Monday, November 23, 2009

Your Opinion

We're already working on some new Scarlet Thread product ideas, and we want to get your input.

What products do you want to see Scarlet Threads carry next?  What would you buy?

We thought we'd take a poll, so you can vote over to the right.  Poll closes on the 28th!

The choices are:
Child-Sized Coordinating Aprons - Already suggested by many people, this might be the clear front-runner.  If we did this, we'd probably start with child-sized versions of the Phoebe and Savannah aprons, though other suggestions are also welcome!

Hand-Made Chinese Children's Hats and Shoes - Made by a grandma in our village, each is one-of-a-kind, and made from colorful scraps of material with lots of hand sewn details.  They are certainly uniquely Chinese, though we're not sure how well they'd sell!  That's where your opinion comes in.



Pot Holders and Oven Mitts - We thought we might be able to make ones that coordinate with the aprons and have them quilted by some of our local ladies.

Tea Towels - We notice many talented embroiderers, so we thought we could make tea towels with familiar Chinese icons embroidered in the corner.  Things like bicycles or hawthorn candies on a stick.

Thanks for taking the time to vote.  We hope to have the new product begin production by the beginning of December!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Sorry for the delayed post... but better late than never.

The winner of the apron giveaway is.....  VALERIE AND JEFF.

Though I imagine Jeff doesn't want the apron.  :)

Valerie, send me your mailing address, and we'll get it sent to you right away!

Thanks for playing, everyone.  We're really thankful for your help in spreading the word.  You've helped get Scarlet Threads off to a great start!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Stock

That's right ladies and gents.  Here's another chance to get your favorite apron before the Christmas holidays!  (Unless there is a major postal system snafu that is beyond our control.)  We just posted a new stock to the Scarlet Threads shop.

And, the giveaway is still going.  You have a few more days to enter!

So, I promised some pics from our photo shoot the other day.  We have lots of goofy ones.  But I thought it would be good to show our better sides, and we all loved this one.  See, this proves you can eat gingerbread, hot dogs, cheesecake, and peanut butter and still be a beautiful model!  Love the skin you're in, ladies.



All of these beautiful gals are my coworkers.  And their spirits are even more beautiful than their smiles.  Aren't I lucky to be surrounded by such amazing women?  They are English teachers, Kindergarten teachers, foster home workers, and volunteer coordinators... and they are great friends.  Just a few of the many faces behind Scarlet Threads.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Moving Along

It's been a busy weekend at Scarlet Threads... Here's the latest!

So, we had a great time at our apron picture taking party tonight.  I don't have the results yet, as I wasn't the photographer... but it was great fun.  Soon there will be new photographs of the aprons on real-live women on the website.

I think we were the only models ever that had regular snack breaks where we ate gingerbread, hot dogs, and a Reese's cheesecake thing.  We also had celery... but with peanut butter.

So, needless to say, these are "real" women photographs... not crazy airbrushed ones.  And we had a great time.

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And, Jacob and I picked up our first batch of aprons from the seamstress today!  I can't tell you how excited she was when we paid our first bill.  Ladies - guess what... she made over twice the average local monthly wage from this first batch of aprons she sewed.  And she did that in just about 2.5 weeks!  I don't think she's ever had so much business before.  She's thrilled, and I'm thrilled.  I wish you could be here to see her face, because you, friends, are the ones making this all possible.

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I also went to the fabric market yesterday and bought enough fabric to make more of your favorites -- the Savannah and the Phoebe.  I can't believe how quickly they are selling!  We're trying to keep up with you!  We're still working out the exact shipping dates, but sometime this week we will begin selling more of those aprons and they will ship from the states sometime in early December.  We hope to give you one more chance to order those Scarlet Threads products in time for Christmas!

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If you want to order either an Anna or a Molly apron and get it sent to you in the upcoming November 20 shipment, you need to place your order in the next 24 hours!  (Order must be received no later than Monday afternoon in the states.)  We're packaging those up in the next day and getting them ready to mail, so you only have a little more time to get your order in.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Get Excited Giveaway

We had an interesting conversation with some Chinese friends at lunch today.  We talked about which was the more culturally-sensitive/appropriate way to help local people. To give a poor person assistance without being asked?  (i.e. - a gift of money or a load of coal)  Or to give only in response to a stated need and a request for help?

The response?  There was some disagreement, since the friends hailed from various parts of China where local culture varies somewhat, but the general consensus for our village's culture was this...  Giving a gift without being asked would cause the person to "loose face."  They would feel like you looked down upon them and pitied them because they were poor.  So that isn't the best option.  But, unfortunately, everyone also agreed that no one would ever actually ask for help.  They're too proud.  Each of our friends could name several people that could really use the help, but they won't accept it or ask for it.

So it seems we have an unsolvable problem.

Except it isn't.

Everyone was in agreement about one thing... if you could give someone a job and let them earn their way, there is no loss of face and they will always accept the work.  It meets their needs with dignity and compassion.

Hearing that -- which we suspected all along, just from our observations about this village the last few years -- reinvigorates us and confirms our mission.  Launching the Scarlet Threads boutique has been a lot of work, and we have a long ways to go, but it has such a potential for life transformation.  We're excited!

Can you get excited too?

Maybe a giveaway will help...

We are going to give away one Phoebe apron, to be shipped from the USA to the winner on November 20, 2009.  You might even have it in time to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey.





Here's how to enter... you get one entry for each thing that you do.  If you've already done some of these things, go ahead and enter the giveaway... Simply leave a comment listing the ways you've entered!

1) Sign up as a follower of the Scarlet Threads blog.
2) Put the Scarlet Threads button on your blog or website.
3) Write a blog post about Scarlet Threads and link to our website and/or to this giveaway.
4) Update your Facebook status, and link to Scarlet Threads and/or this giveaway!
5) Twitter about the giveaway.
6) Tell some real life friends about Scarlet Threads.  (I'll trust you on this.)

The winner will be selected and posted on Nov. 19.  If you want to be notified via email if you win, please include your email address in your comment, or send it to me at info@scarletthreads.org.

Let the giveaway begin!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And We're Off

We're so excited by the strong response we've already received here at Scarlet Threads!  We're moving right along, and our seamstress is busy as can be.  We'll get our first delivery of aprons this Friday, one week before our big mail date for all of the pre-orders we're accepting now.  There's a lot to do between now and then.  We have to put tags on and package them, but we'll get the shipment ready, and for those who have purchased one, soon you'll have the finished products in your hands.

This Sunday, we're going to have a photo shoot with some of our friends here in China, to show just how cute the aprons are when they are worn.  I'll be sure to post some behind-the-scenes pictures from that event, and you'll see the final product pictures just as soon as I can upload them.  I think they'll really help with sales, as our current pictures don't really do the aprons justice.  For example, the Anna is an absolutely adorable apron on just about anyone... it's the general favorite around people who have tried them all on in "real life," but the picture just doesn't show it for how cute it actually is...

Getting Scarlet Threads up and running has been a lot more work than we anticipated.  But, we still believe in the idea.  You can read the story about why we started Scarlet Threads on the boutique's website... it may be a lot of work, but to see the seamstress' smile, and to think about all the possibilities, makes it all worth it.

Thanks for your support... I hope this continues to grow and be a blessing both here in China and in whatever kitchens our products eventually land.