Tag Archive for: small business

A Guide to Mindful Holiday Shopping

When it comes to shopping of any kind, it’s safe to say that it’s a love/hate relationship. Here at Bryony & Birch, we’re pretty much all on the same page about this: we love meaningful gift giving and spending our money with brands where it counts, but we can’t help but feel the consumer-culture pressure of “more is more” because we know the truth: more is more… anxiety. So this year, our gift giving is all about intention: less gifts, more quality and at every budget level. Below is our guide to designing a mindful holiday shopping action plan.

Step 1: Make your list

Where are my Google Sheets ladies at? In our house, spreadsheets aren’t just for work stuff. I use one to map out exactly who I need to buy gifts for and ideas for what to give them. Keeping this info listed out all in one place keeps me in-check and organized, so I don’t accidentally over-buy or forget anyone.

Step 2: Jot down gift ideas for each person

Once I know who I’m shopping for, then I also list out how many gifts I need to give to each person. For example: in my immediate family, we give two gifts + a stocking to each person. For my extended family, we do one family gift. Once I have that mapped out, then I start listing out ideas for each gift. Planning out these gift ideas ahead of time, allows me to meaningfully source the gift, create it or to wait for a sale to strike.

Step 3: Sourcing your gifts

Buying on a budget

Making your list ahead of time allows you to keep an eye out for sales, which as we know – are rampant this time of year.

Buying used

Not all gifts need to be brand new. You can get a really nice pre-worn Everlane sweater on Poshmark for half the price of new and in excellent condition, and a brand new (but owned by someone else) fire truck toy on the used marketplace, Kidizen. And if your loved one loves tea sets, you could find a really unique vintage one at a local thrift shop. Pair it with a new box of tea and you have yourself a very thoughtful gift set.

Buying ethical

Making your list ahead of time allows you to research which ethically-minded brands to buy from. Our hot tip is to visit ethical & sustainable product marketplaces, so you can shop multiple brands at once.

Buying experiences

Sometimes the best gifts are tickets to a comedy show or a gift certificate to a nice restaurant or spa in town. What makes them so special is that they’re treats. And ones that someone may not necessarily buy themselves.

Not buying at all

My local friends and I exchange gifts every year, and ya know what? We don’t spend a dime. I’ve received DIY’d cocktail kits, jars of cookies, homemade dog biscuits and special handmade knit items. I love all of them because they’re a. DELICIOUS and b. from the heart. The best kind!

Step 4: Planning your gift wrapping

Aside from the gifts themselves, you’ll also want to plan a way to mindfully gift wrap your items. Sure, you could go to Target and pick up a bunch of new wrapping paper (no judgment – it’s too easy), but one thing I’ve started doing is buying my gift wrapping at my local thrift shop. Next time you check out your local thrift shop, look out for gift tags, wrapping paper, bags, tissue paper and unique containers that can all be used for your gift giving needs.

Intentional gift giving goes a long way

Taking a few extra steps to make your gift giving organized and thoughtful will go a long way in making you feel happy, relaxed and even excited about your holiday gift giving. It goes without saying that our favorite form of holiday shopping is buying local and we encourage you to check out our Holiday Event Round-Up to check out some opportunities to buy local and have fun while doing it!

Do your holiday shopping at Bryony & Birch

Come say hello and stay for some holiday shopping in store at Bryony & Birch in downtown Amesbury. We have a variety of wellness and self-care gifts (perfect for stocking stuffers), as well as a vintage rack filled with interesting pre-loved pieces! We’re always happy to make a recommendation and even point you in the direction of some of our favorite local business owners, who may have what you’re looking for.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy (and calm) holiday season from all of us here at Bryony & Birch and Bryony Body!

A Seacoast Holiday Event Round-Up: Shopping, Classes, Tastings & More


Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

It goes without saying that the holidays on the Seacoast are the most magical time of year. And with all of the holiday lights, shopping and food, our holiday event round-up is sure to fill up your schedule. Get out with some friends and support your local artists, makers and businesses – and get some holiday shopping done, while you’re at it!

26th Annual Open Studios

Come on out to see and support our local artist community in the 26th Amesbury Open Studios. The weekend’s events will be hosted by 100 artists and makers – all over our beautiful city!

When: November 12th, 10am – 5pm and November 13th, 11am – 4pm
Where: Multiple locations
Details: amesburyopenstudios.com

The Amesbury Holiday Parade

The most festive event of the year! The 58th annual Holiday Parade returns to Amesbury again, this time with theme: holidays around the world.

When: December 3rd, 3:30pm
Where: The parade begins at the intersection of Sparhawk and Greenleaf St.
Details: amesburyholidayparade.com

Silvaticus Holiday Makers Market

Grab a brew and shop around for some unique gifts for your loved ones (or yourself!) at this local artists and makers market.

When: December 11th, 11am – 5pm
Where: Silvaticus Brewery, 9 Water St. Amesbury, MA
Details: amyvanderels.com

Newburyport’s Holiday Invitation Night

Enjoy a night of refreshments, live entertainment and gift shopping (with 15% off) in downtown Newburyport.

When: December 2nd, 9th and 16th, 6 – 9pm
Where: Village Silversmith, 34 State St., Newburyport, MA
Details: villagesilversmith.net

SeaFestival of Trees: A Holiday Wonderland

Experience the joy and excitement of the holidays on the Seacoast with glittering trees, indoor ice skating and more.

When: Weekends from November 19th – December 4th
Where: Blue Ocean Event Center
Details: https://www.bostoncentral.com/events/seasonalfun/p70607.php

Party with Bryony this holiday season

👉 Follow us on Instagram to hear our holiday season announcements.
👉 That’s a wrap on Porch Fest! Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate and support our community at this year’s events.
👉 Beat those winter blues: Invest in your wellness this winter!

woman with camera in leather bag

Behind Bryony: How to Plan a Branding Photoshoot

Create a color story

Keep your brand color palette in mind from the start. If you don’t have a style guide, upload your color palette to a program like Coolors or create a Pinterest board and share it with your team, so that everyone is on the same page about the colors that should be in the shoot. Trust us, you don’t want a random orange pillow getting in the way! Keeping your color palette in mind, select a couple outfit options that Keep the new brand color palette in mind for all of the shot details. All backgrounds should be light, neutral and minimal and any pops of color should be either a matching shade of blue, dusty rose, or a simple plant.

Choose a venue and time of day that fits your vibe.

If you’re going for a natural and organic vibe, you’ll want to find a photoshoot venue that has big windows and a lot of natural light. If you want the lighting to feel soft, and not contain too many harsh shadows, be sure to chat with your photographer ahead of time to discuss the best times of day for the shoot.

Did you know that at Bryony & Birch, we have a photo studio that’s ready and equipped with everything you need? Check out The Space at Bryony and email bookings@bryonyandbirchstudio.com for more information and to request your dates.

Help your web designer out: consider photo orientation.

When shooting for a website, a landscape or portrait view works, as long as there is plenty of blank space surrounding the subject… aka, you! That space allows your web designer to add a text overlay on the photo, which gives an open and elegant feel to the website.

Make a shot list

The best way to show up prepared for the big photoshoot day is with a shot list. This is a list of every single photo that you want to make sure to get in your allotted time. If you want certain outfits and/or props for certain scenes, make sure to mark them down! And if you’re shooting a team, make sure to map out every headshot or group shot needed. It can get hectic with a ton of people, so having a list will ensure everyone gets their photo taken.

Photoshoot tips from a photographer

We sat down with our resident photographer, Kate Donovan, to ask her for some tips for branding photoshoot success.

What kind of creative direction do you need a business owner to prepare ahead of time for a branding shoot?

We typically have a creative meeting and create a mood board, discuss props and attire to bring prior to the shoot.

What should someone wear for a branding shoot?

Bring options! For a 1-hour shoot, I encourage clients to bring 2 options, one casual and one more formal. For a 2-hour shoot, we can shoot 2-4 looks. We discuss brand colors and what to stay away uncomfortable clothing prior to the session.

Is it better to do a branding shoot outside or indoors?

We definitely try to utilize both. We make the most of our time by planning ahead, changing outfits and location during the shoot. So lucky to be located right downtown Amesbury and often utilize brick, cobblestone, and downtown backdrop!

Last tip: have fun!

Photoshoots are one of those very few adult moments that make us feel a little bit like a rockstar. Have fun with it and dive in fully. Get your hair, nails and makeup done (we can help with that!) And maybe bring a bottle of champagne (or two!) and make a special playlist. Keeping the vibe fun and lighthearted will make everyone feel comfortable and when everyone is feeling good, that’s when the best photos are taken!

Spring Round-Up: Our Favorite Local Businesses in Exeter

Now that the weather is warming up, we thought we’d invite you to take a virtual stroll with us along the Squamscott River near our Bryony Body location in Exeter and let us introduce you to some of our favorite neighbors and their boutiques and shops that we’ve discovered since opening here back in the fall. Whether it’s trendy threads or tasty treats, we’re sure you’ll love supporting these small businesses in Exeter, NH as much as we do!

Forest + Ash Design Company


Photo via Forest + Ash

The founders of the design company, Forest + Ash, are Hannah and Robin, two ladies with a passion for “creating beautiful spaces with a fresh and modern approach.” We couldn’t agree more. The ladies offer design services for all your spaces, be it renovation, construction, or interior, and their shop is a treasure trove of jewelry, gifts, accessories, art, and home and kitchen decor.

forestandashdesign.com
24 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
603-758-3175
hello@forestandashdesign.com

 

Laney & Lu

Photo via Laney & Lue

A lot of our staff have found their way to this delightfully modern cafe. Located right next to Forest + Ash, how could we stay away? Offering a wide variety of locally sourced and organic beverages, smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and bowls, all of which can be enjoyed on their adorable outside patio. But what really won us over is how Laney & Lu’s have partnered with the local community to serve over 3500 meals to local hospitals, police and fire departments. Hearts!

laneyandlu.com
26 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
603-580-4952
hello@laneyandlu.com

 

Water Street Bookstore

Photo by Water Street Bookstore

We love a good stocked bookstore to go with a hot beverage from Laney & Lu’s. Whether your fancy is fiction, humor, medical musical, philosophy, poetry, science or self help, Water Street has it all, and if they don’t have it on hand, they can help you find it. The largest independent bookstore on the NH seacoast, Water Street also partners with the annual Exeter Lit-Fest and hosts local authors for talks and book signings.

waterstreetbooks.com
125 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
603-778-9731
info@waterstreetbooks.com

 

Soleil’s Salt Cave

Photo by Soleil’s Salt Cave

When winter has clogged our noses and dried out our skin, we head for Soleil’s Salt Cave. Soleil’s features salt caves stocked with thousands of pounds of Himalayan salt that is millions of years old. Halotherapy, or the practice of breathing in air that’s been infused with salt particles, has been used as treatment for bronchitis, asthma, allergies, pneumonia, and even Covid-19! Halotherapy improves your breathing and increases the amount of oxygen in your blood. The salt can also be beneficial for your skin, helping with conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Their zero-gravity chairs are perfect during a private session in one of their salt caves.

saltcavenh.com
130 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
(603) 418-7508
info@soleilsaltcave.com

 

Lunachics

Photo by Lunachics

Right next door to Soleil’s, you’ll find a welcoming huddle of fashionista superheroes at Lunachics! The stylists at Lunachics are here to help you find your best new look with a wide selection of merchandise from ”local, ethical, and female founded brands”. We love every one of the staff, they greet every customer with a smile and thoroughly enjoy partnering with you to put together the perfect outfit to suit your unique sense of style.

lunachics.com
131 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
603-777-9956
shop@lunachics.com

 

Cymbidium Floral

Photo by Jessica Theos Photography

Walking into Cymbidium Floral you are immediately surrounded by the color and fresh scents of spring, no matter what time of the year you visit, which is why it’s always a breath of fresh air to us. The owner, Jessica Christofersen, makes a weekly pilgrimage to the New England Flower Exchange to ensure that you, the consumer, gets the absolute best of flora every time you visit. Cymbidium also offers floral design services for intimate gatherings and bridal parties.

cymbidiumfloral.com
141 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
603-772-1300
info@cymbidiumfloral.com

 

D Squared Java

Photo by D Squared Java

One of the reasons we’ve added D Squared Java to our list of faves is not only do they have some truly stellar coffee and tea beverages (be sure to check out the spring-themed lavender latte!), but they are committed heavily to environmental sustainability. Their coffee is sourced from local vendors, as are their pastries and baked goods, and they have a loyalty program which lets you utilize your own coffee cup or travel mug, and after ten visits, you get a free cup of coffee! We’re in.

dsquaredjava.com
155 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
603-583-5646
dan@dsquaredjava.com

 

The Willow

Photo by HM Collins Photography

A resident of Exeter for over 20 years, the Willow has quickly become our go-to for home decor essentials. Much of their merchandise is curated from local artisans, and whether you’re looking for some extra added flair for your walls, your gardens, your tabletops, or even yourself, the Willow has something for you.

thewillowexeter.com
183 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
603-773-9666
shop@thewillowexeter.com

 

Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream

Photo by Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream

We like to save the best for last, and we couldn’t think of a better way to finish off our virtual stroll than at our favorite ice cream shop, Stillwells. Stillwells features over fifty flavors of ice cream, as well as a variety of sherberts, frozen yogurt, Italian ice, soft serve, and even gelato! They take custom orders for ice cream pies and cakes, and it’s a good thing they sell their ice cream sliders in six packs, because you won’t be able to stop at just one.

stillwellsicecream.com/locations/exeter
190 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
603-777-5077

 

Yoga at Bryony Body in Exeter, NH

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Thanks for letting us show you around downtown Exeter. We hope the next time you’re in the neighborhood you’ll stop by Bryony Body to say hello. We offer a variety of classes including yoga, strength training, and reiki and crystal healing. A list of our full offerings can be found here. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Brand Photography: 6 North Shores Businesses Doing it Right

You may have already nailed your brand’s logo and color codes, but what about your photography?

As our attention spans become increasingly shorter, it’s more important than ever to have visual messaging for your brand. It doesn’t matter if you’re brewing beer in Amesbury or baking biscuits in Beverly, North Shore business owners need to be able to capture a prospective or current customer’s interest in a matter of seconds.

In this article, we’ll go over:

Scroll down to learn more!

What is Brand Photography?

Brand photography is a collection of images that can be used across multiple platforms to convey your brand’s voice, image, tone, team, products, services and/or values. From product shots to headshots to workspaces, they are intended to not only be emotive, entertaining and informative, but also prompt your prospective and current customers to act on your desired call to action.

More and more, we’re seeing brands shift from traditional brand photography and embrace what many refer to as ‘lifestyle photography.’ Still sitting under the brand photography umbrella, lifestyle photography is the perfect combination of staged and candid scenes that show customers how they’ll feel when they engage with your brand, product or service.

Most importantly, brand photography is intended to provide consistency to the overall brand story you’re telling.

Benefits of investing in Brand Photography

While strong photography is imperative and incredibly beneficial for a company’s website, print assets and in-store signage, it’s also crucial for standing out on social media platforms.

According to Hootsuite, Instagram has over 1 billion users a month and 130 million of them tap on shopping posts within that time frame. With so many social platforms depending on visual media to encourage online shopping, now’s the perfect time to use elevated brand photography to convert followers into customers.

Unlike traditional product photography (think a white box and a bottle of wine), brand photography is much more versatile because it can be used across multiple platforms and engaged with on a deeper level.

Here are a few ways you can use brand photography:

  • On your website and in blog content
  • In both organic and paid social posts
  • In print assets such as brochures, business cards and posters
  • In presentations and training materials
  • In a printed/ digital newsletter
  • In your online course content
  • In your media kit

Now let’s take a look at six North Shore Businesses that are doing brand photography right!

6 North Shore Businesses Doing Brand Photography Right

Wild Tribe Wellness

Wild Tribe Wellness is Amesbury’s go-to for holistic massage, polarity, reiki, myofascia release and CBD treatments. Through the use of warm light and candid photos of their treatments in action, viewers immediately feel calm, centered and in need of exactly what Wild Tribe Wellness has to offer!

Hempire

With both brick and mortar and online retail spaces, Hempire uses brand photography to not only get people to shop online, but to also get them to walk through their doors. Even though hemp and CBD products are becoming increasingly popular, they still require an element of educating, which is where Hempire nails it with their photography. While it exudes this laidback, healthy and whole lifestyle, it also offers the viewer insight into the many benefits of hemp.

The Greeley Girls

When it comes to telling a compelling brand story, The Greeley Girls know what’s up. Consisting of three generations of fashion lovers, these sustainable clothing resellers use their photos to not only showcase and sell the pieces they’ve collected and sourced over the years, but also the beautiful bond three women can share.

Tayla David Yoga, Reiki + Macrame

Tayla David uses brand photography brilliantly to get people on yoga mats on the North Shore as well as onto her Etsy page to shop her macrame products. When it comes to connecting with an instructor, healer and artist, brand photography can help convey personalities, tone and ultimately make you more approachable.

Vaalbara

There are a lot of bags in the world, so why would people want to choose Vaalbara? The answers lie in their photography. Each image lets viewers learn that their bags are made with fabrics ethically sourced from around the world, finished with lining crafted from recycled plastic bottles, and are made in the USA. Vaalbara is a choice customers can feel extra good about!

Hum + Bee

When the pandemic caused local shops to close their doors and market stalls to come to a hault, local artisans like Hum + Bee needed to shift to an online platform and fast. This is where brand photography came into play massively for Hum + Bee. From selling tie-dye throw pillows to handmade adornments, Jen Silver is the perfect case study on how to shop local, worldwide.

What is the Bryony + Birch All-Inclusive Branding Package?

At Bryony & Birch, we offer a lot of different services and products. From hairdressing to yoga to reiki to wedding prep packages, we have a lot going on and a lot to let our customers know.
Having brand photography that showcases our events, experiences, expertise and energy has allowed us to not only launch a retail space in the midst of a global pandemic, but also thrive both on and offline.
As a collective of people who’ve launched quite a few businesses, we know exactly what it takes to get a solid gallery of versatile brand photos, which is why we came up with the all-inclusive Bryony & Birch branding package.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Hair and makeup
  • Product shots
  • Headshots
  • Catered lunch
  • Exclusive use of the Bryony + Birch studio space
  • Photos with Kate Donovan Photography

If you’re a business in the North Shore looking for brand photography, we’re your people. Click here to learn more and to book your package today!

Continue reading The Bryony & Birch Times: