Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Sister's Gift of Style & Comfort!

It was so much fun to correspond with Marie about picking out the perfect Annie & Isabel hospital gown for her sisters upcoming birth. Marie was not going to be able to be there for the actual birth of her niece. She was so thoughtful to let us know when little Mio entered the world. Here is what she said...

"Hi Selena,
I just want
ed to let you know that my niece was born on Friday! She is gorgeous! My sister, Amy called me today & was going on & on about how much she loved her gown. She got tons of compliments on it & it just made her feel more comfortable. She is so ready to promote your product! I really think it was the best gift I could have given her, since I couldn't be there after Mio was born. Thanks again! ~Marie"

Marie's note just made our day! Gifting an Annie & Isabel gown is such a thoughtful thing to do for a mom-to-be or anyone who has to spend time in the hospital. Having comfort and dignity in a place that is usually not those things is well worth it!

Marie's sister Amy recently sent us beautiful pictures of her new family and a wonderful testimonial.

Welcome to the world sweet Mio! Your mommy looks radiant in her Annie gown. The Annie gown on Amy is the perfect backdrop to these lovely photographs. Read Amy's testimonial here... and here is a sneak peak at her beautiful baby girl!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Susan Gown Introduced at The Appel & Frank Event in SF

We are really excited to finally have our Susan gown ready for introduction! This is the first gown that is not in memory of a loved one, but in honor of someone very special to us. We always wanted to find a great animal print for a fun and chic gown, but couldn't find the perfect fabric. When we laid eyes on THE fabric for the Susan gown, we quickly had a sample made and we LOVED it...The fabric was so soft and we thought, ok... let's do it! We were saddened and surprised to find out that the manufacturer of the fabric does one run of their prints only, so it would not be available to us. We called them back and said there HAS to be a way... it was just too perfect.. believe me, we had looked at so much fabric that we just couldn't accept this. Well, we found out that there was one way to "bring it back", and that was to special re-order the fabric to be made for us alone... and (of course) costing us more $ per yard. We felt so strongly that "The Susan" had to become a reality, that we took deep breaths and said....YES! The Susan is our limited edition gown that is "exclusive" to Annie & Isabel. We waited for our fabric to be made for over 2 months.. so, we were really excited when we received the phone call that it was here! We had it shipped to our amazing manufacturer in San Francisco and they were off! We were really lucky to give people a first look at The Susan at our Appel & Frank event last Sunday and the reaction was really positive!

Setting up for the Babes & Babies event with The Susan

It was fun to do the Babes & Babies show in San Fracisco, where I spent 13 years of my life and still work. I was sad to be missing my A&I other half, my sister at this event:( She was cheering on her boys at their swim championships and they did great! So, I called on my SF girls and husband to come out and help. Our friend Katie, who is perfect for The Susan, threw it on and walked around showing off it fabulousness and all the wonderful features of our gown. My other friend Stephanie was a perfect promoter for our gowns, as she has experienced labor in generic hospital gowns with her first baby and in Annie & Isabel gowns, 3 months ago, with her son. You can read her wonderful testimonial here:) It was awesome hearing someone else talk about all the reasons we believe so strongly in our product.. and people were listening! Thanks girls!!!!

My friends and models:)

The Appel & Frank event was a blast! It was the first show for Annie & Isabel and honestly, it felt strange, exciting, and finally real! I can't believe how far we have come in the past year. It was great talking to all the moms-2-be and explaining all the specially thought out features of our gowns. We had a wonderful response and sold several gowns! I loved talking to the moms who have already had their babies and reminding them that our gowns are not only for maternity patients. We actually sold 2 gowns to people gifting them to women battling difficult diagnosis.

We were delighted to meet Cathy, who is due with her first child on Labor Day! We had corresponded via email and when we realized she was local, suggested she attend the event. She was such a delight and brightened up the whole room with her smile and laugh. I showed her all the gowns and when I explained that our Elizabeth was in honor of our grandmother who died of breast cancer, her decision was made. She bought the Elizabeth gown, with it's little pink ribbons and beautiful Karen Neuburger fabric, in honor of her mother... a 3 time breast cancer survivor! It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how Cathy will also be honoring her mother on the day that she becomes a mother herself. I know that she is just so grateful to be able to have her mother with her on this day that she brings her own daughter into this world. We can't wait to hear all about it and definitely want a pic of these 3 generations of women! Thank you Cathy for being as enthusiastic about Annie & Isabel as we are.

Cathy In Her Elizabeth Gown Honoring Her Mother

A really fun part about participating in an event like this was seeing all the other products created by local designers. I was really busy talking to people at our booth, but at the end of the event I had a chance to browse the rows of fellow vendors. I laughed when I found myself at the Glop & Glam hair product booth for kids. Yes, I have boys... but, they are MOST famous for their hair. I bought "Hair Glop Watermelon Hard Candy Gel" that promises to control frizz... well, if anyone has see my son Henry... we NEEDED this! What do you think??? The great thing about these products is they are sulfate free.

Before & After

We met a really nice guy, from Chicago, who started this great company called BellyMan with his wife. My husband and I are convinced that everyone we meet from Chicago is always SO nice. We went to Chicago to see the Giants vs Cubs years ago and were floored by all of the people who went out of their way to help us enjoy their beautiful city. This is a great company and I love the concept! They have made a line of vintage-inspired, "uber-soft T's for dads-to-be". They simply have the month that their baby is due on the shirt and look cool too! Check out their site, because I think this would be the cutest way to tell your hubby that you are having a baby! My husband and I would always joke about the which "birth shirt" he should wear to each of the deliveries of our boys... this would make a perfect daddy birth shirt! Hopefully someday Annie & Isabel designer hospital gowns and BellyMan can work together. We would have mom AND dad covered!

Photo of Hoop Dream (August)
How great is this? They retail @ $38.00

We are really excited to give you the "Story Behind The Gown" of our new Susan gown. We will be introducing it soon, but if you are interested in purchasing the gown, it is available in our shop.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Proud Mama Teeny Meets Her Beautiful Son!

We are LOVING all the wonderful testimonials we are getting in! This one is from a wonderful person Christine, AKA "Teeny", who ordered The Isabel Gown for her recent birth. We are so happy Teeny loved her Isabel gown and here is what she had to say about her experience. Thank you SO much Teeny... We are really happy you had a wonderful experience and a beautiful healthy boy! We just love this picture of Jameson... and you even got our logo in there! If you have worn one of our Annie & Isabel gowns, we would love to hear your story.

So Precious!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Testimonials Are Coming In...Read Chasity's Story

We recently received this testimonial from Chasity. She received her Isabel gown as a gift from her sister Natalie, who I work with in the ICU. We have received so much support from co-workers because we, as nurses, see what gets on those icky hospital gowns (you seriously do NOT want to know)! Now that there is an alternative... we are all looking for someone...(anyone!!)... to prevent from wearing the standard gown. Besides the "gross-factor" of the hundreds of people who have worn the standard gown before you, our gowns have all the features patients often wish they had... like your backside covered and a pocket. For Chasity, receiving her Annie & Isabel gown was such a wonderful addition to such a special day... it really makes a difference during the ups and downs of labor. Thanks Natalie for your support... and thanks Chasity for your glowing testimonial! Getting testimonials like this makes all our hard work worth every second. Congratulations on your beautiful son and family! Your girls are so precious and I am sure they will take good care of their new little brother. To read what Chasity has to say ~ click HERE.

Here is a sneak peak at her beautiful family.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Glowing Mom and Glowing Testimonial

We just received these amazing photographs and testimonial from Gina, who recently gave birth to her second child... a baby girl! What a beautiful family!

"Can I please announce to the world how much I loved my Annie & Isabel gown! I never thought a gown could make such a difference in a hospital stay until I wore the Anita gown during my second child's delivery. Being 5'2'' I had a difficult time being comfortable during my first labor and delivery. Having a gown that was not a one size fits all was a gift! I did not have any extra material to get tangled in and I was covered in all the appropriate places. The design was joyful and I received so many compliments while wearing it. This was extremely helpful during my 25 hours of labor. The Anita pattern and colors worked like a charm when I was in need of a focus point. Looking back, I wish I had two for my hospital stay. I had my mother take it home, wash it, and return it to me as fast as she could. Even after a few washed, the gown was as good as new. Nursing was comfortable and easy with the shoulder snaps. I did not have to worry about my gown while visitors came to meet our newest member of the family. I loved it so much; I will be gifting one to all my mom-to-be friends!"

Thanks Gina! We are so happy that you were able to have a more comfortable and enjoyable experience in your Anita gown! Congratulations on your precious new addition!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Being the Patient...My Personal Experience

As many of your know, I was recently hospitalized with a severe case of pneumonia. Thankfully I am now on the mend and back to enjoying family life at home!! As my sister mentioned in a previous post, this whole experience was very surreal for me. I am used to being the nurse that takes care of the patients so it felt strange to be the patient that so needed the nurses and doctors to care for me....almost uncomfortable.

In my ER with my good friend and nurse, Robin

When starting this business, my sister and I really wanted to develop a designer hospital gown that would be stylish, cover the back, and make people feel better. The majority of our gowns are sold to people having babies or to people buying them as shower gifts for expectant mothers. We absolutely love this because we know our gowns make new mothers feel beautiful and special. In fact, the idea for our company started when my sister was in labor with her second little boy. We thought how great it would be to have had a beautiful hospital gown to wear for such a joyous occasion!!!

Since my sister and I are both nurses, however, we also had a passion to design a gown that would brighten the lives of cancer patients, those with chronic illnesses, and anybody having to spend time in the hospital. Inadequate hospital gowns are patients #1 complaint and, by giving some dignity and control back to patients by allowing them to wear their own gown....one that is stylish and doesn't leave them feeling naked....we felt this would help patients feel better. After my recent experience in the hospital, I now know how true this is!!

During my illness, I made two trips to the Emergency Room. The first day I didn't bring my own hospital gown because I figured the doctors and nurses would just tune me up with some pain medication, fluids, antibiotics and I would go home feeling better. This meant that I had to put on THE hospital gown. It was big, ugly and , yes, pretty much everything hung out the back!!! I didn't care about a whole lot at the time because I felt so sick but a couple of thoughts did cross my mind. What had soiled this gown in the past? I wonder who wore this gown before me? Have you ever thought about the history of a hospital gown? That will be a whole other post :-)

I went home that day, but things didn't get better and I returned to the Emergency Room the next day, knowing I probably wouldn't be going home. I promptly called my sister to have her bring the Anita!! I was still miserable, but it felt so good to have a clean, comfortable, beautiful gown that was my own. It was the one thing I could control during a time when everything else seemed out of control for me. Unfortunately, I spent many more days in the hospital, but one of the positive things that I looked forward to each day was that I had my own new fresh gown to wear. I wore the Anita, the Evelyn, the Isabel and the Elizabeth. For me personally, it was even more meaningful, because I also thought about the women that these hospital gowns were named after....women I knew and loved. I felt connected to them and that gave me strength. When I eventually had the energy to get up to walk the halls, I felt so comfortable knowing I was all covered up. I found that I also felt pretty in the gowns! Looking at the pictures now, I realize that maybe I did not look as good as I thought I did :-) The saying "When you look good you feel better" really is true. See for yourself....

ER visit #1 in THE hospital gown

ER visit #2 in the Anita designer hospital gown. Even though in actuality I was doing worse....doesn't it look like I feel better in that beautiful gown???

I am truly excited about the fact that I now know that we are on target in our mission to help people heal through the beauty of our product. Those words are not just our advertising slogan anymore.....the sentiment was a reality working in my life. So I am happy and hopeful that my experience will be repeated for our clients. I know that our designer hospital gowns can bring smiles, strength, and beauty to anybody who has the unpleasant experience of being in the hospital!!

Me with my little love

Thank you to all of my family and friends who provided such tremendous support through this experience.....especially my husband who was the rock in our family during this time!! To my sister, who was my best nurse and advocate and spent many nights in the hospital with me. To my mom who flew home from her trip from Salt Lake to be with me, and also stay with me in the hospital.....it meant so much to have you there. My love and thanks to my dad, who was there for me the entire time, and to my friends who helped me immensely......you know who you are!!!

Me with my sister and awesome nurse, Selena!!

Me with my mom and best friend :-)

I want to also thank all the health care professionals at Sutter Health who took such great care of me!! You were all so amazing. It made me so proud to work for this organization. I am actually anxious to be able to go back to work next month! Given a choice, I would never have chosen this experience because it truly was scary but, I have to say, I learned a lot from being the patient, and I know it is going to make me an even better nurse when I return to work.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 18th ~ Appel & Franks "Babes & Babies" event in San Francisco

Just a reminder to mark your calendars for the fabulous event for families and soon to be hip mommies and daddies on Sunday, July 18th in San Francisco. 50 local designers will be there and selling their products at discounted prices, including us!!! If I had a baby bump, I'd come to win the Maclaren stroller and of course pick up my Annie & Isabel designer hospital gown!
Friends of Annie & Isabel are known to win the grand prize at events like this... Our friend Stephanie won the stroller at the Bump it Up event this past May. We will be debuting our Susan gown, which is going into production this week! Read below for more details and hope to see you there!

Don't miss the hottest Mom & Baby shopping event in the Bay Area!
Tickets are FREE for our friends by entering the discount code DESIGNER at www.appelandfrank.com. All tickets will be $5 each at the door.

- Lush gift bags for the first 300 families
- A raffle with a chance to WIN a new Maclaren stroller, Peter Pan tickets, memberships to
Peekadoodle Kidsclub
& Bay Area Discovery Museum, a birthday party at Tutu School, spa
, diaper bags and much more!
- Mini photo shoots with on-site photographer
Annie Florin Photography
- Play area for the kids hosted by
Peekadoodle Kids Club
- Complimentary beverages from
Smartwater & Vitaminwater