Lucky 13?

This morning I had all of these notifications on LinkedIn and wondered what was up. What’s up is that today is the 13 year anniversary of when I legally made Manic Trout a company!! I really wanted to find an old screenshot of the first Manic Trout webpage from 2003 but I apparently do not document my own web sites very well. I found the files for the 2006 version though, which is crazy to find because when you click on index, the entire old site comes up. Woah. That’s all I’ll say about that, ha! I really am sad that I didn’t think to save screen shots before I revamped the site over the years, especially in 2014…which I really thought I had, so maybe one day I’ll find those. But for now, let’s have a giggle at the ghosts of Manic Trout past and see how many of these you remember?

ManicTroutPage2006_01

The furthest back I could find is from 2006, as this is a screen shot, you need to know that the first image is the “landing page” (remember those!?!) and when you scrolled over the logo, you saw the second image. Keep in mind that Etsy was created in December of 2005 so we’re at the very early stages of the maker movement here.

ManicTroutPage2006_02

We can also refer to that time as the early days, before I understood the concept of running a business, was fresh out of art school and just wanted to make all of the things!!!

ManicTroutPage2009

Next we jump forward to early 2009, I know it was early in the year as I just finished an insane holiday season after having 3 pairs of $10 earrings in the Real Simple magazine gift guide. They told me to estimate that I would sell 2k total pairs of the earrings they ran and I sold 10k pairs which included every style of earring I sold. I was not prepared. Back then, I was still coding the shopping cart into my site with Mals and had to manually process every credit card when an order came. Then if it was declined, email the person who placed the order. I had no where near enough stock as I only had what they advised me to do,  and besides ordering materials and more mailing supplies weekly, I had to bring in my staff from my day job to help in the off hours (they, along with my sister Thea, saved my life that season!). As online handmade businesses were still pretty new, getting lines of credit to process cards was tricky if you were not selling much, so I was allowed to process I think $2k a month at the time and by mid November had already sold $25k for that month. This was however a blessing and a curse though as I was able to take the proof of the orders to Chase and get hooked up for much larger limits immediately. Over all, I realized that I was not in a position for scaling and spent most of 2009 rebuilding so I would never go through the problems I encountered again. This included building a robust new site with a shopping cart that had all the bells and whistles. Which brings us to late 2009.

ManicTroutPage2009v2

As you can see, I was really excited about all of the options that I now could use and deployed every single one of them. (I’m dizzy just looking at this!)

So now Manic Trout has made a name for itself, tasted crazy growth and received a snazzy new website…but something was feeling off. I was feeling like I had outgrown the brand. So I enlisted the help of brilliant duo to rebrand and grow up. The result was to finally let go of the paintings (did you notice those were still on the site as late as 2009?) and focusing on jewelry. The rebrand included getting a grown up logo, starting to design seasonal collections, redoing the packaging and of course a cleaned up site.

ManicTroutPage2010

Pardon the tiny photo, but this was the first version of the new site before the logo and final touches were done. How I wish over the last 13 years I had taken a screen shot of every version of the MT page…it would be a big file, but I really would enjoy seeing them progress. Anyway, the graphic designer finished the new logo and the site became this.

ManicTroutPage2010_02

Another tiny photo…I have no idea why only 2010 are this small. Anyway, over the next couple of years, this site evolved and became less and less pink, as web site styles changed, lines were removed and by 2013 the above site had evolved to this one below.

ManicTroutPage2013

The text bubbles were not part of the design, and from a facebook post or something, but it was all I had from this area…again, kicking myself over that. I was going for a cleaner and cleaner look and really liked how this era of the site looked. But once again, I was facing the dilemma of my jewelry being becoming more mature than the branding. I have talked recently enough about the process that happened next so I’ll skim over it. In short, I hired a brand management consultant to work with me over the past year + to take Manic Trout to the next level. And with that level of course came a new version of the site. I had help on this one from a graphic designer and 3 programmers to each contribute in someway to what you see now if you visit ManicTrout.com and since their help in the fall/winter of 2014, I have kept going and tweaking and changing to make it what it is now. We’ll call this the 2015 because as you can imagine, it never ends!

ManicTroutPage2015

Crazy to think that I made the first Manic Trout page so, so many years ago, but really glad that today’s anniversary gave me a chance to gather all of this in one place. Here’s hoping that this year is the lucky 13!

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Gift Guide

GiftGuide_Banner

Are you still looking for the perfect gift for your favorite ladies? I rounded up some great ideas over at Manic Trout in a gift guide organized by price.

If you want a more fun way to think about gift options, check out these ideas below:

Gift Guide for Green Thumbs

We’ve arrived at the time of year when everyone is gathering ideas for gifts. Some people are always easier to think of what to get them, and often it’s due to their having big hobbies. A great example of this is the ladies in our lives with green thumbs, who are happiest with their hands in the dirt. They are so fun to shop for! Here is a round up of some great gift ideas for gardeners.
Gift Guide for Teachers
Grown-ups are not the only fans of Manic Trout. Teachers are constantly telling me how excited their kids get when they wear animal jewelry in class, especially the brightly colored ones. If you have teachers in your life and are wondering what the perfect gift would be, consider one of these fabulous critters!
Gift Guide for Mermaids
I was going through the jewelry this morning and pulling pieces that I felt the beach lovers (myself included) out there would love the most and then I started thinking that it was not as much about the beach as it is the ocean. Which then led me to speculate that many of us really, really wanted to be mermaids when were little. I remember especially thinking how great my hair look under water compared to on land…it was something I thought about a lot. I have to wonder if, when my fin fantasies were at their height, it being pre The Little Mermaid, and more of Darryl Hannah’s Splash era, I was given a bit too much hope with the human on the big screen being a mermaid IRL. No matter how delusional I was back then, from what I have seen in the decades since with pop culture, mermaids are pretty important still to so many of us.

So anyway, this round up of jewelry is for all of my fellow mermaids out there, you can get literal with the Vera Stolen Dance Earrings or wear what the mermaids do with the star fish adorned Come A Little Closer Necklace or the sea horse Heart and Soul Necklace. Perhaps you would rather fantasize about swimming in the deep blue sea with your fish friends? Then the fish of the La Femme Parallel Bracelet can climb on your wrist and adventure along with you. Which ever you choose, never stop being your inner mermaid!
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FW15 Collection from Manic Trout

FW15 Collection from Manic Trout

It’s time again for one of my favorite days of the year, the launch date of one of the quarterly collections from Manic Trout! The FW15 Collection has launched and it’s lovely. Featuring 24 pieces, this collection is one part animal statement jewelry and one part gemstone statement jewelry, both parts including 4 necklaces, 4 bracelets and 4 pairs of earrings. The pieces work together as sets or as separates depending on how you like to wear your jewelry.

FW15 Collection from Manic Trout

As promised, I designed half of this collection for the animal jewelry fans and I hope these pieces will delight you! I decided that the animal bracelets in particular needed some love and I love the results. I also tried something new with this collection and designed corresponding earrings that can pair with the necklaces and/or bracelets. I put more thought into this collection than any other I had designed before and hope that my attention to the little details have brought to life the things that I have found Manic Trout customers to both love and request.

 

FW15 Collection from Manic Trout

The second half of the collection continues in the direction that I have been going in with designs that particularly have work in mind. Women spend so much of their lives in their work attire, and they should have beautiful, well made, unique jewelry that they love to wear be a part of that! I have found that statement jewelry is the perfect solution for providing basic outfits with a boost of high style. Especially ideal for the in-betweens of life such as work, formal luncheons and dinners, weddings, fundraisers and well, you get the idea, it’s what you wear when you’re not lounging at home or attending formal balls. I designed the Different Colors collection to be easy to wear, yet luxurious in it’s color combinations and the gemstones each piece is made from. The free form cut of the larger stones lends a beautiful organic element to the classic style and makes each piece as unique as the women who wear them. The pieces work as well on their own as they do worn as a set and can be mixed and matched if preferred.

FW15 Collection from Manic Trout

Thank you for learning about the FW15 Collection from Manic Trout! To celebrate the launch, please enjoy 20% off the collection September 1st & 2nd with fw15firstdibs at checkout. To stay up to date on what is going in at Manic Trout, be sure to connect on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Resort 2015 Collection from Manic Trout

Resort 2015 Collection from Manic Trout

Since evolving to quarterly collections at Manic Trout, the four times a year that I release new jewelry has become an incredibly exciting time! So much behind the scenes work goes into the release that it seems like the day will never come. But then it does and I finally get to share it with you. Today is one of those four magical days of the year. Let me introduce the Resort 2015 Collection!

Resort 2015 Collection from Manic Trout

My resort and holiday collections are smaller than the Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer collections but include limited additions to the M by Manic Trout line which are one of a kind or limited editions art pieces. The Resort 2015 Collection features twelve beautiful pieces created to instantly make you feel pulled together and polished, even when its 100 degrees out as well as four stunning statement necklaces of bold gemstones.

Resort 2015 Collection from Manic Trout

In the middle of summer heat, it’s difficult to imagine putting on the accouterments required of many situations: corporate offices, formal luncheons and dinners, weddings, fundraisers and well, you get the idea. Every time I would put on the statement pieces I favored the rest of the year, they would often look (and feel) too heavy. I realized that there had to be an answer without sacrificing the style that many of us favor. I set out to solve this dilemma and design pieces that were effortlessly classic, without sacrificing color or style. I selected gorgeous gemstones to provide a bold statement and splash of color and paired it with aluminum chain (free of chemicals like lead and nickel) which is incredibly lightweight, sparkly and does not tarnish. The result is a collection of necklaces, bracelets and earrings that will enhance your summer wardrobe without weighing you down.

Resort 2015 Collection from Manic Trout

Now about those four special pieces: This past year, I separated the higher end art pieces into their own line: M by Manic Trout. This season, I have designed four, amazing and jaw dropping statement necklaces using extraordinary gemstones like sesame jasper and rainbow fluorite for M. Each piece is one of a kind and wearable art. If you love to feel the weight, beauty and uniqueness found in larger gemstones, these pieces are for you. If there is no statement too big, or crave saturated colors, these pieces are for you. I have designed these with my big, bold, color loving ladies in mind and I hope I have done right by you.

Thank you for learning about the Resort 2015 Collection from Manic Trout! If you are wishing there were animals, fear not, there will be more coming out in the FW15 Collection. Until then, throughout the summer I will be including new animal necklaces in the weekly facebook events on Thursdays at 7pm central. Make sure to stop by!

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SS15 Collection Lookbook from Manic Trout

Its been a bit confusing as this space evolved from all about Manic Trout, to sort of of about it, to not really talking about it at all except in the very behind the scenes aspect. That is kind of sad, and kind of cool as this blog became its own entity and Manic Trout has an all jewelry, all the time blog. But once in a while, it makes sense to share something Manic Troutish here…like today. The SS15 Collection Lookbook is so pretty, and as it’s only in the spotlight for 3 months before the resort collection arrives, lets give it some attention, shall we?

Thank you to the amazing team who makes this gorgeous creation possible!

Manic Trout SS15 Collection Lookbook 1

Manic Trout SS15 Collection Lookbook 2

Manic Trout SS15 Collection Lookbook 3

Manic Trout SS15 Collection Lookbook 4

Manic Trout SS15 Collection Lookbook 5

Manic Trout SS15 Collection Lookbook 6

Check out the lookbook in a beautiful slider on manictrout.com!

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When its time for your brand to grow up

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I should have seen it coming. This past year has been a fantastic one for Manic Trout, the growth so far having exceeded all expectations and I am both in awe and proud of it. So it really comes as no surprise that in order to keep growing and to reach the next “level” (because what entrepreneur is ever happy with where they are?) would not be all easy breezy. Truthfully, it kind of feels like a senior feeling all mighty and then starting all over at the bottom of the totem pole as a freshmen in college. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning…

Throughout all of this growing there has been an underlying disconnect going on that has been holding the brand back from taking the next steps. Something was not quite sitting right but I couldn’t put my finger on it. As successful as I have been since the rebranding in 2010 at moving from the random releasing of jewelry to four well thought out collections a year (designed and ready 3 months before release for press) there was something still amiss. Deep down, I knew that well designed jewelry alone does not make a successful brand and would only get me so far, and I feared that I was reaching the top of “so far”. This was all made crystal clear a month or so ago, when I was contacted by a trend analysis who wanted to introduce me to one of her clients, a large and very well know name in fashionable stores. I was reviewed by the board and given notes about how they saw Manic Trout as a brand. The missing component was exactly what I been feeling as well, that my brand identity was not visible if even there at all. They recommend that I find myself an imaging consultant asap.

It was a pretty amazing moment when the exact problem I was having suddenly had both a definition AND a solution. There was just one problem…these people are not found via google. I suspect that they are to brands what the secret people are to celebs that make them go from mid western nobodies to the likes of Reese Witherspoon in a few short months. Just like in that world, I quickly discovered that you need to know someone to get an introduction with a secret person who is worth anything and then pray to everything that they can fit you in because these people have wait lists of months and years. Thankfully, after a week or so of emails and phone calls, I was introduced to the exact secret person I needed and she not only felt I was worthy of working with her but had a last minute opening if I jumped right in. Also thankfully, my checking account was currently in good standing because I was about to empty it. And then as soon as it started to fill up again, empty it. And then repeat that a few more times. As you can imagine, secret people are very, very expensive to work with. They are however, worth every penny.

The past month has been a whirlwind, and a very stressful one. There was such a high volume of work being accomplished each day that I would fall into bed exhausted from thinking so much. It was a crash course in a new genre (to me) of branding, business and marketing and one that required a lot of answers from my end on how I saw Manic Trout, where I want to go with the brand, who I design for and many, many other facets of the business, much of it that were completely foreign concepts to me. There were times that I had no idea if what I said was right or wrong or what the hell was going on, but that’s where my secret person was the most amazing, as she would guide me back on track and turn all of my ramblings about my designs into something resembling an actual brand. After all of the hours of questions and writing novel long emails back and forth we moved on to the next stage. This included model cards and deciding between stunning women who had modeled for brand such as Versace, Vera Wang, Zac Posen, Cartier, Marc Jacobs, Valentino, Carolina Herrera and other designers who made my head spin. Then a few speed sessions deciding on concepts and clothes and details that had me questioning myself at every turn. The entire time I was constantly feeling both overwhelmed and in over my head but thrilled all at the same time. In hind site, I’m actually surprised I didn’t have a few melt downs throughout the whole process. I came close when Adam’s dad died and I was up to my eyeballs in all of this, but it all worked out, as life always does.

I am still, two weeks after this intense period is behind me, a bit dazed by it all. I am absolutely still processing everything and wrapping my head around the grown up version of Manic Trout. Because that’s what this was all really about. Taking the baby that I have been nurturing and raising for the past almost 12 years, patting it on the head and telling it that it’s time to be a lady now.

If you have not been over to manictrout.com for awhile, take a peek if you’re so inclined. See the grown up lady version. This is a huge work in progress with a veritable team to make it happen, so there a few details still in the works, but to quote one of my favorite movies…”its all happening!”

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Wear this while looking at that

Wear this while looking at that

Wear this Yellow Happy Pills Necklace while looking at that Chihuly piece

Wear this while looking at that

Look at those Bahemian starfish while wearing this Ocean Waltz Necklace

Wear this while looking at that

Wear these Zenina Sweetest Things Earrings while looking at that hibiscus

Wear this while looking at that

Look at those adorable elephants while wearing this Eleanor Over and Over Again Necklace

Most of the time I find inspiration in images when I’m designing but sometimes I see already designed jewelry in images. This jewelry pairs pretty well with photos from pinterest, doesn’t it?

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Wear this while looking at that

Caribbean Queen Necklace

Look at that beautiful parrot while wearing this Caribbean Queen Necklace

Rhona Insects Are all Around Us Necklace

Wear this stunning Rhona Insects Are All Around Us Necklace while gazing at that magnificent sky

Way Back Then Necklace

Look at that lovely beachy art while wearing this Leala Way Back Then Necklace

Pink Happy Pills Necklace

Wear this Pink Happy Pills Necklace while eating those delicious maracons

No One Like You Necklace

Look at that gorgeous bug while wearing this No One Like You Necklace

Slow Ride Necklace

Wear this Slow Ride Necklace while looking at that amazing sky

Most of the time I find inspiration in images when I’m designing but sometimes I see already designed jewelry in images. These statement necklaces pair pretty well with photos from pinterest, don’t they!

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How to dress festively for Easter while keeping your dignity

How To Wear It: Easter

Easter is one of those holidays where looking festive can quickly head south by way of cutesy jewelry shaped like bunnies and an overload of pastels. To avoid looking like you should be stuffed in a basket full of faux grass keep a few things in mind when you select your ensemble for the day.

Focus on one or two attention grabbing items and keep everything else relatively neutral. You are most likely headed to brunch, this is not a holiday cocktail party and it is (sadly) not the time to add crazy bling, unless of course you are choosing your jewelry to be the focal point (in which case, I applaud you!) and then keep your outfit and shoes neutral. The jewelry selected above is out of scale for the sake of this collage, but when actually on, is all subdued and perfect for the occasion and lets that spectacular skirt get the attention it deserves.

Wondering how to wear a specific piece of Manic Trout Jewelry or what to wear for an occasion? Send me an email at sierra@manictrout.com!

Myra Fancy Dancer Earrings // Liona Foolish Love Necklace // By Your Side Bracelet Trio // Wallis Zsa Zsa Bling Ring

Skirt (similar) // Shirt (similar) // Shoes (similar)

*disclaimer: I choose the clothing purely for how well the photos of them will look in these collages, not by price which is why I’ve included links to similar items.

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