I believe we are all beyond ready to look towards the future...I think it's pretty much been the longest yet fastest year of my life!!! I am sure many of you feel the very same way. While I will refrain from reflecting too much on 2020, I am forever grateful that Frances Rose was such a positive light for so many of you. Your messages, texts, emails, and kind words of how much joy these beautiful clothes brought to you will never be lost on me. I could never have imagined that my best year would be 2020, but you did it! Perhaps we didn't have quite as many places to dress "fancy", but when we DID get the opportunity, I think we all seized it! But while we were grateful to put smiles on your faces and pretty clothing on your babies, I want you to know that what YOU did in return will forever be appreciated. Thanks so much to each of you, Angela knocked out yet another record number of heirlooms/handmade/hand embroidered pieces - but that wasn't without worry sometimes...she loves nothing more than keeping her grandbabies a few days/week with the help of her fabulous husband, Tommy (whom also plays a major part in helping her throughout the day!). She homeschooled all three of her daughters, and now she is blessed to watch her grandbabies grow and learn - and she's there every step of the way...I even enjoy the times that I get to sit down with them and read a book or play with sweet toys that Angela has made throughout the years for them. With one newborn grandson plus her other beautiful grands, I know that she missed them immensely last year as she kept her family - and all of us - safe and healthy...and I cannot imagine the stress she endured having one of her own children on the front lines fighting covid. You'd never know it if you talked to her or visited her...her smiles never ever waivered and neither did her cheerful, positive voice and texts! Her oldest daughter, Leah, is a surgeon and currently a Chief Resident. She did 3 years of cancer research during her residency and will eventually do a fellowship in oncology. She also holds Masters degrees in violin performance, epidemiology, and statistics. She and her husband have one son named Ian (one of the most amazing little guys I've ever had the pleasure of knowing). Her second daughter, Hannah, is a home-school mom of 2 (well, 3...that newborn baby boy, Noam, that I mentioned above is a beautiful, curious, brown-eyed boy full of love and fun and smiles that will melt you in a second, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's already reading!!). Hannah's oldest son, Asher, is brilliant, strong, gentle, loving, and his love of learning is simply stunning. He takes such great care of his gorgeous little sister, Hadassah, who happens to be the same age as my Mary (6). I love to watch them play together, and I'll always remember her sweet little voice calling Mary, and my sweet Mary's little voice calling Hadassah (sometimes leaving off that first H). While Hannah home schools her babies, she is also a cellist in the Memphis Symphony and has a full teaching studio for cello. She also has a Masters in cello performance. And last but certainly not least, Angela's "baby" (we all know they're always going to be our babies no matter how old they are!), Sarah, moved to Manhattan in the beginning/midst of covid and chaos. I cannot imagine how she felt, but it certainly has not slowed her down A BIT! Her quartet (Bergamot Quartet) in in residence at Mannes School of Music. She works for John's Hopkins University/Peabody School of Music. She, too, has a Masters in violin performance. DID I MENTION THAT ANGELA HOME SCHOOLED ALL THREE OF HER GIRLS?? You know her love of sewing...especially heirlooms. So thank you again for your non-stop support throughout the past year - you made a difference in the lives of so many amazing people, and we are all forever grateful.
I know that we've been blessed to gain thousands of new fans and customers in recent years, but many of you know how special my relationship is with Manolitas in El Salvador. I had the privilege to travel there two years ago, and I must admit that I headed there with such excitement, a little anxiousness, but a ton of motivation to learn and to grow and to really capture the true beauty of this small Central American country. Nothing could have prepared me for what lay ahead. I had already had the pleasure of meeting Lucia in NYC and Atlanta, but I was elated to see HER home. Her country. The artisans she forever spoke so highly of - they were like family to her. And that's when I knew that we were almost cut from the same cloth. Her selflessness knows no bounds. Lucia's stories of growing up can render one speechless - witnessing things that most of us won't see in a lifetime. But her incredible upbringing shaped her into the person that she is today - understanding the resilience of El Salvadorans and their immense passion and yearning to work and provide a better life for their families. I'm not sure I'd be strong enough. But just one week with her artisans filled me with such joy and love for not only their God-given talents in handmade items, but it also showed me just how strong and HAPPY they are! Not all days are easy - many of her artisans are women that are the sole providers for their families. However, Lucia recognizes the importance of fair trade principles along with the need for ensuring that these long-time artisans (generations of them!) continue to carry on the tradition and artistry of unique handwork and techniques that are not so easy to find these days. So again, thank you for making a difference in the lives of each of these beautiful people.
We have been delighted to share with you the first round of the Me and My Manolita Collection for a couple of years, and we were equally elated whenever they completed their newest collection! We know that hundreds of your babies have worn some of the beautiful handmade pieces from their first collection, and we know that you'll love this second collection that they've worked so hard on for months. Lucia and her artisans not only create some of your most cherished Frances Rose handsmocks, etc., as a solid partner for us, but they also have created these beautiful pieces that are quite special as they have coordinating handmade, heirloom dolls (found in a separate listing) so that your favorite girl can match her favorite doll, But more importantly, your purchase goes far beyond just pretty dresses and dolls - you're changing the lives of each and every artisan at Manolitas.
*** AND NOW FOR A VERY SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!! *** Throughout the past year I have been working closely (mostly right next to) with Miller Johnson on a collection that we've been SO EXCITED to introduce to you!!! It did take a solid year. Lots of sketches, hundreds of hours, tons of laughs, and singing the 12 Days of Christmas on repeat (sometimes not on purpose...). We've shown a few sneak peeks, and we will be announcing the official launch date by July 25. You will not want to miss this collection....no detail was left untouched. Only the finest laces, fabrics, silk ribbons, antique and mother-of-pearl buttons, hand embroidery, hand smocking....it is ALL there. And several pieces can be worn year-round, some are two-pieces so that you can wear separately, matching silk-satin bows will come with many of the dresses....all you'll need is 12 days! Or, well...more...since there's FAR more than 12 pieces in all. More to come - stay tuned!!
We will also be offering our hand smocked and hand embroidered football (and basketball) sets, fall, halloween, heirlooms, Christmas, loungewear, etc. Lots to come but I'll be spreading them out a bit. Please continue to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates. Have a terrific summer!!