November 17, 2016
Maker + Mineral
Maker Spotlight + Giveaway
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!
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?
I wish I had a better story, but I struggled over a name for what felt like forever. I spent hours pouring over biology textbooks and lists of geology terms. I knew that I wanted to play with this juxtaposition of natural vs. manmade, and once Maker & Mineral made the list, none of my other ideas seemed to make sense anymore.
Have you always been passionate about design?
Yes, seriously, just ask my mom about the trail of creations that followed me throughout my childhood. When I was young, I would set up a little craft factory in front of the TV every chance I got. I would latch-hook, embroider, collage, draw, knit, and design daily. My ideas have obviously transformed throughout the years, especially because I studied Fine Art in college, but creating has always been a part of my identity.
Why did you start working in this particular craft?
I’m really lucky that my parents were supportive of my creative side. When I was young, they used to send me to arts camps over summer. From basic drawing to ceramics and filmmaking, I got to learn all of these new skills each year. At 15, I went to a pre-college drawing/printmaking program at SVA in New York. When I got home after that summer, I started taking more printmaking and silk-screening classes at Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco and created my first business designing and printing t-shirts (I actually participated in the first RCF San Francisco at the age of 18 under a different business name…back then I was woefully unprepared). Since then, textiles and printmaking have been my two greatest passions.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
Right now trends are all leaning towards the monochrome, simple, comfortable, uniform, but I have never feared being different. I design clothing that I would want to wear, and that often means bright, bold, and loud patterns and colors. Clothing is meant to put your personality on display, and I only want to dress the quirky, colorful weirdo who bucks fast fashion to be truly THEMSELVES.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
I sacrifice sleep all too readily. I think a lot creative people throw themselves wholeheartedly into their work, and I am absolutely one of those people who gets started on a project and won’t allow my body to rest until I feel I have reached a natural stopping point. That means I often don’t get to bed until the sun is on its way up. As I am getting older, I’m starting to recalibrate some bad habits I have built up over the years, and I am making a concerted effort to get to bed at a more reasonable time because my sleep debt is starting to weigh on me.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
There are many proud moments from starting Maker & Mineral. These past two years have been a whirlwind of fun and surprises, but the first time a stranger recognized something I was wearing as my own design, is definitely one of my favorite moments to date. I work at a nice restaurant in SF a few days a week and thankfully they allowed me to make my own apron. I had used the “Handsy” print that I put on almost everything on the front pocket. As I was serving a table, one of the women asked, “is your apron by Maker & Mineral?” and turning red, I responded, “That’s me!!!!” Since then I have seen a few people wearing my pieces out in the world, and I have been recognized a couple more times, but that first recognition is something I will hold onto for the rest of my life.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
I am a San Francisco native. This city not only influences my work on the daily, but it also fundamentally influences who I am. I grew up learning about recycling and taking care of the environment, so upcycling and getting all of materials locally are integral to my business philosophy. Gender equality and sexual freedom, which San Francisco has notoriously been famous for, are also significant to my design aesthetic. San Francisco is changing really quickly though, and I’m worried that as this city becomes more focused on wealth and tech, that a lot of these things that formed me as a designer and that make San Francisco so unique are going to fall by the wayside.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
Starting a creative business is all I have ever wanted to do. Honestly, it didn’t even really feel like a leap. Being my own boss and starting a business were just the next logical steps in my life. It’s not always easy, but I know that I am following my passion, so I’ve learned not to question it.
What are some inspirations for your work?
I draw most of my inspiration from the body and nature. Pretty much everyone in my family is a doctor, so I grew up with a lot of medical talk at the table. Like I said before, my parents were always really supportive of my creativity, and while my mom still says “you would make a great surgeon” pretty regularly, I knew from a young age that I would NEVER be going to medical school. However, I did really enjoy math and science and I particularly loved scientific drawings. So, in some ways a lot of my ideas come from this career path I actively avoided and from combining my personal passions with those of my family.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
This is what people have always said to me, and it is so true: Do what you love, if you stand by your work and believe in yourself, others will follow.
Anything else you want to tell us about your business?
A portion of my “Busted” print sales gets donated to Planned Parenthood!