Maker + Mineral

Maker Spotlight + Giveaway

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Maker & Mineral is the design project by San Francisco native, Samantha Ives. Maker & Mineral strives to produce sustainable, hand-crafted, and well-crafted home wears, accessories, and clothing for the modern individual who wants to buck fast fashion and temporary trends.

Sam has graciously offered to give away her iconic 11×14 Busted print to a lucky Instagrammer! To enter, follow Maker & Mineral on Instagram and tag a friend in our giveaway post. The winner will be chosen on Monday, November 21st!

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TENDEN

Maker Spotlight

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TENDEN is a textile collection by designer Todd Hancock. Based in Grand Haven MI, Todd founded TENDEN in 2010 as a way to create quality products, ethically made in the USA. Todd’s passion for textiles garnered an expert knowledge of how to best work with each material, from cotton and denim, to canvas and leather.

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Rewilder

Maker Spotlight

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Best friends Jen and Lisa of Rewilder have been impressing us season after season with their incredibly crafted bags and their booth displays. Using 100% reclaimed materials, each bag and accessory tells a unique story and stands the test of time.

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Popbyts

Maker Spotlight

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Tith Sin first caught our eye at our very first Portland Fair back in 2014. His booth was intricately designed with a modernist sensibility and best of all, it packed up into itself! Ever since, we’ve been increasingly impressed by Tith and his growing Popbyts line of printed paper and textiles.

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Jenny Lemons

Maker Spotlight

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Jenny Lemons takes the term “wearing your food” to a completely new level of cuteness! Jennie Lennick is the designer behind this food-inspired, block printed collection of clothing and accessories. The combination of simply patterned fabric with a pop of color makes each piece a perfect statement for summer.

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Animal Sleep Stories

Maker Spotlight

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Animal Sleep Stories is a dreamscape of silkscreened illustrations by Portland artist, Daria Tessler. Her collection of work draws you into a vivid fantasy of whimsy, storytelling, and intricate details. We hope to perhaps one day, dream through the lens of Animal Sleep Stories.

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

When I was in high school, a friend and I started making photocopied punk zines. As I got older, my zines focused on drawn or collaged images with my own text, they became very narrative and dreamy, and I came up with the name Animal Sleep Stories as a publishing name for those projects. At that point I hoped to become a children’s book illustrator and it seemed fitting somehow. The name ended up being open-ended enough to encompass most of what I still make 15 years later.

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Have you always been passionate about design?

I never thought of myself as a designer, and although I’ve been pretty design-oriented in the past, these days I generally try to avoid creating art which feels heavily design based. To me, 2D design often feels too sterile, too clean and impersonal. I’m more interested in an immersive experience for the viewer, in exploring personality of characters and spaces, a sense of fitting or not fitting into a world. Design in art, while nice on the eyes, seems to take the viewer out of the image and into the external position of a consumer.

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Why did you start working in this particular craft?

I was always into drawing, but I’ve been silkscreening since I was lucky enough to learn from a great teacher named Juan, in the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco 16 or 17 years ago. Juan was incredibly welcoming, supportive and great at teaching the craft of screen printing.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

I take inspiration from the vast array of cultural expression on earth. It’s something people don’t really think about, experiencing the tangible expressions of the innermost thoughts, desires, feelings and stories, having an exchange of ideas with another human, despite the chasms of space and time that may be separating us. I mean, having a creative dialogue with a human who may have been dead for the last five thousand years, that is the most beautiful thing I can think of, and it inspires me constantly, what people come up with in their minds and with their hands.

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All Things Animal Sleep Stories:

Website

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Melissa Holden Art

Maker Spotlight

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Melissa Holden is a Bay Area artist and block printer, whose play with tension and harmony results in beautiful abstract art. Using a specialized relief block printing method developed by Melissa herself, each print showcases crisp lines and shapes as well as the natural texture left from a hand pulled block print.

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The Loome

Maker Spotlight

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The Loome is one of our favorite DIY Makers! We love how their tools inspire everyone to make things with their hands and create something beautiful and unique!
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Osei-Duro

Maker Spotlight


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After a weekend full of sunshine, we can’t wait to update our wardrobes with the best in the Slow Fashion Revolution. For all you gals out there, Osei-Duro is bringing their LA x Ghana magic to the feminine form with their distinctly bold patterns and hand-dyed textiles.

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Beora Jewelry

Maker Spotlight

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Liza Meza is the fiber and jewelry artist behind Beora. Each piece is made with a clear objective in mind: “jewelry for the future ancestors.” We absolutely love this description, as well as the Mayan motifs that influence Liza’s designs.

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Made in Mayhem

Maker Spotlight

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Made in Mayhem has always been on the forefront of creating classic leather goods in unique colors and designs. Their new Summer launch of American made leathers in a new “rust” dye, in addition to their swoon-worthy teal and cobalt, has us counting down the days until Summer!
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Neve Hawk

Maker Spotlight

 
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Kids never looked cuter, all thanks to Neve Hawk’s designs paired with some classic Birks. Bob and Kris are the design team behind this apparel line and we loved getting to know them in this Maker Spotlight

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Fire Road

Maker Spotlight

 
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Happy Monday, ya’ll! Today we’re thrilled to have maker Andrew Perkins chat with us about Fire Road, his design philosophy and his San Francisco-based business.

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Aegis Handcraft

Maker Spotlight

 

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There is a lot of leather goods out there, but there’s something about Aegis Handcraft’s passion that shines through. Meet Jess Murray, the crafter and designer behind these goods, in person at our San Francisco Fair at the end of the month!
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Cordillera Necklace

Maker Spotlight

 

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Cordillera Necklace is a sight to behold, and we can’t wait to get our eyes on these beauties in person at our San Francisco Fair. Designer Sylmarie gives us the inside scoop on her designs!

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Bryr Studio

Studio Visit

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photos by Hollin Brodeur for RCF

This past winter we had the opportunity to visit Bryr Studio’s workspace and storefront in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. Isobel, owner and designer behind the handmade clogs, kindly took time to show us around during their store renovation.

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Getting Retail Ready For Your Favorite Indie Store

Vendor Tips: SKUE

“We’ve been described as Martha Stewart meets David Lynch” says Michael Levy creative director of Paxton Gate, a curiosities store and San Francisco institution with a predilection for the bizarre side of nature. For Andrea and Oscar of Biological Jewels, it was the store of their dreams.

Michael first found their exquisite bug sculptures online at wholesale marketplace SKUE before closing an order in person at the RCF Wholesale Market. We explore how they found the right fit in this latest episode of Made to Last, a film series where we pair emerging designers with top indie retailers.

In the film, the duo pick Michael’s brains on getting retail ready and ways to expand their line. Michael explains that part of it is having pieces in the mix that are less labor intensive and suited for wholesale. It’s also about getting your pricing right and prepping products for the retail floor.

Indie retailers like Michael have a unique perspective on retail readiness which emerging designers can learn from and increase their chances of earning coveted shelf space.

As a part of the series, we introduce makers to stores on SKUE in what we call monthly “Buying Rounds” where makers get rich insights directly from store owners.

Take this candle holder for example, by Sarah Phillips of Loop De Loup. Sarah creates her entire line with from discarded metals, literally turning them into objects of beauty. However, the display could use some help.

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The Scoop on RCF Wholesale Markets

Vendor Tips

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We could not be more pumped for our highly anticipated Spring Fair lineup which includes two Wholesale Markets in both San Francisco and Brooklyn. This marks our second year venturing into wholesale and as the Fairs approach, I sat down with Rachel Dolnick (my Vendor Relations counterpart) to pick her brain as she puts together these events!

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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:

Website

Instagram

Maker Spotlight: Àplat

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

Website
Instagram

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.

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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:

Website
Instagram

Studio / Shop Visit: Ferme à Papier

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Last summer we had the chance to visit with Cat Seto, designer and shop owner of Ferme à Papier. Cat was kind enough to show us around her boutique/studio and give us the every day details of running a small business in San Francisco.

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
Ferme à Papier is loosely translated as “Farm to Paper”. I took my first trip to Paris a little over 21/2 years ago and I was overwhelmed by the streets, history, chic hipster parisians and architecture. I also visited biodynamic farms in the countryside. When I returned I drew obsessively for three weeks. The collection has a dark, artisinal navy palette behind it and it portrays everyday joys like couples embracing or a pair of shoes.
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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft?
I have a degree in painting and a master’s in writing. I have always been a proponent of hand written letters and I love that a card can capture a visual in a miniature frame.
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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
Believe me I’ve had plenty but I strongly believe that without these my career would have never blossomed! I had major writer’s block when I first moved to San Francisco which prompted me to craft felt finger puppets in the night to feed my insomnia. Those felt puppets led to illustrating characters on cards which I debuted as a stationery collection. I couldn’t believe it but when I debuted this, Anthropologie was my first client!
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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Ferme à Papier was never intended as a business. I was burnt out and I took a trip to Paris and I just took everything in. I always remind myself that ideas need to start from a genuine place.
Where do you want your business to be in 2-5 years?
I hope that I am always able to freely create and share my dreams, travels and inspiration through the things that I make or illustrate. I would love for Ferme to branch out into different product categories as well.
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How does the city you live in influence your work?
San Francisco is a vibrant, creative community which I am so proud to be a part of. My studio is located in Russian Hill which has remained independent. We have an open studio where we work and sell goods to the public and it is this kind of daily exchange that makes me feel inspired to create.
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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
I mentored with folks I admired. I stayed humble! I swept, dusted, cleaned bathrooms and filed…did anything to absorb knowledge about what the details behind a small business. Many of my colleagues did the same. In addition to a street MBA, I truly believe this has given me a more positive and industrious attitude.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
I waited a long time before I started my business. It had to feel right…but once it did I worked harder than ever before. I had to make sure I had a solid collection, something unique to present, and some know-how of how to start a small biz.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Share information with your peers and learn from mentors. Stay humble! Sometimes having a reputation for being the hardest team player will get you further than your talent alone.
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What are some inspirations for your work?
Paris and Brooklyn and everything that spans between the two.
If you could learn any other craft, what would it be?
I would love to learn printmaking and textiles.
When you do get free time, how do you like to spend it?
I love running on the beach with my six year old son… This is the true joy of living in the city by the bay. You can be hard at work at your studio and then be outside by water in a few minutes.
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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
No regrets. I work around the clock, seven days a week, but this has been a conscious choice. I feel very lucky.
What is your favorite part of your studio/workspace?
our studio is a hybrid shop and production studio. I love seeing customers walk in and share our cards with one another.
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What advice do you have for any potential business owners out there?
I believe that creative business owners learn their business savvy via what I call the “street MBA”. It’s not from the books per se, but from sharing information and talking to peers, mentors and joining groups.
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What would it take to make you feel successful?
Success for me is creative freedom. If I am able to support myself by being able to make or design creative goods AND share them with others I am pretty happy.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
I wholesaled my goods to retailers and it was from this that I learned many of the details behind owning and running a shop.
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What are some of your favorite products/makers in the shop currently?
We carry products that curated to our Ferme aesthetic… Maison Scotch, PF Candles, Abacus Row are just a few of the lines we carry.

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WHOLESALE ETIQUETTE
As a buyer, when do you do most of your product research and ordering?
I purchase during the seasonal times that shows are occurring. For me this occurs about 3-4 times a year.
What time of year do you prefer to be contacted by prospective vendors looking to get into your shop?
I like to be contacted right before a show.
What are some tips you have to vendors out there wanting to get more wholesale orders?
Customer service is key. And there is an art to balancing out when to remind retailers to purchase and not bombarding them with too much. I love getting reminders but will tune out vendors who are too aggressive.
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What sets a vendor apart? When receiving an order, does a pretty package and presentation with a hand- written note make a big difference in remembering the vendor, or would you prefer straight to the point demeanor?
The quality of a product is always key. We are a small indie shop and we want to carry unique items. Equally important is the follow-through and customer service behind this. I love to know that the team is as solid as the product.
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Thank you, Cat, for taking the time to show us around your studio and shop. Can’t get enough of this amazing space? Check out the full set of photos on our Flickr. In the meantime, you can find Ferme à Papier online here:
Website
Instagram

Make Spotlight: Obsidian Monarch

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For all you bicycling fiends out there, Obsidian Monarch is taking San Francisco by storm this weekend! Obsidian Monarch is owned & operated by Oakland, CA. artist Billy Sprague. In August of 2014 Sprague received his grandfather’s leather tools as an heirloom. Being around alot of leather work and crafts as a child and wanting to embrace his Mexican heritage and family traditions, Sprague began exploring leather working. Being an artist himself and using inherited tools as  inspiration, he began months of dedication  learning the skills of leather tooling, pattern & mold making  and saddle making. Head down to Fort Mason Center for the perfect present for your beloved bike.

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Have you always been passionate about Leatherwork?

Yes! I grew up with useful handmade leather items around my house and at family homes. I’ve always gravitated towards it, they last and are unique and get more so with age, this has always intrigued me…

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

I wanted a shift from other art mediums i had been exploring and exhibiting for years, it was time to mix it up and do something more with leather than the work i had been seeing as typical (oak leaves, deer etc…)

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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

I believe my motif’s and theme’s are very unique and i explore more abstract and surreal ideas more than traditional nature themes.

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

When trying to figure out how to mold and set rivets on already tooled leather i made a few mistakes that wasted alot of time. I learned from them and reinvented my process and even made my own tools to be able to go through the bicycle saddle making process more smoothly and with less room for error…

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

I would say finally getting to a fine craftsmanship level that surpassed the level of my teachers (father and grandfather). Both deceased now but i know they are proud of where i have taken the medium.

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

I see so many custom bike builders and bicycle riders all over town, they push me to make their ride more comfortable, unique and complimentary to their own creations and personalities.

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 These gorgeous saddles as well as other tooled leather goods will be available at our San Francisco Holiday Fair! In the mean time, check out Obsidian Monarch online here:

Maker Spotlight: Fawn + Cub

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Fawn + Cub is heading to our San Francisco Holiday Fair this weekend and we cannot wait! Becky Carter Mingle, Owner and Designer of Fawn + Cub lives in the foothills of Northern California with her husband Jorden and two son’s Oliver Sage & Arlo Phoenix. She started Fawn + Cub because there was a need for functional baby products that still had personality. With her Native American background lending to her love of southwestern Navajo-style textiles, as well as her passion for sustainability blending the two materials was a given. She has created products that allow you to change in style, while keeping the environment in mind.

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

In my early 20’s I had Organic Clothing with my sister called Velvet Leaf. We did everything! Design, sample making, pattern making, marketing, fashion shows, photo-shoots, web-site, you name it. We were self-taught and grew to be successful but grew too big too fast.  After I became pregnant with my first Son Oliver, my sister and I decided to naturally move on to a different phase in life and close the brand. I stayed at home with Oliver and enjoyed just focusing on parenting and being a new mother for the next few years. By the time I became pregnant with my Second son Arlo, I was ready to get back to being creative. I had discovered in the last few years, that it was difficult to find practical baby products that didn’t make me feel as though I was giving up on my style. Because of my background it felt easy to jump into starting up Fawn + Cub.

What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

My products are definitely one of a kind because there is nothing like it in the baby market. The only changing mats around are generally a small plastic sheet, and most likely made in China. That is the exact reason why I created it, and I am so glad other Mothers have found it useful!

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

I recently did a re-design of our Changing Mat because the leather I had used in the beginning was a bit too soft and because of that the handle that was not ideal. I wouldn’t call it a failure, but a stepping-stone.  You are never going to be able to create the perfect product the first time around. When you launch your product and find out who your customer is and then listen to them, you can learn to shift and mold your product/ideas to create a better version that works for everyone. I now use stronger cowhide leather and it has been working out great and was able to attach a strap because so many people were asking about it.  It is so important to listen to your customers and be open to feedback without taking it personally.

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

Being a stay at home working mother who has a start up business means I have pretty much sacrificed my free time.  The day to day is crazy because if I am not with the Boy’s I am sewing, or hopefully sleeping. My husband works during the day so I work at night, and although it can be hard when you are passionate about what you are doing it is also fun and it makes me work that much harder.

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

Seeing Mom’s post pictures using my products is a continual favorite moment for me. The fact that they want to share their excitement is everything. Anytime I get a tag on Instagram I light up. I get to see that I am creating something that someone else appreciates so much that they are proud to share it. It keeps me going.

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

Because of Velvet Leaf, and starting it so young, I gathered a lot of knowledge. I had dropped out of college and gone straight into becoming an entrepreneur.  I learned a lot of things we did right and things I told myself I would do differently or never do again. We were successful with Velvet Leaf and were featured in Magazines like Teen Vogue and Lucky but we did a lot of things the wrong way. We had started just making everything ourselves, but as sales grew we had to hire a factory. At that point, we went too big too fast. We worked with factories that had large minimums and we were stuck with a lot of extra stock. Even though we had great sales, there was no way we would have been able to sell as much as we had to have produced. Thankfully the industry has changed since then, and now factories offer smaller minimums and the movement for handmade goods on platforms like Etsy and curated Craft Fairs like Renegade has given small start-ups a chance to thrive.  I have found that the knowledge I have learned from direct life experience has been the most valuable information I could ever have.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

I am a quarter Cherokee so I grew up going to Pow-Wow’s, spiritual gatherings and doing Native crafts. This has been a huge inspiration for me as I am just naturally drawn to American Indian patterns, textiles and leather craft. It definitely plays a huge role in the aesthetic of Fawn + Cub.

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

Just take the leap! You will never know if you don’t try, and it is so liberating to be out there doing what you love. And don’t be intimidated or feel like you have to go to business school. Because of the accessibility of these handmade platforms it can be a bit overwhelming and you can question if what you make is good enough, or if it will sell. Don’t get sucked in to doubt. Just trust in what you do, work hard, and good things will come.

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These bags and changing mats are just too great for words! Stop by our San Francisco Fair this weekend to pick up one for yourself or for that special baby in your life, and in the meantime check out Fawn + Cub online here:

Website

Instagram

 

Maker Spotlight: Kristina Micotti

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If you’ve been to our San Francisco Fair before but haven’t met Kristina Micotti, make sure you put that at the top of your list. Not only is she always a delight to talk to, but she can paint you a custom pet portrait over the weekend! Some of us here at RCF have taken advantage of that awesome service. We hope you’re able to see Kristina’s work in person November 21+22!
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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

Kristina Micotti is my maiden name. My sister and I were the last ones with the Micotti surname in our family so I thought it would be nice to keep it going in some way. Its also been beneficial to keep my professional and personal life separated.

Have you always been passionate about design?

Yes, I have. I have been drawing since I was little and been encouraged to be creative by my parents and teachers. I have always appreciated good design, whether it was a beetle on the sidewalk or the Golden Gate Bridge. We are surrounded by such beautiful design and I love taking the time to appreciate it.

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

Illustration kinda fell into my lap. I went to school for Graphic Design and I used my illustrations to set my portfolio apart from the other design students. I ended up winning Best Illustration for the AIGA portfolio review and got my first illustration job that day. I have been illustrating ever since.

What do you think sets your designs  apart from others? 

My sense of humor comes through in my illustrations in that they don’t take themselves too seriously. I draw and paint whatever makes me laugh, whether it is a dog in glasses or a sloth in a hat. Also, a majority of my designs are one of kind such as my india ink paintings and my hand painted totes which makes them stand out against reproductions.

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

Yes, I most certainly have learned a lot over the past 4 years. Its important to not beat yourself up over failures but instead view them as an opportunity to learn and grow. It can be extremely hard at times but ultimately I know its going to be okay. I’ve also learned to say no. Its important to know your worth and to value your time and not over commit.

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

I sacrificed the perks of 9 to 5 job – specifically the days when someone bring donuts for the entire office. Its just me (and my dog Buster) and at times it can be isolating but I have no regrets. I do it because I love it and it is such a fulfilling and beautiful experience.

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

My favorite moment since creating my business is participating in RCF! I get to actually meet my customers and see their unfiltered reactions to my work. RCF is such a great way to make that personal connection with customers that you wouldn’t have otherwise if they bought something from you online or in a store.

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

I started my business with my illustration skills and I’ve learned the rest along the way!

What are some inspirations for your work?

I am inspired by other illustrators/artists such as Charley Harper and Vera Nuemann. I love both of their styles and how observant their work is. I am also inspired by the cartoons Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson and The Far Side by Gary Larson. Watterson’s work is absolutely beautiful and always blows me away and I love Larson’s sense of humor.

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

The advice that I would give to other makers is to be honest with yourself and to keep on making.

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Kristina’s work is so great! We can’t help but smile every time we come across an illustration of hers. Don’t forget to meet her in San Francisco on November 21+22! In the meantime, you can spot Kristina Micotti online here:

Maker Spotlight: Zelma Rose

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We’ve always been big fans of Zelma Rose. Artist and designer, Lisa Anderson Shaffer has truly crafted a one of a kind jewelry and accessory line that has us drooling. Zelma Rose will be showcasing at our San Francisco Holiday Fair and we just cannot wait!

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

I named my business after my two grandmothers, Zelma and Rose Marie. Both taught me needlework when I was around 9 and I instantly fell in love with the attention to detail and slow nature of the process. Most of the women in my family created needlework and I am lucky enough to have a beautiful collection of heirlooms dating back to my great great grandmothers.

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Have you always been passionate about design?

Always! I was the kid in school who everyone knew was going to be an artist long before I did. I love the process. Going from something as abstract and vague as inspiration to creating a prototype is wonderful, frustrating, tedious and exciting. I love the surprises that happen along with way. I am a firm believer in listening to the materials once I start a design instead of holding fast to an original design idea. I think design can suffer when it is a one way street. I like the evolution that happens from an original design idea once you add materials, color and the artistic process. In this conversation I find the greatest changes take place and ones that really define my style and vision and make a Zelma Rose design, a Zelma Rose design.

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

I have always been an artist, but I started working as a jewelry designer in 2010. The road of my business has been somewhat unconventional compared to those of my peers. I was a working artist for about 6 years, mostly as artist-in-residence at UCSF Mt. Zion Cancer Center. While there I became interested in psychology and decided to pursue a Masters in Clinical Psychology. I was working as a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in 2009 when life for my family got really chaotic. My father-in-law was tremendously ill with pancreatic cancer and we had experienced a year of incredible grief as a family with one loss after another. It was an extremely intense time but looking back I am grateful for all the grief. It gave me the courage to jump into the unknown and try something new. I came home from my practice one day and said to my husband, “I’m done. I can’t do this right now.” To my surprise he said, “okay, what’s next.” I began the process of taking a leave from my practice and went back to teaching art. It was then that I started to play around with product design. My art previously had all been visual and I wanted to see what it was like to make something that becomes a part of someone else’s story, someone else’s style. I started making like crazy and before I knew it I had my first collection, and Zelma Rose was born.

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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

I don’t believe in minimal when it comes to jewelry. It is my mission to create designs that are distinctive and memorable and reflect the unique personalities and style of those who wear them. Nature is a wonderful muse for creating memorable pieces. I love the delicate balance between the bold colors and refined details found in nature. There is so much that can be seen in a single leaf and that is what I aim to do with my designs. I keep both a wide and narrow focus in mind so that each piece makes an impact from far away and up close. I love the excitement and surprise that occurs when a design has elements that can continue to be discovered.

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

Oh the life of an artist is ripe with failure! It happens daily. As an artist by the day, as a parent by the minute! I’ve gotten really good at it. My biggest failure has less to do with my business and more to do with my own fear of fully being an artist. When I went back to school to pursue my Masters and psychotherapy license I did not make a single piece of art for an entire 6 year period. I felt like what I was doing was very creative, but failed to see the difference between intellectual stimulation and creativity and just being someone at my core who needs to be making with my hands to be happy. I thought I was happy, but deep down I wasn’t. Once I started creating art again, I vowed to never ever convince myself that I did not need to be doing this. I am an artist, plain and simple. Fear got in the way for me and looking back I think that’s why I went back to school. I was so afraid of being an artist that I thought I would just go ahead and do something else. I still love psychology and truth be told, I was s a really great therapist, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I don’t regret that time, it continues to be very meaningful to me, but I know now that scared or not, I’m an artist.

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

When running your own business there are always sacrifices. I remind myself often that I chose this and I chose all the ways that Zelma Rose has grown and hasn’t. When my daughter was born I had no idea that I would feel so connected as a mother. Holding her for the first time in my arms at the hospital I knew I did not want to leave her side. Being the kind of parent I want to be has been the biggest gift of my job. I run all aspects of my business around being at home to care for my bean full time. While this is amazing and everything I have wanted, it also means that I run at a slower pace. Things take time to get off the ground as there is only so much I can accomplish in an effective and sane way while running a business full time and being a full time stay at home mom. My hours are super odd, people will often get emails from me at 4 am., but it works for us! It is essential to me to, as my friend Emily McDowell says, “to not compare myself to strangers on the internet.” I remind myself of this every single day. My pace is my own and growing slowly and staying smaller has enabled me to have SO much in life and not just business.

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

Last year I was invited by Etsy to be a part of a partnership with The American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I grew up in New York and visited the museum monthly as a young kid. It remains one of my favorite places on the planet. Having my designs for sale in the museum shop and sharing the space with the Hall of Gems and dinosaur bones still makes me speechless. It was a total thrill to be able to bring my husband and daughter along to the partnership launch. Being able to show my little one the museum and my work as part of it still brings tears to my eyes. It is something I am incredibly proud of and grateful for.

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

Fairfax is a magical place. We are 18 miles from downtown San Francisco and simultaneously in the middle of nowhere. My home sits on a mountain top and my studio windows overlook an expansive view of the eastern sky. I am surrounded by trees and mountains and watch the sun rise each morning from the windows of our home. Being so intimate with nature has been life changing. Just the other day we had a buck come up the winding driveway and take a seat about 20 feet from our front door for the afternoon. It was exciting, a little scary, and totally magical. Moments like these deeply inspire my work in ways that it sometimes takes months to discover. I just love that!

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

Being creative will save your ass every single time. Going to art school and pursuing a BFA not only taught me how to be an artist but how to be a person of integrity. I didn’t know it at the time, but art school while notorious for being a kick in the shins, also taught me so much about following my instinct, self confidence, and countless characteristics that have been invaluable in running a business. I will always be grateful to the San Francisco Art Institute for the pat on the back and the toss into the shark tank.

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

Grief is something I never thought I would be grateful for, but without it I would not have taken the leap to start my business or be an artist. I definitely felt like I had nothing to lose and that was exactly what I needed to leave a profitable career, set out on my own without a plan, be a new mom and try to make it all work. This is not a business plan I would suggest! Sometimes things happen all at once and you can either go with it, or waste time wishing the good and bad arrived on a schedule.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

Nature is my biggest inspiration. I am constantly in awe of all the beauty that surrounds us in Northern California. I often wonder if my daughter will ever actually understand how phenomenally beautiful the Golden Gate Bridge is and what it means to walk 5 minutes from our home and be totally lost in nature. We live in a unique place. The colors that surround us here, the golden mountains, green trees, and incredibly blue sky is beyond brilliant and the perfect muse.

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

Know thyself. Know fully what you want to share with your customers and how you want to make them feel. Having a clear vision and artistic perspective is invaluable. There will be times when you will be asked to do wonderful and exciting things with your brand and designs and some of them will be a good match and some of them won’t. Knowing yourself and your vision makes it a lot easier to know what to say yes to and when to say no. Sometimes it makes more sense to say yes to the smaller idea because it stays true to your vision than the larger one which might immediately yield greater results but drift your designs and ideas away from your original intent. Know thyself.

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Seeing Lisa in San Francisco is always such a treat, and we’ve loved seeing the evolution of her work over the seasons. Mark your calendars for our San Francisco Fair (Nov. 21 + 22) and find Zelma Rose online here:

Maker Spotlight: Veronica Rufrano

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We don’t know about you, but when we come across a well designed mug, we flip. When we first set eyes on Veronica Rufrano’s ceramics at last summer’s San Francisco Fair it was love at first sight. Thank goodness Veronica is joining us again for our Holiday Fair!

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Have you always been passionate about design?

I think so. My family is really artistic, so I think design and functional art was a similar but different route I could take.

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

I took a class in one of my last few years in college, and–like most ceramicists–became obsessed with it. I still make mistakes and am learning so much, so its always exciting.

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

Mostly just time. But I’d usually rather be in the studio than doing something else anyway.

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

Summer Renegade was great, especially after attending so many years myself. Talking to visitors and other artists was also really encouraging- I felt like I was leaving summer camp by the end of it.

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

I feel like each neighborhood has its own personality, and I’ve always loved that about San Francisco. So there’s always somewhere new to find inspiration. I like to keep an eye out for color combinations, interesting shapes, or anything new I may have never noticed.

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

Always keep practicing and make sure you are making what you like.

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 We are so thrilled Veronica is joining us again for our San Francisco Holiday Fair! You can find Veronica Rufrano online here:

Website

Instagram

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Maker Spotlight: Salt and Pipper

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It’s always a pleasure seeing this husband and wife creative duo at our San Francisco Fair. Their display is always top notch and both Pips and Josh are a delight to interact with. Our San Francisco Holiday Fair is coming up in just a couple of weeks and Salt and Pipper is one of our top picks for great giftables this season!unnamed-1

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

Pips: When we were first married my Mother in law nicknamed me Pipper, “Salt and Pipper”was a good play on words that we felt represents us both in our marriage and in our work. Salt and pepper always go together; they complement each other.

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

Josh: I got interested in pottery in high school, a few years after I graduated from college I was hired for my dream job: teaching high school ceramics. I have always liked the immediacy of clay and also the anticipation of firing. I love making beautiful pieces that people can use and enjoy every day.

Pips: I have always enjoyed art and being creative. As a child most of my “dream jobs” were creative in some form. When it came time for me to go off to University, art was the only thing I wanted to study. My parents were always very encouraging in this, which I am very thankful for. As it turns out studying art was incredibly tough on me. My confidence in my abilities and creativity suffered. Art still remained as something I wanted to do in my life, I just didn’t know how. After we were married I worked on finding my joy in art and being creative again. It has been a journey paralleled with moving countries a couple of times, that has brought me to a place of desiring simplicity and seeking it in my art. Over the last couple of years my art has moved from a whimsical illustrative nature to colourful abstract paintings. My art is stripped down to some of its simplest elements-the colours and how they interact with each other on the wood panels. I have worked on wood panels for the last 10 years, I love incorporating the wood grain into some of my pieces, and love working on it as a surface in general. I am really enjoying this place of abstract in my art and am excited to see where it takes me next.
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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

One unique aspect of being married and working side by side is that we encourage and challenge each other in our work. People have often commented on how our work complements each other. We did not set out with that intent – we just wanted to do some craft fairs together bringing our respective works. Our work is separate; we are not producing or selling things to go together. But every time we set up a show we are still surprised by how it functions as a whole body really well.

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

At this point we have not had to sacrifice anything, it has been a blessing to be able to do something we love. If we ever make the jump to doing this full time then we will come back and answer this question more fully.

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

Having our two kids, which seems a bit off topic but “Salt and Pipper” has become an extension of our marriage and lives, its an avenue that has allowed us to create and for our kids to be surrounded by and a part of creativity.

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

Well we haven’t fully taken the leap. Josh loves teaching high school ceramics, sharing his enthusiasm and excitement for pottery. Even though we aren’t doing this full time, it has allowed Pips to work and stay home to raise our kids. Some day it is our dream to take the leap, but until then this is a great avenue.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

Josh: Potters that inspire me are Shoji Hamada and Matt Long.

Pips: Colours and patterns. Creative friends and family.

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

We are still figuring this out, but something that has served us well is “Have Fun”, that’s why we do this right?

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We love the combination of Josh’s pottery and Pip’s paintings, and it certainly makes it easy to redecorate one’s home! Mark your calendars for our San Francisco Fair and check out Salt and Pipper online here:

Website

Instagram

 

 

Maker Spotlight: JOLN

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Everyone could use a good jacket, and right now we’re swooning over this anorak by JOLN. Not only is this jacket just about perfect, but Joln also makes amazing men’s AND women’s wear. You can snag all of these at our New York Holiday Fair (and a few more upcoming Fairs) next weekend!BLK BOX FRT 2

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

JOLN is the acronym for my name.  JoEllen aka Jo-Ell-en.  It’s actually been my handle since I was about 13 and created my first aol AIM account. 

Have you always been passionate about design?

Yes.   I love the idea of imagining something, and then being able to execute it and create it in real life.   I believe design requires actual skill and theory, and to be a designer, is to be thoughtful about that which you imagine.

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

I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was nine and have been pursuing it since then.    My great aunt was a fashion designer and the day I met her, I thought she was the most glamorous person I’d ever seen.  I decided that day that I would be a fashion designer.   I have always loved to draw, but that really shaped me.

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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

That’s a tough one.  My designs are inspired by real people, and what I think real people want to wear.  I make clothing that is soft, beautiful, interesting, and conscious.  It’s all about the details and the quality.  I like to play with found fabrics and textures,  and reinvent them into something wearable.

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

Absolutely.  I have made some pretty expensive mistakes, but try to learn from each one.   Nothing is perfect.  Everything can always be better.  So cutting yourself some slack and forgiveness is the only way you keep moving forward.

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

Yes.  I gave up a pretty great career as a corporate fashion designer to start my business.  My only regret is that it took me a few months to really focus and get started.  

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

LA is an amazing place.  There are so many creative people here, and there are so many people pursuing their passions.  It also has the resources to make things locally, which completely changed the way I thought about starting my business.

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

I had been a menswear designer for about ten years before going out on my own.  I knew how to make a shirt, so I started there.

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

I left my job almost 10 years to the day of my college graduation.  I thought,  10 years is a good run, and I learned a lot, but now it’s time for me to follow my dream.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

I am always inspired by fabrics.  I see something, and I instantly visualize what it could be.  For example, I saw a tent in a warehouse and my mind just went: Coat.   Then, I had to make it happen.  I wish I knew a better way to explain it.  I also think my friends are a big influence in the way I style things and the shapes/fits I create. .  I’m making things for us.  

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

It’s a rollercoaster.  I was told that only Patience, Passion, and Perseverance will see you thru.  So far, it’s working for me.

Fun fact: My logo and it’s colors are inspired by the activist Corita Kent.  She was a badass woman who cared about people and making a difference.  I also use a neon pink stitch on every style.  It’s my way of making sure nothing becomes too serious.  When it stops being fun, something is broken.

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It’s not often one comes across a clothing brand that offers pieces that are lovable across the board, which is why we consider JOLN such a gem! We can’t wait to spend time with JoEllen at several of our Holiday Fairs this season (New York, San Francisco, LA, and Seattle). We see some wardrobe upgrades in our futures. You can find JOLN online here:

Website

Instagram

Maker Spotlight: Siamese Social Club

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What a perfect Maker Spotlight for National Cat Day! Kristen Cella of Siamese Social Club will be bringing her minimalist amazing cat wares to our San Francisco Fair on November 21+22. If only she would bring her adorable siamese with her!

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
My cat, who is part siamese, is the inspiration behind my business and the name Siamese Social Club. Like many siamese cats, he sometimes acts more like a dog than a cat, and I’ve always joked about starting a “social” group for him to meet other cats, since he doesn’t quite fit in at the dog park.
Have you always been passionate about design?
In retrospect, yes, I have always been passionate about design without even realizing it. As a child, I would obsess over the floor plans of my dream home and pillage magazines for furniture and decoration ideas. At the time, I had no idea that this would lead to my current interest in interior design and product design.

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
About five years ago, I got into the DIY blog movement and was eager to try as many new techniques as I could learn. I taught myself how to crochet, knit, embroider, sew and took classes in spinning and weaving. I started using these newly acquired techniques to solve one problem that had always bothered me: finding a cat bed that actually looked good in my house. Once I made that connection between fiber arts and cats, I knew I had finally found my niche.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
My designs not only incorporate a minimal aesthetic, which I find to be somewhat unique among cat products, they take into consideration the actual behavior of cats. My ultimate goal is to make highly functional pieces of art, something that will actually be enjoyed by the cat and owner alike.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
The original cat bed design that I spent over a year creating turned out to be a complete failure. Not a single cat would sleep in it, even though it looked perfectly cozy to me. I learned then that I really needed to test out my basic designs on the cats first before focusing on the details.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
Before starting my business, one of my favorite pastimes was taking long walks and exploring new parts of San Francisco. Now, I can’t even remember when I’ve had the time to take a leisurely walk without a list of things to complete along the way. But since I’m spending my time working on something I really love and feel inspired to continue doing, I don’t miss those moments at all.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Launching my website has, so far, been my proudest moment. It really felt like my business had finally gone from an idea to a reality.

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How does the city you live in influence your work?
I find San Francisco such an inspirational place to live. From the muted, pastel color palette of the buildings on overcast days, to the entrepreneurial spirit that envelopes the city, to it’s plethora of public art and galleries, I can’t imagine ever having started my business anywhere else.
 
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
I actually studied animal behavior and evolution through grad school, so my science background has surprisingly come in handy during the early stages of my business. There are many parallels between the scientific and artistic process, from background research to experimentation to writing funding proposals, I still feel very much like a scientist working in a more creative field.

 

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
Starting my own business was something I always wanted to do, and something I had been thinking of and planning for a long time. So once I had the idea, the products and the name figured out, I knew it was finally time to start making things happen.

ssc_products_5What are some inspirations for your work?

Meeting and interacting with cats, reading design blogs, visiting art galleries, and being surrounded by other makers creating beautiful things.

 
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Don’t be afraid to learn new things and try techniques that are unfamiliar to you. You never know how they might influence your work or lead to a brilliant idea.
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We could stare at these photos all day! Thank you Kristen for sharing your work, and he sure to check out these feline-friendly goods at our San Francisco Fair! You can find Siamese Social Club online here:
Website
Instagram

Maker Spotlight: *iA Playhouse

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We always get excited when Makers come out with innovative, interesting, and aesthetically pleasing kids’ stuff. Which is why *iA Playhouse scores a 10 in our books! Gift-giving just got a whole lot easier, so make sure you stop by our San Francisco Holiday Fair November 21+22 and meet Chloé Leguay, the designer behind these playful goods.iA 53
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

The name *iA came from the 3 simple elements of this construction game. “i” is a stick, the asterix dot of the i is the star shape connector and A is the fabric triangle. The essence of *iA is included in his name! With stars, sticks and triangles you build any shapes you want. With *iA you build any shapes you want. Pyramid, igloo, boat, giant ball, doll house, teepee, space ship…

*iA would be in french a fast way to say “il y a” meaning “There is”

*iA un bateau (There is a boat)

*iA un teepee (There is a teepee)

*iA de la joie ! (There is joy!)…

Have you always been passionate about design?

Yes, as a movie set decorator, sculptor and model maker I always been interested in craft and design.

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

Since I can remember. Treehouse, fort, craving the sand, best hiding place, diving in caves… As a mom I spend so much time playing that I believe games need to be awesome for both kids and parents. I started *iA since I moved to San Francisco, 1 years and half ago, from Paris, France.

What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

It is both a construction game and a playhouse.

It is both for kids and adults.

It is both, flexible and stable.

It’s essential. With only 3 different elements to assemble, you expand world large enough to play in and around.

Colorful triangles create any patchwork you imagine.

IT’S AWESOME!!

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

Communication and marketing, designer common sense, I guess.

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

I’m selling my dream house (ruin) on a french river desert island to begin it, then I might regret it strongly 😉

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

My daughter eyes when she build her own creation with *iA

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

San Francisco is like a city made of playhouses. Dream place for kids. Best inspiration.

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

Set design

Graphic design

Sculpture

Model Making

Being a Mom

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

Knowing that I have an amazing product and no one is going to do it better than I will!

What are some inspirations for your work?

Patchwork and diamond, fashion and math, craft and architecture

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

Make things you’re proud of!

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We love love love *iA Playhouse and think you should, too! Stop by their booth at our San Francisco Fair and find them online here:

Website

 Instagram

RCF + SKUE presents “Made to Last” Episode 2

MADE TO LAST Episode 2 from SKUE on Vimeo.

What are the struggles of a full time maker? And how does working with retailers create more opportunities for breakout success? In this next episode of maker series “Made to Last” Jeff Goodwin of Krakatoa Design seeks advice from Angela Tsay founder of Oakland Supply Co
“As an emerging designer, you need an idea that’s fresh, you need to keep it fresh but also at a price point that people can afford. We’re definitely here to help.” says Angela. 
Both Jeff and Angela are log time patrons of the Renegade Craft Fair and WSMs and continue their relationship online on SKUE where retailers not only source, but guide emerging designers with retail advice. 
“I’ve been full time for a year now and trying to figure out where there are opportunities for development” asks Jeff, a woodworker with some great products in his portfolio which includes a map series on cork to pin your next outing.