Our blog.

We are changing the world. And now we are blogging about it. We hope you enjoy a glimpse of what we do and how hard we work to do it. We are also excited to introduce you to our fabulous retailers and customers.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We've moved!



Hey everyone! We
just realized that we left all of our blog followers hanging!

We have moved our blog over to our exciting, shiny new website!


Will you mosey on over and subscribe? We love this blog but will keep up our blogging over on the website, where all of our customers can see all the cool new things going on with b&b!
(:

Love,

Kyle

Friday, May 7, 2010

Finals


I'm heading into finals now. Where has the semester even gone?

Should you feel compelled to cross your fingers, pray, send me vibes, ANYTHING, please feel free.
I will be needing all of the above starting now through Wednesday, as I tackle law school finals.

Life is so funny, isn't it? I have quickly trained my brain to switch immediately from discussing which of our adorable prints should line our organic hand-loomed denim blazer for fall to thinking about whether an admission made during negotiations to pay medical bills is admissible as evidence in a trial (it is.)


I think I prefer the land of creativity and planet-saving, but must admit that I feel so so good when I return to my geeky roots and overwork my brain and rock these tests despite not being an average law student. Its like... my thing now.


Well, I am off to pack my brain full of legal knowledge. Send well-wishes through the airwaves and interwebs as you see fit! I will need every. last. one.


Love,

Kyle

"Wear it!" Wednesday


Meet LJ!

He is 19 months old and sporting his Hug Me Tee. And how ADORABLE is his b&b-style statement on the photo?! Of course it made me sit here and swoon so I had to post two photos.


LJ's mother, Patricia, has a great blog and wrote a sweet and thoughtful review of us here.

Patricia reports that LJ's favorite food is green beans, saying that "He loves his veggies, even without cheese on them!" He is also a big outdoorsman (as evidenced by the above photos) and loves elephants and 'quack quacks!'

When not outdoors, LJ enjoys saying his vowels and has recently fallen in love with Elmo. (Welcome to the club... Elmo's the greatest!)

We think LJ is just about the cutest little guy!

Thanks to Patricia & LJ for the photos! (:

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sending some positive happiness to you all!

Hi everyone!

I hope this Friday finds you all enjoying your day and getting ready for a wonderful weekend!

With the crazy things happening in this world (oil spill in the Gulf and Arizona immigration law) I wanted to send some fun, simple, positivity to you all.

I've been reminding myself lately to not get bogged down in the daily obstacles and stresses and the horrible sad things going on in other parts of the world.

Your worrying does no one any good. What does good is an energized and inspired person helping create a solution and making a difference in their own community. Its all connected. Feeling overwhelmed by the millions of gallons of oil soaking the oceans off the coast of Louisiana? Go walk some dogs and clean some kennels at your local humane society. Are you upset by the people starving in Uganda? Call your local soup kitchen and see if they need anything from Costco and drop it off to them. Everything has a ripple effect.


What's important is that you take time to enjoy your life. Its great, isn't it? No matter if you can't pay your bills or you work for a jerk or your inlaws drive you up the wall 24-7. Life is great. So go immerse yourself in what makes you happy and bounce along through your day and all the stressers. Just ignore them!

I love Kina Grannis and have been listening to her all day! (And will see her in SF in 2 weeks!) I love her cover of the peppy Train song.



(I dedicate that video to my great friend Monika because she is one of the only infinitely positive and happy and wonderful people I know. And she is my soul sister actually. Or biological one maybe. I get so stressed and she so CONSTANTLY encouraging and I never thank her enough for that. Thanks, Mon!)

Then this is Kina's new video that is equally as sweet and lovely. I love it.




Have a great weekend everyone! What are you all doing? Any fun plans?

Love,
Kyle

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We are on Mini Social tomorrow!




Hi everyone,


We are trying to clear out some of our old stock on The Mini Social tomorrow through Friday! For those of you not familiar, The Mini Social is a members only sale sight like Gilt Group or Rue La La, where you can get your designers clothing at lower prices at the end of the season. Our excess tanks and tees from Fall2009 are up there for $10 or so. (:

This will help up fund our causes and make room for the awesome Fall 2010 things rolling in soon! Wahoooo!


Will you go sign up and snatch up some b&b? And tell your friends!
Thanks!

(:

barley & birch crew

Monday, April 26, 2010

Inspiration & Pit Bulls



Hi All! I hope you had a lovely weekend and are beginning (or getting ready to begin) your work week full of energy and revitalized. Its been a while since I felt revitalized and ready for a Monday, as usually I spend my weekends getting caught up and ahead of the rest of the population that doesn't work 90hrs week. (Its like the P.Diddy philosophy.... or something?) But this week I feel rested and ready to go get 'em!

Anyway!


I am most inspired when I have wrapped up my work and get out and am totally exhausted. I used to surf alllllll day, head to yoga, and dream up the best way to build a children's clothing empire. My mind has been really cloudy with stress and growing pains and obstacles lately and I've really been needing some time to get away and get everything set and straightened out in my head.


So today we went on an epic hike.

Needless to say I've planned out the coolest stuff ever and figured out how to make it all work. I am giddy with excitement over these ideas. I can't wait to share them with you all!


I of course took time to pose for several million photos with my 2nd best friend (after Alia), Theopolous Wolverine Horatio Merstacules Smitley(-Barry) aka Theo, my 80lb 9 month old puppy. He is half Pit Bull and half German Shepherd and really the best dog in the universe. (Having an intensely overbearing and bossy human momma helps, I think.)


I just love this little guy and decided to create our Pit Bull shirt with the hopes of raising at least a couple thousand dollars to support rescues all over the country. The breed is often used for fighting and kept in incredibly cruel situations and, living in the Bay Area, I've seen these poor puppies with cuts mended with staplers and skin conditions treated with motor oil one too many times to just sit by and do nothing.

So I figured we'd make our Pit Bull shirt and hope that people loved these little pups as much as I do. We can print on any light color tee or on our own. For sizing reference, I am wearing a small. They run true to size and shrink up a little bit.

The pup on our tee is a rescue pup as well. Her name is Honey and she belongs to Eileen and Shawn, who are friends of Jodie and were kind enough to let us use her cutie mug on our tees.

For your Sunday evening enjoyment, here is one segment of our lovefest at the top of a mountain.

This is just the norm. Being smothered in attention and love.

I'm trying to move him to a more photogenic position.

He "gives kisses" that are more like really intense nose pokes with a drooly tongue flailing.

Chaos.
Please don't let the enormous tongue and sweaty grimace in this photo discourage you from snatching up one of our Pit Bull tees.

I'd love to hear how YOU get inspired? And of course would also love to hear about how much you love your dogs and all the crazy things you do for them, too. Leave comments below!

Love,
Kyle

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Wear it!" Wednesday


Oh my GOODNESS. How cute can you get?

Meet Genevieve! This little cutie (sporting her blue b&b Erin sweater) is the daughter of Sarah and niece of Alasandra, who owns Vivi Bambini in Ho-ho-Kus, New Jersey. Genevieve aka "Vivi" was a large part of the inspiration to start Vivi, actually!


Vivi's favorite color is blue (as demonstrated above) and her favorite TV show is Olivia. Alasandra reports that Vivi's favorite thing to do is to explore the stream behind her Oma's house (Alasandra and Sarah's mother.)


Well, we think that she is totally beautiful!
We've met Genevieve's Aunt Sandy and her Oma and know that her mother is wonderful. We think Vivi will be the next in the line of wonderful women looking to improve the world. (:

Thanks to Sarah, Sandy, and Vivi for the photo! (:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Wear it!" Wednesday


Meet Michael! Michael is rocking his adorable Bridge Tee!

Michael is the darling son on Danielle, who has the wonderful blog Getting Kind of Crunchy!

Thanks to Danielle and Michael for the photos!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring and Easter and Happy and Pretty.


Well who knows if its the grey weather or the overwhelming nature of law school or the headaches that I am getting from b&b lately, but I am feeling so discouraged, and crabby, and frustrated, and basically just like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh lately!

Everything is glum and negative in my outlook lately which just is not normal.


So this weekend I am devoting some time to getting happy and catching up on sleep and some work that I enjoy and will enjoy to tie up.

How do you all get happy when you are feeling down?

I found this photo on the blog of my friend Catherine of Rikshaw Design and it cheered me up and I wanted to share it with you all!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Love,
Kyle

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Wear it!" Wednesday


With our very first Spring 2010 collection "Wear it!" Wednesday, meet cutie Gage! Look at the smile! Do you think he is giggling at the bear eating sushi or if he is just that happy and cute? I suspect its the latter. (:

Gage is the adorable son of the equally as adorable Emily of DesignHER Momma. We love reading her blog and love following her tweets. (Despite the fact that she is Michigan State alum and we, as a business I think, are Wolverines for life. She actually just reviewed the Sushi onepiece and is offering a giveaway! (Go enter!)

Gage is 4 months old and currently enjoying his first vacation in sunny Florida. Emily reports that he is very happy and smiles all day long, taking after his father. His favorite activities include being worn in a sling by his mom (he could stay there for hours) and taking 2 long naps a day. Gage has 2 big sisters that keep him entertained every waking moment.

Well with a smile-y dad, smart and funny momma, and two sisters, we think Gage is destined to be a happy and sweet little boy.

Thanks to Emily and Gage for the photos!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Two Truths & a Lie-- an open offer! (Miriam's Kitchen Post Pt. 2)

So, per the previous post, I am packing up my check to send to Miriams Kitchen today. (Check out these videos of some news segments they were featured on today. It gives a neat glimpse into the awesome things they are doing.)

I also happened to swing by Costco and (while snacking on a frozen yogurt and looking at cords for big TVs for my dad) I realized that, sure, we were sending a $74 dollar check to feed the homeless. But thats really nothing in the big picture. Miriam's feeds 200 people each MORNING!

And I thought "I should give more." But, like many of you all out there, I thought, "But, we can't." It was that simple. We try to fund things all the time and we are very much over-donated and, well, we couldn't. "Me sponsoring even an entire meal per month isn't sustainable at this point for b&b financially." I thought. "I should. But I can't." Taking another chomp of my frozen yogurt and watching snowboarding on the 100 huge screened TVs, I realized "I will send some stuff they need though. In this world of too much, its the least I can do."

So I moseyed over to the coffee. $12 for huge bag of organic and local coffee. Okay.




Then I looked at socks. $12 for a set of socks. Sounds good.




Then it hit me!
I didn't have to save the world all by myself! Other people could spend $24 and arguably not even notice the expense in their budget. And Miriam's needs things like jeans and coffee mugs, too! Things that you have sitting around and want to get rid of! Or things you could get at Goodwill for a few bucks! They keep their wishlist updated and
tweet it often.

So, I would like to formally announce our open offer to you all:


If you e-mail us (hey@barleyandbirch.com) a photo of you or your kids packing up a box of goodies to send to Miriam's Kitchen and include your address, we will send you a complimentary piece of barley & birch clothing as a "Thank you."


Tell your friends!

Love,
Kyle

Two Truths & a Lie-- Reveal! (Miriam's Kitchen Post Pt. 1)

video

Its time to announce the answer to our "Two Truths and a Lie" post featuring our beloved Miriam's Kitchen!


Watch this video from Jenn, the Development Associate at Miriam's to find out the correct facts and the lie. Did you guess correctly?!


To refresh your memory, we asked you all to guess which of the following facts was FALSE:

1. A typical guest at Miriam’s Kitchen has been homeless for nearly 5 years.


2. Most of our guests stay in transitional housing, but come to us for their meals and support services that aren’t available in their home

3.
One of our guests has his painting of Barack Obama hanging in the White House.



We had 74 guesses on this blog post, which means that I will be sending a $74 dollar check to them today.

Thanks to the folks at Miriam's for letting us draw some attention to their amazing work!


(Part 2 of this post will be posted later today and gives you a way to get some free barley&birch. Excited?)


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Wear it!" Wednesday


Meet the adorable Lola! Lola is the daughter of the amazing Jen of Sophie&Lili, that I know you all love already! Everyone of all ages loves the adorable dolls that she makes. I want, like, all of them actually.

Lola, seen wearing our Panda Tank, loves coloring and, as her mother notes, "cutting paper to shreds." Her favorite food is pasta and she loves watching Yo Gabba Gabba. (I have never seen YGG but everyone loves it... do I need to record a few?) We think that Lola is just the cutest little thing with the most darling smile!


The bigggggg news from Sophie&Lili and barley&birch are our dolls that we are collaborating on
! Neato, right?! We have worked out 6 designs with dolls that are wearing the barley&birch Spring 2010 collection! Watch Sophie&Lili's Facebook page and Twitter as they release the final two! You can see the dolls we've released so far here.


Here is the Jum dress Sophie&Lili doll!




We are truly honored to be able to collaborate with Jen in this way and hope that you all love the dolls as much as we do! These will be available on a special ecommerce site for pre-order in a few weeks! They will also be headed to retailers all across the country.


Thanks to Lola and Jen for the photos and for letting us work with you! (:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Our letterpress goodies!

HI!! I'm back! So sorry for the incredibly long hiatus from our blogging.

That time was filled by frantically packing up boxes full of our Spring and shipping them to our retailers, planning our AWESOME web redesign, finalizing Fall, and me writing long, important papers for school!

But I'm back!

And I want to tell you about someone I really am crazy about-- Bird Dog Press.

They made some new stationary for us. Like, gorgeous right? Oh they are made from recycled materials!

This one is on a heavy recycled cardstock. Very earthy looking.

And this is just PCW recycled paper, I think.


This is recycled cotton! So soft!

Alli, the genius behind BDP, is as kind as she is genius and visionary. Look at this baby announcement and tell me you don't want to just BE in Alli's head! It would be like a geniune, sincere world of pretty! And her press kit? Wow!

This video of her creating her little masterpieces is really cool to watch, too! (The Guy, who takes little interest in my world of baby things, loved watching this!)


Bird Dog Press, Lyons, Colorado from Kevin Von Qualen on Vimeo.


Check her out! Soak up some creativity on her blog, and go snatch up some of her genius from her
shop.


Love,

Kyle

Friday, March 5, 2010

Entrepreneurship.

(Preface: I have been doing talk after talk and interview after interview about what being an entrepreneur is and how its impacted my life, so I am always thinking of what it means to my life. Below lies the loopy thoughts of a VERY tired small business owner who is in the process of rolling out SS2010 and polishing FW2010. All while writing papers and studying law.)

Today I took a look in the mirror and felt compelled to share what I saw. It was like a different human being.


It reminded me of those "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs." commercials.

I have received about 3 hours of sleep a night this entire week. I haven't showered in 3 days. I am wearing the same clothes as yesterday because... I was too strung out on tiredness to realize that thats why they were laying on my dresser. My skin is like out of control and the circles under my eyes makes me wonder if I am part raccoon. The bags go down across my cheeks.

Its like I am on this new drug on the streets-- ENTREPRENEURSHIP.

I used to have good hygiene. I used to work in skincare and wear touches of makeup to polish off a perfect glow. I used to love trips to Sephora with Patty, Nat, and Hala reveling in the good smelling and beauty-making things there. I used to be put together. I used to not consider coffee a suitable lunch.


But now I never smell good. Hygiene is an afterthought. Coffee is a great well-rounded meal for me. Its like the downhill spiral of someones life that screams "Someone please intervene!"


I share this with you all because I have had so many conversations with young entrepreneurs about this. Its the ugly (literally) side of running your own business. Oh, and doing it while in law school doesn't help.


So, for your viewing pleasure.


THIS IS YOUR KYLE:




THIS IS YOUR KYLE ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP:

(I turned my head just for you, so you could see the greasy sheen.)

My goal for this weekend is to get pretty and take care of myself!
My challenge to you all: take some time for yourselves and treat yourselves to something special. Can't wait to hear what you all do.

Love,

Kyle

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Wear it!" Wednesday


Meet Sienna Miele! She is wearing our Fishies Laptee.

Sienna is the niece (basically) of our beloved Eli.

Without Eli, we would not be in business! He is the logistical printing genius behind our signature photo prints that are done over the entire piece. (If you notice, not many brands, if ANY, do this, as its very difficult and labor intensive.)
He is basically the coolest guy ever and we are lucky to work with him.

But back to cutie Sienna! Sienna is a true green baby, living in the same super cool farm community in which Eli was raised.

We just can't help from smiling when we look at her darling grin.

Thanks to Eli, Sienna, and Sienna's parents for the photo!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Thursday Reality.


So by now I think you all know that I, Kyle, owner of b&b, am also a law student. I love learning about the law and cannot wait to be a real practicing lawyer (despite what many think, I do still want to practice law despite the successes of b&b!)

Anyway, my Thursdays are SO LONG. I get here at 9am for class and then have an 8 hour break before my last class, which ends at 10pm. So I spend my hours in the setting in the above photo. Textbook, e-mail, and coffee.

My time is broken up by taking business calls and getting caught up on returning calls. (Note that unfortunately I did not say reading.) Many of you have actually chatted with me during this time.


It just occurred to me today that this is such a funny lifestyle.
My Evidence class ends at 11am and as soon as the last student leaves I crank up some Taylor Swift, Jay Z, Steel Pulse, FFD, or Outkast and get to WORK on building a world-changing children's brand/EMPIRE.

I work on blog posts, invoice retailers, confirm shipments, chat with suppliers, and start INNOVATING. It is in my Thursday caffeine-and-TSwift-induced highs that I have thought of the COOLEST new things coming from us at barley & birch.


But its kind of funny, right? That all this crazy awesome exciting business stuff is born in this dark sketchy lecture hall
in between Evidence and Constitutional Law class in downtown San Fransisco?

Or have I been listening to too much Taylor and am just totally losing my mind?


Hm!
Off to class!

Love,
Kyle

P.S. Sometimes this guy is in here too. He swears he doesn't mind the confused music selection blasting.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Wear it!" Wednesday




Happy Wear it Wednesday to you all! You get TWO cutie barley & birch-loving tots this week to make up for lack of Wear It Wednesday the last two weeks!
They are both sporting their b&b for RockerByeBaby Tees!

These two little guys are the adorable sons of Leslie, the most inspiring eco-Mama that I have come across.
By reading her blog, Recycle Your Day, I am inspired to work harder to be even greener. I think I am super green and then I read her blog, where she is making her own deorderant and body lotions all while making her own pickles and raw dinners for her family. Like... how does she do this right? I am baffled and inspired at the same time!

Not to mention the fact that the first time I met Leslie, she was tweeting through her incredible natural birth all while making soup for her houseguests to enjoy while she gave birth. YES, I am serious. No, I am not sure if she is superhuman but I am guessing as much.

BUT, lets get to these cuties!

Tristan, her eldest, is often referred to as the "eco tot" because, well, he is eco-loving AND was born on Earth Day. Tristan's favorite food is organic homemade granola (prounounced "buh-nola"), homemade hummus w/ crudités (plate of veggies) and pickles.Leslie reports that he is also very fond of Surf Sweet organic jelly beans. His favorite activity is upcycling items from around the home and incorporating them into a craft. His mother said, "Today, we made binoculars from toilet paper rolls- went on a nature walk and spotted birds. He also loves to make mud pies in his sand box."

Wow, does this little guy make being a green kid sound adorable or what?

And then there is Clark, also known as "Baby C." Leslie reports that Baby C is loving his green smoothies and organic bananas right now. His favorite thing to do is to watch his big brother and being held in his Ergo. His family notes that he also loves ALL animals at the moment.

Well we think these two guys and their parents make for the most eco-and-cute-packed house that we could possibly imagine.

Thanks to Leslie and her boys for the photos!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Missing. In. Action.


Hi all!

I have about a million blog posts that are being written and have been endlessly busy these past few weeks and for some reason have chosen getting a few hours of sleep each night over maintaining our beloved blog. I love my blog!


This weekend I was in Ohio to take a class on Terrorism and International Law. I was also visiting with friends and family, doing TV interviews, and organizing our Spring 2010 collection as we get ready to ship it to our retailers. (Photo above was taken on my cell phone while Tara, the reporter, was interviewing Marianne and her baby Braden about why they love barley&birch. Can you see that he is wearing our Octi Onepiece?! Photo below of Cassdy, the cutie daughter of the produce manager of Phoenix Earth Food Co-op in Toledo, Ohio, our newest retailer and the coolest grocery on the planet. I love everyone there! How adorable is she in our Gazelle Tee?)




So I wanted to share some things we are working on:

-Rolling out Spring 2010. We have our natural tees in, our sweaters are in transit, and our first round of wovens are on their way to us. We love our Spring collection and know they are going to fly off our retailers shelves and are SO excited to get them to them.


-Planning our Fall 2010 shoot. The inspiration is the U.S. food production and the cool local farms with their heirloom species and breeds.

-Finalizing our Fall 2010 collection! We are designing adorable prints and garments for kids (and possibly their awesome mommies!) and I can't say enough how adorable this collection is going to be. Like, what little boy would not what Mr. Moo down below on their shirt?


-Figuring out a new, game-changing website that I won't say much more about. Just think: have you ever wanted to get paid to volunteer and improve your community? Hm. Okay then.

-Designing our pieces to benefit Haiti, 100% of the purchase price of which will go to groups with which I have worked personally. Many people are doing tees, but we feel its important to do our own due to my 10 year relationship with the country and because we have funded schools and clinics there from day one.


How do you feel about those updates? Are you excited? Bored? We love to hear your feedback!


Anyway, thank you for your patience and for still loving us even though we are incommunicado. We will be back on our blogging game this week! (:


XO

Kyle

Friday, February 5, 2010

Our first sponsorship-- PROUD.




We get asked to sponsor things and advertise at least once a day.

We always decline, as I fiercely guard our budget to ensure that we can donate as much money as we do yet still have the resources we need to continue our growth and expansion plans. (There will come a time when we sponsor and advertise all over the place, of course, its just not now.)


But then Sara Sophia, of our beloved tout-est-des-roses was looking for sponsors for Blissdom. Of course we had to say yes! We've connected with her so so deeply over the past year and want her to have all the opportunities to reach more people that she can. So we really didn't give it a 2nd thought.

Well, until we did some checking up on all the zillions of people going to Blissdom. Wow, this was, like, a big conference. It wasn't just some little thing she just wanted to do. Everyone is there in this blogging world (in which we are very much still getting our bearings.) There are people with like a trillion followers. Whoa, and that one is inspiringly, awesomely thrifty. Oh, and that lady has like a cult following. And that one is sort of crabby. Cool women!

And then all of the sudden a huge smile crept across my face and I was filled with this enormous sense of pride and gratefulness. Our sponsee, Sara Sophia, is the perfect person for us to sponsor and to represent us as a brand. We literally support every single facet of her life and thoughts and, seriously, who could not love her personality? I look to her for cheer and inspiration. I look forward to reading her posts and basking in her positive and own-beat-marching energy.

Like, this video, for example. I've watched it at least half a million times (like many of you!) Usually at 2am when I am just overwhelmed and disenchanted with life. And it makes me smile and kiss my puppy and be happy about the whole world. How can you not melt when you watch it? (Also love the cameo of the Gazelle onepiece.)



So, I guess what I am trying to say is that (1) by spending our first sponsorship/advertising dollar we took our first step to real business-ness (not just new-kids-on-the-block world changing) and (2) that we are so intensely proud of our sponsee that I can't even express it. Its a new step for us and I couldn't be happier.

TGIF! Hope you all have an amazing weekend!

Love,
Kyle

Thursday, February 4, 2010

b&b retailer-- Wiggle Room (just a little bragging)



Sometimes I think I am the only one who leads a double life as a student and then as a business owner. I toil away in law school all day and handle business in my gaps. I get pats on the back and it makes the work seem a little lighter and worthwhile.

Nicole Adenauer, co-owner of our beloved retailer Wiggle Room, puts me to shame.

Nicole co-owns a booming children's boutique. Nicole is currently finishing her Masters in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University in D.C. Um, WOW, right?

But there is more! She recently completed an internship in the U.S. Department of State. While there Nicole completed research on modern slavery, specifically with the supply chains involving the U.S. food supply.

This research was so outstanding that Nicole was honored by the State Department by being named a Hometown Diplomat for the city of Miami. The Miami Herald profiled Nicole here. This article shines a great light on the amazing mind she has and work she has done.

Her accomplishments are so incredibly impressive and awe-inspiring and I can't help but gush at the world-changing that Nicole is doing while running Wiggle Room. Truly, this blog post doesn't even do justice to her past work, advocacy, knowledge, and successes.

I am so lucky to have Nicole as a business and personal friend and just had to do a little bragging for her, as she is the most humble person on the planet.

Congratulations, Nicole! We can't wait to see what you will achieve next. (:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Wear it!" Wednesday


Meet Sydney!

Sydney's mother is Erin, a writer for the blog In The Know Mom. (Sarah, the other writer, has a daughter that was featured last week.)

Sydney is 2 years old and her favorite animal is a monkey. Her mother tells us that her favorite foods are pickles and popcorn. Her favorite color is purple (like our Poppies Tee that she is sporting!) and she loves to paint.

Well we think she is completely adorable.

Thanks to Erin and Sydney for the photos!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2 truths & a lie: Miriam's Kitchen-- special edition



Who: Miriam's Kitchen

What: Miriam's Kitchen provides free, homemade meals and support services to over 4,000 of Washington D.C.'s homeless every year.

Why we are obsessed: I volunteered with Miriam's Kitchen while I was doing my internship in Washington D.C. last summer. I even won 2nd place in their pie baking contest!

I was first drawn to them as an organization due to their focus on serving their guests with dignity. Literally, when they would tweet their menu in the morning I would be DROOLING.

So I went in and did jobs that varied from peeling a million potatoes to frying a million plantains. When I was really lucky, I would be able to serve the guests. "Would you like some syrup with your pancakes?" was one of my favorite positions. Or manning the milk cart. That was fun, too.

Each staffer at Miriam's treats their guests like their own family. They care about getting them support, whether that's a warm meal, a pair of socks, housing, a canvas to paint, or someone to talk to.

Oh, and the White House loves them, which is pretty neat. (See the First Lady in the photo above!) Miriam's was one of the beneficiary's from the snazzy White House organic garden, actually!

Miriam's also hit a huge milestone recently. They were able to expand their services to offer dinner meals as well. This takes what they do to a totally new level of awesomeness.

Miriam's Kitchen is one of those places that you feel good supporting and blogging about about a million times. (Like I do.) They really inspire me to push the limits and keep growing and to not get comfortable just thinking that you are doing enough for your community and the world.

So, regardless of us draining our accounts to send money to our colleagues in Haiti, we need to send some barley&birch dollars to Miriam's Kitchen.

So let's test your knowledge of homelessness. For every person that attempts to guess the one INCORRECT fact below, barley&birch will donate $1 (which is an entire meal for a guest) to Miriam's Kitchen.

Which one is NOT TRUE:


1. A typical guest at Miriam’s Kitchen has been homeless for nearly 5 years.


2. Most of our guests stay in transitional housing, but come to us for their meals and support services that aren’t available in their home

3.
One of our guests has his painting of Barack Obama hanging in the White House.


Start guessing!


P.S. Please check out their website, follow them on Twitter. They often tweet their "wish list" which contains things as simple as socks, jeans, and coffee. Consider spending a few extra bucks the next time you are at the grocery store and shipping off a box of goodies to them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Wear it!" Wednesday



Wow, how cute can you get, right?


Meet Savannah! Savannah's mom, Sarah, is one of the writers for the popular blog In The Know Mom. (Erin, the other writer, also has an adorable daughter that will be featured next week!)

Savannah is 3 years old and her favorite foods are apples and cheese. Her mom also reports that Savannah's favorite things to do are to swim and play "soccer" at the park. Savannah loves giraffes and her favorite color is orange!


Sarah and Erin were kind enough to give barley & birch a sweet review on their blog recently!


Thanks to Sarah and Savannah for the photos!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My time in Haiti.



As most of you know, barley & birch was created because of the people of Haiti and, later, El Salvador and Central America as a whole. I am sickened watching the news footage of Haiti and seeing the photos of buildings collapsed onto masses of people, so I wanted to share just a few of my own photos (scanned from hard copy) to share another, more beautiful side, of this country and talk a little about why I love it so deeply. When I first traveled to Haiti, it was my first time out of the country. (Photo below is of the Port Au Prince airport.) I was going to help others, is just about all I knew.



I traveled in cattle trucks with a team to deliver rice and water to schools all over the area.




We would travel 4 hours one way to bring food and water, wash their hair with anti-fungal shampoo (the fungus can spiral into a variety of more devastating health issues), and giving various vitamins and medicine. If we had time, we loved to get a moment to play with the kids before we had to head back home. Sometimes, if we had enough people though, we would perform a puppet show in our best (though still sloppy) Creole and English. Giving the kids a chance to just be purely silly, unburdened by their worries of malnutrition and worms, was amazing.

Then one day we went to the market. And someone tried to kidnap me.

Then we went to town, and walked by a social area where two bodies lay, shot by a local gang leader for whatever reason, families forbidden to move them so the leader could make his control clear. They obeyed for fear of their own lives.


Then women asked me to hold their child and ran away, hoping that I would take the baby and give it a better life in my country.

Then we went to hospitals, and I made the mistake of breaking off from the group and poking around, looking for some kids to play with to break the sorrow. I stumbled into the room of people. I asked a nurse, "Why are there flies all over these people?" She said, "They are dead." I asked, "Why are they still laying here?" She said "The families are legally obligated to deal with burial, and no one can afford the headstone or casket, so they don't claim the body."

I was only 17. And got a huge dose of the real world. I was too young to effectively cope with the emotional shock and just internalized it, ignored it, and became a Haitian so the hurt I was feeling would go away. I mastered "bon jour" and "bon swa" and smiled a lot.

The landscape was stunningly beautiful. (These photos don't do it justice, but I will upload more soon.) The little villages were warm and happy.




The people were beautiful, inside and out. They were gracious and appreciative and felt blessed in their lives.



I ate bananas for breakfast and mangoes for dinner. And breadfruit, which I still unsuccessfully seek out to this day. I would cry with my head between my knees so no one would see me crying about their malnourished babies as we drove away. I would smile and hold the hands of dying kids, not allowing myself to blink because I knew a tear would fall down the cheek that they could clearly see and did not want them to see how sad I was that they had to suffer.

We danced and sang and talked and watched the cool fisherman in their cool sailboats and ran over to see what they had caught every sunset when they came in.
So this was how we lived. Happy and filled with sadness at the same time.

Then, I had to go back home. To my family and friends. I remember driving my car home and needing to roll down the windows because it was so silent. I hadn't been in a closed in car in who knows how long. I got home and I instantly missed Haiti. I missed the slow way of living. I missed not caring about all the silly things, but only caring about buying food at the market and helping bring food and water to others. I missed feeling like I was doing something good, rather than just spinning my wheels with the meaningless things of life.

I had Haiti on my brain from then on. I moved my paintings that I bought there from home to college to new home to new home, each time hanging a particular one so it was the first thing I saw in the morning, reminding me to be significant with each day, to do something good. Not to be "just another pretty face" as my father so kindly reminds me.

And so I traveled and worked in Central America. And graduated from DePauw. And started barley & birch, a clothing line created to give kids a healthy option and world, while using the profits to fund schools and clinics in Haiti first, and then Central America.


When town halls in the area in Haiti in which I worked were destroyed, they called us. When a school near one of our schools was reporting 90% of their children as malnourished, we broke the bank to send rice and water to an additional school immediately.


And now, the earthquake.

I feel sort of like I felt in the photo below. Idly standing by, letting those who are trained professionals do the work, because I don't know where to start or how to be most effective. (Sans Haitian braids and really cool outfit, of course.)




I miss Haiti and want the people there to not suffer anymore. I want to go back and see my friends and build it all back up.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Wear it!" Wednesday



Well, its our first repeat Wear It Wednesday starlet, but how could we resist this cuteness? Here, Sophie is snuggled up getting ready to sleep in her b&b Cactus Tank.

Meet (or re-meet I suppose) darling Sophie. She was featured in our very first Wear it Wednesday post alongside her brothers.

Sophie is one of the namesakes behind her mum Natalie's clothing company, Sophie 4 Sophie. (The other Sophie is Natalie's sister.) Sophie 4 Sophie's signature piece is their reversable little girls dress. I've seen and felt these dresses before and was floored by the quality and attention to detail (there is even a small pocket in which you tuck the tag when you are reversing the design.) I cannot wait until they cet a stockist in the US so I can snatch them up fr the million little girls being born into my life at the moment!


Natalie was our very first friend on Twitter, and we value her friendship infinitely. She is the first person to lend an encouraging voice when we are challenged and a congratulatory voice when we succeed.


If cutie Soph has even a quarter of her mum's heart, she will grow up to be a fantastic young lady.
(:

Thanks to Nat and Soph for the photos!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Love.





I just love this video. It was made by, and features, one of my favorite people,
Sara Sophia of tout-est-des-roses.

Check out the cameo of our very own Gazelle onepiece.

I don't think I will ever not get butterflies when I see our clothing on children.

THEN, when I see or hear of a parent allowing their precious babe to sleep and snuggle in our clothing, I get very choked up. All work and sleepless nights I spent making that piece perfectly free of all toxins and perfectly made have paid off. Their child will have a sleep free of harsh chemicals and heavy metals and I got to play a part in it. That was the mission, and its happening. It's really the most incredible feeling.

Isn't this video just the most darling thing you have ever seen?

I just had to share. So you all could have a lovely little break in your hectic lives.

(:
Kyle

Monday, January 4, 2010

Feeling like a real business!


I started barley & birch to change the world.


The "being a real business owner" stuff has fallen into place slowly since that date. We got Quickbooks and started havinv scheduled meetings and setting growth goals. Oh, and then
Inc. Magazine wrote an article about us.

And starting today, we do real e-mail campaigns.
Check out the recent e-mail we sent to our retailers.



This might seem like a big fat nothing to 99.9% of you, but to us, its SO COOL.

I think we are a real business now! Thank you for helping us along each step.

Love,

Kyle

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2 truths and a lie- confessions

We are getting back into the routine of our guest blogging, but before we do, we need to confess some lies.

In November, I lied to you. The lie was that my mother toured with Bruce Springsteen. I am horribly terrified of clowns, mascots, Santa, etc. I also have two fake teeth from a surfing accident in which I knocked out some teeth and ripped off my face. (Photo far below of the stitches I had from jaw to jaw complete with a swollen face.)

Then, Summer from fawn&forest lied to you. While no one wanted to hurt her feelings by guessing it, her lie was that she was in Inc. 30 under 30 list.

And then finally, Amber, from RockerByeBaby lied to you. Her lie was that everyone in her wedding party worse Converse. Hm, that makes her truths even more awesome and interesting!

Are you all getting pretty good at this? Well, stay tuned for some more lies from our favorite people.