When I say “shop small” to you, what comes to mind?

Does “shop small” mean “shop expensive” to you?

Do you think “shop small” as just a marketing slogan created by a not-so-small credit card company?

Or does hassle and inconvenience come to your mind when I say “shop small”?

If any of those are true for you, I hope I can change your perception a bit of what it looks like to “shop small.”

I am a huge fan of small businesses, and have come to truly believe they are essential to both the economy and culture of our great country. And while I appreciate the convenience and low prices of a big box store, I appreciate even more the customer service and personal connection that comes from shopping small.

I am super frugal, and so like many of you I avoided shopping at small stores for many years because I assumed things would always be more expensive.  Sometimes that is the case, but more often than not, shopping small can provide you with the best deals around!

I have promoted and supported small businesses before on LostandFoundDecor through 1st Friday Etsy Shop Feature Day, and I want to continue that support now in hosting a Small Business Spotlight for you today.

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You may have noticed that I now have a few sponsor shops in my right sidebar.  These are shops that have agreed to partner with my small business as I help promote their small business. My goal is to have small shops and blogs that will be a benefit to you readers, places that I am proud to promote and share with you fantastic people 🙂

So today I want to tell you a little about my first two small business sponsors, Belle Maison Art and Eclectic Perspectives.

Both of these shops have some really unique, well-priced merchandise for you!

Eclectic Perspectives stocks what it calls the “Vintage, Repurposed, and Offbeat”. I really like their vintage costume jewelry pieces they have for sale, like this Austrian brooch.

I shared this handmade 1950’s clutch already on Facebook, but it’s worth sharing again here. It’s incredible, and only $45!  It would make such a wonderful Mother’s Day gift or Christmas gift for a vintage accessory lover.

They stock some fun, decorative items as well. I really like this Sea World souvenir tray–look at those awesome colors!

Owners Bruce and Jon Maria have graciously offered a 20% shop discount for the next month for all Lost & Found readers!  Just use the code LANDFTHANKS when checking out.

I have shared with you all before about my love for collected, vintage amateur art, and Belle Maison Art‘s shop fits in so perfectly with my style!

Belle Maison stocks new, but vintage-inspired, high-quality canvas prints that are handcrafted in the good ol’ USA.  Sometimes you just can’t find exactly what you’re looking for at the flea market, and that’s when I like to turn to a source like Belle Maison to get the ready-made, vintage-look I want with the ease of a click 🙂

The shop has several different collections, including Butterflies and Insects, Botanicals, Typography, and Sea Life.

Belle Maison Art sells both single canvas prints (which start at only $15 for an 8 x 10!!)

as well as mounted canvas prints and print sets.

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The Les Palmiers Vintage French 4 print-set and the Vintage Trout Canvas Wall Hanging are two of the shop’s best selling items.  Best of all, orders within the US ship for free!

You’ve seen a sample of their products, now I would like to tell you a little bit more about the behind-the-scenes work of these two great shops.  Stacey from Belle Maison, along with Bruce and Jon Maria from Eclectic Perspectives answered a few questions for me about what it looks like for them to run their own small businesses.

What led you to start your own small business?

We were given some vintage Fiesta ware when we got married 29 years ago. That began our quest to continue searching for more vintage pieces and we soon realized just how much fun “the thrill of the hunt” was.  Three years ago, we decided to start a business and share our love of antiques and all things vintage with others”.–Bruce & Jon Maria

“My love affair with collecting antique & vintage images started many years ago and became Belle Maison Art which means “beautiful home art” in French. I enjoy spending hours pouring through historical texts in search of old forgotten images and digitally restoring and reinterpreting them to create classic, timeless art that will live on for years to come. In 2011 while living in Seattle and working full time for a software company in sales & marketing I opened Belle Maison Art as a creative outlet from my day job. I was fortunate to be able to quit my day job within a year of starting the business and pursue my art full time.” –Stacey

What do you enjoy the most about running your own small business? 

“We get to do something we love and do it together.”–Bruce & Jon Maria

More than anything I enjoy delighting people through art and I feel lucky and grateful that I get to do what I love for a living. I’ve alsohad the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people over the fast few years. From customers, to Designers and Retailers. Even after 4+ years I still pinch myself daily. Another perk would be sharing my studio with our 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Max and Cooper.”–Stacey

What is one of the biggest challenges you face in running your own small business?

Time!  We both have full-time jobs as educators so we have to make sure we keep everything in perspective. “–Bruce & Jon Maria

“Not having enough hours in the day to do everything that I would like to do. For instance I know that I need to spend time promoting Belle Maison Art via social media such as Facebook, Instagram, our Blog, etc. but I just have not had the time to focus on that. It’s one of my top “to do’s” for 2016! I love all aspects of the business but as it grows you realize you have more demands and less time. For me the biggest challenge was realizing that in order to grow like we were I couldn’t continue to do everything myself. My husband Scott joined me this year and it’s been wonderful being able to work together and see our dream become a reality.”–Stacey

What do you hope to provide to your customers?

“We want to connect our customers with that offbeat, eclectic piece they’ve been looking for while providing exceptional customer service…we want every purchase to be a 5-star transaction!” –Bruce & Jon Maria

I truly believe beauty is essential to life and that your home is your haven. It’s where your life happens and the art you choose should be an expression of your personal style.  My goal is to create beautiful Giclee Canvas Art that is timeless, of exceptional value and superior quality and also affordable. Belle Maison Art is my way of adding a bit of beauty into the world and I am honored that people have welcomed my work into their homes, retail stores, and important personal spaces. This business has given me so much joy and has opened doors beyond my wildest dreams.” –Stacey

Have you enjoyed hearing from the people behind the businesses?  That is one of the things I enjoy the most about shopping small–getting to know the real people behind the products and services offered.

Please take some time to visit Eclectic Perspectives and Belle Maison Art while they partner with me at Lost & Found.  I hope you have seen some things you like and that if you are a small business owner yourself (or hope to be one day) that you have been encouraged by hearing more about the ups and downs of running a small business from our two sponsors.

If you are a blog or small business that fits with the culture of LostandFoundDecor.com, additional sponsorship spots are available!  I would love to work with you and help introduce you to my readers. Contact me at Melanie@LostandFoundDecor.com for more information.

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