Honey Hound Farm: Swarming New Jersey with Bee-Made Goodness

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I love food.  I especially love locally grown or farm-produced food.  It’s no wonder, then, that I am proud to support local farms from Dreyer’s Farm in my hometown, to Riamede Farm in Chester for their pick -your-own pumpkin patch, and Tuckamony Farm in New Hope to cut our own Christmas tree every year.  You can understand why I was excited to connect with Justin of Honey Hound Farm in Sparta, New Jersey, and even more so to receive a basket of his handmade bee and body products. Justin and his wife, Emma, have been beekeepers at their New Jersey bee farm since 2015.

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To set the stage, imagine getting a message from someone you don’t know but their warmth and humor make you feel like instant friends.  I think that connection is important for business relationships because you’ll always remember the first interaction and will feel comfortable referring new clients.  Justin had commented on his heavily booked schedule and wish to vend at one of Marketspace’s 2018 handmade markets.  We were “passing like two ships in the night”.  I couldn’t help but laugh and reassure him that we will definitely find an event that works with his schedule this year!  Fast forward to last week when I received a shipping notification from Honey Hound (I picture Abby, the dog, putting her paw print seal of approval) and just two days later, a beautiful gift basket.

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Inside was a Coconut Crème Whipped Body Butter, Lavender Oatmeal Honey Soap, Coconut Lip Balm, and of course, a jar of honey from their apiary!  Each product is packaged in quality containers – a glass jar with tin lid for the body butter and honey, complete with a wooden honey wand – and still I can smell the incredibly fresh aroma of lavender and coconut through the packaging.  The body butter is substantially thick, but not greasy.  It absorbs quickly leaving a light scent.  The lip balm is not too thin or gritty, but a perfect blend.  It also contains Evening Primrose Oil which makes me want to use this balm as a wrinkle treatment too.  I haven’t used the bar of lavender soap yet, but I am making a crockpot honey mustard quinoa chicken tonight using Honey Hound Farm honey.  I’ll be sure to include pictures!

Being fairly new to the business, it is refreshing to see how excited Justin gets about his brand.  I already know Justin and Emma are a great addition to the Marketspace Vendor Events family because we encourage a strong brand and excellent customer service among our vendors.  Justin even brings his bees to shows!  I can’t wait to meet the makers, literally.

Please visit the Honey Hound Farm website at: www.honeyhoundfarm.com.

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Launderette Laundry Bags: Cleaning Up in Cranford, NJ!

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Laundry.  Lots of it!  Did you know that we do about two loads of laundry per day in our house?  Yep.  That’s life with twins plus one.  I’ve struggled for a while to find laundry baskets that are both durable and decorative.  Most are covered in ballerinas or sports balls, neither of which really match the style of my kids’ rooms.  I settled on a fabric bin for Liliana’s room and splurged on a wire frame farmhouse style hamper for Landon’s room.  Noah received Landon’s hand-me-down canvas hamper because it was better than most of the other options I’ve seen.  We got so into a more efficient laundry process, that Kevin built a 3-drawer laundry basket cabinet for our mudroom. The problem, now, is that Landon can’t lift his wire basket high enough to make it down the stairs, Liliana drags hers by flimsy handles, and they have to take turns piling Noah’s soiled baby garments into one or the other.  They thud their way down two flights of stairs and wind up throwing everything into a big pile on the floor.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Because Cranford-made Launderette laundry bags are the solution I have been waiting for!

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We met by chance, or maybe the laundry gods sent her to me.  Roseann spends her free time perfecting her sewing skills mentored by business partner, affectionately, Mom.  The talented duo match fun prints with functionable fabrics, like burlap and machine washable cotton liners.  My favorite is the upcycled Mexican coffee burlap bag with attached carrying strap and subtle floral lining. 

Truly, the thoughtfulness doesn’t stop there!  Each stitch contributes to an intricate leaf or cross pattern, the drawstrings are topped with handmade pom-poms and bows, the laundry bag fabrics range from custom nursery designs to pet and outdoor enthusiast themes. There really is no detail overlooked.  The best part is that these bags double as beach duffels and multipurpose totes.  They are lightweight but heavy duty – enough to support a full sized knit blanket and four luxury king sized bath towels.  It is the perfect match for these messy little laundry monsters!

If you have a chance to stop by The Marketspace at Summit next weekend, Roseann and Mom will be debuting their line of laundry bags, aprons, and other fun creations.  I adore their drive and entrepreneurial spirit.  They are proof that you always have time to carry out your dreams!

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Kevin Kraemer - CozyGrayHouse

Hi! My wife and I opened an Etsy shop together in 2014. The idea came to us pretty suddenly. She had hand-made a wooden growth chart for our twins and hung it in the hallway of our house. Every so often, a family member or friend would see the 6ft. ruler growth chart and ask where we bought it. Once they found out we made it, they immediately followed up with “Please, can you make me one?” After hearing this maybe twenty times, I turned to my wife and said, “You could sell these!” Three years later, we have six different stain finishes and a multitude of design options for our growth charts. We branched out and started making wooden signs, blanket ladders, and chalkboard serving trays.

Not too long ago, we decided to bring our products to some in-person vendor and craft fairs in New Jersey. The idea being that engaging an audience face-to-face would give us a chance to demonstrate and explain our product to those who may not have found our small shop otherwise. Also, it is exponentially easier to hand-deliver our growth charts instead of packing and shipping them cross-country. Unfortunately, we were completely frustrated with the way in which each event was run and the minimal advertisements for local NJ craft fairs. I turned again to my wife saying “You could do this better!” And so is born Marketspace Vendor Events. I admire that her focus of the company is on very visible, smartly promoted vendor events that serves the vendors first. She has a unique perspective from both sides- as the craft vendor, and now as the vendor fair manager.

Handcrafting growth charts has given us a way to earn a supplemental income as well as bond with our children. Our six-year-old twins love to help us create products and track sales. They even take our scrap wood to make their own mini growth charts! We are working on getting our seven-month-old to start pulling his weight :) The time we spend in the Cozy Gray Workshop or at local vendor events is a great time to catch up with each other about our otherwise hectic lives.  It truly is a family business!