Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's a Little Shirley?

No, this darling gal is not Little Shirley. She's Lauren Burman, creator of Little Shirley vases and founder of Material Good, a Seattle-based company with a big heart!

According to Lauren, Material Good was founded out of a desire to honor my grandmother’s life while supporting an important cause. In November 2008, I began training to run a marathon. A few months prior I had moved back to Seattle to spend time with my grandmother who was battling cancer. I joined Team in Training, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society‘s marathon-training program, to run and raise money for cancer research in her honor. I was interested in raising money in a mutually beneficial fashion. I felt that giving people a tangible gift in return for their donation would make them feel more connected to the cause and, in turn, support it on a deeper level. Little Shirleys were born out of this idea and named in honor of my grandmother, Shirley Larson."

To me, they are the perfect gift. Artful, colorful, handmade locally, reasonably priced and best of all 10% of all sales goes to cancer causes. Works for me!

You can read more about the inspiration behind Little Shirley vases here. In the meantime, I visited their fabulous studio in SODO recently and wanted to share some behind-the-scenes pictures of how these little darlings are made - handmade, that is!




Did I mention they come in 34 fabulous colors with fun names like bombshell, leap frog, kissable, hot tamale and neon, which happens to be orange and my favorite!

And Lauren's favorite, canal beachglass, which reminds her of the beachglass she collected on Washington's Hood Canal when she was growing up.
I keep my neon Little Shirley on my desk with a single bloom in it for daily inspiration.

You can find Little Shirleys at all Nordstrom stores with home and gift departments, online at Nordstrom.com, as well as lots of local shops. Lauren's in Las Vegas this week at the Gift Show spreading the Little Shirley love and hopefully picking up a bunch more accounts. 

Shirley sounds like a pretty amazing lady - just like Lauren. I think she would be exceptionally proud of her granddaughter's venture, and most importantly her big heart!

Next time you need the perfect gift, I hope you'll reach for a Little Shirley!

P.S. This very cool Little Shirley light fixture greets customers at the Material Good studio. If you visit, be sure to look up so you don't miss it!


  1. Oh I've seen these at Nordstrom's and I love them even more now that I've heard their story. Thanks!

  2. I love to give these as gifts but have been unable to locate them recently and I can no longer find your facebook page. Help!!