Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

To honor this important month of remembrance and awareness, Mama has created a couple special products to benefit the Dragon Dream Team of Akron, Ohio. Half all soap sales will go to the team. How did we come to choose them as our breast cancer charity of choice, you ask?

My Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of 2007. It was the most terrifying phone call of my life.

Early detection saved my Mom’s life, and the Dragon Dream Team, a group of kick-ass breast cancer survivors, lifted her spirits.

I've watched them compete in Ontario and Tennessee against other Dragon Boat teams around the country and was able to see first hand what an amazing organization it is.

The thing that moved me about all of the women is no one was there to talk about surviving what was probably the worst ordeal of their lifetime. They were there to compete and support and live.

When deciding how I wanted to contribute to this cause that is so dear to my family, I decided that because being a small business that relies so heavily on my community, that I wanted to give back on a community level. Even though I live in Atlanta and they’re in Ohio, these women are every bit a part of my community because of what they mean to my Mom.

The Dragon Dream Team soap is peppermint and rosemary, a scent combination that my Mom picked, and I think its uplifting qualities suit the team -- and its mission -- perfectly. We've also brought back a breast self exam oil called Boob Loob and and a hot flash cooling spray called Be Cool .  If you would like to support the team, click here to shop. Through the end of 2014, 50% of each purchase of these 3 items goes directly to the team!

To learn more about the Dragon Dream Team of Ohio, click here.  Thanks so much for your support!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Two new Mama stores opening this summer! (part 1)

Big things are happening over here at Casa de Mama!  We've already announced to most people that we are moving our Decatur store less than a mile down the street to downtown Avondale, but the next piece of big news that I'm super excited to share is that we recently also signed a lease to open a second storefront at the Krog Street Market!  If you're not in the know, this is a brand new and very exciting project is a food hall/market in the Old Fourth Ward that opens later this summer.  It's in the beautifully renovated old Stageworks Building on Krog Street (at Irwin St) where Tyler Perry's studios used to be.  If you still haven't placed it, it's right across the street from Rathbuns and the Krog Bar. And it's less than a block from the Beltline, which is is the best part!  Hopefully I'll be able to fit in some roller blading time before work. (I think roller blading is back. If not, I'm bringing it back!)

A little back story about how all of this exciting craziness came about.  I have been looking for a second location in Atlanta to increase our retail presence for a couple of years now.  In 2012, I checked out every single intown neighborhood that had a Main Street shopping area and just could not find one that fit the bill -- small square footage with a lot of foot traffic. The stores in busy neighborhoods were too big and waaay too expensive, and the affordable stores didn't give us the exposure I was looking for. So we switched our focus and spent the rest of 2012 and 2013 concentrating on growing our wholesale business.  And we can now be found in over 80 stores in 25 states.  I'm super proud of that, but I'm most excited to get back to the key point in my business plan -- opening another retail store!  The big deal with me and retail is that Mama's main mission is to educate people about natural products because there's so much bad information out there. And while selling to other stores has helped us increase our brand presence, it has taken us a step away from our retail customers, who are the lifeblood of our business! That face-to-face interaction and feedback has been priceless in developing and growing our product line and helping people understand what our products, and natural skincare in general, is all about. So many of the same principles of food apply to body care as well, since skin is your largest organ and it consumes everything you put on it. And there's so much great information out there about good food but not so much with body products. 

I saw this lip balm at a grocery store check out.  Do any of these ingredients sound like they will moisturize your lips?

But the thing is, I honestly never really intended to open two stores in the same season -- that's nuts, right? We were really trying to figure out how to stay in our current store for at least another year while we got Krog rolling, but then we realized there's no way we could make it through another holiday season with two stores and a booming wholesale business in the space where we are now.  We are absolutely busting at the seams. I started looking for warehouse space close to where we are now and nothing was available. But a fabulous storefront in downtown Avondale Estates was sitting empty and called my name. And the fact that it's less than a mile from our current shop was a big bonus.

Avondale Estates may not have seemed the obvious choice for growing our business because up until the not-so-distant-past, it was kind of the town that time forgot. My husband grew up in Stone Mountain in the 80's and fondly remembers going to see movies at the Town Cinema and eating at the old Avondale Pizza CafĂ© location, but stalled development plans left much of the retail and restaurant district in flux in recent years. But you know that the Tudor Village was way too charming to fade away so it was only a matter of time until a new restaurant like the super cool Palookaville made its home there -- which seems to have quickly paved the way for some other great businesses. Sunbrimmer Records just opened across the street from Palookaville and a stylish new restaurant/bar called The Bishop (a few doors down from us) opens this week. We just found out there's a small batch whiskey distillery going in behind us along with an artisan vinegar producer.  Plus, we just saw the Coming Soon sign for a new bakery that's opening next to our store in the next couple of months and it sounds like a few really cool concepts have been pitched for the empty Town Cinema. Needless to say, my crew and I are beyond excited to be part of this renaissance in downtown Avondale!  Not to mention that moving our current store into this fabulous new storefront will mean lots of great changes for us.  For one, we'll have a bigger retail area and that means expanded store hours. We'll finally be open on Mondays, which means our salon and spa friends will be able to come to the shop. We'll also have a big ole dedicated classroom to make room for our growing soap and candle classes - no more squeezing past the classroom chairs on Saturdays to make it to the cash register! We'll also have a bigger and better stocked soap and candle DIY supply section.  And you'll be glad to know that downtown Avondale offers plenty of parking for an easy in and out. Although, we hope the new store is going to be so cute that you'll want to stay a while:) 

Our Avondale store grand opening is on June 7th (with a soft opening on June 3rd) and I'll be putting out a lot more info in the coming weeks. We're still figuring out all the details, but I do know we'll have gift bags for the first 30 customers and a drawing for a free soap class. Oh, and our new address will be 112 N. Avondale Rd. • Avondale Estates, GA 30002.

More about the upcoming Krog Store once we get settled in Avondale in a few weeks. One thing at a time, people!