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02 Oct '13

How Brimful Operates

Posted by Annie Messing in Behind the Scenes
brimful owners

 

Today I want to share a little more about how Kari and I operate Brimful! 

When we decided to become business partners, one of the obvious questions we both had was how we were going to split the responsibilities. Because my husband is in the military and we move every few years, it made the most sense to have Kari be in charge of the order fulfillment and customer service.

For Brimful's branding, packaging, and shipping methods to all come together cohesively, Kari had to do a lot of research! She attentively puts together each order you receive...from our cute fox sticker to the brown kraft paper that protects the products...Kari has carefully considered every detail. In addition, most of our product photography was her work...and let me tell you, it's not as easy as you might think! Kari's strength is truly in making things look beautiful and I really admire that about her. 

Kari and I have an inside joke that while she's the "voice of reason" in our partnership, I'm the "lead foot". I like to get things done! So when it comes to communicating with our vendors, researching new products, and managing our social media outlets, I make sure time-sensitive emails, pins, photos, and status updates get completed. I can be a bit impulsive about decisions, which is why it's a GOOD thing Kari can slow me down when more thinking is required. 

The bottom line is, we love working together. Sometimes the fact that we live in different states and time zones, can be a challenge, but it also gives us the necessary space to have healthy boundaries with Brimful and our family time. We will always be friends first, business partners second. That means that if Kari needs to cut short a conversation about new products because her toddler needs attention...or if I can't FaceTime because I'm watching "Silver Linings Playbook" (again!) with my husband...that is OK. 

I hope you've enjoyed this peek behind the scenes of how we operate our shop. If you have any questions about our business or want further details on a product, please drop us a line at info[at]brimfulshop.com.

xoxo, 

Annie

27 Sep '13

Milestone Baby Cards

Posted by Kari Spikkeland in Brimful Favorites

(I have a confession)

My firstborn does not have a baby book.

It’s not for lack of pictures, we have tons! 

But I didn’t write down the exact day she first smiled, rolled from back to tummy,

cut her first tooth, or ate solids for the first time.  

Opportunity, lost. 

If only the Milestone Baby Cards had been around seven years ago!

I would have jumped at the chance to purchase them! The illustrations are so sweet.

I can imagine myself clicking away with my camera, 

capturing my sweet baby girl with her toothless grin...

her tiny hand gripping a Milestone Card. 

Cute, effortlessly quick, and all right there to cherish for years to come.

No scrapbooking required!

kari's first post
 

And this marks a milestone for me: my first blog post!

xoxo, Kari

24 Sep '13

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies

Posted by Annie Messing in Recipes
If Brimful was a "real" shop, where you could walk in and browse, I’m pretty sure these pumpkin cookies would be up at the register counter, enticing you with its delicious pumpkin scent. Shopping and eating, it's a great combination, isn't it? Being online doesn't mean we can't still share some of this pumpkin goodness with you though! One batch makes enough for the whole family...enjoy!

 

pumpkin cookies

 

Gluten-Free Glazed Pumpkin Cookies

I adapted this recipe from one using wheat-flour. To make this recipe the original way: swap wheat for gluten-free flour and increase baking soda and baking powder by 1/2 teaspoon each. I also changed the glaze by using almond extract instead of vanilla. 

2 1/2 cups Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix (my go-to gluten-free flour mix)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups evaporated sugar cane
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease two baking sheets.

2) In a medium mixing bowl, combine gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

3) In a second mixing bowl, beat together sugar and butter until well-blended. Add in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.

4) Slowly beat in the flour mixture to the sugar mixture.

5) Drop cookie dough (a regular spoon works well) onto baking sheets. Place cookies about an inch apart.

6) Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm (at elevation, I baked for the full 18 minutes).

7) Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

8) Using a fork, drizzle sugar glaze (see recipe below) over cookies.

Glaze ingredients:

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
Mix until smooth. If too stiff, heat in microwave for 10-15 seconds.

19 Sep '13

Brimful Favorites

Posted by Annie Messing in Brimful Favorites

While every aspect of launching Brimful has been pretty exciting, some of the best moments were opening the boxes of new inventory. All last fall and winter, Kari and I discussed over and over which products we wanted to carry.

So you can imagine after all that thinking and deciding, it was a huge treat to see the products in person! I must sheepishly admit that more than once, we squealed like little girls...the cuteness factor on some of the products was just over-the-top! 

These three gems are among our absolute favorites:

Brimful shop collage

1. Annicke Mouse has those little red tights that just make you want to giggle. Did you know she likes to wake up really early and search the meadow for new mushrooms? Unlike a human, she can tell by scent whether they are poisonous or delicious!

2. We are the only US retailer to carry the reissued version of Friends by Helen Oxenbury. While in London earlier this year, I came across this wordless book and its three companions. The illustrations are simple and darling, with that classic Oxenbury feel to them.

3. The colorful spoons are a staple that Kari discovered when she lived in Norway. And paired with one of the shallow pasta bowls I sourced from Japan (which was then hand-carried back to the US!), it's a great starter feeding set

Happy Thursday...I'll be back again next week with more from behind the scenes here at Brimful!

xoxo, 

Annie

16 Sep '13

Hello and Thank You

Posted by Annie Messing
The idea of having my own online boutique sprouted shortly after I quit my office job in 2006, to stay home with my firstborn. A little boy followed two years later, then a move across the country after that, then another baby girl.... And while the dream never lost its luster, the “how” and “when” remained a big unknown to me.

 

Then I met Kari. She was looking for “something more” out of her life...and one day, I just threw the idea out there - “Let’s start an online boutique together!”.

Sure, we live 1500 miles apart.

Sure, we each have a family full of children.

Sure, we have no idea where to even start.

But what the heck…let’s be business partners!

381 days of research, learning, phone calls, emails, and many video-teleconferences later…Brimful is live online for its first day of business!

Yes, I came up with the initial idea and together Kari and I have lived/breathed toys for the last year.

But.

Without the amazing, smart, intuitive help from the following people, Brimful would not have happened. Kari and I are so immensely impressed with the work these individuals have done on our behalf, we would be remiss if we did not mention them:

Mariah DeMarco of Aeolidia - Logo and Branding
Jenn LaBelle - Business Consultant
Jen Ho - Web Designer
Ian Phipps - Web Development
Travis Shields - Videographer
Kelly Chung Dawson - Copy Editor

 

Of course, our gratitude also extends to all our friends and family who were a wonderful sounding board for us.

We hope you fall in love with our little shop, thank you for visiting!

We’ve really poured our hearts into each and every item you see on the site. The colors, the shapes, the quality of the wood/paper/cloth...it’s all been very personal to us. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at info@brimfulshop.com or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

 

xoxo,

Annie (and Kari...she’s a little shy about blogging, but I’m working on her!).


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