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Filtering by Category: MAKER

Undress to Impress || Related Garments

Ben Ashby

Last week Heath, Trey, and I went out into the woods of Kentucky to shoot some images of Related Garments underwear and socks. After shooting was complete I asked the folks at Related Garments to tell us a bit more about the brand...

David and Mike Appel were prone to fighting over almost anything as kids, even the unique underwear their mom would bring home from the department store. Looking back, it was this very underwear that gave the brothers the infinite confidence of superheroes as they’d spend countless hours running around the house and yard. Fast-forward years later and the brothers had a revelation: the women in their lives were always giving them raving compliments on their refined taste in underwear. As they set out to disrupt the clothing industry they found a very common theme: when women were asked, “What is the one thing you’d change about your man?” their overwhelming response was, “his underwear!”.

Time after time, when faced with the chance to change one thing about their guy, women continued to say they would kick those ratty, mix-matched undies to the curb. Time to make a change. RLTD spent years sourcing the best fabrics and most responsible manufactures in order to get a quality and affordable product to our customers. Our production partner is certified by the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing. Related was built on the belief that too many men are ignoring a quick and effortless way to improve their style: upgrading their underwear.

By presenting guys with simple, coordinated, and comfortable options, David and Mike have made it easy to ditch your gross, old underwear and put on a more refined set of undergarments.

For David and Mike, Related is about much more than just introducing men to a new way of thinking about style, it is a vehicle for raising awareness around some of the biggest health challenges facing men today. This includes working with The Movember Foundation to “change the face of Men’s Health” through combating various cancers such as prostate cancer.

Nature's Kindle | Meet the Maker

Ben Ashby

When most students are trying to make it through college, they get a job waiting tables, but because he was already burning a candle at both ends that didn't work for Diosdado Velasquez. When his hectic college days started to make money tight, he started making candles. That small idea because a small venture in time, and eventually Nature's Kindle was formed.

How did you start Nature's Kindle?

Nature’s Kindle began as a crazy side hustle during college with an impossible internship schedule and the need to pay my bills.  I was looking for a way to get by but was unable to have a typical “college” job, so I decided to hone in on my entrepreneurial spirit and go for it.  

Who taught you to create candles and fragrances, or were you self-taught?

I started Nature’s Kindle buying and reselling candles that I felt had scents inspired by nature, but truly didn’t own the brand until I started developing my own products and learned how to make them by hand.  I did some research and found a class, where I learned the basics of candle making. That is also when I learned about soy candles and the natural benefits of working with soy wax.  From there, I started blending fragrances and developed our signature scent Woodlands. 

What was the first product you made and how was it received?

The first candles we ever made were heart shaped candles for Valentine’s day.  It was our first show and we went above and beyond for what we thought would be “popular” which was the total opposite of who we are.  That was a huge learning lesson for us to be ourselves.  I literally sold 1 candle and decided from then on to go with my gut and properly brand my business to truly represent who I am.

Did you know you would start your own brand, if not what spurred it?

When I first started making candles I had no idea that I would start my own brand.  Once I knew I had a product that customers started coming back for, my wife and I had a heart to heart about what our goals were.  We wrote down what was important to us and how we felt our brand should be represented, and Nature’s Kindle was born.  As we are always inspired by nature, we felt we should always have scents inspired by nature and we took it from there!

How do you get ideas for new products & photo shoots?

We have a few product ideas lined up for the upcoming year that are in line for Nature’s Kindle.  We’ve thrown around a lot of different ideas but we always come back to who we are and what we need to continue representing.  Keep it simple.  Our photo shoots are usually in house and collaborative with our awesome photographer, lots of natural light, and based around nature inspired home décor.

What are your inspirations?

My wife and I inspire each other.  Our business inspirations are almost always on a road trip to the mountains, hiking and talking, or late nights at the warehouse after about 10 cups of coffee.  As long as we are together we are inspired.

How do your hobbies influence what you make?

We love hiking, backpacking, camping, and just generally hanging out outside.  During our adventures we love to dream big and loud and figure out the next scent or product we can start working on.

What has been your biggest challenge?  

My biggest challenge was taking the leap of faith to take this on full time in 2016.  While working full time and having a steady income I was able to play it safe.  Both Nature’s Kindle and my previous job required full time attention so with the moral support of my wife I took the route that allowed me to live my dream of being an entrepreneur.

What's been your best advice you've been given?

The best advice I had been given was to chase your dream and give it all you have to make them come true. 

 What's your favorite thing about sharing Nature's Kindle with others?

My favorite thing about sharing my product is seeing the reaction of when they pick up and smell our candles.  Scent is a huge memory trigger for most people, so to hear about my customers memories when they experience our candles really makes my day.  I love hearing feedback from my customers and as we grow I hope to share more of our story and journey with others and inspire more people to experience nature as well.

Designs from Upstate: Meet Wolf Jaw Press

Christophe Chaisson

We love upstate New York! between Earth Angels, Upstate Stock, and now Wolf Jaw Press we are itching for a visit! Recently we sat down with Alicia Burnett, the owner of Wolf Jaw Press for a brief chat about what she does, why she is a maker and why you should support American made. 

 

FOLK: Hi! Please introduce yourself.

WOLF JAW PRESS: I’m Alicia Burnett, and I am a designer, artist, and all around maker. I’m also the sole proprietor of Wolf Jaw Press, a small independent printmaking studio that produces fine art screen prints inspired by the beauty of the natural world.

 

Where in the world are you located? 

Right now my studio and I are located in the northern Hudson Valley region of New York State. I’m really happy living and working here. I think it’s a great location for makers like me that love nature and feel more comfortable living in the country versus living in a city. The countryside and farmlands of Upstate New York are a beautiful place to live; it can be quite rural, but it’s not so rural that I feel isolated and disconnected to the surrounding makers and local arts communities. I love the fact I’m surrounded by serene farmland and plenty of open space while still being close enough to New York City, Hudson, and Albany to be physically involved the art communities of those cities. 

Why are you a maker?

I am a maker because it feels like the most authentic and natural way for me to live my life and make a living for myself. I am a maker because for as long as I can remember, I have had an insatiable compulsion to create. It’s just something that is in my DNA I guess. 


What do you make?

Through my studio, Wolf Jaw Press, I make limited edition screen prints. 

How long have you been a maker?

While I’ve always identified as being a creative, artistic individual with a strong desire to make and create, professionally, I haven’t been a maker for that long. I graduated with my MFA from Pratt Institute in 2015, and shorty afterwards I established Wolf Jaw Press. I’ve been a professional maker for less than year! Establishing my own studio and business has been quite the process, but putting in the long hours and hard work has been so worth it. Everyday I learn something new, and seeing my studio slowly but surely grow and flourish gives me an indescribable sense of satisfaction. 


Why did you decide on what you do?

It took me a long time to find myself artistically. I attended the Rhode Island School of Design where I spent most of my time as an undergraduate student trying to find a medium that felt comfortable for me. I watched so many of my friends as freshman and sophomores immediately gravitate towards a specific major, and then to a specific medium or process. Meanwhile, I felt like I was interested in too many things. I wanted to do any try everything, but nothing I artistically experimented with felt right. 

It wasn’t until the tail end of my junior year that I had a moment of clarity. On a whim, I decided to take a screen printing class with RISD’s printmaking department during the spring semester of my junior year. Within weeks I was completely in love with the screen printing process, but it still took me a few years to find the courage to establish my own screen printing studio and business.

The catalyst that finally pushed me to take the leap of faith and start my own studio were the repeated failures I had at trying to break into the corporate world of design. After my graduation from RISD with my BFA, and then from Pratt my MFA, I had interview after interview with companies and design firms, but it seemed that no one wanted to hire me. In hindsight, these “failures” in getting hired, while discouraging and frustrating at the time, pushed me to realize that maybe I should try to open my own studio and be self employed.

Favorite part about being a maker?

There is so much I love about being a maker! In short, I love the freedom and control it gives me in my personal and professional life. While being self employed undoubtedly comes with an expected level of uncertainly and stress, I have been able to experience a level of freedom that is both liberating and exhilarating. By being a maker, I get to do what I love everyday and I get to be my own boss. I decided what I want to make and when I want to make it, I create my own hours, I decide what projects and collaborations I want to work on, and I get to decide how and in what direction I want my business to grow. 

I also love that each day always hold something new and different. I could never have a job where I do the same thing everyday sitting at a desk. As a maker and a self employed artist, I get to first and foremost create the art that I love to make, but I also get to explore and learn about financial management, business strategies, legal procedures, accounting, and marketing. I’m learning and exploring so much. I find that my days bouncing between slinging ink in the studio, compiling and analyzing finical reports hunched over my laptop, or researching small business growth strategies are engaging and deeply rewarding. 


Why support makers?

When you shop for items made by artisans and makers, you can expect receive high quality goods crated with care while your dollars contribute to and strengthening a local economy. By supporting makers, you are also helping support someone’s passion. We makers care so deeply and passionately about what we do, and through buying our goods you enable us to make a living off of our authentic passion for creating. 

— Wolf Jaw Press

Flower Power: Toby Kassoy + Lilla Bello

Ben Ashby

Recently, we made a trip out west to the golden coast with the sun shining and the windows down. We asked that along the way makers reach out to us to meet and shoot what it is that they do. Each and every business was unique, but when Toby of Lilla Bello reached out and asked us to shoot her floral design studio we knew we had to go. Making our way past the superbloom of poppies in California we traveled to Lilla Bello to meet Toby, who has been following us for years. We were lucky enough to stop in and shoot her creating in her space while getting to know her better. Meet Toby Kassoy of Lilla Bello, a bespoke floral design studio in Los Angeles, and watch as she pulls together several beautiful arrangements in her lifestyle shop and studio.

Read More

WILD + HABIT

Ben Ashby

THE INSATIABLE PURSUIT OF CREATING TANGIBLE BEAUTY FROM WILDERNESS // SEEKING MAGIC // FOSTERING SENTIMENT. 

 


Recently I sat down with the folks behind lifestyle shop and brand Wild Habit in Oceanside, California to learn more about their brand, their mission, and their love of nature. We also learned they plant a tree in Tahoe National Forest for every purchase in their store!


 

Who are you?

We are makers. We are best friends. We are stylists, artists, consultants, photographers, and collectors. We are wanderers, shakers, and movers with roots in to two magnificent coasts. Both Danielle Quigley and Sue Fan grew with the trees in the eastern deciduous forests. It was there we found art, meaning, a lot of poison ivy, and our insatiable pursuit for all things beautiful. We met over ten years ago chasing ice and adventure in Antarctica and haven't slowed since. We've shifted our focus from our full time photography jobs to pursue our greatest passions together in the amazing state of California: To create, to forage and explore, to seek and share.

What is your business?

We wander and forage in search of natural materials. We collaborate and create handmade products and installations from our found, natural materials. Staying true to natural beauty and to our craft, we are impulsive in gathering (picking up anything we find interesting) and deliberate in our execution (finding the best way to show of the inherent beauty of the material). We illuminate birch bark, carve bones, wear feathers and stones. Our WILD HABIT keeps us exploring & creating - from our back woods to the beach to the mountains and world-wild. Making beauty from nature is what do and what we love - from jewelry to lighting, wall art to table art.

Why are you a maker?

We want to bring the beauty of the earth into every heart and home. The more beauty we can share from the earth, and the more we stress the importance of preserving Earth's natural beauty (by planting trees, by sponsoring beach clean ups, by donating a percentage of proceeds to great organizations), we hope to make a small difference in how people see, feel, and shop.

 

Why should we support small makers?

We are real people. We should support those who live with the land, those who work to make it better, those who farm, and build, and create, those who work hard daily to keep craftsmanship alive, those who work to produce beautiful, thoughtful, and real wares, and who have amazing stories to share. Supporting small makers is the greatest step towards reconvening with the earth and people, and seeing what it truly means to be made with love.

Why did you start your business?

We want to be a part of a community that consists of artists and makers and lovers and thinkers and doers.

What inspires you?

Definitely the great outdoors. It's a very wild habit.

— www.wildhabit.com

Meet Bowen Outdoors

Ben Ashby

As part of our series of maker spotlights, we recently teamed up with Zack of Bowen Outdoors to talk about how he turned his passion for the outdoors into a business. For Zack, owning her own company is a way that she can give back to the causes and programs that matter to him, like nature conservation and camps and training programs that help children experience nature. Read more below to find out how Zack started Bowen Outdoors, and how he's making sure a new generation can enjoy the great outdoors.

 

How did you get started creating an outdoor brand?

We founded our brand on one mission: to inspire families and children to get out and explore more. During our conversations about our biggest influences, we realized the brand we wanted to create should be founded on two principles: family and exploring. These influences led us to creating a social enterprise driven outdoor brand where we give 10% of all net profits to programs all around the country that provide training, education and camps for children and families to experience the outdoors. 

A lot of our passion comes from relationships with our families. We were both raised as active outdoor children and were heavily influenced by the experiences and lessons a child can learn from being exposed to the outdoors. Having our own kids now we see that the idea of going camping, hiking and exploring outside is starting to fade and with that we think children are losing their sense of adventure, curiosity and wonder.  

Who taught you to start your own brand, or were you self-taught?

We have learned a lot of valuable skills about overall business operations from past experiences in family business and in college. We have learned a lot since starting Bowen Outdoors. Many of the important aspects of creating products, brand image, creative development, etc. were all things we did not know much about. We have had a lot of trial and error and picked up on different skills as we have gone just by trying and doing and asking for help from friends and family. It hasn’t always been perfect, but we have definitely learned a lot along the way.

Did you know you would start your own brand, if not what spurred it?

I have always known I wanted to start something of my own. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and business owners, so I  think that the drive to create and build upon ideas is somewhat in my blood naturally. I started working for my grandfather’s business when I was 13 years old because the idea of running a business seemed fun and interesting to me. I worked there from 13-20 and as I got older, I would always have people call me the “little boss man” and tell me how I would one day be running the company and I would always just laugh. Although I have always felt fortunate enough to have had the option to work in the family owned businesses, I always wanted it to be in a field that I was passionate about and wanted to pave my own way.

Bowen Outdoors and the idea behind it happened somewhat naturally for us. Getting outside and exploring has always been something I have been passionate about, but growing up in the Midwest I never thought about creating an outdoor brand because I didn't feel that we were in an area that was “outdoorsy” enough. Now that I have started a family of my own and do my best to get my kids to explore all that life has around us, I realized we don't have to always be in the mountains to explore. The opportunity for exploring is all around us.

How do you get ideas for new products & photo shoots?

Bowen Outdoors is focused on providing outdoor lifestyle products and apparel for people who are just as comfortable in the city as they are on the trail. Our product ideas come from trying to inspire and motivate people to live life outside of the cubicle, living room or their cell phone. 

 

What are your inspirations?

My greatest inspiration overall has been my father. Since I was young, I remember his passion for the outdoors and the part it played in our relationship. My Dad is every part of the word, outdoorsman. Growing up, I lived in a log cabin in the woods, we had a couple of horses, played in the woods and creeks daily, and he participated in all of those things with us. Our vacation every year was in a state park or campground where we always went on hikes and climbed around on rocks. He really taught us about the outdoors and instilled his love for it in us. To this day, my greatest memories with him have involved camping and exploring. Just a few weeks ago, we had one of the best trips I have ever been on in my life and conversations while exploring that I will never forget. He is a tough guy who still loves rock climbing, backpacking, and finding new places to explore.

Outside of the outdoors world, my father is a quiet yet smart and calculated businessman. He is passionate not only for his business, but also for the people working for him. I have always admired the way he has done his best to treat people fairly and respectfully even when it meant less overall profit for the business in the end. The kind of compassion for people that is greater than the desire for money is a rarity in this world and I really look up to him for that.

Overall in life, combining his love for the outdoors and his business knowledge and compassion for people, he is a pretty cool guy. What I am sure most people wouldn’t expect to read is that my Dad is legally blind, and if his eye disease has it’s way, will be completely blind sometime in his life. To see a man who has never stopped rock climbing, walking on narrow trails at the top of a mountain, crawling through caves, and skydiving despite not being able to see is the most inspiring to me. He has never let his sight keep him from living life and laughing and that is one of the things I will always remember most about him. He lived his life to the fullest and didn’t what people thought he should or shouldn't do keep him from truly living.

How do your hobbies influence what you make?

We are family guys, and most of our time is spent with our wife and kids. We try our best to get out with them and teach them about the outdoors, being safe while exploring, and about the incredible things you can find while you are out on an adventure. The best part about being an outdoor brand is that we actually live this life so we are able to take those experiences and work toward creating products that reflect them.

 

What has been your biggest challenge?  

I would say our biggest challenge has been lack of knowledge. We started this brand on a shoestring budget. I have a wife and three kids under 3 years old at home and the idea of using our savings or getting a loan just didn't seem like the best idea while trying to keep their well-being as a priority. When you make a decision to start a business without a lot of money, things start slower in terms of products available and slower in general. This is something we are navigating; yet trying to keep our priority of family as our main focus. 

What's been your best advice you've been given?

My father once told me, “I am not going to stop living life waiting to die just because I can't see. I am going to live my life to the fullest, doing the activities that make me happy and if I die climbing down a mountain, at least I died doing something I love” It may not have been real advice that he was trying to give, but the impact that the idea of really going for what you want, never settling and taking chances, will stay with me for a lifetime.

What's your favorite thing about sharing your art with others?

The impact it has had on families and children. When we give back to community programs that help support exploration and adventure it's an incredible feeling. Knowing that not only are we providing great gear and apparel, but that we are actively making a difference in people's lives is the best part of what we do. At the end of the day, it doesn't feel like we're running a business - it feels like we're creating something special and something we believe in. BOWENOUTDOORS.COM

 

Good + Well || Candles + Soaps

Ben Ashby

Recently I had the pleasure of shooting a series of images for Good + Well Co. Their candles and soaps are truly delightful. 

Meet Spoon & Hook

Ben Ashby

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I am absolutely smitten with Anneliesse McKee. Her handcrafted wooden pieces are equally utilitarian and pure art. I'm especially loving that she too is from Kentucky. I could go on and on about how amazing each piece is, how incredibly beautiful the packaging is, (she mailed the pieces in the photographs to me in a wooden wine box filled with dried florals and feathers) or how wonderful story is. I however will let her tell you in her own words.

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Please introduce yourself

My name is Anneliesse McKee

I live in Asheville, NC and have since 2009.

I hand carve wooden spoons, charcuterie boards, bowls and more from wood I have either cut myself in Waynesville, NC or from reclaimed lumber found. I've had my business for two years now. As far as availability I have my pieces on my own website spoonandhook.com as well as one of my best friends websites bomisch.com. Within town I sell at three different brick and mortars: Villagers, East Fork Pottery, as well as Atomic Furnishings. I am hoping by the end of this year to be opening my own brick and mortar in Asheville.

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Why be a maker

I feel that being a maker is so much more than the product itself. It's a lifestyle choice. I live in west Asheville where I have the most beautiful little community of makers from bakers, photographers, painters, home builders, and Brewers. Everyone raises each other to be their best. If they're not using something that could benefit another maker, it isn't even a question that it will find its way to them. There is support and encouragement and growth continuously and for me that's a large part of it. I think in a world like what is happening today, it's incredibly important to be a part of something you truly stand behind and can make better. Supporting any one maker is much more than the product you walk away with. You're receiving a story that you get to continue on writing. I think if we could all live in a way where we surrounded ourselves by things that held meaning and quality then we would buy less, appreciate more and be able to do it in a successful way moving forward in a consumer driven country. I believe it's very similar to our food movement. People love to support their local farms and organic food and the things we surround ourselves with, put on our bodies, and keep around our space are just as important as what we are putting in our bodies.

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What is the greatest challenge as a maker

I think my greatest challenge I have had within woodworking continuously feeling like I needed to create every second I was free. This past year was a large lesson in slowing down, stopping to smell the roses, and remembering the reasons why this became such a love to begin with. As far as largest rewards, I think it's when I get an email or letter from someone who tells me their story and how they now own a spoon or board and how it has become a part of their everyday life. I love that!!! I have so many of my grandmothers pieces and to think one day someone's going to possibly say "this piece is about 100 years old and made from a woman named Anneliesse Mckee". Just seems like I'm putting my fingerprint in this big world, even if it's my pinky ha.

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What advice would you give to aspiring makers

If I had any advice I could give, I would tell anyone to simply stand behind whatever it is they're doing. I think so many people have such brilliant ideas but the idea of failing is too large to even try. But failing doesn't really exist in certain communities, especially not in Asheville. I would just say to always try. Maybe there's something else you find you love in the process? Maybe you find out how effortless and second nature it seems? Maybe you just find out that it wasn't everything you thought it would be? But that's okay! Just try!

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What advice would you give to your former self

If I could give myself any piece of advice to former me, I think I would tell myself to own what I do and just make sure I'm doing it to my best. I did the Highpoint Market for my second year and I had to make 100 pieces in a month and I was so stressed and concerned with making wild and new that I put my core values on the back burner. I was making wooden eye ball spoons and then I realized it was just getting too weird. I would tell myself to just stick to what I know and do it to its best. I would maybe tell myself not to be so hard on myself. I think quick gratitude is a struggle for all and learning patience is easier said than done but this past year was a beautiful example of organically letting things lead me in the direction of my dreams and not to be impatient.

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Own Less, Do More: An Interview with Zack Helminiak of Nomadix

Zack Peterson

We spoke with Nomadix Co-Founder Zack Helminiak to discuss products that blend well with a functional lifestyle, being active, and how one eco-friendly towel can do it all.

 
 

How did you get started creating?

Zack: In the winter of 2008-2009 we were all working for Vail Resorts in the Rocky Mountains. Chace was a snowboard instructor, Hunter was on-mountain guest services, and I worked in a rental shop. We had many adventures that year, including a springtime trip to Canyonlands in Utah. That first night was sat around a campfire overlooking the Canyon, sipping cheap brandy (Hunter’s camping M.O.), and hatched the idea for a company that makes eco-friendly, multi-purpose travel products. Shortly after landing in California, we began designing a towel that fit the California lifestyle of weekend camping, weekday surfing and yoga, and really anything you can throw at it.

 

Who taught you to start your own brand, or were you self-taught?

Z: For the most part I would describe us as self-taught, although I wouldn't want to take away from anyone that has given us advice along the way. We’ve received advice from family, friends, and other business owners in Southern California that was definitely formative. Small businesses also lean on each other to promote, throw events, and give advice, and we have benefitted from that community. But if you look at the day-to-day of running a business; we wanted to build a brand that is a voice for environmentalism, and in that we are carving our own path, not taking shortcuts, and much of that is self-taught.

 
 

Did you know you would start your own brand, if not what spurred it?

Z: All of us have had a creative, entrepreneurial spirit, since we were young. I don't want to say that I knew the future, but none of us took much convincing once the idea for Nomadix formed.

 

How do you get new ideas for products and photo shoots?

Z: Ideas for our products, both in function and design, come from travel. Our products are designed to perform in every activity you encounter, they have travel inspired prints, and we test them thoroughly on the road. Our photos are typically not from a photo shoot. They are almost always documented photos of our travels, and we always bring a towel.

That goes for customer submissions as well. Our customers, whom we love, have sent in photos of themselves with a Nomadix towel on all seven continents. Even our best photos are much more candid than they might appear.

 

What are you inspired by?

Z: We are inspired by adventure travel and environmental activism. Companies like Patagonia, leaders like Doug Tompkins and Elon Musk, the photography of Chris Burkard, our friends at Changing Tides Foundation, and the folks that run Fashion Revolution. There are a lot of voices, large and small, that speak up for the environment and respect the outdoors. We believe that the most important players in combating climate change are consumers, and you see a similar mentality in the campaigns run by some of our role models.

 

How do your hobbies influence what you make?

Z: Our hobbies are very directly responsible for the creation of Nomadix. We are all very active, whether it’s surfing, yoga, traveling, camping, or rock climbing. We also spend a good deal of time traveling internationally, and are very passionate about the environment.

A few years ago there was a specific towel for yoga, a different towel for camping, and another towel for the beach and surfing. It seemed both expensive and wasteful to buy three/four towels when one would do, so we created a towel that performed in every activity. We decided to make it 100% recycled according to Global Recycle Standard to keep plastic out of the ocean, and the Nomadix towel was born.

 
 

What has been your biggest challenge?

Z: Our biggest challenge is that we want to make a big impact, but as a small business you have to start slow. But starting slow is also our strength. We have built the business in a very “grassroots” way, starting with crowd funding, then going door to door at yoga studios and surf shops in Southern California. It was a slow process, but it makes all the difference to meet your customers face to face. If we started with a bigger advantage (money, connections, etc.), we might not know our customers, and our business, as well as we do.

 
 

What's been your best advice you've been given?

Z: The best advice I’ve been given was on a 10-day camping trip when I was a kid. Our camp counselor told us the number one rule is “leave no trace.” This is something that we struggle with today. Consumers rarely think of the product life cycle when they buy a product. Where does the packaging go, how long will I use it, can it be recycled?

We believe that every product should have a carefully thought out plan for the end of product life, which is why our towels are 100% recycled and recyclable. Our next phase of the company will be to create a recycling system so people can turn their towels back in when they are done with them. Our towels are durable and we’ve only been around for two years, so this situation has not come up yet.

 

What's your favorite thing about sharing your art with others?

Z: The best thing about sharing our art with others is the photos we get from travelers. We’ve gotten photos from every continent now, including Antarctica, so there are tons of customer stories.

One that stands out in my mind; A recent customer, Lexi, did a 14-day bike packing trip in Tanzania with The Foundation for Tomorrow, from Mt Kilimanjaro to the coast. The organization does amazing work in education, and they usually bring a few students on the trip. The Tanzanian student that joined them on the bike trip had never seen the ocean before, so it's was very inspirational. During the trip, Lexi thought to snap a photo of her Nomadix towel and send it to us. It’s so special to be included in moments like that.

 

For more on the Nomadix brand, visit www.nomadix.co

 

Lanona

Zack Peterson

We recently spoke with the man behind Lanona, Ben Ransom, about seeking inspiration, personal hobbies, and how wanting one pair of custom shoes turned into the creation of many shoes for his very own company.

 
 

How was Lanona founded?

Ben: Our brand first started when I went on a search for a custom pair of shoes. I found a shoemaker in the US that had been hand-stitching shoes for over 30 years and recently setup a small operation out of his garage. Through the process of working with him, adjusting designs and observing what a quality shoemaking process looked like, it sparked my interested to start a footwear brand.  I continued to work with this shoemaker for over two years before our brand was launched. In addition to product development, I’ve been lucky to partner with @ocupop for our brand identity and overall design, they’ve been instrumental in telling our story and connecting the dots with where we want to go as a brand.

 

Were you always interested in starting your own business?

B: I was. I studied Entrepreneurship in college and have family members that ran their own businesses. After school, I focused a lot on experience and sought out diverse opportunities to build a broad range of skills like - marketing and sales for a manufacturing company, field work - installing towers for wind energy farms, and selling vintage gadgets to name a few.

 
 
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How did you learn the trade of boot making?

B: I don’t personally construct each boot from start to finish and don’t want to take away from the talented craftsmen and women we work with on a daily basis. But all of my knowledge within the industry has been self-taught. I can attribute most of where I’m at now to -  getting out there, not being afraid to ask questions, being humble, and building a network of people you can trust and rely on.

 
 

How do your hobbies influence what you make?

B: I enjoy sailing, we have a sailboat on Lake Superior. The Spaulding boat shoe is a direct inspiration from being on the water. It’s definitely my go-to shoe while sailing. Our Harrier outsole is super lightweight and gives surprisingly excellent grip on the boat and dock.

 

How do you get ideas for new products and photo shoots?

B: A lot of ideas come from vintage footwear. Gokey was a footwear manufacturer based in Minnesota that offered a wide variety of styles and I’m always scanning eBay and other sources for interesting designs they had. As for ideas that are finally produced, we try to envision the customer and how each style will be used on a daily basis. With that in mind, we work towards structuring a photo that would resonate with that vision. Additionally. we’ve been lucky to partner with some really great brand ambassadors who naturally work well with our existing styles and we give them freedom to be creative with our products in the field.

 

What's been your biggest challenge?

B: Our biggest challenge has been getting our brand in front of people. Lanona is a true bootstrapped operation and we don’t have investors or a trust fund to dip into to put towards a sizable marketing and advertisement budget. We have to rely on word of mouth, and let our products speak for themselves. This is a slow growth approach, but we believe that operating lean now, will pay off down the road.

 
 
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What are your inspirations?

B: A big part of my inspiration for Lanona is weather related. Having a home base in Minnesota, the elements can get pretty harsh, especially in the winter. Our products need to accommodate for that fluctuation in temperatures and weather conditions. Another inspiration is the focus on sourcing and producing all of our products in the US. Working closely with everyone involved with our production of our brand is inspirational and motivation to continue to grow our business and be competitive within a global market.

 
 

What's been your best advice you've been given?

B: As we continue to grow as a brand, I like to keep this saying in mind, which was given to me from @leatherworksmn - “little pigs get bigger, big pigs get slaughtered”

 

What has been your biggest lesson?

B: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Focus on what products or services resonate best with your company and build off of that. Don’t compromise quality to accommodate growth.

 
 

What's your favorite thing about sharing Lanona with others?

B: The favorite thing is seeing our product out on the streets. It’s great to see what was originally a concept/design/sample, turn into a boot that someone wears around town.

 

For more on Ben and the story of Lanona, visit www.lanona.co

American Field - Nashville

Zack Peterson

 

This past weekend we had the pleasure of being at American Field's first pop-up market in Nashville, Tennessee. Taking place at Track One, just outside from downtown, an eclectic and creative group of American made makers opened up shop to the people of Music City. We wanted to feature a few of our favorite brands in attendance who we feel should be your favorites too. Check 'em out! Photos by Zack Peterson

Be sure to come to the next American Field market happening in Brooklyn, NY on December 3rd and 4th! For more details, click here and don't forget to follow American Field on social media (Instagram, Twitter)!

 

 
 

B u l l

a n d

B u c k

Boston, MA

Ball and Buck; a brand designed around one mans vision to create the best American made clothing. Created for the man that believes in quality, integrity, tradition, the wildness, and the excellence that only American can produce.

 

For more on Ball and Buck, visit ballandbuck.com or follow on Instagram, @ballandbuck

 
 

 
 

R A N G E R

S T I T C H

Nashville, TN

Nashville local Matt Davidson is the master behind the machine of Ranger Stitch. Creating beautiful custom Chain stitched art in the bed of his Ford Ranger, this one of a kind look is a forever classic.

 

For more on Ranger Stitch, visit rangerstitch.com or follow on Instagram, @rangerstitch

 

 
 

T H R O N E

W A T C H E S

Brooklyn, NY

Starting out by giving vintage watch faces new life by re-strapping them with a  new, top quality leather band, Throne Watches has seen much success since launching. Now having made three original lines (1.0, 1.5, and 2.0) as well as various leather goods, the guys at Throne are eager to see what time will tell for them.

 

For more on Throne Watches, visit thronewatches.com or follow on Instagram, @thronewatches

 

 
 

L I L Y A N 

J A M E S

Nashville, TN

 

With a handbag collection made from equestrian leatherwork, Lilyan James' philosophy behind each and every piece is to cater to the everyday woman; creating lifelong bags that are each individualistic in their own way. Whether you're on your way to a meeting, wandering around the city at night, or rushing out the door for brunch, each shape of every accessory is crafted to help you live your best life.

 

For more on Lilyan James, visit lilyanjames.com or follow on Instagram, @lilyanjames

 

 
 

W H E A T

& CO.

Nashville, TN

Dan Rouse of Wheat & Co. offers a top notch selection of quality made apparel and lifestyle goods right here in Nashville. Partnering with local barbershop Scouts, the two believe that quality wins all for a purposeful life. 

 

 

For more on Wheat & Co, visit wheatandco.com or follow on Instagram, @wheatandco

 

 
 

M O R T O N

&

M A B E L

Nashville, TN

 

The best in children's clothing is here, and it's brought to you by Mortan & Mabel. Started on the idea that clothing for growing kids should be simple and timeless, while being made with the finest of fabrics to be passed on for many years. Made in the U.S.A. and working with Soles4Souls, there's no other way to dress the next generation.

 

For more on Morton & Mabel, visit mortonandmabel.com or follow on Instagram, @mortanandmabel

 

 

O'SHEA WOODWORK

Christophe Chaisson

Meet Benjamin Shea. He is a maker that runs a small business in Pennsylvania crafting beautiful pieces of wooden furniture. Hearing from him and being able to see his fantastic work was an absolute delight. 


Photo by     @rafael_fontana

Photo by  @rafael_fontana

My name is Benjamin Shea and my wife's name is Amanda Shea, together we run O'shea custom woodwork and furniture design located in Lititz, PA 

I always loved working with my hands, creating, building and fixing things. 

I used to be in the music industry but found that I enjoy crafting furniture better. 

I made the jump over to building furniture before I was married, I figured it was the right time and I had recently moved to a farm house that had more room for me to build. 

My wife and I design everything we build, we love working with wood and creating beautiful functional pieces that fit people's need and style. 

We've built so many pieces and in so many styles over the years but have come to find that we love simple and clean lines to our pieces, more mid century/Danish influenced. Our favorite wood to work with is probable walnut because there is so much beauty in it and it's a long lasting wood. 

We have seen that the more we grow and find our own style and make furniture that we love and turn down some jobs because it doesn't represent us that well, the more we grow as a business. 

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We live in a farm and live a pretty quiet life, we love it that way. We have 5 dogs and love having them around in the shop. 

We love meeting new clients and making relationships with them, being genuine, thankful and actually caring about people creates a beautiful life in where everyone that you meet becomes a experience that brings more joy to what we do. 

Every piece we make has a lot of attention and that is something that translates and is clear in our products, nothing is just ran through without being looked at over and over. 

From the beginning of the process, quality is never compromised because styles will change and people change but our pieces are made to live long past all that. 

Our lumber is responsibly sourced and we know all our suppliers pretty well, we take our dogs to play with their kids and we try and make it about more than just making money for everybody. 

 Photo by    @rafael_fontana

 Photo by  @rafael_fontana

One of the biggest lessons we have learned is how to communicate better and find out what people want. People don't always know what they want, even when they "know what they want" 

Our products can be found both on our site and on Etsy. We ship everything anywhere in the USA. 

We aren't a big company and we don't plan on having a bunch of employees ever because we don't want to lose contact with our clients and we want to be able to know who they are and they can just call us and talk to us. 


O'Shea Woodwork is a business that embodies the values that we cherish here at Folk. Family, hard work, authenticity. Check out any of the links below to share you support for the important maker movement that they belong to. 


           WEBSITE 

OSHEAWOODWORK

INSTAGRAM

@BENSHEA

 

Our Favorite Southern Maker Instagrams

Christophe Chaisson

The Maker Movement is incredibly important to be aware of and a part of. It creates jobs, quality goods, and allows for sustainability, creativity, & durability to thrive. Take the time to support not only the Makers that have stuck out to us below, but also the ones in your area. It is vital that we don't just consume, but we also create. 

ManReady Mercantile @manreadymerc

Founded 4 years ago by Travis Weaver from Zephyr, Texas, ManReady Mercantile is the epitome of what being a maker is all about. Their small business is founded on the principles of honesty, hard work, and integrity. ManReady Mercantile sells a wide array of high quality goods catered specifically, but not exclusively to men. Not only are they makers themselves, but they are always looking to work together and collaborate with other makers to continue creating goods that will last a lifetime. 


Great Bear Wax Co. @greatbearwaxco

Great Bear Wax Co. are makers who sell memories with a wick. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, GBWCo was founded by Jake Carnley with the idea that lighting a aromatic candle is like igniting a memory or moment. From Lavender  to Tobacco Bay to Rose, the scents they capture in wax are delightfully soothing. The Great Outdoors seem like only a flick of a lighter away when there is one of these Great Bear candles in the room.  


Loyal Stricklin @loyalstricklin

The craftsman at Loyal Stricklin can be found working in their studio near the railroad tracks in Opelika, Alabama. Fed up with mass produced low-quality goods, Michael Stricklin founded this durable goods company to commit to making goods of the highest quality from the best materials. Their handcrafted and American made leather products are not only appealing to the eye, but durable and practical as well. 


Lucy's Inspired Jewelry @lucysinspiredjewelery

Lucy's Inspired Jewelry is handcrafted and uniquely made from vintage chandeliers, architectural salvage and found keys. Another maker found in Alabama, Lucy Farmer definitely has a creative eye for design and repurposing. She does not merely craft jewelry, but strives to make a difference in her community. One of those improvements is raising awareness for sex trafficking by donating to a local organization in her city. This maker is using her brand to give inspiration and spread beauty all while making fashionable pieces of jewelry. 


Sturdy Brothers @sturdybrothers

These two brothers are dedicated to creating waxed canvas and leather goods that are handcrafted with American-made materials. Located in South Georgia, Sturdy Brother's products are made for those who still enjoy getting their hands dirty. Sturdy Brother's lives up to its name by its desire to create and craft beautiful goods that will last, while also rekindling craftsmanship in America. 


Elizabeth Suzanne @elizsuzann

Elizabeth Suzanne is a clothing company based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Yet, they are so much more than just a style of clothing. A community of diverse and powerful women make up the company and customers of Elizabeth Suzanne. They are committed to making garments from amazing, durable fabrics with designs that are practical, timeless, and elegant. Their commitment to quality and customers is something seldom seen in the retail world today. 


Old Try @theoldtry

Old Try is home decor for Southerners made by Southerners who are living in Boston. They have expanded to make art for other regions besides the South, so don't worry all of you north of the Mason/Dixie line and in the Wild West. Their decor encapsulates the unique essence and character of each state. It is patriotism with tact and style that is seldom easy to find. 


J. Stark @starkmade

Based in Charleston, South Carolina, J. Stark creates bags, accessories, and homegoods meant to last. Their goods are crafted with a timeless and authentic aesthetic paired with usefulness and practicality. They have a wide variety of styles and colors to choose from for their products. Sourcing everything from the US of A, this is a true American makers brand that wants to bring us back to the time of hard work and hand made. 


In God We Must @ingodwemust

In God We Must are makers of provisions and apparel located in Marietta, Georgia. This business is founded on hope, positivity, and perseverance. Check out their website to read the inspirational story of how IGWM was started. Whether it is a ring or a t-shirt, the message of In God We Must is to embrace the pioneering spirit inside of us all. 

Ernest Alexander

Christophe Chaisson

After going to grad school and studying business for 3 years, Ernest Sabine found himself in the middle of the recession and the fashion district in New York City. The stock market had just recently crashed and for Ernie it seemed like the perfect time to build something from nothing. Having worked in fashion advertising for several years, Ernie learned the ins and outs of the fashion industry and with a childhood dream he set out to create the perfect men's messenger bag. "I always dreamed of having my own clothing line as a kid," he says, "I always wanted to have my own business."  

When Ernie began Ernest Alexander he explored the fashion district for a workshop that was able to produce canvas messenger bags. He often carried one for business each day and always wished he could have one that perfectly matched his body in motion and at rest. After finding a workshop only two blocks from his office he started sourcing materials for his first collection of messengers. "I started with one style and three colors when I made my first messenger bag," he laughs.  

With the help of twelve very talented seamstresses, Ernie went to work perfecting his first design. "I would design prototypes and test them out for the day. I want my bags to look as fashionable and feel as comfortable and natural while walking and running through the city." With his first design perfected and with three colors available he sold his first 20 bag order, though the power of social media and e-commerce quickly changed that. 

When Ernie first started his brand he wanted it to be something could feel proud of. He was tired of foreign manufacturing and unfair wages and living conditions for the foreign laborers. Finding
the small garment district in New York City to manufacture his bags and accessories was his way of remedying that problem. With his growing popularity and demand for more products, Ernie has not only been able to support the twelve seamstresses who first helped in creating Ernest Alexander, but has also expanded that workshop and created jobs for new workers.

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"I wanted to create a brand with heart and meaning, I wanted to know the people who were making products for me. I wanted to stay close to them and be able to visit any time so that I could stay involved in every step of the process." Today he works, manufactures, and sells his bags within a five mile radius, with his flagship store in Soho on Thompson Street only 20 blocks from his workshop. "Opening the store allowed me to not only get into a shopping area that I'd helping grow my brand, but also allowed me to meet my customers face-to-face." With a growing collection of items to offer including men's shirts, bags, accessories, and a small capsule of women's clothing Ernie is slowly growing his brand which started with one messenger bag into a full outfitter. "I want to be able to offer more to my customers and I think the next step will be denim, knits and sweaters, and tailored clothing and suiting," says Ernie. 

Ernie says that the city has played the biggest role in inspiring him to create his clothing brand. "When I need inspiration I go straight to the streets of New York City," he explains. "With so many colors, textures, and personalities the people of New York have their own style, and it inspires me to find new and interesting fabrics and patterns when I source my materials." He also finds inspiration in antiques and often shops at a local antique store called Olde Good things for decor for his store and inspiration for his brand. "My brand focuses on a return to basics with a
modern look at vintage fashion, so visiting antique stores helps me focus on those ideas of classic silhouettes and references to the past." 

When asked what we could expect to see from Ernest Alexander for the holiday season, Ernie listed a few giftable items that will be out just in time for the holidays. Starting this winter he will offer an apron designed for cooks and blacksmiths alike. Inspired by the aprons of craftsmen, it will feature pockets for tools and is constructed of the same high-quality canvas he uses for his bags. Plaid will be a major focus for the brand this year with a line of weekenders, messengers, and other bags made of classic British woolen plaids and Ernie will also offer plaid neckwear to match. 

With workman inspired clothing, a line of utilitarian bags that focus on functionality and style, and classic accessories Ernest Alexander is reviving the American fashion industry. Keeping his focus on the importance of domestic manufacturing and a respect for the history of fashion, Ernie has created a brand that is as classic as it is fresh and modern. "A respect for history and the past has always been important to me, I think it is what fuels this industry and I want to make sure that the people who have worked to keep manufacturing alive here in New York City are recognized."

Wonderfuel

Christophe Chaisson

Every great adventure takes energy, and we like to nourish our bodies when we are on the road and traveling. For our trip to Banff we partnered up with Wonderfuel, an organic coconut based energy drink brand, to nourish and energize ourselves. Below are some of the shots wecaptured in the Canadian Rockies and a question and answer interview we did with Wonderfuel.

Who taught you how to create your products or were you self-taught?

 I was self-taught. I worked with a group of friends and fellow research buddies to formulate a product that everyone said couldn't be done. It was a lot of trial and error, but in the end we were so happy that it worked out and we created several great products that we now love. 

How did you start your company?

 When I traveled to India after college, to study Ayurvedic medicine, I learned of the magic of coconut oil. A few years later, after earning my MBA, I decided to launch Wonderfuel, basing its ingredients on my research in the amazing properties of coconut oil MCTs.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Delays in manufacturing, it's something you can't always predict, especially in the food or drink industry. So, it can be challenging when a customer or wholesaler needs it quickly.

 

Did you know you would start your own brand, if not what spurred it?

I did, I really wanted to come up with a healthful brand. I wanted to create a brand that encapsulated the essence of organic and natural fuel for the body, not a fuel based on stimulants but on real, healthy fats.

How do your hobbies influence what you make?  

I have always loved to travel, and I love nature photography. That's a large part of what influenced me to make a natural, organic product to fuel my adventures and those of other like myself.

What are your inspirations?

A natural well-being, ancient tradition, a back-to-basics lifestyle, and beauty.

What's your favorite thing about sharing Wonderfuel with others?

Seeing how much joy it brings my customers. I am happy with the product that Wonderfuel turned out to be, and seeing other people enjoy the thing I was so passionate about creating brings me joy as well. 

What's been your best advice you've been given?  

Sell your idea before you make it. Make sure that what you are passionate about creating is something that people are going to buy. It seems strange to say, but it's a great way to know how successful it will be. 

Q & A with Comma Workshop

Christophe Chaisson

Our friend at Comma Workshop gives us a glance at the art of quilting and the beauty of being a maker...


Who are you:

I’m Kerry Larkin— I’m a quilter, architect, and a maker. I started Comma Workshop to celebrate experiences and stories while reinvigorating the traditional craft of quilting and through this, create thoughtful, modern-inspired quilts. 

Where are you:

Beautiful Boulder, Colorado, and easily draw inspiration from here. But I also draw inspiration from western Colorado, rural Alabama, rural Pennsylvania. And, anywhere there are lots of trees.

What do you make:

At Comma Workshop, we bring a fresh perspective to the time-honored traditions of quilting and storytelling. We create timeless, sophisticated quilts, with a hint of playfulness that are functional heirlooms for your home. We currently have two collections:

Each of our quilts in our Signature Collection has as an original story or poem quilted directly into it. Stories of nature and adventure, travel and place-making, are thoughtfully stitched into every quilt by a collection of Colorado quilters. The 800+ words in every quilt are a functional part of the quilt holding three layers of fabric together. Wrapping the quilt around oneself, the user is invited to read snippets of the narratives.  

Our new collection, Far & Wide, integrates vintage quilt tops and fabrics that I’ve collected on my travels. These new quilts celebrate stories, place, and experience in fresh, modern way. Historically, quilts carry their own stories with them. The material, the pattern, and the quilt technique chronicle the quilters’ lives and experiences. Thoughtfully integrating these into modern quilts allows me to introduce a new audience to the world of quilts.

Why are you a maker:

I grew up in western Pennsylvania and some of my earliest memories are of me and my sister playing under a large quilt stretched out on a frame where my great-grandma and her sisters sat and hand-quilted (and spoke Pennsylvania Dutch). My great-grandfather was a carpenter and built our cribs and toy boxes. For a while, he traveled the country building farm silos. My grandma was a seamstress and master upholsterer. Making is definitely in my genes. I was lucky enough to have all three of them in my life up until just a few years ago, so I feel like I’m honoring them by carrying on the making tradition.  

Why support makers:

By supporting makers, you are allowing them to cultivate their passion, joy and curiosity. You’re contributing to the local economy and you become part of their story. 

Instagram: commaworkshop

Thistle + Thread

Christophe Chaisson

How did you get started creating fiber art?

My grandmother was a quilter, and when I was little she would let me play in her sewing room and experiment with her fabrics and threads. She was patient with me as I learned how to thread a needle and form a straight backstitch, and always created different projects for me to work on while she was working on one of her masterpieces. As I continued to grow and make my way through school, I experimented with other mediums and tried to be a sculptor, sketch artist, and oil painter, but my attention kept going back to fibers. A few years ago I returned to embroidery and hand stitching and decided to treat it like painting on fabric. I moved away from pre-designed patterns and took the things that I had learned from my painting and sketching classes to begin to create my own designs and morph this love of fibers into a new art form for myself.

Who taught you how to create fiber pieces, or were you self-taught?

Much of my skills come from my grandmother and the stitches that she taught me and the rules of fiber that I learned from her, but I have expanded upon that knowledge and changed it a little to make my pieces look the way that I want them to look. Over the past two years I have heavily focused on embroidery, but I am slowly making the transition into introducing some naturally dyed products into my line. The knowledge I learned about the different kinds of fibers and how they react to dyes and their properties has helped me as I have experimented with different dye sources and perfected the products I will be releasing.  

Did you know you would start your own brand, if not what spurred it?

The birth of Thistle and Thread wasn't accidental, but the fact that it is now my full time job definitely is. My husband is from Uganda, and we both lived over there while we were dating. Once we decided that we wanted to get married I moved back to the States to work through his visa process to immigrate to America. We weren't sure how long it was going to take, but we knew that it wasn't going to be a short time, so I started spending more time creating fiber art and decided to sell it to fund travels back to Uganda. The plan was never for Paul and I to stay in the States for more than a few months after our wedding, so I never imagined that I would be creating a business out of my hobby, but plans change and here we are. After our wedding Paul really encouraged me to quit the other job that I was working and pursue this new venture. It has been such a gift to be able to spend each day creating and sharing my work with others.  

How do you get ideas for new products & photo shoots?

I have recently shifted to releasing my pieces in collections as opposed to one new piece at a time. Each collection is meant togo together and work to create a specific look. After the inspiration behind the collection is established I choose the color palette and shapes that will be incorporated. I am so very fortunate to have so many friends who are incredible photographers and have homes that serve as the perfect canvas for some fun styled shoots. So after the collection is complete I will get together with some friends and we plan out a great shoot that highlights the themes show in the pieces. 

What are your inspirations?

At the start of Thistle and Thread I was really unsure where I wanted to take my business stylistically, so I just created what I thought was popular at the time and what I believed would sell. It was really uninspiring and caused me to feel a little lost in my work. About a year ago I decided that I was going to make a shift and create pieces that excited me. It felt like a leap because I had found some success with the pieces that people knew my business for, but thankfully the new pieces came with their own success. I think my customers changed a little, but those who stayed with me and the new ones who joined truly understand the art that I am creating and share the emotions that I am conveying through my work. It has brought a new community to my business that has been really inspiring. My sources for inspiration change as I grow and experience new things, but I am currently loving the colors and shapes found in landscapes Paul and I see as we travel. My studio is above a floral studio, so that always finds a way to influence my pieces as well. 

What's your favorite thing about sharing your art with others?

There's something so great about knowing that people appreciate the things that I create and I can add something special to their homes.

How do your hobbies influence what you make?

Since starting Thistle and Thread I feel like I don't really have any hobbies in the classical sense, but Paul and I love to travel and because of our international background much of my methodology and techniques are drawn from how others are doing this same craft around the world.  

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge in business past a present, is definitely finding work/life balance. I love what I do so much that many times I don't want to stop. There are days where I will start at 8 am and keep going until 11 pm. It's such a great thing to love waking up each morning and diving into work, but my relationships around me were struggling. So, I have been making a strong effort to create office hours and have some structure to my day instead of just going and going without stopping. We are even taking a three week vacation soon that will consist of little to no work, which would have never happened six months ago!!

What's been your best advice you've been given?

"Quit your job and just go after this. You will only have regrets if you don't." —My Husband

 

TEKKIMA LAUNCH

Christophe Chaisson

Tekkima has officially launched!

What is Tekkima? 

Tekkima is an outerwear maker that is committed to developing goods that are durable, practical, and relevant.

What does Tekkima mean?

Tekkima is Estonian, and simply means the act of arising, emerging, and coming into being. The essence of Tekkima is that while each of our journeys are unique, we journey better when we journey together. 

Why is Tekkima special? 

Tekkima's identity is centered around experiencing life to the fullest. Whether that means hustling in urban environments or testing your limits in extreme natural environments.  Tekkima is extraordinary because it is versatile. It makes sense for the fashionable living in the city as well as the adventurous explorer of the great outdoors. Tekkima is the bridge between weather-proof and minimal/tailored - a feat no other outerwear brand has successfully tackled. 

Tekkima is so confident in the culture they have built (adventurous lifestyle complimented by quality product) that they've made everything on their site free shipping and return. This way there is little to no risk with seeing if Tekkima fits your lifestyle. Subscribe by email on www.tekkima.com to receive an additional 10% off! 

Cheers!

Goodfight Mercantile | A Conversation

Ben Ashby

Continuing our maker conversations series we sat down with the guys behind the curated box collection Goodfight Mercantile. When it comes to boxes the market is flooded, but these guys stand out by including a wide selection of goods that are both useful and beautiful. We especially love that everything is American made! Check them out HERE or continue on below. 

Why are you a maker? We are probably best categorized as a curator of makers. 

What is your business? We are a marketplace that specializes in well-made American Made homewares. Our name is Goodfight Mercantile, inspired by the companies that we feature. Companies that toughed it out and never outsourced production. Those truly fighting the good fight. 

How long have you been a business? We opened 6 months ago, but we’ve been in development for about three years now.

Why support makers? Absolutely to promote jobs, but also we strongly believe that maker culture leads to innovation culture, and we want quality things!

 

The guys behind Goodfight Mercantile provided us with a bit more about their business:

GoodFight Mercantile, seller of quality home goods produced in America, along with GoodFinds, which offers a curated selection of new handmade and used American-made items, are the brainchild of Jason Seck and Tim Mahoney. Jason, GoodFight Brand Partners Director, brings over a decade of business negotiation and creative production skills, having honed them at The Jim Henson Company. Tim, GoodFight Creative Lead, has vast branding and marketing experience, which he has gained through his work as an Advertising Creative for large national and international brands including Apple, Chevrolet, and Jack Daniels. Their vision for GoodFight was to create the online shopping experience they were seeking: a well-curated selection of quality, American-made home goods.

Soon to join GoodFight were Joel, expert of things; Andi, an expert in branding; Matt, a Creative Director of Copy in advertising; and Chérie, an editor and writer. This rounded out the start-up team, all of whom share a strong interest in spending with purpose (buying less by buying better), keeping their money at home, strengthening community (locally and nationally), and supporting businesses they believe in—even when that means paying a little more. The companies represented on GoodFight are committed to creating long-lasting products domestically; this in the face of strong global marketplace pressures focused on creating cheap, low-quality goods. At GoodFight Mercantile, we are all about championing the movement of producing goods in America. That effort extends to GoodFinds, where we present a curated selection of new handmade and used American-made items. Our curators, who aggregate items for sale from all over the Internet, are focused also on finding quality, well-made home goods—and add in the occasional flair of lovable, heirloom-grade items.

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Savarin & Co. | A Conversation

Ben Ashby

Wool American Flags Handcrafted in the U.S.A. Savarin & Co. is reviving the art of fine flag making in America. Using Sustainable materials, American manufacturing, and U.S. sourced materials.

I am obsessed with all things Americana. When I first heard of Andrew Savarin from Savarin & Co. I knew I needed to know more about why he started making flags, why he is a maker, and why wool!

Who are you: Andrew Savarin

Where are you: Brooklyn, NY

Why are you a maker: The need to create something with my hands has always been a way for me to express myself starting from as far back as I can remember. I wasn't always a great communicator so making objects was a form of communication for me to get my ideas out into the world. It gave me a chance to explore my natural curiosity for the world. For the flags its a bit different as we are making essentially one object. But because they are handmade each one has its own little personality. So within the framework of the flag there are small nuances which make each piece unique. That is why I love being a maker because these things that you cannot control become a part of the work and are what make it a special experience for me and hopefully for the people who purchase one of our flags. 

Why flags: The American flag is probably one of the most recognizable symbols in the entire world and yet its success has only helped to fuel an industry that uses it solely to make a profit. We chose to make American flags because we want to change that way people view the flag and try to make an impact on one industry that has gone on too long without focusing on quality, sustainability, and responsibility. We're hoping that our flags can be a symbol to inspire change, even in some small way, for how products are produced and consumed in America. 

Why wool: A little known fact: some of our earliest American flags dating back to the 18th century were originally made out of wool fabric. Wool was chosen for flags because of its excellent ability to withstand water and natural resistance to mildews and molds. The absorbent fibers "breathe" by wicking away moisture from the body of the sheep and releasing it into the air. Because of this Wool over 200 years old can still be vibrant and supple. Our flags are proudly made using wool woven at the oldest continuously operated vertical woolen mill in the United States. Woolrich, Pa. Supporting American workers and American manufacturing since 1830.

Why support makers: By supporting a maker you are helping to support a revival of American made goods and fine craftsmanship. 

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Andrew also provided us with a few details about flag making! 

Facts about Our flags!

The wool for their flags is sourced from Woolrich in Pennsylvania, the oldest continuously operated vertical woolen mill in the United States. They chose wool for its sustainability, longevity, and beautiful aesthetic.

A little known fact: some of our earliest American flags dating back to the 18th century were originally made out of wool fabric.

At Savarin & Co. their goal is to create flags of the highest quality that can instill the values and principles upon which the flag was created. They believe that a flag if produced with fine materials and attention to detail can be displayed year round as a work of art.

The signature flag is completely sewn, meaning each star and stripe is individually stitched together by a skilled artisan. There are very few flag makers still producing flags this way because it is a very costly and time consuming method that was phased out by the end of the 19th century and replaced with painted or printed stars.

They believe it is one of the best ways to make a beautiful flag that will last for generations. $3.6 million worth of flags were imported into the U.S. in 2013 from China, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

At Savarin & Co. they believe the best way to make an American flag is using American resources and manufacturing. They want to help create flags while helping to rebuild jobs in their own communities. 

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