There's something about October that brings up all kinds of memories and a presence that feels very nostalgic to me. It's that energy that inspired me to theme the October Elemental Essentials subscription box, Origins.
This is my fourth curated box in this subscription box journey and it's been such an interesting ride and evolution, one I've loved taking with the subscribers and followers. I've started to notice these really beautiful moments where the themes for each box are born. Ideas and Intentions seem to collide organically, one nurturing the other- actively supporting and encouraging one another until the puzzle is complete. I've learned now that the more I lean into that process the more happy and connected I feel to the outcome, which I hope spills over and is felt by all the incredible box recipients.
This months theme and collection are about honoring your Origins, the roots that helped you grow to be the person you are today. Whatever step you're on whether it's the first or the fiftieth, I invite you to honor the journey thus far so that you can fully step into your power as you grow and move forward.
Each box includes one Hammered Hoops gemstone necklace in either Brass or Copper. Hand-crafted by yours truly, Christina Holland Designs.
Custom illustration artwork by Nathalie Aall of Aall Forms of Life. Includes one 5x7 print, one holographic sticker, & one magnet.
A beautifully guided Origins ritual with one candle, one stick of incense, & a blue Tiger's Eye pocket stone to help guide your intention setting. Bonus "Own Your Magick" sticker.
There will be just TWO bonus boxes available from this collection, available for a one time purchase (not a subscription) on Sunday, October 25th at 10am MST.
Early plans for the Elemental Essentials box did not include a ritual included each month, but after hearing from so many of my subscribers that this element was something they loved (I love it too!), it's become a permanent addition in the collaboration process. These rituals give us an excellent way to care for ourselves by inviting us to slow down, find stillness, clarity, and recharge. I've also taken to doing a slight variation of the same ritual you receive as I prepare and pack the boxing to be shipped out. It makes me so happy!
For October you'll find a guided ritual to help you explore the thoughts of Origins through meditation and/or journaling, created by Melisa, proprietress of the Ninth House shop in Tucson.
In my journaling as I write this post I am reminded of a story of my own Origins (keep reading for my story)- a me from another time and another city that wants to remind you to support our local and small businesses- during recessions, during pandemics, during holiday seasons, during slow seasons... Support our small businesses every day and never take their presence for granted.
The artist collaboration this month is Tucson Artist Nathalie Aall of Aall Forms of Life. I was drawn to Nathalie's artwork after catching a glimpse of her scientific illustrations a few years back and immediately fell in love with her energy and art!
A few months ago Nathalie began a series of illustrations showcasing some of her favorite places and local businesses, entitled: For the Love of Tucson. I was so enchanted with these works I reached out to her to see if she could do something similar for my little business even if I wasn't a brick and mortar location. I gave her full creative license to do what she does best and I am over the moon thrilled with the outcome.
The first word that came to my head when I saw this image was Origins, and it got me thinking about my origins as a jeweler and my journey that brought me to where I am today. On the first layer I felt like Nathalie's illustration really complimented my artist statement and gave a nod to my cat lady status (cat skull) plus my interest bones and specimens. When I started thinking deeper I made an even more incredible connection that literally gave me goose bumps!
Keep reading to learn my Origins story....
What some of you may or may not know about me is that I use to own a brick and mortar store in my home town of Bemidji, Minnesota. I was already actively pursuing a small jewelry making business at the time, so when I opened my shop in October 2008 I used the business name I was working under at that time, Bad Cat Creations. Named after a naughty cat that wanted my attention on him and not jewelry, I started Bad Cat Creations while living in a small apartment in Uptown Minneapolis, MN in 2002. After doing some traveling, getting a degree in special fx makeup, living in Tempe, AZ for a hot minute- I found myself back in my home in Bemidji. After a handful of successful summer jewelry markets in the area I had customers asking if I had my own store. I decided to take the leap and do it, something I had dreamed of doing since I was a little girl.
It was about 3 days after signing my lease on the space that would be Bad Cat Creations, the country announced we were officially in a recession. I had no idea what lay in store for me at that time but I was determined to work hard and create a unique space for creatives to sell their art. For 3 years I worked with a variety of makers, from established and professional artists to hobbyists and a budding art students from the local university. In my first year I was awarded the "Best New Business of the Year" from the Bemidji Chamber of Commerce and felt like I was on the path to success.
October of 2011 brought the 3 year anniversary of opening Bad Cat- what started as a dream grew to over 60 artists represented within those walls.. I had to make the heartbreaking announced that I would be closing at the end of the year (2011).
It was a decision I fought long and hard against, but the struggles of staying afloat during a recession, coupled with huge road construction project outside my shop in the height of tourist season and my Dad being diagnosed with terminal cancer, it was a fight I had to concede in order to preserve myself and my family as we began my Dad's cancer battle. In the end, I told I wasn't really closing- but "downsizing" back to my early beginnings of Bad Cat Creations the Jeweler, with a plan of getting back into the art fairs and markets.
But the thing about having a cleaver business name in a small town was that my community held onto the Bad Cat they knew- the store. Try as I might to move on from the store as I'd set up my jewelry booth at local markets, people would come to the booth to share with me how much they missed the shop and wished it was still open. The truth is, so did I and these regular reminders to what at the time felt like a failure (closing the store) made for a lot of negative emotions and bad days. After a few more years past and one particularly hard local market where every other person to the booth came to mourn Bad Cat again, unable to see the creative work I was moving forward with- I decided it was time to lay the Cat to rest so that I could truly move forward. With a new marriage and new last name, a graphic designer friend I was working with suggested I rebrand my business using my name, she told me, "Christina Holland certainly sounds like a designer's name"... and in that moment I decided, yes it did!
In the years that have followed since rebranding my small jewelry business, I've looked back on the Bad Cat Creations days many times. Previous feelings of doubt and failure have faded away into the abyss, what I can clearly see now is success and achievement- YES even with the ultimate clothing of my shop I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams, to have a store of my own! While it's long gone and the building has since been sold and remodeled into a cafe- the fact is, I did it. I'm so proud of the roots that have helped me grow and guided my journey, knowing I made my dream a reality, and through all my mistakes and triumphs I learned so many things that continue to help me be the small business jeweler I am today.
Coming back full circle now to the illustration by Nathalie of the cat skull laying along side her renditions of my jewelry, drawing out the word Origins... Inviting me to open my memories to the person, places, and experiences that lead me here, to who and where I am now so that I can recognize and cherish the achievements I've made and thanking the missteps for what they taught me.
If you've read this far, thank you for taking this little stroll down memory lane with me. Many of you might even have played a role in my Orgins and some of you have joined me for the adventure I'm on now. However and wherever you've connected with me, I just want you to know- I'm really glad you're here.
Here's a look at the entire Origins collections for the October Elemental Essentials Box.
Each month I select a different organization to donate 10% of my monthly profits.
For October I chose African American Breast Cancer Alliance.
Profits from the Elemental Essentials Box are included in that donation.