Tea With Iris owner Leslie Shockley in one of her 100% organic hemp jersey printed dresses from 2012 with a smoke tree design handmade with a piece of the smoke tree she is standing next to.
It was all because of a turtle named Iris.
In 2010, while working a full time job, Leslie Shockley found herself often seeking solace in her gorgeous, desert-landscaped front yard, which housed a small dirt hole where her family’s turtle Iris lived. As she would sit and watch Iris loll about her days, Leslie became inspired by the idea of slowing down and utilizing what was on hand to make meaning out of life. She began to adopt a personal philosophy of life, based around living small and with intention, consuming less and creating more, and most of all, becoming conscious about the objects she allowed into her life and her home. This philosophy soon birthed a company Tea With Iris—a venture all about no-waste upcycled craft and eco-creativity.
In a refurbished freight train cargo container in her backyard, adjacent to DIY plots where she and her daughter grow herbs and produce, she began to make conscientious products with the help of her grandmother’s old sewing machine; think little girl baby doll dresses from vintage pillowcases, infant onesies printed with vegetable dye dipped smoketree branches, recycled wine cork earrings adorned with illustrations from used storybooks, and organic market bags in whimsical found fabrics.
In 2018, she was able to quit her day job full time to focus on Tea With Iris. Today, she is a regular presence in her local Whole Foods and Farmer’s Markets as well as other events and fairs that are in line with her personal commitment to integrity and sustainability such as Unique LA, Renegade Craft and Mojave Flea.
Leslie's favorite Sergio Lub bracelet is her Nepalese Cord.
Even though her business has grown, she still maintains a firm mission to design products that help reduce waste, using only certified organic cotton, hemp, and repurposed materials. Plus, many of her products are designed to replace disposable product that, at the end of their life cycle, can be cut up or composted to return to the soil. But bottom line is that her wares appeal to anyone with an interest in reducing their carbon footprint and living more in tune with their natural environment.
Recently, this has meant new creative offerings such as organic cotton jersey and upcycled burlap “scrubbys” – a natural alternative to a kitchen sponge, everyday organic dusters, colorful organic beeswax wraps for storage, and even bandanas that come with a slot for an ice pack for hot summer hikes.
In March, when everything closed down, and to adapt to the realities of the pandemic, Leslie shifted gears to make organic cotton face masks. For every three she sells, she donates one mask for free to a health care professional or essential worker in need.
Leslie is a living example of her own beliefs, particularly to “Be true to yourself and what you believe in and work hard to create the world you want to live in.”There is a new hashtag roaming the social media circuits these days called #staywithsmall. It arose in response to the current pandemic as businesses across the nation found themselves shuttering their doors to shelter in place, or local artists and creators were forced to utilize new ways to spread the word about their products, creations, and art online. In support of #staywithsmall we are temporarily turning our blog into a place to share profiles of small businesses we adore. If you’d like to be featured, contact us at email@example.com.
Our #withthesehands campaign celebrates the analog in a digital world, reminding us to honor the handmade.
Our newest sales director Rebecca Schick has a passion for sewing. What else could be more hands-on then creating with thread, needles, fabric, and pins? We sat down with her recently to discuss the merits of the handmade.
Why is it important for us to use our hands?
I feel that our hands are one of the most understated, profound, & integral catalysts for human connection. We are soothed, we are nourished, we are provided for, we communicate, we learn and in kind are taught by our collective hands. Our hands carry us through our lives and worlds, in countless ways and forms. Our hands literally touch, whether directly or indirectly almost every aspect of many different modalities of existence in some way and the impact is immeasurable, insurmountable, often overlooked, and extends a reach that surpasses what we know of time itself. Hands are directly related to our evolution, from the very beginnings of our civilization to current. Our hands are a story. I look at mine knowing that I’ve rarely squandered their utility. They are muscular, and slightly chubby, covered in wrinkles, already with scratches and scars. I keep my mind aware of the distance they have carried me. Especially now, I am reminded with reverence of the power in our hands.
What is the role your hands play in sewing?
It would prove very difficult to sew without hands, although I'm sure it's possible. Whether I am measuring, cutting, pinning, placing, threading, stitching - even in the conceptual phase when drafting a pattern, or sketching - the hands are involved. I’ve even started to practice writing and tasking in the non-dominant hand in hopes that I can extend the life of my work.
What kind of sewing do you love and are you working on anything new?
I really loved the hand sewing I did while working for Heidi Johnson, "The Wedding DeTailor." We were involved with a varied and constant flow of high-end bridal gown alterations, which were costly & delicate. It was a tremendous responsibility to take such great care & skill towards something so special and although it was cautious, it felt like very peaceful meditative work. The pandemic put an end to the wedding season, so I was afforded plenty of time to work on personal pursuits. I began to make face masks inspired by one created by a very talented friend and artist Dominique Ellermeier, and the desire to help protect my friends and family. I thought I could take my couture skills and apply the functionality of face masks to create something lighthearted to brighten up the mood during these times. Ever since, I have been crafting bizarre and eccentric pieces of PPE couture for the brave souls who wear them.
What is your life’s philosophy?
Laugh as much as you can. Dance like no one is watching and every chance you get. Love deeply. Eat well. Have fun. Show up for your people. Let go. Take every chance to be kinder. Be what you want to see in the world. Follow your bliss. Stop doing things you don't want to do. Be honest. Realize your faults. Learn-change. Help each other. Listen to music. Stop and smell the roses. Give a good hug. Be patient.
What is your favorite Sergio Lub bracelet?
Connection. It feels weightless, and I think the design is very beautiful. It reminds me of the invisible connective strings between us.
For a glimpse at Rebecca’s DIY couture and fashion PPE, visit her Instagram page: @hausofschickofficial
There is a new hashtag roaming the social media circuits these days called #staywithsmall. It arose in response to the coronavirus pandemic as businesses across the nation found themselves shuttering their doors to shelter in place at home. Many of these businesses are our wholesalers, a segment of the industry that’s been seriously economically affected by our current reality. #staywithsmall has emerged to remind buyers that small businesses need our help right now and that shopping solely on big conglomerate sites such as Amazon doesn’t do much toward the greater good. In support of #staywithsmall we are temporarily turning our blog into a place to share profiles of small businesses we adore. If you’d like to be featured, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our first subject is a dear friend of ours, Jendala, a vivacious force to be reckoned with whose lifelong love of fire transmuted to an early career as a firefighter before forging her current role as a torch-bearing artisan. In her Healdsburg, California studio she creates beautiful up-cycled metal art gifts that touch the soul and offer positive motivation like her gratitude chimes that buyers can customize with words of their liking. The chimes, hung with bells, make awesome patio mobiles for the young at heart.
Speaking of the young, right now she’s offering special Kits for Kids, a perfect creative activity for children bored to death in quarantine. For $40, the kits come with supplies to make 4 chimes. Jendala likes the idea of making one for the self and then gifting the others to those special essential workers in our lives who keep things running smoothly at great risk to their lives: postmen, grocery clerks, and so on. Right now, she’s also granting 50% off at checkout with the coupon code HIGHVIBE.
Jendala’s love of kids goes further than simply selling them something fun to do. Her non-profit organization Heartizens is all about providing nurturing spaces for kids to build resilience through art, gratitude and community. The project-based creative learning program is grounded in empowerment, kindness, compassion, good deeds and clear communication. Stop by online (we all definitely have the time) and check it out.
It’s nice to know that there are people in the world who strive to make a living making other people happy. Especially in times like these when every little smile goes an extra long way.
The antimicrobial properties of copper have been touted for centuries ever since ancient peoples first wore the brilliant metal. Today, as we face heightened health concerns that run from chronic arthritis to circulating viruses, we’ve been asked to share a compendium of information on the topic.
“Copper and its alloys (brasses, bronzes, cupronickel, copper-nickel-zinc, and others) are natural antimicrobial materials. Ancient civilizations exploited the antimicrobial properties of copper long before the concept of microbes became understood in the nineteenth century.
The antimicrobial properties of copper are still under active investigation. Molecular mechanisms responsible for the antibacterial action of copper have been a subject of intensive research. Scientists are also actively demonstrating the intrinsic efficacy of copper alloy "touch surfaces" to destroy a wide range of microorganisms that threaten public health.” Read more …
Metallic Copper as an Antimicrobial Surface
“Bacteria, yeasts, and viruses are rapidly killed on metallic copper surfaces, and the term “contact killing” has been coined for this process. While the phenomenon was already known in ancient times, it is currently receiving renewed attention. This is due to the potential use of copper as an antibacterial material in health care settings. Contact killing was observed to take place at a rate of at least 7 to 8 logs per hour, and no live microorganisms were generally recovered from copper surfaces after prolonged incubation. The antimicrobial activity of copper and copper alloys is now well established, and copper has recently been registered at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the first solid antimicrobial material.” Read more …
Rediscovering Copper Properties
Old records show that over 500 years ago, the Aztec civilization treated sore throats by gargling with a copper mixture. Earlier yet, in India, Persia, and Egypt, copper was used to treat lung diseases and skin conditions. In the 1800s, European physicians were using copper to treat arthritic patients. Research in the 1900s added the beneficial roles of copper compounds for mental and heart health. Read more ...
Copper Destroys Viruses and Bacteria. Why Isn't It Everywhere?
"Today, we have insight into why a person handling copper day in and day out would have protection from a bacterial threat: Copper is antimicrobial. It kills bacteria and viruses, sometimes within minutes. In the 19th century, exposure to copper would have been an early version of constantly sanitizing one's hands.
Since then, studies have shown that copper is able to destroy the microbes that most threaten our lives. It has been shown to kill a long list of microbes including norovirus, MRSA, a staph bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics, virulent strains of E. coli that cause food-borne illness, and coronaviruses—possibly including the novel strain currently causing the COVID-19 pandemic." Read more ...
Copper Can Destroy Respiratory Viruses
“Hospital administrators should take a new look at copper, new research suggests, with evidence emerging that the metal can halt the spread of a wide array of diseases. Long before Pasteur invented the germ theory of disease, copper, and alloys such as brass, were touted as protectors against ill health. While many such pre-scientific remedies have failed rigorous testing, copper has been demonstrated to be a powerful antibiotic. Read more …
The molecular mechanisms responsible for the antibacterial action of copper are still being studied by our scientists and we are not aware of research being done yet regarding the antimicrobial properties of wearing a copper bracelet.