All posts by amy adele

Big Changes at Amy Adele

Wow! It’s been quite a year for us here at Amy Adele and it’s only May!

Let me start with the bad news (because I just want to keep it real). Sales over the last two years have not exactly been great… and that is putting it mildly. My husband and I kept hoping things would improve but the sales continued to decline. So we did what any hard working business owners do… we hunkered down and talked to a lot of experts and advisors to analyze Amy Adele to get their opinions on what to improve and change. Owning a business is kinda like owning a house. There’s ALWAYS something to fix and improve and the list can be overwhelming. So we decided to focus in on what was possible and went after it. The first thing was the navigation. We added the sorting tool on the left of each page so our customers could easily check the boxes to fine tune their search and find the cards they wanted. Then we worked on the home page. We changed everything about it! The top, the navigation, a “Stationery Gift Finder” tool, and more. We also corrected details on the backend so new customers could find us easier and introduced Paperless Invitations.

However, despite our efforts, the sales just weren’t strong enough. We had to make a bigger change. You see, we had been printing and shipping all our orders out ourselves in a little office space a few miles from our home with a fabulous staff for 10 years. But the more we looked at the numbers, the more it made sense to close our shop. So at the end of January, with very heavy hearts, we said goodbye to our faithful staff, sold our equipment, packed up all the extra supplies, and closed our doors.

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This little bee greeted us by the front door every morning.
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My son, Corban, saying goodbye to Mr. Bumble Bee.

 

Now the good news! We are thrilled to report that we have partnered with a top notch printing company in California. They have a wonderful reputation in the printing industry and they are experts in printing personalized stationery, invitations, and all the other things we offer! With their help, our designs are now printed on even thicker paper than before. They are also able to print and ship our cards faster than we could in our little office. We love that! Over the last few months, I have truly enjoyed working with them. They are professional and quick to respond when I need to make a change on an order for a customer.

Honestly, it has been heartbreaking for my husband (who worked full time on Amy Adele) and I to see the decline in sales. However, we remind ourselves each day that our hope is not in Amy Adele or the provision it used to provide us. Our hope is in Jesus. His ways are higher than our ways. Our prayer is that our hearts will be stronger through these trials, because that’s what really matters! The best part is that we have already seen traces of these blessings already!

So, it’s just little me running the show now! I work from home, personally approving every order that comes through, replying to customer emails, sending out emails announcing our sales, creating new artwork, posting on social media and more! I always worked from home with Amy Adele but I’ve never had this much involvement. I’m completely out of my comfort zone here… but so far so good!

My sweet little desk where all the magic happens! 😉

We are so very thankful for our faithful customers who have consistently ordered from us year after year; for each birthday party, for teacher gifts and family Christmas cards, to name a few. Our greatest joy that we get from Amy Adele is that we are able play a small role in helping your children say “thank you” to others. We are overwhelmed by your support. We hope our faithful customers and our new customers alike will enjoy the new changes!

Thank you again, dear friends!

Amy Adele Wike

P.S.

Would you like to help? For those of you who enjoy Amy Adele, you can help! If you haven’t already, “like” us on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Most of all, please tell your friends about Amy Adele and invite them to our social media sites, as well. This will help us out a ton!

Blog Spotlight: Emily

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Ok! Here’s one last update on my kiddos. I’ve saved the oldest for last! Emily is almost 16 years old now and she is a super mix of sweetness, fun, and down-to-earth-ness!

EmmaIt has been a busy fall for her! She’s a sophomore in high school and just finished up the cross country season with her fellow teammates. She is still figure skating multiple times a week before and after school and is now rehearsing for the big Christmas program! All this while taking super hard classes and staying active with her close friends and church events. The other day she asked if she could join the outdoor club at school… um… “No!” was my answer. That child would do everything if she could. 🙂

 FullSizeRenderShe has a generous heart for others and she can laugh at herself. She is a great big sister to both Grace and Corban; loving them just the way they need it. Emily also teaches a 4th grade girl’s class with me on Sunday mornings at church and those little girls just love her… and I must say… I do too!

Children’s Museum in the Upstate: Greenville, SC

 

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This past Saturday, both my husband and eldest daughter were out of town. So, Grace, Corban and I were eating breakfast and trying to figure out what adventure we too, could take!  I opened up a local children’s magazine to see if I spotted anything in there for us to do and found that it was Museum Day Live which includes free admission to participating museums through the Smithsonian. We have a fantastic children’s museum nearby that Grace and Corban are always asking to go to, but we only go once or twice a year because it is so expensive. So, I called our museum and sure enough… it was free! It was a beautiful autumn day outside but I couldn’t beat “free” and my kids were thrilled!

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We got dressed and jumped in the car right away!  The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is located in the heart of downtown Greenville and filled with a variety of super creative exhibits. As soon as you walk in, there is a colorful two-story climbing structure, which is Grace’s favorite feature, I think. On the main floor, circling the structure are race cars, space ships, a kid-sized grocery store with a checkout counter and bank, and a hospital! The top floor has robots, construction, recycling, and a little farmhouse. The bottom floor has a water exhibit, music, tv production, and art rooms. We’ve been there a number of times and it never gets old! They keep a big space on the top floor for new exhibits that they change out every few months. The one that is running now is called Grossology (all things gross)… so we skipped that one. Yuck! Corban isn’t old enough to care, thank goodness! He loved the construction exhibit. He really wanted to wear the yellow construction hat even though it kept falling in his face. His very favorite was the race cars! He worked so hard changing the big tires out! We had a super time having our own adventure and still had the afternoon to enjoy the weather!

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Anniversary Celebration at the Grove Park Inn

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Joey and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this week! 20 years is a long time, but it went by fast! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, because we still feel like kids.

Our mothers have been dear friends since middle school. So, Joey and I have known each other a long time! I’ve had a huge crush on him since I was 5 years old that I’ve never been able to shake. 🙂 We lived in different towns during much of our childhood so we didn’t know each other. As kids, we were opposites… I was a “total dork” and he was “super cool” so that wouldn’t have worked out so well, anyway. We both grew up and changed quite a bit during our high school years though!

Joe (far left) and Amy (far right)

He attended my older sister’s wedding as a family friend and we immediately connected that night and within a few months we quickly fell in love. I was only 19 years old and Joey was almost 20 years old when we got married but when we knew God wanted us to be together as husband and wife, we didn’t want to waste any time dating, so we decided to get married right away!

We were in college at the time, so we just continued life and graduated together. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three fantastic kiddos, a few moves, and a few career changes. Through it all, Jesus has strengthened us with lots of tough times and lots of great times. I wouldn’t have wanted any other man to live life with!

To celebrate, this week we stole away one night to The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. It was just perfect! The weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious and the company was unmatched! We are so thankful to Jesus for giving us His patience, faithfulness and love so we could give it to each other for the last 20 years!

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Friday Amy update: New Website

New Navigational tool and new images on AmyAdele.com
New Navigational tool and new images on AmyAdele.com

I am thrilled about our new site and I hope others feel the same way when they visit! AmyAdele.com is like our home in that we want it to look its best for all our friends! We always want our customers to have a pleasant and easy experience. We have added so many new items over the past few years, we wanted to simplify the hunt for our customers and make our product pictures as vibrant and fun on the screen as they really are in person. So, we dove in and came up with a plan as to how to make that all happen.

My husband and my staff have been working tirelessly on every detail for months and I can’t be more proud of all they have accomplished. I’ve been keeping my little people fed and busy in my mom-world this summer and have only seen little glimpses of the new site design when Joey would ask my opinion on various layouts or colors. There are so many details and complexities to such an undertaking that I don’t know how they got it all to fit together so seamlessly! It’s clean and simple… the way I like just about everything else in my life!

The photos are gorgeous (thanks Melissa!) and the product images are bigger so now everyone can see things so much better. There are some kinks we are still working on as with any big project, but I hope it will be easier for our customers. Not only does it look better but it functions easier. We created a whole new way to search for items with a new navigation tool on the left side of each page. With the holidays quickly approaching we hope our new site will be fresh and easy to use! Thanks everyone for your support!

 

Friday Amy Update: All Natural Grain Bars Recipe

School is in full swing now and I love having a few hours each morning to work and get my home organized. Part of my job description is head chef! And on January 1st of this year the grocery list had a complete overhaul.

My husband decided to go on a strict 30-day Whole 30 diet. I did it with him to encourage him and make cooking less complicated. The diet basically consists of eating only meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit, nuts and good fat like olive and coconut oil.

So we didn’t eat any sugar, dairy, grains, alcohol, beans, soy or any preservative type stuff. Finding new recipes and allowing more time to cook was a big challenge for me! The first 2 weeks were hard but then we began to feel the difference, especially my husband, so we kept going! My husband has felt so much better that I think he’ll be eating like this for the rest of his life.photo 1

Before we started, we didn’t eat tons of junk food, but we did eat it on occasion and sugar and bread were always nearby. When we started, our kids would eat dinners with us so I didn’t have to make two different meals. Over time, they ate through all our not-so-healthy pantry food so their transition was a bit more gradual. I don’t buy much of that stuff anymore so they eat a lot healthier food along with us now too and have adapted to it quite well!

Each of us eat a little differently because we’ve found our bodies tolerate and digest food in unique ways. My husband and Emily basically stick to the Whole 30 diet. Grace and Corban eat sprouted and organic grains, healthy sugar and local dairy. And I eat a bit of all of that! Overall, we are so glad we made the switch. The biggest change I’ve seen is that my energy levels are consistently good without needing that sugar rush at 3pm.

I don’t want to sound legalistic or snooty about it and I’ll definitely eat a doughnut on occasion, but the more I read about eating “clean” (as they say), it just seems to make sense for our bodies in the short and long term. So it’s become our new normal.

This week I made some grain bars… a recipe I got from my fellow artist, Ali North! Now it’s not Whole 30 compliant but it’s filled with some all-natural stuff, so I like it! 🙂 Check it out below!photo 2

2 cups oats

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup chocolate chips (non-diary, non-soy)

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)

1 cup sun butter or peanut butter

1 tsp sea salt

Just mix it all together and press it into a pan. Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so so it will settle together. Then cut up into bars, place each bar in a plastic baggie, and freeze them all so they are ready to put out and eat whenever you want!

Feel free to modify the ingredients to whatever you like! Some other suggestions are: coconut flakes, dried fruit, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds

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Friday Amy Update: Emily Get’s her Driver’s License… Finally

photo 2 - Copy (2)Emily is driving!! So if back-to-school week wasn’t hectic enough, we obtained Emily’s Driver’s License as well! It has been QUITE an ordeal, I must say. The state of South Carolina has a lot of rules when it comes to new drivers.

First, she had to get her Learners Permit by taking a written test at the Department of Motor Vehicles which she did in the spring. Then, she had to take a Driver Education Class through a local company. They were excellent, but strict! She took a long 1-day class and then went out with an instructor for multiple hours on multiple days.

We spent the summer driving around town trying to get in our 40 hours of required drive time, ten of which had to be at night. We waited to drive at night until after we had done the majority of the 30 daytime hours. In the summer, it doesn’t get dark until 8:30-9 o’clock! So, we spent a few weeks lugging ourselves out the door at that hour when we’d rather just stay home in our pjs.photo 1

Emily really did not like practicing. School and sports come easy to her but this was a tough one! This experience really stretched her and her sweet personality. She had to learn how to make quick decisions and to be a confident driver. She had to learn to take criticism which is never fun for any of us, but she got through it!

We finally finished all that and thought we’d have her license in hand within a day or two, but we hit so many road blocks that it took weeks! She just needed a road test, but things kept coming up!  The instructor had to reschedule, the DMV was booked or closed, and another time we didn’t have the right paperwork! Ahhh! We finally got the test done (that was super intense for my girl) and she passed! We finally got to back to the DMV and get her license!

Whew! I’m a little nervous about letting her out on the road, but I know the more she drives the better she’ll get! And the less I’ll have to drive her all over creation! 😉

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Friday Amy Update: Back to School

blog 2It’s back to school week! Some of us are a bit more excited than others to see this week arrive but it is here none the less. We’ve been working hard gathering all our supplies, clothes and all the other school gear over the last few weeks. Now we can check everything off the lists!

The first to go back to school was Grace, my 6th grader. She goes to a small Christian school and they like to ease their students in so she went to school for a half day on Monday and Tuesday then her first full day of school was on Wednesday. She is excited about taking Band for the first time! She hopes she’ll be able to play the drums, but we’ll see what her teacher says about that.

Emily, my sophomore in high school, started with a full day on Tuesday. She is running Cross Country again this year and she had her first cross country meet on the very first day! Her class load is full of honors and AP classes this year. She’s a little nervous about all the work, but I’m confident she’ll do just as great as last year.

Corban’s first day of preschool was on Thursday. He will now be going to the same school as Grace. It will be nice to have at least two kids in the same school. Last year they all attended 3 different schools and it was a little complicated! Corban will go to school from 8:15-noon, everyday this year. He’ll be in a K4 class even though he’s 5 years old. We think he’ll fit in perfectly. 🙂

I am excited about getting my routine back.  I can’t wait to have the time to get my new fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas designs up on the site. I have a lot of ideas and sketches. Now, I just need to make them come alive! If you have have any design ideas… email us: help@ amyadele.com!

Friday Amy Update: Introducing Pepe!

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On August 11, 2014 our family welcomed our new little dog, Pepe! He was my grandmother’s beloved pet and after she passed away a few weeks ago, we were honored to inherit him. Pepe is a Bichon Frise who was found on the side of the road a number of years ago. We think he is 10-12 years old.

My husband flew to Houston TX and back the very next day to bring Pepe home. My girls had NO idea he was coming. We wanted it to be a big surprise… and it was! They started laughing and squealing with delight. After a few minutes Grace said, “Do we get to keep him?” My husband quickly stated that he “just flew all the way to TX and back so yes, we are defintely keeping him.”

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My husband had a few dogs growing up but I never grew up with a dog or any pets, for that matter. I did have a bird for a year or so, but I’m not sure that counts. Let’s just say I’m not a big fan of pets in general. We bought a puppy a few years ago and it ended up being a terrible experience so we gave him back to the breeder. My girls have been begging us for a dog for years since then but we just weren’t ready. However, when this particular circumstance arose, we knew it would be a tremendous blessing to our kids and we think my grandmother, Meg, would be thrilled as well. Since we’ve been saying no for so long, you can see why my kids were so surprised!

We are sincerely enjoying him. He has not barked once since he’s been here! He’s obedient and happy to play or sleep. Pepe has only been with us a few days but so far he’s been a joy!

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Friday Amy Update: Richmond House

RichmondhouseOne of the first few designs that I drew for Amy Adele was of a little Cape Cod house drawn in memory of the sweet little house I grew up in. I call it the Richmond House. My house was located at 2938 Lawrence Drive in Falls Church, Virginia which is just outside the city of Washington, D.C. I lived in the same house from the day I came home from the hospital until the day I married! The memories I shared there with my parents and big sister, Kelly, are more than I could possibly remember.

It was a 3 story, 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,300 square foot home built in 1948. My parents bought it from the original owners in 1973. All the houses in my neighborhood were built exactly the same but by the time I was a kid, it was neat to go to my neighbor’s houses to see how they had remodeled and changed the layouts by various owners over the years. My father finished off the attic so my sister and I would have our own rooms and a bathroom. When my sister came upstairs it opened right up into my room. There was no door or anything! But I had to walk through her room to use the bathroom so it was kind of fair. 🙂 She is nearly 6 years older than me so by the time I was in middle school she was off to college and I had the whole attic to myself, so I had no complaints.

Our kitchen was so small that I have yet to visit a home with a smaller one, but my mother made it work! We would host large family gatherings without a hitch! Our basement was so cold in the summer (and my room was so hot), that I think I spent most my summer days down there. My parents liked things neat on the main floor so my sister and I made all our tents, Little House on the Prairie scenes, puppet shows, and more either in our rooms or in the basement.

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My backyard was huge and I spent a lot of time out there swinging in our hammock, playing kickball with my family after dinner, and exploring the little creek that ran along the back end. Until the summer that I got poison ivy head to toe. Ugh!

Our street was pretty busy for our little neighborhood. The fire engine drivers liked to use our street as their shortcut so I got used to the sirens at all hours of the day, but our busy street was great for our lemonade stands! Our house was built on a corner lot so the quiet side street is where I learned to ride my bike and where I’d head off to when I walked to my elementary school. In “my day” I had to walk to school, but now there is a bus to pick up kids who live there!

My parents sold our house in 1997 and I’ll never forget the moment we pulled out of the driveway for the last time. I cried! It was almost like saying goodbye to a lifelong friend for the last time. My parents currently live near me in South Carolina. Some days I wish they had brought the house with them and we could still call it home.

We recently received word that our house was on the market again! We were thrilled to see it has been well loved and cared for. Take a look at it here!