Monday, March 31, 2008

Real Coffee in Downtown Los Angeles

Cute-ture recently moved our offices to downtown Los Angeles in the fabulous old International Mart. On the 11th floor we have incredible views of downtown and a loft space that gives us great warehousing and a showroom in a funky space.

And while our new Cute-ture location was amazing on its own, a weekend stop at a salad bar near our office, led us to Café Corsa, a recently opened coffee shop that simply has the best coffee in Los Angeles. I have been describing it since as my ‘new piece of heaven on earth’.

Joey and I are huge Urth Café fans (the other great coffee place in LA) but since moving into our new home and office downtown, it was too much of a trek to get there for a regular hot ‘cuppa’ (Australian for coffee – much like the American ‘joe’).
Café Corsa, which recently opened near USC has serious coffee for those who love their coffee like they love their books and arts (or wine).

The Downtown News (LA’s Downtown weekly online update) gave rave reviews to Café Corsa and its owner Rick Weiche this week – and as a regular of two days, Rick already knows Joey and I by name!

If our new office isn’t enough, to make us bounce of bed and head to work, now we have the best coffee I have had in the USA right around the corner which on its own, is enough to inspire me for the day ahead!

Café Corsa, 2238 S. Figueroa St., (213) 746-2604 – parking available at meters or in the parking lot at the location.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Its Time to Think Christmas (or other religious or non religious gift giving event....)

Its time to think Christmas (or other religious or non religious gift giving event…)

In the past I have been one of those organized people that actually likes to get my gift giving shopping out of the way 8 months ahead of Christmas. It was a combination of not liking crowded spaces and not shopping under pressure especially when our busiest season in business is December.

I love the holidays so knowing that all I had to do for Christmas was gift-wrap meant I could actually expend my energy on parties and catching up with friends. But even better than getting in any buying gifts early I have been so happy to discover the gift of charity – not only can you do this last minute, but you really feel good about it.

I suggested to my family two years ago that perhaps instead of trying to send gifts across the world in the crazy mail season, that we could forgo the gift wrap (save a tree), not need to use the excess gas (driving to the store, driving for 45 minutes trying to get a parking spot, ship it via a postal van, airline and back to postal van for arrival at our door) and instead find a charity gift for each other that truly reflects how much we love each other.

This year I sent my family the gift of Operation Smile. I figured that when I think of my family, it makes me smile, and hence it truly reflected how I felt.

Throughout the world, Operation Smile volunteers repair childhood facial deformities while building public and private partnerships that advocate for sustainable healthcare systems for children and families. Together, with donations they create smiles, change lives and heal humanity. I couldn’t possibly give my family anything better than this!!

My family was all thrilled to receive this and I was thrilled to receive their gifts of charity as well. Its pretty cool knowing that the gift my little brother gave me for Christmas is providing a small remote villager in China, an annual income he can live off through the sales of the wool that the sheep in my name provides them.

Yes you heard right – my brother gave me a sheep!

I thought it was brilliant though am a little worried how he decided that it reflected his thoughts of me….

But then again the year before I got a goat!

So – get the holiday engines in gear and I challenge you to find the perfect charity gift for your family this year! I wonder where I can get a pig…..

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cute-ture staff spent the weekend working at the Los Angeles Fashion and Gift Market at the California Mart in downtown LA. The venue is normally the home of showrooms but they opened their doors to a handful of selected companies to show our ranges over 4-days.

One of the delights of these shows is meeting other wonderful entrepreneurs who run companies based on the same green and conscious principles that we live by. They inspire me and their wisdom and advice helps us continue to move forward as quickly as we have been.

Two such ladies – Deena Ramadan from an Australian company called Ramalama (pronounced rum-a-lum-a) and Ali Hui from Babu / Jubi based in New Zealand were also showing at the Cal Mart and have the most delightful ranges.

Ali is the most stylish woman and started her company in 2002. A mother and businesswoman, she is a wealth of knowledge on child safety and keeping dangerous chemicals from her product range.

Her baby bed wear and bathroom range is extensive and impressive. Based on neutral colors with a European influence, her sheets are made from 100% cotton using water based bleaching process! This makes them thicker and softer than the average t-shirt style sheets. Her range includes sheet sets, sheet separates, blankets, sleepwear, wraps, clothing, towels and face cloths.

Check out Jubi at:


Ramalama is a beautiful company that features sensible but sexy maternity lingerie and the most amazing diaper bags (I know as I bought one and am proudly using it as my handbag right now). All those pockets make it so much easier to find things in my big bag!

They also have a neutral baby range that modern minded parents will love. Available in Giggles and other stores, I highly recommend her bags!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What a Week (aka media frenzy)

I won’t cover the weekend again since I have already blogged on about it, but I have to say what a week! In short….

Our FLATOUTbears were featured on the Montel Williams show where he had a good laugh about them and said “they do things differently in Australia”. Well Mr. Williams – yes we do!

Then I was interviewed on The Creative Mind. A radio show hosted by Eric Spencer on this very blog. To listen to the segment visit his site:

The Oobi Baby range was featured on The Insider with Joey styling the 3-year star at the store Petite Tresor in West Hollywood. She was absolutely darling in red (just like all those grown up girls at the Oscars).

And finally…..we were chosen by a wonderful show for a room renovation for the Fine Living Network, which will happen next month.

Throw in a photo and quotes on page 7 & 8 in the Hollywood Reporter (with my co-panelists talking about Australia) at ShoWest and that rounds out a busy week!!

Did I mention I was in Los Angeles, New York City and Las Vegas as well….

Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend Warrior

It is hard to believe that in the last 36 hours I have been from Los Angeles to New York to Las Vegas and back to Los Angeles and managed to not feel stressed about any of it. I know for some people that sounds terribly glamorous and I would love to play that up for you... BUT the truth is it was not entirely planned that way and now I am exhausted and ready to go to bed!

On Friday I was due to fly to New York so that I could set up our booth for the ENK Children's Club show. March is the biggest event of the year and armed with Joey and another three workers, we were due to get in late Friday evening ready to get set up the following day. The other four took an earlier flight on Friday and as I had work in LA to finish I was meant to leave on the last afternoon flight. Meant to....

I had raced home to grab my luggage after a very frustrating trip to Staples where I couldn't find a single person on the floor to get me a removable disk drive from a locked cabinet and then after finally talking the person at the register into leaving the long line of people waiting to pay, I was finally out the door and rushing to the house now running late. Once home, the phone started... a messenger dropping our samples in at the show didn't know where to go. I directed him and then he called back as GES wouldn't accept my box. I told him to drop it at my booth. He called back. No one was there so he couldn't leave it. I raced to the computer and called the show organisers who assured me they would accept it. They didn't. To cut a frustrating story short, I then left the house late and hit peak hour on the 405 and 10. Most simply put, I parked on the freeway with my closest million commuters. At that point, I chose to accept my situation and the stress evaporated.

I missed the flight and left 5 hours later on the red eye! So straight off the plane to the show for set up. With the full team on board, we set the stand up and finished at around 10pm. A late dinner and finally sleep at 2am. Up at 7am to finish set up ready for doors opening at 9am! By 1pm I was off and headed back to the airport (after a very successful morning of sales of course) and on my way to Showest in Las Vegas.

I arrived in Vegas late last night and got up early for rehearsals ready for a 9am Australian panel to talk about tax incentives and filming in Australia. By 11am, I was done and packing and heading back to the airport so that I could be home in time for a television show that was coming to our house to consider our renovator for a Room Renovation!

The rest of tonight has been spent getting orders ready for shipment tomorrow and a full day in the office...

So glamorous - I don't think so! But I am not complaining as I have chosen this life and love the returns it gives me. I am ready though for a very good nights sleep!

Oh... the new Oobi Baby and Alimrose Designs samples are AMAZING!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


This morning I picked up one of our new books that has come in and glanced through it. It is a beautifully illustrated hardcover storybook for children and I found that half way through it that I just needed to share it. So I called Joey in and made him (my husband) settle in so I could read him the story.

The book was written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Peter Reynolds and is a touching journey of a mothers dream for her child. It starts with her simply talking to her baby and then envisioning and sharing her someday dreams for her child.

Quite literally, this simple story has such powerful ode to the potential of love and life that I started to choke up on the last page and then looked up to find my husband teary as well.

I just wished I had ordered more for our store as I think I will be giving a lot of these away to the people I love! Absolutely the most beautiful and moving children’s book I have read this year.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Moving the Fluffy Kids

I have had two wonderful weeks with my father (aka Dad) in town to help us finish moving. It’s only been two months since we bought the new place…so I guess it we were overdue to actually pick up/pack up and get settled.

I had some concerns about moving the two pussycats – Roadie and Bob – as both are rescues that come with loads of hang-ups. With Dad’s help (who is as crazy about animals as I am) we moved them in and they adjusted so quickly I was shocked.

Day one was spent in the bedroom – under the bed for Bob and under the covers for Roadie. Day two – Bob emerged and started his new adventure and every now and then Roadie would pop his head out to see if his nightmare was over.

By day three, they were both on the adventure of a lifetime and the boxes, packaging and furniture were all explored and inspected with new places to hide and play in quickly established.

Dad was sleeping in our new living room, which comes with amazing pocket doors, which Bob has an opinion on. If you close the doors, Bob will stand outside (or inside as the case may be) and mew until you open then. He promptly crosses to the other side and if you close them after him, he turns around and mews to go back through them. Needless to say, we are now all sleeping with doors open.

I found the most adorable cat beds in New York by a company from Vermont called Hepper who make ‘nests’ for cats and dogs. The nests come in a ground version and a stand type version (the stand version reminds me of a space ship taking off). I wanted to buy one then and there however my husband who has more common sense than I when it comes to animals pointed out that my bags were already more than full and I would have to carry it back. Needless to say I have been daydreaming about this cat bed during our recent nights of door mewing kitties and can’t wait to get my Hepper beds.

Check out their site: - simply Cute-ture for pets.