Back to Business … School, that is

June 20,2013


If you know me, you know I enjoy talking about things I am passionate about like music, art, vintage finds, kittens and especially … business!

Over six months ago I received a call out of the blue asking me if I would be interested in being part of a business program called 10,000 Small Businesses for CEO’s to help grow business in the USA. I followed through with the somewhat daunting paperwork process (a good prep for the soon to come homework process). The requirements were you had to be the owner of the company, be in business over 2 years, have at least 4 employees, and have to meet their gross revenue, etc. I hit all the right things and then went through the interview process. I made it in, but apparently there were over 100 people who applied and only 22 were chosen, so my fellow classmates and I felt pretty good about being selected. The course was funded by Goldman and Sachs and is hosted at many community college campuses throughout the US.

It was an intensive 4-month course that was that has been equated to an MBA on fast track (however, I don’t get to use those 3 letters next to my name). The main goal of the sponsors is to grow business in the USA and to add jobs to our economy. To do this they needed to make sure we as business owners had all of our business best practices in order – from our employees, to our financials, to our company processes, to marketing, to being bankable and to having an exit strategy even if you have no current plans of exiting. They are all of the things business owners should already know, but we all know we don’t excel at everything. We talked a lot about the difference of working “on” your business vs. working “in” your business. We all get caught up in the day to day of working, but it’s so important to step back and look at how you are doing things and to critique yourself and be open to change. You really have to ask yourself where you want to be and how you will get there. If you are focused on only what is in front of you in the day to day, you can’t see the bigger picture for growth.

I’m a big fan of education and feel one should always be learning. My focus in college was photography, jewelry and art history. A couple years after starting Classic Hardware I took a business course somewhat similar to the 10,000 small business course, but it was focused on start up companies. That was in 1997 and it really helped me learn a lot about running a small business. The group is called Women’s Initiative in San Francisco and they are fantastic! In fact they just celebrated their 25-year anniversary and I was one of the honorees of the evening! It was a big fundraiser up in San Francisco and a wonderful event honoring many women and their small businesses. 25 of us were all ambassadors for the evening … or as I enjoyed saying … “badassador!” Here is a video they asked me to do for their social media.

So now that I finished with my recent business program, I have a growth plan I am putting into play and that includes adding more t-shirts as well as small bags to the Classic Hardware brand. I will also be bringing in new artists to the mix. I’m very excited to continue growing and expanding my line and my designs and still having all of our products made in the USA!

As a last note, I also just finished reading a very inspiring book on customer service and company couture. It’s called “Delivering Happiness – a path to Profits, Purpose and Passion” by Tony Hseih who was the CEO of Zappos that sold it to Amazon for over a billion dollars. For those of us with small businesses, we know how important customer service is. In fact, for those of us who ever deal with customer service people in our lives (all of us), we know how important great customer service makes us feel. It feels good to make people happy and feeling satisfied and taken care of. We can all use a bit more of it in our lives!


Special thanks to my sweetie, Ron for his support and lovely pictures and video!


What’s cooking at Classic Hardware?

December 6,2012

We thought it would be fun to put together a short commercial-type video for Classic Hardware. My long time friend Breezy (Bryan Petty) came up with the concept of “cooking up” our products in a retro setting. I added to his idea with the product that keeps coming out of the oven as an homage to “I Love Lucy”  when she pulls the long bread out of the oven, “Pioneer Women.” When I was a little girl my grandfather phoned me after a rerun of that episode aired, he told me that he had baked the actual bread for the show at the bakery he worked at in Hollywood, CA. I do Love Lucy and that episode has always been dear to my heart because of Grampa.

Breezy works in post production on one of my favorite shows, Always Sunny in Philadelphia along with Sean Palsgaard, who did the cinematography on this video. Breezy did the directing and editing and we think he did a great job all round! A special thanks to Ron Groeper, my sweetie, for letting us use his fantastic photo studio. Kudos to them and the lovely ladies of Classic Hardware, for their hard work and for being fun characters. Deirdre Hartman (The Villianess) and Michelle Oura (The Temptress) and then there’s me … The Damsel in Distress.
Watch it here and Please let us know what you think of it!

Hootenanny 2012

July 11,2012

Last weekend we had a booth at the Hootenanny in Orange County, as we do every year. Once again it was a great show with tons of bands and loads of people. It was really nice to meet up with our customers and friends. My fave bands of the day were Old Man Markly, The Supersuckers, The Reverend Horton Heat and of course, Rancid.

The following day we went to Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles. Some great crafts and a cool space. Inspiring stuff! Check it out!


Caia Koopman’s New Art Show

June 25,2012

One of my favorite artists, Caia Koopman, recently had an opening in Los Angeles at Thinkspace Gallery. Thinkspace is an innovative gallery that shows the work of up & coming pop surrealists, lowbrow artists and beyond. They were previously located in Silver Lake but have really taken off since their move to gallery row in Culver City a few years ago.

I met Caia several years ago at Thinkspace and began collaborating with her, utilizing her gorgeous works on Classic Hardware jewelry and vanity cases. Caia has grown and really expanded as an artist since we first met. It was really fun to see her, she is super sweet and personable and exudes great enthusiasm about what she does. Her latest series, ‘Between Wind and Water’, is a new edgier direction for her. The work combines the themes of fairy tales and fantasies with elements of street art. In some of the pieces she has reduced her usual vibrant color palette to mysterious blues and haunting blood reds. The images border on creepy yet cool and are thought provoking, as always.

Me and Caia

Juxtapoz Magazine has done and interview with her here and Hi-Fructose did a studio visit recently as well check out the pics here

The other artist in the show, Sarah Joncas, is a Canadian artist, currently based out of Toronto.  Her style is painterly and detailed with themes that are dark and mysterious.

Caia, Me and Sarah

If you are in the LA area try to make it by before June 30th, if you are not, you can view it here. Enjoy the show!

Patchwork Indie Arts and Craft Festival

May 29,2012

This past weekend, Classic Hardware exhibited at Patchwork in Santa Ana. Patchwork is an independent arts and crafts fair created by Nicole Stevenson of Random Nicole and Delilah Snell of A Road Less Traveled They have been having these craft fairs for years and they have only gotten bigger and better.
This weekend was packed with great products, yummy food, good music and wonderful customers! The show is free to attend and is always a fun event. It happens every Spring (May) and Fall (November) and they have it at 3 locations – Long Beach CA, Santa Ana CA and Culver City CA.

The Culver City show is June 10th 2012 and will be held in the ever so cool, Helms Bakery District. The locations are great and it’s really nice to be a part of a growing independent marketplace with all USA and locally made products! Every show is unique as they are always bringing in new vendors. If you haven’t been to a Patchwork show yet this spring … here’s your last chance …

Tips & Tricks with Class & Sass: Cleaning Your Jewelry

May 23,2012

Hey, we are making more videos showing you jewelry tips and tricks.
Here is one on how to clean your rock and retro Classic Hardware jewelry.
Our jewelry is plated with fine silver which can oxidize/tarnish over time.
Keeping your jewelry in a jewelry box or a simple plastic bag will keep the oxygen from getting so it won’t turn shades of not-so-pretty. If it does get a little tarnished, a simple polishing cloth can make it look lovely and new again. You can pick one up at a craft store, jewelry store or purchase one from us. Thank you!


Tips & Tricks with Class & Sass …

April 30,2012

I was recently teaching someone how to assemble jewelry by using jump rings via Skype. This was kind of funny since it’s not super easy to see such tiny objects such as jump rings through a computers camera eye. I figured it would be a good time to start doing some short instructional videos an repairing jewelry, creating display items and other things I’ve been asked about through the years. I spent years teaching jewelry making and craft projects to kids, so let me know what other jewelry related things you’d like to know about. Here’s our debut video of “Tips & Tricks with Class & Sass: The Perfect Jump Ring”

Classic Staffware

March 5,2012

I want to introduce you to my lovely staff aka The Classic Crew.
As some of you may know, I originally started Classic Hardware in San Francisco in 1995.
10 years later, I moved back to Los Angeles, having the desire for change and to be closer to my family. It was a huge business move but SOOO worth it. I was lucky enough to get a great team of people. I attribute the companies huge growth spurt upon my return to SoCal to the people who were and are a part of the company. I feel really honored to work with such talented, creative, loyal, and caring people —Classic Hardware wouldn’t be what it is with out them and when I say our products are made with love …I mean it!
It doesn’t hurt that they are a bunch of fun and they even laugh at some of my jokes!