Maker Spotlight: Kione Koche

broochesTextile love! These embroidered brooches are just. so. perfect. We can’t wait to have Kione Koche show off her detailed fabric wares and clothes in Chicago!

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history

My business name is simply my first name. I like using my name because it reflects the fact that this is a one-person operation. While the store concept has shifted, my involvement is a constant. The first iteration of this business was called “Kione’s Thirdhand Shop.” I was making sewn goods using fabrics from thrift stores so I thought of it as a kind of math: secondhand materials + my hand = thirdhand products. I still use scraps and thrifted fabrics but it’s no longer the main concept behind the business. I found the inconsistency limiting – now I source my materials from a Japanese cotton wholesaler. They have a small shop in the textile district and it’s where I used to purchase from when I first started making clothes. This year, I’m hoping to offer mending and remake services as well as take on custom requests, which is why it’s called “Kione’s Fabric Goods & Services.”


When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

My grandmother bought me a sewing machine when I was in elementary school. Both of my grandmothers were excellent seamstresses but I didn’t get a chance to learn from them. My mother doesn’t sew very much so I remember teaching myself how to make tote bags using the machine. I tried all sorts of crafts growing up: knitting, embroidery, patchwork, crochet, beading… I would buy how-to books and kits from the craft store. I’d always loved making color combinations and I began making large color quilts after coming across these beautiful shot cotton fabrics by Kaffe Fassett. In college I studied garment construction and patterning and that’s when I started designing and building functional garments for myself and for others.
What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?/What are some inspirations for your work?

Even though I don’t spend a whole lot of time designing an aesthetic for the brand, I know that the various things I make have some shared quality. I strive to make products that I would want to buy – so it may just be my personal taste that is creating a ‘look.’ As for my quilts, they are never patterned beforehand. I lay out a rough idea and start sewing. It’s not exactly improvised but there’s always room for adjustments and edits and I think that process gives my quilts a distinct design. In terms of my garments, I’m inspired by functional workwear and uniforms. When I make clothes I think about comfort, durability, and utility as well as compatibility with my daily activities. I also consider ways of simplifying the pattern for efficiency. I’m inspired by the designs and ideas of austerity clothing and Russian constructivism.


Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I wouldn’t call it a failure, but my first craft fair was quite challenging. Everything was a first attempt – from designing my own promotional materials to setting up a display at my booth. There were a lot of tasks to complete by myself but the two days at the fair were extremely rewarding. Showing my work and seeing other vendors gave me ideas on how to improve. I think one of the most important insights I’ve  gained from the experience is that even though there’s always more to be done, I need to start somewhere.

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My favorite moments have to do with comments from my customers. I especially love hearing how they are going to use the items I made. It can be something like “I was looking for a new make-up bag and this is perfect” or “this is the perfect art teacher dress!”  I don’t consider anything I make to be ‘perfect’ but it’s one of my proudest moments when I know that something I made fills a need. I’ve also been told: “this would make a good gift for my friend. She’s into weird stuff like this.” I loved that.


We can’t wait to be back in Chicago for our Holiday Fair, and now that Kione Koche is on the roster, our wallets might be in serious danger. Mark your calendars for December 5+6 and check out Kione Koche online here:




Maker Spotlight: The 1906 Gents

cocobolo silvertip

It’s always extremely difficult to find gifts for guys, especially around the holidays. That’s why whenever the 1906 Gents show up at our Fairs, we’re so delighted to stock up on their gorgeously handcrafted wares for our dudes.  Chicago, get ready for a clean shave with one of these bea-u-tiful brushes.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.31.09 PM Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

In 1906 Theodore Roosevelt established the antiquities act that let to preserving landmarks and national parks as monuments for ‘generations to come’ . In that same vein we took that same heart to make things with our hands that would stand and last for generations and be appreciated in the same way.


When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

Reuben has been turning for over 10 years and I have done woodworking for the past 5. We both had an intense interest in building and making things with our hands.

Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

We started in my basement, and we moved real slow at first. Some things we tried to do didn’t work out, and the best and worst part of woodworking is sometimes you don’t fail until right before you are done with your work. Sometimes you invest hours or days into a piece only to have to shelve it due to a defect right when it was almost done. Insights are gained daily honestly. We never knew we would be received so well or grow so fast. We learn more every month it feels like. The thing that has stayed true is hard work pays off; always!

Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

No regrets and if there was anything sacrificed we would sacrifice it a million times again to live this life. We invested all we had to get going, we owe no bank, we owe not private investor; we owe ourselves. And this is a good thing.

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

Probably having our families be proud of what we are doing. Our parents, wives and kids; having them say they love what we are doing and say they are proud of us. There is not a better feeling of worth than that, no one, nothing can touch those you love being proud of you.

Bocote Silvertip

How does the city you live in influence your work?

Springfield MO is an incredible place to grow and operate a business. Its full of entrepreneurs and individuals that want to help you succeed. We have enormous talent that can help fill in ends you may not have as a small shop, Graphic design, web development, marketing, photography. We have a huge pool of artists here that have enormous skill.

What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

Reuben had some great woodshop experience and I had a background in Business from college; other than that it was on the job training so to speak.


 What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

Timing, one day it was just the right thing to do; a now or never sort of moment. There is this quote we say to each other from time to time about this. “some men go to their graves with a song still in their heart” Not us we say. Then we get back to work.

What are some inspirations for your work?

For us again its family. We don’t do this to get the fast car or the bigger house. We do this because we want to leave more than a car or a house for our families when we are no longer here. We want to leave memories of men who worked to create a dream not live for someone else’s.

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Be ready to work 100% more than you ever did in a ‘regular’ job and be ready to be insanely happy about it.


We can’t wait for our Chicago Holiday Fair coming up the first weekend of December. In the meantime, find the 1906 Gents online here:



Maker Spotlight: Powers Handcrafted Jewelry


We’re excited to be kicking off our Chicago Maker Spotlights with some serious bling. Powers Handcrafted Jewelry is a collection of minimally designed, easy to wear pieces with timeless appeal. Each style has a range of inspirations, from art and architecture to history and science. Every piece is handmade in Chicago by Maranda Powers with a strong focus on quality craftsmanship.

Arka Druzy 1

Have you always been passionate about design? Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

-I’ve loved making things for as long as I can remember. I was always encouraged to be creative and dabbled in lots of different mediums.  Aside from a brief period in high school when I was really into making hemp necklaces-I didn’t discover jewelry making until my senior year in college. I was an illustration major when I took an intro to metal smithing class as an elective and quickly fell in love. After graduation, I worked in a jewelry repair shop for five years where I received the majority of my training as a bench jeweler.
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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

-Being trained in a more commercial or service environment has definitely influenced my work. Craftsmanship and attention to detail were of course always a priority, but I also had to focus on function and wearability. Seeing how jewelry wears over the years and learning what styles tend to break over and over has informed the way I create. I don’t put any design into production without thinking about how daily wear will effect the piece, and I am confident that my jewelry will last for years to come.


Demi Ring 1

Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained? / What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business? / What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

-I have wanted to be my own boss and earn a living as a maker since I graduated art school over a decade ago, but I worked for other people until I launched my own business earlier this year. There were definitely times over the years when that felt like failure! It sounds so cliche, but all those jobs, from shop girl to wedding photographer to personal assistant, were opportunities to learn from other small business owners and creative people, even if I didn’t feel like I was gaining anything but a pay check at the time. When I WAS ready to take the leap and launch my own jewelry line, I felt confident and prepared.
LunaCuffTurq4 SuperMoonBoth5

What are some inspirations for your work?

-Space and stones!! I’ve been interested in science since I was a kid, especially astronomy and geology. I even went to Space Camp and was a member of the rocks and minerals team for the Science Olympiad! Now, as a grown-up nerd, I incorporate a lot of space themes into my work and I am drawn to stones that reflect the natural forces that created them.


-I also love learning other crafts and exploring different mediums, I have an urge to always be making something!  I am almost always taking a class or trying to teach myself something new, from sewing and knitting to screen printing and throwing pottery. Learning new creative processes informs my jewelry making and always keeps me inspired.

Renegade2We’re so thrilled to have Miranda join us again in Chicago, this time for our Holiday Fair! Until then, find Powers Handcrafted online here:



Maker Spotlight: Louise Dean


Happy Friday, everyone! We’re busily getting the final touches ready for our final Fair of the season in our hometown, but that doesn’t mean we can’t gawk over some beautiful textiles and illustrations! Louise Dean Design will be helping us celebrate the last days of Summer at our Chicago Fair this weekend – we can’t wait!


Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

I had just gotten married when I started my business and I thought it would be a nice way to keep my family name alive.. There are nothing but girls on my father’s side. My Dad runs a small business with the name Dean in too and he has been some of the inspiration to start to work for myself. Seeing the whole rollercoaster of having  a business while a grew up meant I knew what I was getting myself into. It’s also an ode to him and all his hard work. He is  a great example of someone who works hard, which motivates me.


When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I launched my company in March 2014. I have always been painting or drawing. But while taking a graphic design class in the UK before college my tutor said that I should move into textile to express myself. Ever since, I have been doing textile design. After I graduated from Loughborough University in England with a degree in  Multi Media Textile Design, I was recruited by a Fashion Label to be a designer for them. I worked there for 5 years and decided it was time to follow my dreams and start my new company.

Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

Absolutely, who doesn’t  have something that goes wrong on occasion. I’ve learned that I should probably say no sometimes because I can’t do everything. The first year is the hardest. The key is just keep going because for one disappointment there are always a handful of great ones such as being selected for Renegade!


Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

My last job was all consuming and I really wanted more of a work/life balance. I might have been able to get further faster if I skipped vacations or spent less time with my friends or husband but you only live once and I don’t want to regret a thing. Having said all that i’m writing this “after hours”- there’s not one hard and fast rule though… right?

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My favourite moment is always seeing my paintings in their final products and having people get excited about buying them. Everything in 100% made in the USA. I try to keep my production as close to where I live as possible and put thought into what the impact of my products will have on the environment. I try to use environmentally sustainable methods of printing and recycled paper options wherever possible and i’m pretty proud of that!


How does the city you live in influence your work?

I moved to Oklahoma City from Columbus Ohio just before starting my company. I love to paint and although the weather is a bit crazy sometimes, I love to take everything outside and work on painting some of the plants that I grow. I also get inspiration from my wanderings around Oklahoma and the western states. It was strange at first to live in a place so dry after coming from Ohio and before that England but after a few months I started to see the incredible beauty in the different landscapes out west. I have travelled all over the state and also made many trips to Texas and New Mexico while living here. The change in climate for me inspired me to produce my newest collection of succulent inspired artwork. It’s about the only thing I can keep alive in the heat.

I also have to say that the people in Oklahoma have been some of the nicest, kindest, open-hearted people I have ever met. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start my own company. People will give you opportunities here that would have been so hard to get in some of the bigger cities. I wouldn’t have come so far without the many local shops that carry my product or all the other amazing small business owners ready to give time and advice, because they know what it’s like to start something.


What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

My degree in Textile Design in England  gave me a great foundation of knowledge. As part of my course I took a year working at various companies in London and Copenhagen. There I had to learn how to dye fabrics, screen print and even embroider and design samples for the fashion world. Through this experience, I was recruited by a fashion label and moved to the USA.


What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

My husband, Rob, encouraged me to take this leap. He got a job in Oklahoma City so I knew I had to do something new. It ended up being  a now or never leap that I could not have done without him. It was always something I had in the back of my mind but it’s hard to leave a stable, full time paid position to follow your dreams, especially when you are stepping into the unknown. I am so happy I took the leap.

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

If you are working from home, find a local network of people and business owners you can meet with regularly. Getting out and about in the city/place you live is really important and being able to bounce ideas off people is great too.

Don’t worry too much about what people say/think, see where your creativity takes you and always have a pen and paper handy!


What are some inspirations for your work?

I love to travel and photograph plants, nature, and animals on my way around the world.


My business over all reflects my passion for making beautiful things that fill peoples home with color and interest. Everything is made in limited production runs and we design it to stand the test of time.


Photos by Ely Fair Photography

We can’t wait to spend some time with these Summery prints and textiles out our Chicago Fair. Be sure to check out Louise Dean Design online here: