Monday, May 11, 2015

Thank you zulily for featuring FortuneKeeper and Chrisie on your blog!

Here at zulily, we are very excited to be celebrating Mother’s Day all month long by spotlighting our fabulous mom entrepreneur vendors! We had the chance to chat withFortuneKeeper’s Founder and Co-Owner, Chrisie Canny, to get a behind-the-scenes peek at how her beautiful line of unique, lovingly handmade jewelry came to be. 

Chrisie Canny Hard at Work

What inspired you to start your jewelry designs?
FortuneKeeper started by way of a Sunday night tradition of eating Chinese food. Our family loves it, especially opening the magical cookie at the end of the meal. We read them to each other and it is fun and often the messages are so special that we all find ourselves keeping them, putting them on the fridge, stuffing them into drawers and carrying them in our wallets. Inevitably they get lost or tattered. Tim, my brother, who has a flair for original ideas, decided what we all needed was a special way to carry our fortunes with us and to be able to change them when we wanted to. I had recently closed my small retail store in Brooklyn where I sold candles, gifts and art as the economy was struggling. I love original fun ideas so the two of us decided to create a necklace that would keep your special fortunes close to your heart. It had to be clear, at least on one side, so the fortune could be visible to read; you had to be able to be open it so the fortunes could be inserted and changed easily, and it had to look beautiful, because our dad was in the textile business and although he was no longer here, he taught us that color and design can really inspire us. My daughter Cate, who was eight at the time, had a say in every design decision that we made. She has the family flair and we let her run with it.
The fortunes may have been the launching pad for our handmade necklaces, but soon people were using their FortuneKeepers to hold their inspirational messages, treasured clipped photos, prayers, personal goals and giving them to friends who might need a little pick me up. With so many people looking to hold onto an inspirational message “Read it – Believe It – Keep It” became our tagline, and the FortuneKeeper was born.

Chrisie & her daughter

What has been the most impactful moment since starting your company?
I was at the Union Square Holiday Market in New York City. It is well-known annual outdoor festive that takes place around the holidays in December. FortuneKeeper had a booth as they are wonderful gifts. A young woman came to look at our display and she was drawn to our Butterfly keychain. She wanted to purchase one so I told her I would get her a new one in a holiday box. Suddenly she called me back. She had turned the keychain over and it had a message in it that said “This is your year, Love Mom.” She told me that she wanted it. It was a sample, but she did not care. Her mom had recently passed away from cancer and she felt it was her mom speaking to her. There were so many messages in the samples, but none like this one. We had a good cry together as I lost my dad to cancer and I am a person who believes in signs and symbols. When my dad died butterflies seemed to show up wherever I went. After that special moment FortuneKeeper donated proceeds from every Butterfly sold to her music therapy foundation called “Heather on Earth” that helps children with cancer in hospitals for one year. 

Do they have a unique story that drives each design?
We have themes that are the foundation of our company such as the power of friendship and family, believing in your potential, unconditional love and so many more. Right now we have over 20 images all with a special story. We know that in life we can embrace whatever the challenges might be. We want to aspire to be our best and we have wonderful imagery to tell our stories. Every FortuneKeeper comes with a story card that gives meaning to the image. We have found that very often the purchase is based on the story and not necessarily the image.
How did your relationship with zulily begin?
zulily found us at The New York Gift Show. It was a great meeting and we knew that there was a relationship in the making. All of our pieces are handmade in Brooklyn so we needed some time to get FortuneKeeper ready for our first zulily event. We are a company that has something for everyone, but the truth is our customers are overwhelmingly women. It is a great fit and although we are at opposite ends of the coasts, we feel like neighbors.  We even had the pleasure of hosting the Seattle team at our studio in Brooklyn. We all had so much fun and they loved our bagels!

Chrisie's daughter (Cate) & nephew (Grayson)

How Have You Benefited From Working with zulily?
We love working with zulily. They have given us such great exposure and brand recognition. We so appreciate that a company as big and well known as zulily has partnered with us and appreciates the work and craftsmanship of small companies like FortuneKeeper. It is so great when we hear “I saw you on zulily.” zulily inspires us to be the best that we can be. 
What’s in the future for your company?
Today we have expanded our line to include adjustable necklaces, bracelets, key chains, bag pulls and a stainless steel line. We have something for everyone and that’s the story for now. It is ever-changing as life is. We have some wonderful plans for new images and new jewelry designs. So many people have asked us for spiritual designs and religious symbols. We are working on this right now. We are also adding some healing stones to our bracelets and necklaces. We have lots a plans for expanding the FortuneKeeper line. Oh, did I mention that life is a beach? Get ready for some beachy images that will make your day a sunny one! This mom wants to share her passion with all of the women and moms who want to feel the love.
Think of a special saying you would like to treasure in beautiful jewelry around your neck? Shop all of FortuneKeeper’s beautiful designs on zulily, now through Wednesday! (May 12, 2015)