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Bling It Up Girl

Featuring Steph Foltys, Founder of Bling It Up Girl

· special needs,product review,interview,MBTL approved

\ bliNG \

NOUN

  1. expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry, or the wearing of them.
    "behind the bling: are diamonds worth it?"
    synonyms: ostentatious · pretentious · showy · conspicuous · obtrusive · flamboyant

ADJECTIVE

  1. denoting expensive, ostentatious clothing or jewelry, or the style or materialistic attitudes associated with them.
    "the bling lifestyle of diamond rings, flashy cars, and champagne"
    synonyms: ostentatious · pretentious · showy · conspicuous · obtrusive · flamboyant · swanky· superfly

The word ‘bling’ can be used as a noun or adjective. According to the Urban Dictionary, it refers to any unnecessary accumulation of metal or jewellery. Of course a little sparkle and shine isn’t a necessity, but let’s get real… everyone loves a little bling!

Holla to all the special needs parents who have to strap, wrap, load or lift some type of adapted equipment or mobility device for their child. Wheelchairs, walkers, AFOs and harnesses are just some examples of the gear our children rely on a daily basis. I fully believe in these accommodations as they are daily living essential for for our children. However bringing some personalization to this equipment can make it fun!

Part of Bella’s everyday attire is her ankle foot orthosis (AFO). I wrote about her AFOs and my relentless hunt for a running shoe that fit these honk’n monsters in my post, The Glass Slipper That Fit. As much as I value the comfort and functionality of a good shoe, pairing Bella’s outfits with pants that fit her AFOs is a tedious job.

I wanted to add something to Bella’s daily attire that would do justice to her leg braces, as she struts w/ Kadence to mesmerize and stun the onlookers! Hmmmmm, it’s time to...

Meet my good friend Amanda, and her sister Steph!

Steph is a teacher by day and a bling-er by night. She is a wife and a mother of 2 beautiful girls, and just like how I find time to blog, Steph always finds time to bling! For this week’s blog post I will be interviewing this entrepreneur who not only loves to bling it up, but create one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, jackets, shoes and more!

MOM BEHIND THE LABEL: Your wardrobe style is like your very own visual business card. It speaks for itself as you are vibrant, imaginative, energetic, original and approachable! You recently started this business, Bling It Up Girl about 6 months ago, but I know you have been creating unique items for years. Can you tell us about your inspiration in starting this business, and what your brand is all about?

STEPH: For as long as I can remember I have always loved accessorizing and searching for high and low unique pieces. About 15 years ago, my dad (one of my biggest cheerleaders) said, “I'm sure you could make these things and you could stop wasting time searching”. At first, I thought, “NO Way!”, but then I began making my own necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Having people approach me and ask, “Hey where did you get that from?” was, and still is always the biggest shock… but being able to reply, “I made it myself” still gives me butterflies in my stomach!

13 years ago I had my first daughter Lily followed by a pause in the “creating of new bling department” as I wanted to soak up every second of being a mom. After my second daughter turned 6 and was in school full time, I began exploring my creative side once again!

My friends, and family members would always tell me to sell my creations. Over the past few years I have had some of my pieces featured in Bayview Village, and in one-of-a-kind stores around Toronto, but to be honest there was something missing. That missing piece was the connection between myself and the customer themselves. That is were my vision for Bling It Up Girl came to be. I wanted to make a platform where I could connect with people who love all things BLING and all things unique as I do. I wanted to share my creations with them and best of all, turn their wishes into reality! And 6 months ago Bling It Up Girl was born.

MOM BEHIND THE LABEL: There are many jewelry businesses out there trying to sell their products and services. What sets Bling It Up Girl apart from the others?

STEPH: I think what sets apart from the rest is the personal touch and customization each piece has. Everything is unique! I also think that I provide an experience for interested customers as I can be a sounding board for ideas they already have in mind, or I can create a one-of-a-kind surprise if that’s what they choose.

I started out making necklaces and jewelry and even Bling-ing Up photography, but then I just couldn’t stop. From shoes, jackets, hats, EVERYTHING was a new canvas, a new opportunity and a new inspiration. I spend A LOT of time finding vintage fabrics that I like to use when turning something old into something new and exciting. My bling of choice are Swarovski crystals. I love they way they catch onto surrounding colours and pick up the natural light!

MOM BEHIND THE LABEL: As a parent of a child with special needs, it is always delightful to meet businesses who will provide the personalized customer service I need. Bella has a lot of specialized gear, that definitely sets her apart from peers her age. When your sister Amanda told me about your business, I was intrigued because I had a good feeling that you were able to create a one-or-a-kind handmade addition to her shoes and AFOs, while showcasing Bella’s personal style. Tell us about your work on Queen B’s glass slippers...

STEPH: I was so excited when you reached out and asked me to work on Bella’s shoes and braces. I had never done work on materials like this before and to be honest they were my favourite project to date! I wanted to ensure that anything I added would be functional, durable, and look awesome. I knew I wanted her AFO’s to be unique, fun, age appropriate and NOT tacky. I will never forget during one of our conversations when I was asking your opinions on colours and materials you said to me, "BLING IT UP GIRL! I'm putting my trust in your hands."

I started off with Queen B’s shoes. I thought what better way to make her glass slippers complete but to…bling them up! I lined each of the New balance logo with Swarovski crystals to give them the perfect amount of shimmer and shine!

As for the AFO’s my creative juices were flowing, I had so many ideas running through my head, I think that I changed my mind about about a million times! In the end…LOVE always wins! I decided to create hand-painted hearts to incorporate the amount of love Bella is surrounded by each day. As for colour I I wanted to make sure that they would be versatile enough to match with Bella’s daily attire and shoes so I used different shades of pink, black, white, and silver. Each heart has Swarovski crystal accents to match her glass slippers. I lined her straps with a black lace/sequin material to add some extra Bling and attached the hearts on top. When they were complete my 10-year-old daughter Mia came in and said, “Wow mom those hearts look so cool I think they will be perfect for Bella” which was one of the best compliments I could receive.

MOM BEHIND THE LABEL: What is the greatest joy as a bling-er?

STEPH: Seeing other people appreciate what I do and want to wear my creations is such a neat feeling. Knowing that people trust me to make things for them rather then pick them out at a store is still mind blowing. But to be completely honest, meeting people like yourself, learning more about you and your families in order to make something truly meaningful, special and unique is the most rewarding part. Seeing the pieces I have made on my clients is priceless!

MOM BEHIND THE LABEL: What are your hopes for your business?

STEPH: My biggest hope is to continue meeting new people and get the chance to make things for them and their families that they feel special wearing.

MOM BEHIND THE LABEL: What do you hope my #MomBehindTheLabel readers take away?

STEPH: I hope they see what you saw in me; a mom who has a dream and passion for making others feel special through creative art! I would love to hear from your #MomBehindTheLabel readers, learn more about the amazing families and experiences, and collaborate with them to make something special and unique for their children or YOU! My motto is, when it comes to bling… there is no surface that should be left untouched!

Thank you Steph for taking the time to share your story on how you sprinkle, shine, glimmer, and glow. Bella is very happy with her innovative and stylish glass slippers. As returning customers, we are already looking to find what we could bling-out next!

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