Anyways, Loren was so nice and friendly the entire time that I am so happy to be featuring her! She is also doing something extra special for all of you guys... a giveaway of your choice: a geode necklace OR a button earring set! I hope you are ready to make a hard decision. PLUS she is offering a promo code, so even if you don't win the giveaway, your "prize" just for being one of my readers is an awesome discount! :)
But before that, read all about how Little Things Happen started, where she finds all of her awesome materials, and the hilarious names of her puffer fish!
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
My name is Loren Harada and I'm the creator/inventor/designer behind Little Things Happen! I've had a creative bug since I was a child (I 100% blame my mother for this blessed curse!) I am constantly jumping between mediums (writing, drawing, painting, glassworks, stationary, miniatures, jewelry, graphic design... you name it, I've either tried it or am about to try it!) I attended college at UCSC and spent the majority of my time pursuing a drawing and painting degree under the warm tutelage of fascinating faculty members and brilliant friends who similarly cherished an endless world of artistic possibilities! Over the past few years anything that can be made with my hands and concocted with my brain has spilled out into the wonderful world of this little business and I couldn't be happier about it!
Where did the name of your store come from?
I spent a good afternoon trying to come up with a name that encapsulated exactly what I wanted to sell on etsy... at the time I had so many ideas I wasn't sure what to call it! I settled on "Little Things Happen" for two reasons. 1). My full initials are "LTH" for "Loren Teru Harada" and it seemed fitting to have a store that shared this deep rooted fundamental baseline :) haha 2.) All ideas (good and bad) start small and grow. I tend to find inspiration in the small things (colors, shapes, ideas, dreams, food, people etc.) all of which are the building blocks for something new... Little Things Happen perfectly describes not only my thought process but is also ambiguous enough for new possibilities! (Today is jewelry, tomorrow who knows!!)
Why did you start making goods for Little Things Happen?
For a small time after college, I began missing the constant creative immersion that school and Santa Cruz offered. I enjoyed my desk job but whenever an opportunity to make someone stationary or to do an art project came up, I was thrilled! I LOVED absolutely ANY opportunity to be creative; making things with my hands, learning a new skill, collaborating with people, all of it was addicting, and I needed more! A friend introduced me to Etsy and I was completely sold on what it represented and the opportunity it gave people like me to share their ideas with the world. I suppose I did things a bit backwards because I wasn't sure what type of goods I would make (I'm still thinking about a ton of other shop ideas I'd like to start!) I looked at what I had and started to create (Scrap Booking Papers, Old Books, Felt, beads and buttons... lots... and lots of buttons)... A little list of supplies has become a long list of things to do!
What is your favorite item?
At the moment, I am deeply proud of my button earring assortment! Buttons have become somewhat of an obsession and I'm just crazy enough to remember where I found almost every single pair! (A Swap Meet in Pasadena, the local fabric store, goodwill etc.) There are so many varieties and shapes and I'm constantly trying to refine my techniques to make sure each pair is done with precision (a very OCD endeavor!) Aside from the buttons, strangely enough, my favorite part of everything has been the branding. I make just about EVERYTHING; hand painted jewelry displays, hand cut thank you envelopes, Hand made labels and tags for each item, Graphic designs for the store etc (Again a very OCD endeavor...) Make no mistake, making Jewelry is a huge part of the process and I LOVE being able to combine colors and materials, go vintage button shopping, and trying new stones, but all of it is a PROCESS, and when all is said and done, I am as pleased with the little marketing details as I am with the product. They all go hand in hand and are equally important to the finished piece!
What is your most popular item?
Online the gold plated geode necklaces are often what people gravitate towards! However, in person, the button earrings are always what catch peoples attention! (Probably because I'm a crazy person and have so many!)
What makes your store unique?
Oddly enough, I think what makes my store unique is the unknown! I have never felt like there is one great thing or item that will define this store... I started it not knowing what to expect or if it would in fact succeed and I am eternally thankful that people have responded so well to it, but I am already working on some new ideas to go beyond jewelry and accessories. I don't know how these new mystery ideas will fair (crossing fingers), but I'm just happy to be without limits in a creative environment and being able to funnel this through Little Things Happen offers a truly unique potential that I could have never imagined before!
What is the toughest part about making your goods?
The hardest part is always time. There never seems to be enough time to get as much done as I want to! To fully understand this... I have a punch list on my ancient phone (ideas, things to do, things to purchase, items to photograph, techniques to learn etc), and since the time I started Little Things Happen, it has NEVER been completed! I say this in a very positive light... it's wonderful knowing there is always more opportunities and ideas to embark on but TIME is always the limiting factor! (To FURTHER fully understand this... I am answering these questions for Diane's totally wonderful and amazing blog while everyone in my house is asleep, including my puffer fishes pupu and tapa... fish don't sleep...but they are... :) haha!)
Do you take custom orders?
Yes! Absolutely! I love doing custom orders (ie sizes, colors, shapes, materials etc...)! The more collaborative the better! I enjoy the challenge and am always happy to help in any way I can! Depending on the customization, usually the time isn't too long (the only limiting factor is the availability of supplies and how quickly items can be made/set, but I'm always eager to make new things so usually that doesn't stand in the way). My only policy is being able to collaborate prior to the purchase which is always the case! Doing custom orders has been illuminating with coming up with new ideas as well! The more custom, the better :)
When is the last day I can order in time for Christmas Day?
If you are in the US, usually shipping USPS first class will get the item there within 3-5 days (I do my best to ship within 24 hours of the purchase!) If you're concerned about time, I can do upgraded shipping or just contact me and I'll be happy to help! If you purchase a week before Christmas, you should be fine!
Where can I see more of your work and buy a gift?
How awesome is it that her monogram could double for the acronym of her store? Also, I had an "oh no" moment when I thought she was from my dreaded cross-town rival... but then I noticed that extra "C" stuck in there, meaning that she was from my sister school in Santa Cruz. Whew!
Okay, now to the details of the promo code first! If you use coupon code VINTAGEZEST at her Etsy shop you will receive 15% off until December 31st. Score!
For the giveaway, Loren is offering one of my lucky readers their choice of either a geode necklace or a button earring set! Like I said, it's going to be a hard decision. :) Just enter in the Rafflecopter widget below. It may take a while to load, so please be patient or click on the "a Rafflecopter giveaway" link if you are impatient like me!