Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Good Bye….

I started writing this blog in 2013, it has been great fun to write and I hope enjoyable to have read. However, like most people I am re-examining my social media activities; with two blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +, two online shops, a website and countless other online groups I need to refine and reduce these so I have time for the other things in my life. 

https://createdcuratedbysarabrown.wordpress.com/ is a website which also includes a blog as well as showing my design work.

My warmest regards and love

Sara x

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Troll Beads- Your Unique Jewelry

I prefer to write about smaller design companies rather than high street brands but once in a while a larger brand can have a unique product. I have had some involvement with the Danish company Troll Beads. I do have to say I was surprised at both the quality and design content of their products, which does feature one-off unique beads.

Their story started in Denmark in 1976. The first bead, which later gave name to the Troll Beads collection, was a small bead decorated with six faces of trolls. It was designed by Søren Silversmith and sold from his father Svend's jewelry shop in central Copenhagen. The beads were created at a time where it was fashionable to have a silver bead hanging on a leather thong around the neck. But instead of letting the bead hang in an eyelet, Søren wanted to let the leather cord go through the bead. Later on, Søren's sister, Lise, began to put the beads on silver bracelets, one on each bracelet, customers then started to request extra beads. Until the year 2000 the family designed the full range. However, to increase the diversity of the collection, ten famous Danish jewelry designers were invited to make a signature Troll Bead and today many of these designers still continue to work with the company. In 2001 the first glass beads, made of Italian glass where featured and have since built up a huge following worldwide.

From this original starting point the collection has grown to include; bracelets, charms and beads, bangles, necklaces, rings and earrings. The concept of personalised jewelry where you can add your favorite beads to your jewelry pieces has continued and been copied by many other well-known retailers. Today Troll Beads are sold in more than thirty countries. The full collection features over 600 different beads designed by ninety internationally renowned designers in collaboration with the Nielsen/Aagaard family, who are still actively involved in production and the design process.

Many customers have become quite serious about their Troll Bead collections and have formed clubs and hold online forums. An annual design competition enabled customers to design a bead which is then put into production and sold in the collection.

Despite the growth of the business, they have stayed true to both the original conception and the needs and wishes of their customer base. Creativity and the chance to experiment and change your jewelry easily, is as true today as it was in 1976. I think this is something quite rare and to able to continue to produce a well-designed product with love is unique in today’s climate.

 Have fun creating….Sara x

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Natura- Shopping with Authenticity

I love a really good excuse to go shopping and one of my favorite shops is Natura, their branches are in Spain, Portugal and Mexico so I can only shop when on holiday….

Natura stands for authenticity, excitement and positive attitudes. The aim of the company is to awaken the senses of their customers. The first store was opened in Barcelona in 1992 expanding two years later throughout Spain. Operating a slow but safe development policy they have chosen to stay as a mediuem sized company, so in many ways are a best kept secret.

A beautiful, peaceful shopping space is created with every outlet having its own unique style. The clothes, accessories, gifts and books are chosen with great care, even the wonderful music and lovely fragrances add to the general feeling of calm. You always feel better for a visit to one of their stores.

Despite this, there are aware of the social responsibility of the business, been committed to lessen the environmental impact due to the production of their items by not working with large factories  and giving priority both to little workshops/small shopkeepers. These means that they know the people they work with and try to find out as much as possible about the production process, labor conditions, etc.

Their aim is that in buying in Natura is synonym of love towards nature and respect towards life.

In order to achieve the balance between principles and profitability they back projects such as the Natura Award, with which has donated more than 1.5 million € since 1994. Also the Agua por Agua campaign, with has raised 123.416 € and built 133 wells of drinkable water in Burkina Faso, an African country in Sahel (www.aguaporagua.org). The Natura award actively collaborates with social projects, protecting the natural environment and the provision of humanitarian and development aid.

Since its creation in 1994, this award has recognized and appreciated the work of many people and organizations with more than 1.7 million Euros. Hence, when you buy in any Natura store, you are contributing with this award in many ways.

I think its important today to feel that you can help someone less fortunate when supporting a company, my finial words are a quote from Natura.

We believe in a better world. Thanks for being part of our dream.

https://www.naturaselection.com for more details

Sara xx

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Club Suau-Bespoke Brandy

On a recent visit to Mallorca, I came across Bodegas Suau and I was very kindly shown around and told the fascinating history of this company, its products and how Brandy is made. The attached museum is also very interesting.

 The Suau winemakers are true Mallorca ambassadors: ‘‘We want people to order a Suau brandy knowing that it is the best in the world, and that it is made in Mallorca.’’ The company has been approached by various national and international brands, but the family hopes to maintain the product’s Mallorca nature and dreams of it one day making the front page of the New York Times.

Brandy is a drink associated with luxury; held cupped between the fingers and palm of the drinker´s hand, it’s brought to its optimal drinking temperature by the warmth of the human body. If the pleasure of drinking brandy stirs your senses, you’ll be in your element at the Bodegas Suau, where it’s possible to become the personal owner of a barrel of this aromatic liquid gold.

Bodegas Suau was originally founded in Cuba in 1851 by the Mallorca tradesman Juan Suau, and became the property of the Barceló and Mora families after the Spanish Civil War. It’s now located in a former flour factory. The company premises are surrounded by a 1.8 metre thick exterior wall, providing protection from outside pollutants such as noise and smells and thereby creating a microclimate in which rows of barrels full of this handmade brandy are housed.

The Suau club was founded in 1992, by Angel Zuasti. He launched a private club initially called ‘Amigos de Suau’ (Friends of Suau) so that brandy lovers could enjoy their own personalized version of the spirit. Each member of the club buys a barrel with a capacity of 32 litres; these barrels guarantee a better quality final product than larger ones because a higher proportion of the liquid is in contact with the oak. Their brandy is then stored in the Suau cellars. Only the owner of the barrel and the producers themselves are authorized to handle the individual stocks, and only eight bottles from each barrel can be extracted in any one year in order for the brandy to meet the Suau brand standards. In this way the brandy ages approximately a year, every year. The brandy, a spirit obtained from the distillation of white wine, with an alcoholic content of between 36% and 40%, is aged in American oak barrels. One of the exclusive privileges of membership is that every bottle is numbered and personalized with the name of the barrel, its owner, the intended recipient and the bottling date. 

Juana Barceló, the company director, tells us: ‘‘every brandy and every bottle here has its own particular qualities: there are barrels which are 19 years old and others only three years old.’’ The brandy itself is 15 years old when it is transferred to the barrels. Members can choose when they take home their eight bottles: some take them all at Christmas; others take them at intervals, believing it is damaging to the barrel to take them all out at once. This of course means that every brandy is different and exceptional.

 The winery also makes sure it replaces any brandy lost during the evaporation process so that it always continues its slow maturing process. The company keeps strict records and has established a ‘numerous clauses’ with a maximum of 500 club members. Currently, 448 of the barrels have been assigned owners, and number 449 is about to be sold. Barrel number 500 is reserved for the winery to be auctioned for charity. The club is made up of many different nationalities some of the members are quite famous but they remain secret.

A visit to Bodegas Suau is a wonderful journey into the history of Spain and the New World. By combining its age-old traditional techniques and modern technology, Suau has created a particular style and a new way of understanding and enjoying the luxury and sensual pleasures of brandy. I love the idea of a bespoke brandy and creating something unique.

Bodegas Suau
Carrer Cabana, 12, Pont d'Inca


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Half-Way Point….

June already so it’s half the way through the year. Many people have told me that they feel there is more movement in 2017 and that in 2016 they felt very stuck. I don’t know if this is true for you, I hope all is going well? Is there more flow this year? Are changes easy or hard?

I have just returned from two months in Spain and I return again for three months in July. Our relationship with the rest of Europe faces an uncertain future but I do hope that we can continue to see ourselves as part of Europe and not isolate The UK, this would such a huge step backwards.

Serious stuff over, I have seen some wonderful artisan makers, beautiful shops and unique businesses and I hope to tell you about these in the next few months…

Take care.
Sara x

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Happy New Year in February

To start: two things to mention a belated Happy New Year, in truth I can’t believe it is February already) and secondly my fullest apologizes for the lack of blog posts in 2016. I spent quite a lot of the year travelling and working on a new design range and as the saying goes “Time flies when you are having fun”.

In several cultures the New Year starts in February rather that January, I much prefer this concept. January always seems like the end of a year rather than the start of one. The weather is terrible, shops are full of the stock no-one wanted and decorated with awful red sales signs, you have no money to spend having been overindulgent during the Christmas period and spring and summer seem a long way off.

Quite depressing and a good excuse to stay in bed really…… However, on a more positive note this is also a good idea to re-organize, throw out anything you don’t use or need and in general have a really good think about what you want to achieve in the New Year.

I found a wonderful little book in the library called L’art de la Simplicite (How to live more with less) by French essayist Dominique Loreau. Having lived in Japan, Dominique advises to simplify your home, empty your wardrobe, abandon compulsive purchases and buy less and only better quality items that you love. This wonderful mix of Japanese Zen and French style was an inspirational read and did make me re-think my clutter and the deeper meaning behind having lots of things I don’t use or  even need.

I think that returning to buying fewer items and concentrating on buying hand-made/crafted unique items rather than high street items is essential to the survival of galleries, crafters and design makers. Having had a fairly ruthless spring clean, I have realized how many cheap buys I have never worn or worn once and the fit was wrong or the quality was poor and fell apart after one wash. Also, I don’t think we can ignore the implications of cheap clothing and how these items are manufactured by paying low wages and even using child labour (which should have no place in the modern world).

If you do get a chance to read this book I thing you will enjoy it.  I am not too sure about only wearing Black, White or Beige clothing as a little bit of colour in life can be very uplifting particularly  during  the grey days of British  wintertime, but overall the suggestions are practical, helpful and easy to achieve.

Good bye for now.

Sara x

Friday, 19 August 2016

Wonderful Shops….

La Galeria Elefante- Ibiza

Most people spent their holidays on the beach or by the pool or visiting museums or famous landmarks. I prefer to look for wonderful shops…..

La Galeria Elefante is a concept store housing a collection of unusual pieces and crafts, every piece is collected with love (many items are one-offs) by the store creators from around the world. Based in Ibiza, the store has at its heart the values of the White Isle which is known around the world for its eclectic nature.

 The English owners Sharon and Victoria both live on the island of Ibiza and travel extensively as part of the Elefante journey. They support both charities and the global craftspeople that provide many of their products, which are two more reasons for visiting 

An Aladdin’s cave of colour, pattern and lovely things, you could spend days going through the store. This is also a meeting place of music, writers and artists and has an outdoor bar and café area and Yoga rooms to relax and unwind.

So, if you find yourself on the White island and need a retail fix or a break from the sun, do try this out.

La Galeria Elefante
San Miguel 3.2km, 07814 Santa Gertrudis, Ibiza,

Enjoy Sara x