I first came into contact with Maker Goods in LA and immediately fell in love with the colors Felicia Koloc used in her marbling process. This weekend Felicia will be showcasing these perfect gifts at our Chicago Holiday Fair.
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
I share the business with a partner (he is mostly on the letterpress side of the business) and after a lot of thought about what it was we wanted to spend our time doing we realized that there was no one thing we wanted to nail our selves to. So the “Maker Goods” name lets the two of us explore and change over time without having to change our brand. As a pair we are letterpress printers, mechanics, designers, pattern drafters, marbler, , and doodlers (I’m sure I left a few things out) but, for us it is mostly about being excited for a new challenge.
Have you always been passionate about design?
I don’t know about design but I have always been passionate about being creative. Design became
something I really started to appreciate when I started college. I went in undecided and came out
with a design degree and never had a second doubt about it. Having friends that also work as
designers and is another thing I am passionate about. There is so much to learn from sharing
ideas and I am pretty thankful to know so many talented people.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
Sewing has always been in my blood and I don’t remember not knowing how to but, I had never thought about printing my own fabric. At least not until I started letterpress. When ink is being mixed up for printing there is a short span when all of the colors exist together at the same time like tiny colorful threads. It creates really engaging patterns and one day I was mixing ink thinking “How can I get this on fabric?”. Marbling was the only process I could think of that created the same unpredictable lines and motion I would get while mixing up daily matches. A short visit to the library and a long weekend full of trial and errors I finally started to get the results I wanted. Right now I make small bags with the fabric and leather I marble but it is always changing and growing into new things.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
Marbling is not something I invented nor am I alone in pursuing the art but I try hard to perfect the colors I use in my work to keep them specific to me. Before I start creating multiples of any item it starts with a few days of color testing. There is a bit of science mixed in with marbling that requires experimenting with ink color combinations, layering, and fabric choices. I also draft all of my own patterns and sew everything myself ultimately making it completely a piece only I could make.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
Being motivated is one of my better qualities but it can not be said enough how difficult it is to run a creative business and still manage all of the boring stuff that comes with it. Every time I have to deal with an unhappy client, taxes, and anything to do with a spreadsheet I think I gain a little knowledge about how to be better at what I do. So at the end of the day even though it wasn’t fun at least something positive came out of it.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
For sure! Spending too much time working has always been my problem and that can harm my personal life. I have gotten better over the years but I still have to remind myself to get away from the desk.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Seeing the things I make out in the wild is by far my favorite and its even better when my friends spot things and then tell me about their interactions with those people.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
Kansas City has more pride than any place I have ever lived. For example, the city had a parade for the Royals because they won the world series and nearly 800,000 people came downtown to spend the day high and celebrating. That same love is put towards the local makers and artists in the area which is how I am able to do what I do for a living, what more could you ask for?
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
Spending time working for other small businesses helped me to create a do’s/‘s list for my own business which I still use. Another thing I learned early on is that it is way better to be nice than to burn a bridge, the creative community is too small to be a jerk.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
“Take your pleasure seriously” is a well known Charles quote that truly hits the spot for me. For me that means to not be nervous about taking the risk and working hard to do things your own way. Odds are you will end up liking your day job a lot more if you do.
What are some inspirations for your work?
This could be the type of response that goes on forever so I’ll keep it short and say that keeping a wide range of creative company is the most inspiring thing for me. There is so much to learn from people exploring skills outside your own wheelhouse.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
It is so easy to get sucked into trends and to start questioning your work and style. Moments like that can be good and bad for development and growth but ultimately I think its important to just do what feels most natural and build interest that way. Also, a good adventure and new experience can bring out so many new thoughts and ideas, I fully recommend it!