBee, the health benefits of honey, and what she thinks about the idea of a honey sommelier (hint: not a fan), and more.

TruBee honey

What were you doing before you started TruBee? 
I was a newspaper copy editor for Gannett, which publishes several papers here in Tennessee, and Jeff Otto, my husband, is a professional photographer. 

What led you to start your business? 
It was gradual. We started out tinkering with honeybees in our back yard after I wrote an article about a beekeeper. After a while, we had a honey surplus, so we started selling honey at the Franklin Farmers Market in 2011. We quickly learned that there is an insatiable appetite for raw honey, so we decided to give TruBee Honey a full-time effort and wholesale it to retailers. (Our first Nashville customer was The Produce Place on Murphy Road.) 

Operating TruBee Honey also gives me the freedom to be available when our daughter gets home from school, which I could never do when I was working nights and weekends at newspapers. 

Can you tell where a honey is from by its taste? 
In some cases, yes. For example, orange blossom honey almost always comes from Florida, and manuka honey comes from New Zealand and Australia. 

Wildflower honeys are harder to pin down, since they have so many different kinds of nectar in them. Our Wildflower Summer honey is predominantly clover nectar, while our Tennessee Spring vintage has a floral taste because bees are making it from the nectar of spring-blooming plants. It's everything from apple and blueberry blossoms to the tiny white flowers on holly bushes and the sought-after black locust bloom. 

Speaking of, black locust trees are indigenous to Tennessee and bloom for only about a week to 10 days. They have these pendulous, white blossoms that kind of look like grapes, and every year we get excited about it. It's a tricky bloom to "catch" though, because spring weather here is so unpredictable; if it decides to bloom during a week of rain, forget it! (Keep your eyes peeled ... the 2017 bloom is about to happen. Look along the sides of highways, against the tree line.)

Is there such a thing as a honey sommelier? 
If there is, I bet he or she is an a--hole.  In our culture of food experts and micro-everything, there probably are folks out there who are honey tasting experts, but I'm not one of them. My mom buys us raw honey from all the places she travels, and it's fun to think about how they reflect the "terroir" of the region in which they were made, which is a lot like tasting wine. 

What are the benefits of local honey? 
Honey in general is beneficial in that it is a natural sugar substitute. Also, we have many customers who eat our raw honey because they want to eat local pollens. While I'm not a medical expert, the theory is that if you eat the pollens you are allergic to in small doses, it may reduce your allergies to those pollens. We have customers that swear by this remedy, and we even have a family that buys our honey every year before making a trip from New Jersey to Nashville. 

Besides honey, what else do you make? 
We also offer two beeswax products, our all-natural beeswax lip balm, and our Beeswax Rub. I started making the lip balm because I've always been a lip balm addict. The consistency of the lip balm brand I had always bought seemed to change, so I figured how hard could it be to make something better? 

The Beeswax Rub is a moisturizer, but we've found that it's also being used for things like tattoo aftercare, beard wax, and even to condition leather goods and wood chopping blocks. We have a customer in North Carolina whose son is a guide in Alaska; she sends him several tins each year, and he uses it to protect his face from the cold, dry air.

What locally-made products do you use? 
There are so many! In our fridge we have Noble Springs chevre (which is delicious drizzled with our Tennessee Spring honey vintage) and Hatcher Family Dairy milk. In our bathroom we have Ma Bella goat milk soaps and Little Seed Farm deodorant cream, and in our pantry we have Walker's Bloody Mary Mix, Eli Mason syrups and a couple of bottles from Corsair. (We used to have some Prohibition Popcorn and Soberdough bread mixes, but they always disappear.) And don't forget Jackalope ... we have been known to trade honey for beer. 

What is one of your favorite gifts to give? 
Anything made by Anderson Design Company. At Christmas time, we gave several of their National Parks 100th anniversary coloring books. This is one of those one-size-fits-all gifts, especially given the popularity of "adult" coloring books. Our daughter loves it, and my 80-year-old second cousin loves it because she's been to many of the places, but can't travel now. Also, their poster-size prints or postcards (of anything from Nashville landmarks to exotic foreign cities) are affordable and thoughtful gifts. 

What would you be doing if you weren’t making honey? 
We don't "make" the honey, but if we weren't robbing bees of their honey, we'd be bodysurfing the waves of the Carolinas. Or planning our next business ... once you start thinking like an entrepreneur or marketer, it's really hard to turn it off. 

April 14, 2017

How to Write a Thank You Note

What a great problem to have, writing a thank you note means that you've received a gift. You surely deserved it and now you get to give a gift back with a thoughtful, handwritten thank you note.

Keep track of the gifts you get. Jot down who gave you what while it's still fresh in your mind so you'll be sure to thank the right loved for your new, favorite (insert item here). 

Now that you know who got you what, start with a greeting and let them know you were glad to see them or hear from them or another detail so they know your relationship is more than gift giver and gift recipient. Even if it from that second cousin who lives in Guam, play along.

After a warm greeting, get your thank on. Whether you say it directly with a "Thank you for the..." or indirectly with a story about how you needed something and when you opened the gift it was like they read your mind or at least that thought about how you needed that thing. The point is to let them know you appreciate them thinking of you and their generosity.

Let's wrap this up with a well wish or a look forward to seeing y'all. The climax of this letter was the thanks so let's roll the credits and head to the wrap party.

Oh! The most important part besides the thanks is the writing it and sending it. Set time aside the day after receiving the gift to write the thank you letter and mail it because you know what good thank you letters get (besides your mother's approval), more gifts!

 

Need a card for your thank you note? Check out these designs from Tiramisu Paperie.

April 13, 2017

Peek inside Men's Batch Subscription Discovery Box from February 2017

Here's a look inside the boxes we sent in our Men's Batch Subscription Discovery Box in February 2017. Filled with the flavors jalapeno and bourbon and the scent of cedar and pine, this box has everything you need to survive the urban and real jungle. 

The Men's Deluxe Batch Subscription Box

Men's Deluxe Batch Subscription Discovery Box

 

What makes the Discovery Box a treat for the man in your life (even if that is you) is the gift wrap and the free handwritten note included with any box.

The Deluxe Men's Discovery Box

 

Here's what our subscribers discovered in the men's deluxe box:

From Otter Creek, a Nashville-based bath and body product maker for outdoorsmen, comes the Hair of the Dog birchwood shampoo. The Realtree packaging means it will blend in if you take with you into the woods.

Southern Jerky's Jalapeno Beef Jerky is made with Yazoo beer, another local stalwart. Be sure to have a Pale Ale or Dos Perros nearby because this stuff brings the heat like Randy Johnson mowing down a bird with a 105 mph fastball.

Made in Austin, TX, the chocolate chip Bourbon Balls from No. Four St. James is laced with Garrison Brothers Bourbon. The sweet chocolate and mellow bourbon pair nicely in this treat that fits any bar.

Speaking of bars, we asked the our friends at Pourtaste, makers of the Pristine Tonic we included in this box, to tell us where they would take us for a drink and what they would order, "There’s so many wonderful places right now but we’ve been really impressed with the Marsh House and LA Jackson, both located at the Thompson Hotel. The ground floor Marsh House has a take on a classic Sazerac using our magnolia bitters which is outstanding." We'll see you there!

We like smelling nice when we head to the bar, so that's why we chose the Splash Me from Ashwood Estates. The cedar and pine scented conditioning after shave is as refreshing as wrestling with a Christmas tree. Also from Ashwood Estates is Heal My Lips balm, a moisturizing herbal lip balm.

Finally, we've included a deck of Spirit of Nashville Playing Cards. So, whether you find yourself in the great outdoors or just at an outdoor bar, you'll have these essential, stylish accessories.

The Men's Standard Batch Subscription Box

Gift wrapped and ready for the lucky recipient, our Men's Standard Batch Subscription Discovery box is an edited selection of our deluxe box.

The Men's Standard Batch Subscription Discovery Box

In addition to sending our favorite finds from Nashville, Austin, and around the South, each box has a custom insert card highlighting the makers. We highlight the people behind the products so you can get to know the small business men and women following their passion.

The next box ships in May (think of it as an early Father's Day gift) so order today.

 

 

 

April 12, 2017

Meet the Maker: Benjamin Soap Co.

We've been smitten with Jae Benjamin of Benjamin Soap Co. since we found her on Instagram more than two years and have been obsessed with her soaps, candles, and scrubs ever since. We sat down with this stay-at-home mom in Austin to find out who she tests her products on (not animals), why she started her business, and other details behind her burgeoning small business. 

April 07, 2017

3 Tips For Gift Giving

A gift should be an occasion for joy and happiness but sometimes finding the right gift is frustrating and maddening. Here are three tips for gift giving that will make it easier and more fun to give gifts.

Gift giving advice

Get Personal

Close the Amazon tab and walk away from the kiosk of gift cards. When we say gift what we're really saying is an expression of connection. While Amazon might sell more than half of the stuff sold online, it's just stuff. We don't mean to say you can't find a meaningful gift online (you are at our website which has a curated selection of gifts) but we propose you give something that only you know they want and with a sense of place (and we're not talking about Made in China).

Stop, Look, Listen

If you are mindful and observant then your friends and loved ones will tell you or show you exactly what they want. For example, if you have a friend who is always talking about their new favorite cocktail or homebrew, then try a cocktail mixer or a pint glass. Make a note anytime you hear them say what they've been up to or describe something they would love to have but won't by for themselves.

Just Do It

The most important tip is to act on your gratitude and generosity. We've heard that it's the thought that counts but we beg to differ. If you give a meaningful gift whether it's a handwritten thank you note or a box full of goodies, the act of giving will bring joy to you and the recipient.

 

April 06, 2017

Peek inside Women's Batch Subscription Discovery Box from February 2017

Here's a look inside the boxes we sent in our Women's Batch Subscription Discovery Box in February 2017. Our fifth Discovery Box shipment featured our favorite finds items from around the South. 

The Women's Deluxe Batch Subscription Box

Women's Deluxe Batch Subscription Discovery Box

Each box is gift wrapped and shipped inside a carton. Not only does this protect the items inside the box but it also makes for a pristine packaging when it arrives.

Every three months, we carefully curate our favorites from around the South to bring you the best in eats, sweets, home, and more!

In addition to sending our favorite finds from Nashville, Austin, and around the South, each box has a custom insert card highlighting the makers. We highlight the people behind the products so you can get to know the small business men and women following their passion.

The Women's Deluxe Batch Subscription Discovery Box

Here's what our subscribers discovered in the women's deluxe box:

Bubo's handmade leather tassel keychain for a stylish fob that will have your keys the envy of all of the items in your purse. 

From Honest Coffee in Franklin, TN, there's a double shot of their Double Axes blend. When asked to explain coffee to someone who has never had it, Brett Henry, the founder of Honest Coffee Roasters, offered, "Gertrude Stein said that “Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening.” I think that sums up how I feel about this mysterious drink that is loved and consumed by so many people."

Sweet Stash, our neighbors at the Nashville Farmers' Market, baked a chocolate cupcake with decadent vanilla icing.

Nola Granola is a familiar name to granola lovers around Middle Tennessee and for this box we discovered chocolate almond granola. We're partial to eating right out of the bag but Dawn from Nola recommends trying it in this recipe for Chocolate Almond Granola Peanut Butter Protein Balls.

Ruby Ridgetop makes all natural, plant-based body products including this coconut oil body cream that is excellent for healing chapped hands and cracked feet and helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Seeking a more natural simple syrup, Greta McCoy tried many recipes and finally created the honey simple syrup. We also "threw in the towel" in the form of a cute bar towel with recipes to make the most of our new favorite simple syrup.

Angela and Monica, cousins and collaborators, created Kinfolk of Mine to tell stories through the scents of candles. For the inspiration for each candle, Angela says, "It all starts with a name. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. Our candles reflect who we are, good or bad, like most folks. Who do you like to laugh with? Our candles will remind you of that person!" We chose the Hot Mess candle because of the apple, honey, and bourbon scent but also for the irresistible name.

The Women's Standard Batch Subscription Box

The Women's Deluxe Batch Subscription Box


Gift wrapped and ready for the lucky recipient, our Women's Standard Batch Subscription Discovery box is an edited selection of our deluxe box.

The Women's Standard Batch Subscription Box

The next box ships in May (in time for Mother's Day) so order today.

 

 

 

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