Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Message From the Queen

A few summers ago, I joined my mom's jam business.  I squashed and squished the berries, measured out goopey globs of fruity deliciousness and pounds and pounds of sugar, and my mom would turn it into something magical.  I highly treasure those days sitting around the kitchen counter, watching colorful glass jars get lifted from steamy hot baths and celebrating with jubilation every time we would hear each metal lid pop into place.  She loved to see how much she could produce with her hands and her time.  I loved the dreaming and scheming we would do as the fruit was being transformed.  We made over two thousand jars together that first summer.  But the most important thing that happened (for me) was she let me redesign her jam label.

I'm an artist, and I want things to be pretty.  I loved sitting at the computer and designing each individual label's color to reflect the taste of what was inside.  My mom loved not having to fiddle with such tediousness when she was trying to be productive.  She gave me the title of "Vice President of Marketing."  When I helped her hold events at the farm, she promoted me to "President of Marketing," and after I helped her make a facebook page and redesigned her website I have since become the "Queen of Marketing."

Over the next few years, my kids were born, and I found myself in too many other sticky messes to get back into jamming, but I loved keeping my hands in the marketing of the business.  I wanted my mom to be successful, and as amazing and talented and productive as she is, she is not that great in letting people know about it.  She ran a business for over twenty years with the mantra of "word of mouth is the best marketing tool."  While this may be so, letting other people to do the marketing for you in this day in age, is just not good enough.  Swan Bay Folk Art Center needed to step it up a notch, in my opinion.

I wanted to let people know what was going on here.  They needed to see it for themselves.  That's when we created Lamb Celebration Day.  Every lamb season, we would invite people to the farm to meet our baby lambs, get to take a picture with them, and (my mom's favorite thing) feed people home made cookies.  The first year, she insisted we not put out anything to sell, saying that she didn't want people to think she brought them here to sell them something.  *psh* Pa-lease, Mother!  (Again, super talented - not great at marketing.)

The thing about what we make is that I feel people need to see the process behind it.  Sure, a wool-felted snowman is adorable, but when you meet the sheep that it came from and realize that sheep needed to be fed and watered daily, its babies birthed and cared for, their fleece shorn, the wool washed, the wool dyed, and then it was tediously felted with the process using a sharp barbed needle, it becomes more than a decoration.  It has a story.  And a history.  And it came from the hands of someone who loved the long process it took to make it.  And that artist hoped it would make its way into the hands of someone who loved it just as much as she did.  That's what makes the crafts that come from Swan Bay Folk Art Center special.  People don't buy things from our shop just because they like it.  They love this place, and they want to take a piece of its history home with them.

ALL that to the "Queen of Marketing" it is my pleasure to inform you that....
   We will be having our third annual LAMB CELEBRATION DAY this MONDAY!!!  And if you missed the event listing on facebook, here's the info....

10:00-2:00 Monday, February 18th at Swan Bay Folk Art Center in Port Republic, NJ

It is our favorite time of year at Swan Bay Farm... Lamb season! Come celebrate our new arrivals and get a great photo op holding a lamb. (Make sure to bring your cameras!) We'll have free cookies and hot chocolate for you to enjoy. We know this is short notice...but we've been keeping an eye on the weather, and it looks like we're finally going to have a sunny day on Monday.

We will also have our shop set up with lots of goodies- homemade Jersey fresh jam, baskets, and wool felted and knit creations made from our sheep. We have beautiful roving and yarn available from last year's wool crop as well.

We have debuted a new kind of class at Swan Bay Folk Art Center- a Women's One Day Retreat! We will have lots of samples for our upcoming classes to show you, and a sign-up sheet available on Monday if you would like to come to any of these events.

Please feel free to share this event and invite others!

Hope to see you on Monday....and so do our Little ShEEEEEEEp!!!!

 To get updates on future events at Swan Bay Folk Art Center and Farm, please like our page on facebook.  And take a minute to look over our new website!!!  I think you'll agree with me- my mother is awesome and what she does at this place is amazing.   

Love to you all,
The Queen :) 


  1. Megan, you truly are the queen! :) Love you!!! I hope you're having a great day!!

    1. We had an AMAZING Day! So amazing, we're doing it again on Sunday. I wish we had more of these events :)