Hi everyone!! My name is Molly Deveau and I’m the new owner of Sweet Brier; the quaint, loving boutique so many of you have come to know and love.
I’ve got 18 years of IT telecom experience and a lifelong love of DIY upcycling for making something old new again. What I’m good at is getting creative people together and letting their ideas take over.
Super fun things are coming for you!! Big changes and surprises are happening!! Get excited!!
Daddy’s little girl never really grows up. She may get married, have children and move away but a daughter’s love for her dad remains her first love.
Father’s Day is a celebration of the men in our lives who have supported our dreams, held our hand throughout the tough times, and helped us make the hard decisions that life can throw our way. They taught us how to ride a bike or drive a car or maybe even a tractor! Our dads encouraged us to take a risk, make a plan, or follow a chosen path. Often our fathers take on the role of both parents or become grandparents to our children (and four-legged family members too).
Borrowing from Reader’s Digest online, we share an inspirational story that speaks to the mentoring, coaching, and wisdom our fathers often share with us. Treasure each moment with your dad, not only on Sunday June 19th but each day you have a chance to share time with the first love of your life!
“TALKING IS LIKE KETCHUP” by Carmen Mariano, Braintree, Massachusetts
I sat in my dad’s living room reading one night while he watched television. An hour passed before I realized it, and I felt bad for not speaking during that time. I asked if he was OK, and he said yes. Then I apologized for not talking more. “Carmen,” Dad replied. “Talking is like ketchup. If you like the meat enough, you don’t need the ketchup—and if you like the company enough, you don’t need the conversation.” My dad never earned a college degree, but he was the smartest person I ever knew.
To celebrate Father’s Day we have inspirational, creative, funny and locally sourced gifts in the store to help you to express your appreciation on Sunday June 19th.
Ok, it is a bit of a stereotype but most dad’s love to show off around the BBQ so why not have him looking cool while he is at the Q! Add a bottle of Acadian Maple BBQ sauce, created right here in NS, and a chef is born.
If he is not a morning person our “Not a Morning Person”mug will make sure he has his space with his morning coffee or how about his own an inspirational spoon for his cereal from …and then again.
We are here to help you find that special thing to make his day. Stop in today or last minute – we will wrap it to go.
Ah, the long weekend in May. The beginning of better weather and gardening ideas. A kick-off to outside adventures and road trips to parts unknown. New smells of spring flowers in bloom and, in farm country, freshly turned manure to feed the summer crops. It wakes us Maritimers from our deep winter sleep.
Our two shops are located in rural communities for a reason. We share the old-fashioned values often found in smaller towns like Parrsboro and we like that we are at the forefront of the growth and expansion happening in Hammonds Plains. As visitors from away start to arrive and local people open up their cottage properties, it seems like a ideal time to talk about the local attractions in our communities.
We chose to talk about these two particular destinations because of their ability to brighten our day. Spirit Reins Ranch outside of Parrsboro and Hatfield Farm located in Hammonds Plains are both locally owned businesses that provide a unique experience.
Spirit Reins offers personalized service for both the first time horse rider and for more experienced riders. Take advantage of their scenic trail rides with breathtaking views in every direction! Karen Gilbert, the owner, also offers extensive trail riding packages that include more experiential tours like the tidal floor fossil trip or a romantic picnic ride, and a family-friendly Bay of Fundy beach walking tour. While you are in town visiting Sweet Brier you can catch the Parrsboro Citizens Band Spring Concert on all weekend from May 21-23.
Located just outside of Halifax and a 5-minute drive from Sweet Brier, but with the feeling of being miles away from it all, Hatfield Farm offers a variety of horse adventures. Round up a group of friends to enjoy a trail ride to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A family outing this long weekend is worth a trip to visit the farm animal petting zoo and meet the baby goats, Alpacas, ponies, chickens, and donkeys.
Sweet Brier is a farm-friendly stop along the way – we really do not mind the barn smell so a visit before or after your farm visit is okay with us. To complement the long weekend road trip we have a few items in the store that you can add to your adventure wardrobe.
Heather, the owner of Sweet Brier Boutique, was thrilled to be invited to host a fashion show for Mamaganza 2016 on Saturday May 7th at the St. John’s Anglican Church on Larry Uteck Boulevard. In its second year, Mamaganza is truly a community affair that helps raise funds to support local community programs and people. This year the event was another sellout with more than 120 people enjoying laughs, friendship and a celebration of women at an indoor market, tea and fashion show.
Prior to the show, Mary Kate and Cindy with the Sweet Brier team worked with eight models who met at the boutique for fittings and styling advice. We loved that these courageous women were open to trying different styles and colours … some of them admittedly a departure from their usual fashion choices.
Shelley, Betty Freda, Natalie, Tasha, Adrianne, Sarah and Wendy modelled a selection of tunics, dresses and yoga wear great for business, day tripping or a special event. They illustrated beautifully that fashion transcends age. Their ensembles were complete with cruelty-free, vegan purses made of cork and scarves, jewelry, mesh shrugs and ponchos in gorgeous hues of turquoise, coral, blue and bright white.
Some of the crowd pleasers were our socially conscious lines – Inner Fire and Wear Your Label – worn by Sarah and Adrianne. As Adrianne walked through the room people reached out to touch the material in the Inner Fire yoga pants made from 100% post-consumer drinking bottles and designed in Canada.
Wear Your Label sparked as a small idea with passion and conviction: clothing and bracelets to create conversations about mental health. Two Fredericton youth wanted to encourage individuals to take ownership of their mental health, rather than fear the labels that so often define us. Their project — fashion tackling the stigma of mental health — is now an international success story. These are just two superhero labels we are proud to represent at Sweet Brier Boutique!
We enjoyed interacting with the community at the Marketplace that was humming before and after the show. It featured local businesses with apparel, jewelry, art, skin care, gift items – a showcase and celebration of the many entrepreneurs in our community. Heather’s husband Danny and her daughter Sarah greeted visitors to the Sweet Brier display.
Did you know this was not Heather’s first fashion show? She made her fashion debut modelling for Canada’s Centennial celebrations in a little community called Beardmore Ontario where she lived until she was nine! Her mother Zena was gracious enough to supply pictures of her early beauty queen days.
The community has been woven into the Sweet Brier story since its beginning. We will continue to be part of the social fabric in Hammonds Plains and Parrsboro by adding value to local events or through supporting an important cause like mental health.
We strive to make each trip to Sweet Brier an experience – an adventure that keeps you wanting to come back and explore. Our approach to retail as therapy means that we want you to play while you are here. An opportunity to escape for a moment and focus on YOU.
Our “Spot the Purple Dot” promotion is our version of a Treasure Hunt. Throughout the store, you will find PURPLE dots on price tags and this means you have found a bargain. Each dotted item will be discounted the equivalent of the taxes once you have finished hunting and exploring through the store. Each week the dots move so the treasure is only on the items for one week!
We selected purple for a reason. Purple has been Heather’s favourite colour since childhood. She recounts the following story about her early connection to clothing as therapy and the colour purple.
“When I moved from Ontario to Parrsboro I started school in Grade 4. My two aunts in Toronto used to send me clothes. They were usually second hand but really nice or at least I thought so. They sent me a long faux fur purple coat with a hood trimmed in silver fur. I loved that coat. I looked different than everyone else but I didn’t care. I loved it. It helped me feel better about changing schools and friends. It gave me confidence. I felt like a million bucks in it.”
Even today when you meet Heather in the Hammonds Plains or Parrsboro stores you will notice a streak of purple in her hair. So she chose the purple dot promotion because it:
Calms the mind and nerves
Offers a sense of spirituality
We want to stand for something in our rural communities and we have chosen to be an advocate for Mental Health, which is often associated with the colour purple in advocacy campaigns.
Our popular Wear Your Label line of clothing and jewelry has brought people into the stores because they support ending the stigma often associate with mental health too.
We are carrying a new line of books that feature positive messages for adults, teens, and children alike.
Treasure Hunting is a Nova Scotian tradition. Both of our rural locations have many local treasures to be found so add an adventure or two to your journey.
Whether you are heading to the Fundy Shore for rock hounding or to browse through the shops along Main Street a treasure hunt awaits you in Parrsboro. We hope a stop into the Sweet Brier Boutique is on your list of adventures but we also suggest adding the Amethyst Boutique and the Great Village Antiques Exchange to your treasure hunting road trip.
Come visit Sweet Brier and locate YOUR treasure – Spot the Purple Dot!
Sweet Brier Boutique in Parrsboro and Hammonds Plains is an enterprise owned and managed by a mom, Heather Spidell.
At the Sweet Brier Boutique we celebrate mom, mother, ma, mommy, momma, aha, mama, mutter, ma na, mamma, madre, mueter, mare, me – no matter the culture or language on Mother’s Day we pause to recognize her.
Sure we sell many meaningful products that any MOM would be thrilled to receive and we can help you find that perfect gift. What is also important to us is that we support so many women-owned companies and their products serve a double duty by supporting a woman entrepreneur who may also be a mom.
Many times the story behind the gift can give it more meaning so we want to share a few of the stories of the women behind our products.
Shawna O’Handley is a mom to her four-legged kids and they are the inspiration behind her Crazy Dog dehydrated treat products. Made in her Beaver Bank home she uses locally sourced ingredients that ensure that momma’s fur babies are only eating the best.
“I was on disability because I have an anxiety disorder and I really don’t like going out in public and stuff like that without my dogs,” said O’Handley, who has a handful of precious pups she calls “my children.” But the products are all about dogs and what they need.
Alchemy Fashions was born from a fascination with the culture of India, fashion design, and a love of yoga. Canadian designer Trisha Hinders has been working with the same small family business in India for over a decade.
In 2003 Alchemy settled on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, in a hip little oasis called Roberts Creek. Not long after that Trish met her husband Brett and had a beautiful son named Julian Ananda. They have an amazing beach, creek and rainforest outside their front door, with both the Alchemy Warehouse and Yoga Studio on an incredible ocean-view property. Alchemy has become a real family business, with husband Brett as the anchorman behind all the retail shows and festivals. Her son Julian has a special role – always helping her to balance work with play.
Brought to us by All Things Jill from Calgary, AB the baby-friendly line has been serving mums and bums since 2001. Jill Hawker is a mom supporter who has created a brand that will pamper soon-to-be or new mommy’s. Whether expecting a baby, newly postpartum or looking for an escape from the daily demands of a toddler an all-natural product is a thoughtful gift.
Originally from Erin, Ontario, Jill grew up your typical entrepreneur; she was the kid with the lemonade stand in the driveway, always wanted to play “store” and at one point when she was 7 or 8 was going to build her empire via rug hooking. She also began to dabble in soaps and bath salts at a young age, fascinated by how the ingredients would come together to make a certain product.
What do you get when you cross a young fashionista with the business sense of her mother and the creative genius of her grandmother? You get Daneka Sharpe the 14 year old owner of Morning Star Couture.
She is assisted by her mother, Anne Sharpe, a sales rep for a beauty supplies company, who helps with the business, and her grandmother, Beverly Boulter, who brainstorms ideas with Daneka then hand writes every saying. A dollar from every piece of clothing sold goes to the IWK.
“I knew when I started doing this that I wanted to give back to the community,” Daneka explained.
Both the Hammonds Plains and Parrsboro locations will be chock-a-block full of mom-centered gifts so stop in and we can tell you more about the people behind the brands.
The bandit that steals your best night’s sleep has been apprehended at 1421 Hammonds Plains Road
The original crime was brought to our attention by the Cumberland Perfect Sleep Company. As weary-eyed customers flocked into the Sweet Brier Hammonds Plains location to grab their pillows we began to recognize the impact of the crime. After selling over 200 of the soft, bamboo covered, buckwheat filled dreamcatchers since November 2014 we decided to investigate other products that could aid a good night’s sleep.
We have learned that the crime does not seem to have a specific target audience. We have talked to everyone from retired folks to parents of young children to overworked professionals to people suffering from neck or back problems. Our questioning has led to a better understanding about sleep quality and how essential it is to people’s health and wellness. So many of our customers have shared their stories of sleepless nights, sore necks, headaches in the morning and generally not feeling rested. We had no idea how impactful our decision to carry the Cumberland Perfect Sleep products would be for our customers.
So it had us thinking. What else can we do to help our customers experience a peaceful nights sleep? We pulled together our resources and we have a few suggestions that complement the awesomeness of the Cumberland pillows.
Like our soft, relaxing sleep masks handmade by April Cornell. Not only will they darken the room to create a peaceful environment but it is a business with a purpose. Proceeds from each sale support the Giving World Foundation to help those who need a hand up not a hand out in rural India. There is a lot of evidence to support that giving to others is a lasting form of stress relief.
An age-old remedy is a nice hot bath before hitting the hay. You can feel the relaxing warmth of the water and we have a few natural products that will make it an even more pleasant experience. Barefoot Venus Mango Butter Bath Bliss is one that is carried in the shop. And, yes it is as yummy as it sounds. Sourced from Kelowna, BC these products are sinfully wonderful.
Pearl & Daisy is a natural soap company located in Londonderry, NS. For a soothing soak add a generous amount of the Lime and Basil scented Beach Glass to the tub. The product is made with 100% natural sea salts and minerals. It is guaranteed to have you in dreamland in no time.
A medicinal cup of tea is often prescribed before bedtime. We are fortunate to be carrying a holistic line of herbal teas from Sackville, NS. The organic Sleep-Ease BueTEAful premium tea was created to calm and soothe the nervous system and when taken before bed it helps to promote peaceful dreams.
Creating a good cup of tea can be a bit of a chemistry experiment to get it right so our friends at Grosche have designed brewers that make it easy. Their products are practical, durable, and attractive. The Valencia Brewer was specially designed for gourmet loose teas and the smaller Aspen version creates that one perfect cup made just for you. The company with a heart gives five days of clean drinking water for people in need from each sale of their products.
Our customers have told us that sometimes sleep eludes them when they have so much on their mind that they just can’t seem to shut off at the end of the day. A recent introduction of adult colouring books in the retail market may be just the fix. We have a few versions in the store to choose from to help quiet a busy mind. Get those crayons and markers out and tune out the world.
Hurry in to take advantage of the most recent shipment of Cumberland pillows that just arrived April 1st and grab your personalized snooze pack!
Those post sun-vacation feelings can continue with a smash of Spring colour. Coral is a great transition colour to chase away those blues (although a lovely turquoise works too)!
New styles are arriving daily from great Canadian fashion suppliers like Red Coral and other easy-to-wear designs.
Red Coral first opened for business nearly 30 years ago. It began as (and remains to this day) a family owned business, based out of the town of St. Jacobs, Ontario.
Today, Red Coral continues to work hard to bring a world of fabulous fashions and accessories to your neighbourhood. Our distinct style means that Red Coral appeals to all women, no matter her age or size.
We love supporting Canadian labels and we are pleased to be carrying many locally sourced fashion and accessory lines.
Invest ethically with a Pixie Mood purse made with vegan materials and guaranteed to be cruelty-free. The choices include a variety of wallets and evening clutches that convert to cross straps and the very popular backpack style for those hands-free adventures.
Top it all off with a something interesting at the neckline. These three artisan jewelry designers promise a unique piece that no one else will be wearing at the party.
Orchard Designs are created by an artist living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The kiln-formed glass appears to have more than one color at the same time, especially when viewed from different angles. This reflective phenomenon is also why you see swirling rainbow patterns in a soap bubble, floating colors from oil on water and the dramatic colors of dragonfly wings. Mysterious and eye-catching!
Nova Scotian’s are proud of our Maritime history and Aflame Creations has captured that pride in her work. Designing from her Halifax studio, Megan Archer melts coloured glass powders onto copper using a kiln method. This results in an unique piece each time and the colours are outstanding.
The sea glass was handpicked by the artist Jason Ballet off the beaches of Newfoundland. It is weathered by nature and presented in this necklace with a sand dollar charm. The Seaglass Delights line offers a touch of the ocean wrapped in an elegant conversation piece.
Your retail therapy awaits you – if you haven’t stopped into the Hammonds Plains location we would love to see you. This is where #ChicHappens.
Stay tuned for the re-opening of the Parrsboro boutique in late April.
Sometimes a product is just so popular it is hard to keep it in stock. This is the (pillow) case with the Cumberland Sleep Company’s buckwheat pillows. We are thrilled to be carrying this local product and we are taking names and filling orders even if our stock is low so let us know if you are looking for one – buy two and receive the lumbar support pillow for free!
Our Buckwheat Hull Pillows are filled with the finest quality buckwheat hulls, grown right here in the Atlantic Provinces, and manufactured next to the famous Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Nova Scotia. Buckwheat hull Pillows have been prescribed by health professionals for centuries for relief of pain and discomfort associated with a poor quality rest due to spinal mis-alignment. Buckwheat Hull Pillows the most anatomically correct support for the head and neck available. Period.
A customer commented that she had been using a buckwheat pillow for 20 years but it had worn out. She had not had a good night sleep in weeks so she was relieved to learn she could purchase a new one close to home. She commented that the bamboo cover and larger size made it even better than her former tried and true sleep companion.
It makes our day to make your day and a good night sleep is a wonderful thing.
Recently a group of friends visited the Sweet Brier Hammonds Plains location. After a yummy lunch at nearby Edible Matters, the group dropped in for some retail therapy.
The house was familiar to Holly, one of the women in the group, and she described her experience during her time in the shop.
“It was like treasure hunting but it also felt homey, like you were trying on things from your sister’s closet who has really cool upscale stuff. There’s something for everyone and it’s like an adventure”.
She went on the describe how it felt to move around the family home and her encounters with other people who were in the store.
“I always remember that house. I would see it every day from the school bus window. It did feel very home-like and comfortable. When I was there I met an old colleague, a lovely woman who now lives in the area. I also met a stranger who ended up being related to me. I told her about our shared, and very interesting heritage. It was more than an adventure. It was like there was a strange (in a good way) “connectedness” there. I can’t explain it”.
The close encounters happen often in the homey spaces in the Sweet Brier Boutiques. Stop into the Hammonds Plains location to discover you own “connected” experience.
I’ve had the same body type since I was about 14; average bust, smaller than average waist and larger than average hips, thighs and derriere. I would say I’m somewhere in between an hourglass and a pear shaped figure. Let me also say before I continue that over the years I have grown to love my body, and nothing written below is meant to be insulting towards my figure, it’s just realistic.
My biggest issue is not with my body itself, but with the fact that I have always loved clothing styles that are made for someone with a “boyish” or “petite” figure. I know the general rule for buying women’s dresses with my proportions–go with a fit and flare. The tight waist accentuates my smallest curve while the full skirt hides and minimized my fuller “bottom area.” So almost every dress I own is that style, and that’s perfectly fine–except sometimes I long for something different: a pencil dress. I’ve always admired the classy and classic silhouette. I cannot even count the number of pencil dresses I have tried on in the past 20 years, but I can tell you the results were always the same. If it fit my bottom half, the waist of the dress was baggy around my torso creating a saggy, floppy looking top half. If it fit my waist and bust, it’s a guarantee that it would be straining and pulling inappropriately around the bottom, which would undoubtedly end up in a split seam or some other wardrobe malfunction.
When I began working at Sweet Brier Boutique in Parrsboro, I immediately admired Manager Ashley Ellis, who is very petite and athletic, in a blue polka dotted Emily and Fin pencil dress. I gushed compliments on how perfectly it fit her tiny frame. When it came time to take my employee photo, she asked if I’d like to try it on. I laughed at her foolishness, told her I’d never get my thighs into a dress that looked like it was tailored for her, and grabbed a black and white fit and flare from the rack. The fit and flare looked great, as I knew it would and I shelved any thought about trying to squeeze myself into that exquisite pencil dress I’d admired so much. I looked longingly at it whenever I passed the Emily and Fin rack, and when there was only one dress in my size left, one evening after my last customer left and the door was locked, I took it back to the dressing room–just to see. I fully expected to leave feeling disappointed and dejected. Have you ever read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? It’s a teen novel about four friends with completely different body types who wear the same pair of jeans and magically all look fantastic in them.
Well, when I looked in the mirror I was certain that whoever made those jeans must have made this dress as well, because the same dress that looked so amazing on my petite coworker also made me feel like a knockout.
Once the shock and delight wore off, I took a closer look at the dress and realized it wasn’t some sort of sorcery that was making this dress so divine, it was good old fashioned quality craftsmanship.
Both the lining and the dress were made from a high quality cotton and each stitch and seam was sewn with care and attention to detail. The modern, timeless style did not pull or strain–it held my curves in a strong and stable fit that was nothing but flattering from all angles. The pockets were an added bonus! Not that I will be giving up my fit and flares–they suit my body type and will always be a fashion staple for me. But after 20 years of looking for the cloth equivalent to the love of my life, I finally found it in the blue polka dot Robyn Dress, thanks to Emily and Fin.
I think most women have something that makes them feel self conscious when they look in the mirror. For me, it’s always been my dark under eye circles. I have tried everything to minimize their appearance, from more sleep to cucumber slices over my eyes, but the only thing that seems to work is make up. And not just any make up, it has to be high quality otherwise it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gun shot wound–still very noticeable.
So imagine my delight when Sweet Brier Boutique started carrying da lish Cosmetics. I’d heard of da lish before. A Canadian company, da lish used natural products full of antioxidants such as shea butter and sunflower seed oil, so your skin benefits from long term use of the products. In fact, their products are 75-85% natural–afar cry from some brands which use only 10% natural ingredients.
But one of the lines on the da lish website is, “Foundations that help perfect and even out your complexion without the makeup mask.” I was pretty sure, in order to make any progress in hiding my circles, that I actually needed a mask. But to my delight, when I tried it out, I found out that I didn’t! The da lish line minimized the circles and provided a clean, natural look for the day.
What’s your biggest beauty worry? Leave me a comment and I will try my best to help you find a solution!