Not too long after we had HeartwoodGifts.com up and running, we attended a trade show to seek out some more unique gifts for our store. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a display of beautiful, handmade leather journals. Deneen grabbed my hand and pulled me in to take a look with her, and we were introduced to Phasha journals for the ﬁrst time. I was so drawn to the deep brown and red hues in the leather. The smooth appearance made it irresistible and I just had to pick them all up and feel them. They had a great variety of styles. There were plain ones that had an understated, rustic feel to them. The Stitch with Stone ones really caught my attention, and I think they are my personal favourites. They come in a variety of semi precious stones, and are stitched around the edges. They also had several different tooled journals, which have a
pattern embossed into the leather. These come with or without stones, and all featured handcrafted acid-free cotton paper inside. We also were impressed with their gorgeous photo albums, guest books and sketch books. We spent most of our time that day talking with the owners of the company. They were a young, Canadian couple who had spent some time traveling the world. While they were in India, they made some relationships with a leather artisan, and the vision for their company was born. We were delighted that their connection to the people manufacturing their products was so strong (they travelled regularly to India to ensure quality was never compromised), and that they knew that the working conditions were good, and that the artisans were being paid a fair wage. (Phasha has since changed hands, but the relationship with the artisans has continued with the new owners.) So, we decided to go for it that day, and weʼve never looked back. One of the lines that we introduced later on are the Celtic leather journals. We already had had several leather journals we wanted to keep in stock in all their various sizes, but decided to take a chance and see if they would appeal to our customers. Perhaps we had to because of our British, Scottish and Irish heritage (we gave our three sons names with Celtic origins, so that ancestry might be strong). I was particularly drawn to the Tree of Life design. At our ﬁrst home birth, after our baby boy was born, our midwife (and special friend) took the time to show me the placenta before I cut the cord. I was amazed to see that there was a perfect Tree of Life design in the placenta. Anyway, apparently our customers really like them, too. They are always hard to keep in stock.