Maker Spotlight: Anvil Handcrafted

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In love with everything Anvil Handcrafted. These leather goods are showcasing at Renegade San Francisco this weekend!

unnamed-2Have you always been passionate about design?
A different form of design actually, yes! Data structures & clean lines of codes. Computer science background, cannot draw a proper stick figure, but finding the serenity in slow and steady process of handcrafting goods.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field? This is going to be a long one and Renegade Craft Fair is the reason why… so here goes!

Early spring or summer of 2014, my girlfriend drags me to a Renegade Craft Fair here in Los Angeles, held in Chinatown. At this moment, I knew nothing about leather, locally crafted goods, let alone running a business. At this fair, my girlfriend buys me a leather iPhone/cardholder from one of the vendors (I’ll tell you the vendor if you’d like, I just didn’t want it to seem rude). Now, this $70.00 leather wallet started to fall apart after 2 months, the stitching and the poor quality of leather started to show. I remember sitting at my desk, frustrated at this line of code that I can’t seem to finish and looking at this wallet that’s falling apart already! So… like any sane person would do to a $70.00 wallet, I took a pair of scissors and cut it in half. This wisely poor decision revealed that the brand used two really thin pieces of leather, stuck a thin piece of cardboard in the middle to sandwich, to make the leather seem sturdier and thicker than it really was.

We wanted to support small businesses and local craftsmen & women, but it felt like we were suckered. The stubborn side of me came out, my goal from that moment was to learn about leather. For weeks, I would just spend most nights reading, watching videos, and chatting with a family-owned leather supplier downtown. Made some very basic items like wallets & keychains, then applied to Renegade Craft Fair and got accepted!! November of 2014, just a few months after buying that crappy wallet, we were in San Francisco in a shared booth… just one aisle over from that same brand that sold it to us.

As furious as I am with that brand, I’m more than thankful to them because they introduced me to this whole new world of craftsmanship. Anvil Handcrafted won’t ever make me a gazillion dollars, but for an initial investment of $100.00 on basic tools and scrap leather from Amazon, this brand has taken us everywhere and introduced us to such amazing new friends.

Thanks for reading that rant, I’ve always wanted to e-mail RCF this story!

unnamed-10 What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?
Nothing. It sounds weird, I know, but really, nothing. We are just regular people with office jobs, weekend warriors, maybe a little more adventurous and stubborn than others, for sure. We live in such a very creative world, that most things are just a slight rendition of another. But with that said, our designs may not be that much different, it’s more of who we are that sets us apart.

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

Yes, accepting a 140-apron order for an LA coffee chain and realizing that one of the materials needed will take 1 month to get delivered. Still working on this project actually : )

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

Yes, weeknights, weekends, space in a one bedroom West-Hollywood apartment. I still wouldn’t call it a sacrifice though, nor a regret. It was doing something I enjoyed with a good friend and an amazing girlfriend who both helped and supported every step, even if that means 2AM Chinese food deliveries.

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Being accepted to Renegade Craft Fair for November 2014 in San Francisco. It was a long shot, since we were a brand for just a few months. Thank you : )
How does the city you live in influence your work?

The opportunities are endless, just depends on how much you want them. Everyone is very supportive if you’re honest and not greedy!
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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

Working for a large retail company that is all made in the United States, been working here for a little over 8 years. Perfect insight for manufacturing, American sourcing, retail, logistics, and anything in between!
unnamed-11 What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

It was unintentional, and I’m still learning!

What are some inspirations for your work?

The outdoors. Everything we make has a form of story or connection behind it.
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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Take criticism with a shot of whiskey and be a little unorthodox, it’s more fun that way.
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We can’t wait to buy up all these perfect giftables from Anvil Handcrafted! In the meantime, find them online here:

In the Studio: Jamie Lau Designs

018-2015RCF-jamie lau-studio visit-0101This Friday we thought we’d share this lovely studio visit we had with Jamie Lau Designs last year in Brooklyn. Jamie recently relocated back to San Francisco and we cannot wait to see her this weekend for our Holiday Fair!
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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft?
I learned to sew as an adult and took my first sewing class eight years ago as a creative outlet shortly after relocating from New York to my hometown of San Francisco for a new job. (Yes, I am no stranger to the SF–>NY–>SF–>NY–>SF move!) The following year, I got involved in the local craft fair scene and starting selling handmade reversible tote bags made primarily with Japanese prints and textiles.

I had always loved fashion and decided to work my way toward the goal of womenswear design. Dresses were my true passion. While still working full-time, I enrolled in a mix of construction, patternmaking, draping, and textiles classes at a variety of schools, curating my own curriculum. I even signed up for classes when I traveled! I eventually left my day job and “started all over again,” moving back to New York in 2010 to change careers and work as an unpaid creative intern for some hands-on experience. Simultaneously, I continued to develop new designs and silhouettes and vend at Renegade Craft Fair. In 2013, I went full-time with Jamie Lau Designs.

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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
Sleep has probably been the number one sacrifice. Being a one-person operation, it’s hard not to feel as though you’re one and the same with your business. Each garment is still handmade by me, one stitch at a time. This season, I am trying to be more mindful about giving myself breaks, exercising, eating better, and getting eight hours of sleep per night.

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
It is difficult to isolate one particular moment. Rather, I would say that I am proud of the cumulative experience and how much I’ve learned, broken through, and shared as a self-taught designer. It is such a joy to have a wide age range of diverse customers who are drawn to my work. I take pride in the fact that I do not design within the traditional fashion calendar nor follow industry trends. I believe in the longevity of a well-made garment and quality craftsmanship. My silhouettes are designed to be worn year-round and styled, layered, and individualized throughout the seasons by each customer.  003-2015RCF-jamie lau-studio visit-0067

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

With a background in research and policy analysis, I am naturally a very detail-oriented person and good with numbers. This comes in handy for patternmaking, which breaks down to a sixteenth of an inch at times. Achieving good fit in a garment is just as important to me as ensuring quality garment construction with sewing precision. Both patternmaking and sewing require a certain level of patience and I am a stickler for details and perfection.

012-2015RCF-jamie lau-studio visit-0085What are some inspirations for your work?
I am influenced by naturally occurring textures and gradations found in my surroundings, as well as Japanese decorated ceramics. My all-time styling muse for photo shoots is chanteuse Françoise Hardy and I have always been inspired by easy-to-wear 1960s silhouettes, particularly the geometry and bold use of color in the works of André Courrèges and Pierre Cardin. I also love the work of photographer William Eggleston, finding inspiration in his use of rich and saturated colors.
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If you could learn any other craft, what would it be?
I’d love to learn shoe making, but before I get ahead of myself, I should probably devote more time to ikat weaving. Two summers ago, I studied traditional Japanese dyeing and weaving techniques in the mountains of Kyoto. It was a wonderful two-month experience to go (almost) offline, immerse myself in the world of textiles, and learn a new skill in a dedicated workspace, virtually free from distraction. As a maker, I believe that it is important to continue to grow and challenge yourself.
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How does the city you live in influence your work?
Having grown up in San Francisco, I am not afraid to mix prints, love bold pops of color, and design seasonless clothing. I recently relocated back here from New York earlier this summer and am happy to call San Francisco home again.
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What is your favorite part of your studio/workspace?
My fabric collection is definitely my favorite part of the design studio. I primarily work with traditional Japanese prints, handwoven ikats, luxurious brocades, and also create my own textile designs. Since I am a designer that starts fabric first, I often look at my fabric collection for inspiration to see what I should cut into next, or what would go best with a new silhouette I am drafting.
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What do you enjoy most about your craft and entrepreneurship?
I love doing craft and design shows and meeting new customers, greeting returning shoppers, and forming friendships with other designers and makers. Some of my best friends now were met through those early craft fairs when Jamie Lau Designs was just starting out with reversible tote bags.

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Thank you, Jamie for letting us spend a rainy afternoon with you. Jamie Lau’s collection will be showcased this weekend at our San Francisco Holiday Fair. You can view all the photos from this visit on Flickr, and check out Jamie Lau online here:



Swinging into San Francisco this Weekend for our Holiday Fair!


Our San Francisco Holiday Fair kicks off this weekend at the Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion! On November 21+22 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. you can shop for the perfect handmade gift, take part in DIY workshops, eat, drink, and be merry!

Check out more than 300 Makers from San Francisco and beyond showcasing perfect and unique options for holiday gift giving, such as jewelry, ceramics, apothecary, home decor, leather goods, knitwear, letterpress stationery, art prints, and more. All items featured in the Fair are handmade by emerging and established artisans and offer an opportunity to support the growing handmade economy.
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Feeling inspired to join in on the handmade spirit? Official sponsor Succulent Garden will host a large booth with a succulent holiday ornament workshop, while stationery press Lotus & Ash offers visitors a popup paper studio to create custom paper suites. DIY-inclined visitors won’t want to miss the Bullseye Glass Company’s glass cutting workshop.

Art appreciators can enjoy installation artist Chloe Wilson’s San Francisco-themed “The Birds,” a piece about multitudes, masses, cities, and the handmade movement. Chloe Wilson is a visual artist from Pacific Grove, CA whose work is characterized by rich symbolism, excessive feeling, and stylistic minimalism.

Those looking for the perfect extra something for their gifts will be able to commission custom poems from The Poetry Store. For more holiday fun, MagBooth will be on hand for you to pose pretty with friends and family!

Be sure to visit the Mezzanine for its spectacular views of the bay and jam out to DJ REDLite, who will be spinning music to shop by. Also be sure to visit the full bar, complete with beer, wine, and festive cocktails such as the Top Hat Mule and Cold-Brewed Cowboy Coffee. Indulge in eats and treats from local food vendors,  including Korean fried chicken, Mexican street food, Mediterranean cuisine, coffee, and ice cream. Don’t forget to check out the selection of small batch artisanal food vendors onsite with items such as tea, toffee, cookies, granola, seasonings, gift boxes, and more: the perfect stocking stuffers for anyone who loves food!


Getting There: The Fair will be indoors at the Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion. The Fort Mason entrance is located at 2 Marina Blvd., on the corner of Marina Blvd. and Buchanan St. Route directions to the Fair available here. From the entrance, walk your way through the Fort Mason complex to the Festival Pavilion, which is the last pavilion on the bay. Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike, or take public transportation to the Fair. Pets are not permitted at this event.

Uber is sponsoring rides for Renegade’s Holiday Fairs. New users can get up to $20 off their first Uber rides using the code RCF2015. To sign up, download the app or head to


Want to spread the word? Join our Facebook event and invite your friends. Grab our e-flyer and pass it around. Add #RenegadeCraftFair and #RenegadeSF to your RCF-related Instagram pictures and tweets! We love seeing what our followers and makers are up to!

For more information about this event, please visit the Renegade Craft Fair website, check out our upcoming Maker Spotlights, or browse the Makers on Pinterest.

Maker Spotlight: Àplat


One of our favorite makers, Àplat is hitting San Francisco with us this weekend! You won’t want to miss out on their goods this year – they are the perfect gifts for foodies, or if you’d prefer to treat yourself, there are many ways to justify the purchase. Designer, Shujan Bertrand created Àplat in honor of her family lifestyle in France and the daily rituals of sharing the good things we cook, eat, drink and gift.


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

Àplat pronounced “a-pla” in French means “a dish” and lead to the naming of each product in the line;  a-plat (for a plate), a-fleur (for flowers, a-vin (for wine), a-pain (for bread). We went through many names – it took about 2 months to finalize.  I was sure that it had to be french as my inspiration for starting aplat came from my experience living and working in Europe.  (please see question #11)

Have you always been passionate about design?

My childhood dream was to be a gallery painter.  In College I pursued fine art at Cal Poly and illustration at Art Center College of Design, but after my first year into Illustration I discovered Design and switched majors where I received a 4 year scholarship with a bachelors in science degree in Industrial Design.  I started my career with had two internships while at ACCD with European Brands – BMW’s studio designworks USA in LA and Design Continuum Milan italy.  Since then I’ve been designing in the SF Bay area for almost 17 years.  I spent a few years designing in Milan and Munich for brands like LG and Seimens.


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

Although my for the past 20 years has been focusing on consumer electronics, I’ve always had a passion for fashion and bags.  My first real design project was with Nike (Presto and ACG) and fell in love with the soft goods design process.  Several years after being in tech-consumer electronics, I became design director of Incase.  While being a working mom of two beautiful children I felt that soft goods was an area where I could have the most impact and focus on designing responsibly and more sustainably.

What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

There are many wonderful pie/casserole totes out in the world, for wine and bread as well.  However, aplat hopes to be beyond a reusable bag, but an inspiring experience that is deeply rooted in a culture of food & friendship, where socializing is more than a verb it’s a life philosophy, and where generosity is a daily ritual.  Àplat is where stories are made and shared with good food, Àplat focuses on sponsoring and donating to non-profits and globally responsible brands in the industry of farming, food, restaurants and education.

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

Àplat’s biggest insight since launching in Nov 2014, has been in local production and manufacturing.  The biggest challenge which turned into a success was finding the right vendors to source sustainable raw materials.  After witnessing the amount of waste there is in the cut/sew appearel factories I decieded to commit to aplat being a zero waste brand.  I’m considering cost and carbon footprint for each product.  Which is why you don’t see me producing flyers or making pretty packaging.  Àplat shipping is 100% compostable and each bag is made with zero waste in raw materials.

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

I’ve sacrificed sleep, a lot of it and weekends at the factory away from my family.  No regrets.

Although starting a business in local manufacturing has been a challenge, the learning and appreciation have been far greater and positive.  I consider Àplat a family business because my husband and children are my source of inspiration.  Aplat would not be where it is today without the support of my family, friends and trusted network of colleagues.

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

Every day I am grateful and appreciate the engagements I’ve had through aplat.  My favorite aplat moments are the spontaneous conversation I’ve had with customers – personal stories about moments of bringing food to special gatherings.  My proudest moment have been at Renegade (really) when returning customers who are happy to see me and purchase more product for their loved ones.


How does the city you live in influence your work?

Àplat SF – it’s a foodie city.  Love the diversity of people and flavors.  San Francisco is amazing for it’s  ability to bring sustainable and conscious farm-to-table restaurants and locally sourced farmers market startups services like good eggs and pop-up dining experiences like eatery and feastly.  And just over the bridge in Berkeley, amazing paleo restaurant cafe Mission Heirloom.

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

I’ve worked for design consulting firms like Astro Studios and IDEO as well as larger corporations like Steelcase, LG Electronics and Incase Inc.  Designing for brands for almost 20 years both in consumer electronics, lifestyle products and furniture/space design have all helped me to understand the creative process and product development for the consumer market.


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

Àplat started with a moment of gather with friends: The first tote in the collection was the à-Fleur bouquet tote.

I was on my way to Renee Zellweger’s gallery opening of Summer School and I wanted to gift her a beautiful bouquet for her new launch.  When I was handed the bouquet I couldn’t see the flowers anymore because they were covered in paper and cellophane and tied with a ribbon. It didn’t feel like a gift anymore.

This was the moment of insight for me: “A bouquet should be quiet–not crinkly plastic.  And you should be able to see the flowers and let them be seen.”

That evening I began to sew prototypes of what I thought a bouquet tote could be.  I shared this design idea with my husband and his parents, who were in town from France.  That next day we brainstormed the possibilities of something good, something new.  I was excited.

I started with a flower tote (a-fleur) and extended the line to carry wine (a-vin), food (a-plat) and bread (a-pain).  And in a few days the design of the entire collection was complete.

I let the samples incubate for about a month. Then I decided to share it with someone I trusted, who would give me honest feedback.  I showed it to Cathy Bailey, owner and creative director of HEATH Ceramics. She  loved the collection and wanted to help me test it by putting 100 a-plat totes in HEATH stores.

It took me exactly 6 months to produce those first 100 aplat totes – from engineering the totes for production, to finding the organic materials and the right factory to naming and designing the assets. aplat was launched on October 2014.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

The notion of “French Art of Living” is truly a way of life in the Bertrand family.  My “French” husband Blaise and I lived and designed in Italy and France for several years before returning to San Francisco.

I created àplat in memory and translation of my family lifestyle in France and the daily rituals of sharing good food, drink, and good company.

I’m Korean-American born and raised in Manhattan Beach, California.  Although my husband and I share similar family values and daily rituals, they are, of course, completely different culturally.

My life changed after meeting my husband and then living in Europe. I started to experience the “French Art De Vivre.”  Everyday routines had new meaning and the mundane things around me felt like art and poetry.

My in-law’s home in Nice, France, is perched on a small hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  They built this house with their bare hands.  They have a small fruit and vegetable garden they pick from seasonally.  In the summers, they pick from their lavender bushes to make sachet pouches.

Their home is ALWAYS filled with friends and neighbors coming over to eat.  And to drink their homemade wine.

Every member of the Bertrand family started their personal wine collection at an early age and it’s stored in the basement cellar.  Each bottle has a personal story of where it came from.  And when you decide to share the bottle, that story gets shared.

You might call this an old way of living, but it was new for me.  It was beautiful.

There are many types of tart and pie carriers available.  But the ones I admired in France were my mother-in-law’s.  They were made of old linens from her mother. A bread bag hangs in every kitchen in France.  Wine is carried in crates and baskets.

These different carriers have been around for a very long time in every country.  I simply brought them together into one community, the àplat collection of culinary totes.

This is why I say that àplat originated in France and is deeply rooted in a culture of friendship, where socializing is not a verb but a life philosophy, and where generosity is a daily ritual. Àplat reminds us to find joy and pleasure in making the everyday beautiful.


We can’t wait to bring freshly baked goods in an Àplat tote, or perhaps some fresh flowers for that extra special someone! Check out our San Francisco Holiday Fair this weekend, and find Àplat online here:


In the Studio: Julia Canright

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Last summer on a perfect San Francisco day, we had the opportunity to meet Julia Canright and photograph her home studio. Julia Canright is a bag maker, block printer and SF native, and it was quite clear upon introduction that we really wanted to be her friends. Julia first showed at our San Francisco Fair in July, and we’re thrilled she’s joining us again this weekend!002-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6613

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

My business name is just my name which is just a result of my inability to come up with a word or phrase to represent my line. I think it’s good in a way because it allows me some room to evolve and change because it’s just me! – not some other entity with its own limits.

009-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6622 When/Why did you start working in this particular craft?
I did a lot of block printing and painting on paper in school and beyond and I’ve always really loved doing it. I got to a point where I wanted to use the prints I was making to create other things – ideally things that could be useful and practical like a bag. I really like the idea of taking something graphic and thoughtfully made and making it into something you could use everyday.
020-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6643 Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
I think what I was most worried about when I started doing this was that I wouldn’t be very good at putting myself out there and selling myself. I’m a reserved person and the thought of approaching people and stores with my work was kind of terrifying. But its really like anything, it just takes practice and the more I do it the easier it gets! Also, in general, people are really nice and supportive – and the people who hate your stuff won’t go out of their way to tell you that.

034-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6667 What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
I think my favorite part of creating my business besides actually just making things has been meeting and working with great people and stores in the Bay Area. Its inspiring to see really dedicated and creative people doing their thing.

005-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6616 How does the city you live in influence your work?
I grew up in the Mission in San Francisco and the visual culture here is just so strong from murals to stickers on telephone poles to painted store awnings – it all just seeps in – and you just want to contribute to the landscape in whatever small way you can.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
From other creative people, I knew going into this that it would require a lot of commitment. Not just the time that you spend doing it, but the time and energy you spend thinking about it – and how that can take over. I think just knowing that helps you to be more aware when its happening.

032-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6665003-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6614 What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
I’ve never really known what I wanted to do for a living – but I’ve always liked working. Its really satisfying to channel that worker bee energy into something that I love and really matters to me.
What are some inspirations for your work?
I get a lot of inspiration from old textile art that I find in books and online – east African, Russian and early American textile art is really amazing. I also get inspiration from the materials themselves – block printing works really well for certain things and that leads me in particular directions. I’ll also find a new paint brush in a new shape and create something from that.

029-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6661025-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6652 If you could learn any other craft, what would it be?
Wood carving – I did a little wood carving in high school and it was just so cool. I would love to do more.

035-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6670 When you do get free time, how do you like to spend it?
I like to go up to Bernal or Glenn Park Canyon for walks with my little dog Charlie.

010-2015RCF-julia canright-studio visit-6624 What is your favorite part of your studio/workspace?
My studio has been a work in progress for a while now. I think I’m finally at a point where I have all the tools I need and they all have their place so I can find them easily. My favorite part I think is just having a spot where I feel really productive and comfortable!
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Thank you again, Julia for giving us the opportunity to peek into your home studio. Browse the full set of photos on Flickr, and for those of you headed to our San Francisco Fair this weekend, be sure to find this gal and say hello. You should also check her stuff out online here: