Monday, March 30, 2009

more fun with plastic bags

here's another idea for turning plastic bag trash into treasure- fusing them together with an iron to create a heavy, durable material. watch the video here or jump on over to threadbanger.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


so...yesterday a writer and a photographer from a very great magazine came to my studio to do a little feature for an upcoming issue. don't want to give too much away cause sometimes these things don't get published- but I have a good feeling about this one.

it was a nice break from the ongoing tedious grown-up work I have to do for the new website. it wouldn't be half as bad if my big bank wasn't recently absorbed by an even bigger bank. opening four new accounts, transferring funds from my existing accounts, changing the information for all of my electronic bill payments, validating new debit cards, getting ready to close the old accounts, contacting mr. banker man who made a mistake when getting a set of checks printed, blah, blah, blah.

yesterday after the interview b and I took a long walk down to gowanus and bought some humongous shelves to house the inventory. fun! a little less of our floor is now covered in cardboard boxes.

received a shipment today of delicious-smelling soaps. hand made in staten island from totally pure ingredients.

contacted the best blog I know to advertise the new site.

went through the vendor list to see who has good quality photographs of their merchandise. having these will save us hours of work, minimizing the amount we need to shoot ourselves.

reserved a blogspot blog.

still need to set up web hosting.

but alas, it's cocktail hour.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

being businesslike

so as of yesterday everbrite mercantile co. is a real business entity. in the morning b and I went to the king's county clerk's office and submitted our notarized certificate of business. we then set up a bank account for everbrite. St. Patty's day- clad county clerk's office employees wished us good luck and instructed us to make money!

to be honest, most of the work I've been engaged with in the recent past is not sooo interesting. necessary, but not so much fun. makes me more than happy that I turned my back on the *business world* and got my second degree in fine art. so does it make any sense at all that I'm now running not one but two businesses? of course it does. because I'm running a different type of business, and the people I interact with in my daily life are artists first and business people second. I really can't wait to get back to getting my hands dirty and making some jewelry, damnit!

the inventory is starting to pile up on my studio floor, so some shelves will be necessary to keep things organized. we started looking in the afternoon, but need to look some more. we had fun walking from downtown brooklyn on this gorgeous day, down court street through cobble hill and carroll gardens, and eventually to red hook. (ikea was on my mind) it's great to have the luxury to visit stores like that on a quiet tuesday.

as I mentioned before, I did recently finish reading craft inc. and while I might also put the research into the category of boring stuff I gotta do to run a business, I can't say enough good things about the book. For someone who's been in business as long as I have (started keeping sales records in 2002, launched my website in 2004) a lot of the material should be familiar. But reading the book brought confirmation that I have done things correctly, and made me realize that there is still a lot to learn. I would highly recommend it to those who are just starting out in the craft business, but also advise anyone else to read it, regardless of their level of experience.

Author Meg Mateo Ilasco is very thorough, covering areas such as production, marketing, filing necessary paperwork, and getting your work out there. (the most important part, imho!) I like that she thinks big, offering ideas for turning a craft hobby into a profitable business. Throughout the book there are interviews with various independent designers, giving their perspective on a range of topics. After being introduced to so much serious and sometimes daunting information, the interviews offer a human touch to the book. Since Meg chose people from different areas of the craft world, it gives the reader a balanced perspective. For example, Rare Device owner Rena Tom, who was still designing jewelry when the book was written, said that she didn't participate in trade shows because "they're really expensive and I would have to produce a large quantity." Whereas in the interview with artist Beth Weintraub, who sells at the New York International Gift Fair, (the largest trade show of its type in the country) it states "In the beginning, the business was off to a slow start, grossing only $11,000 in the first year." Reading both of these reaffirmed my belief that when you run your own business, you have the choice to work at whatever volume you want. $11,000 might be really small to one designer and huge to another. (ahem- it took me a lot longer than my first year to reach that volume!)

so on to the fun part:

•so far we've received some beautiful japanese imports such as tea cups that look like rocks, shot glasses that look like wild beasts, gorgeously subtle playing cards, and planters and incense burners that look like little stucco buildings.

•we've got some crazy cute jewelry from brooklyn folks design glut.

•super fun adjustable magnetic rings and modular desk accessories

•more japanese goodies like cast iron bird's feet bookends and a clever birdie bottle opener, and these beautiful animal- inspired copper graters.

other orders are on the way, and more ordering needs to be done!

Monday, March 9, 2009


just going through my emails that have gone unread in the past week or two. earlier I tossed out the armory show brochure I had picked up the previous weekend at the queens museum of art, as I missed all of the armory events. helping out with *something stolen, well...borrowed* was a good way of gauging how much free time I have to do projects like that. it definitely took time out of my schedule, but not unmanageably so, and it was a great diversion from my normal routine. we've been balancing things pretty well, with the new store opening soon and my ongoing jewelry responsibilities. it made me realize that it is possible to take time off from things, or at least check in every day and tackle some necessary tasks. everything else can wait.

working with aaron, kim, the other dancers, comedians and the musicians was an unbelievable experience. they had been working on the choreography and music for several months, and brought in extra people in the last couple of weeks to round out the cast. I had danced in *the something effect,* the full-piece finale, a year and a half ago when aaron presented it at dtw for the danceNOW festival. a very short phrase is repeated over and over, with variations being thrown in such as sounds, direction and stillness. aaron put a couple of people who had other parts in the performance, but no dance training, in this piece. One of them wasn't a performer at all, but a fine artist.

the piece this time was worked into a cabaret-style show about a wedding gone awry. conversations were awkward, guests were strange, the best man gave a drunk toast that got ugly. dancers, male and female, became brides, blow-up dolls became grooms, aaron and kim stripped to their underwear and performed a very sexy duet, and twinkies were smashed into peoples' faces. sounds so weird when I describe it, but there were some very beautiful moments. performing in it, we were laughing most of the time- it really was a funny show.

if you only know me through my jewelry design, you might be wondering how I come to perform occasionally. art and dance were both things I tinkered with in my childhood, but never considered studying seriously. It was later on at the age of 25, after going to business school and working in retail management for three years, that I went back to school to study art. in my last semester, inspired by the dance majors I had seen perform, I took my first modern dance class. from there I was hooked, and got the opportunity to perform with Steve's House Dance Collective, which was put together by VCU dance grads. Upon moving to Los Angeles shortly after graduating, I enrolled at Santa Monica College. In five years I took many, many classes in modern and ballet, plus some choreography, jazz, afro-caribbean and performance classes. When I moved to nyc in 2004, I got a graphic design internship at Dance Space Center (now Dance New Amsterdam) which turned into a part-time job. one of the perks of working there was unlimited free classes.

Since I started dancing so late and have other priorities in my life, I've only performed a handful of times. But I am so grateful to Aaron and Kim for the opportunity to work with them last weekend. I hoping this will lead to other things, whether it means dancing for other choreographers or working on my own pieces. I think it's really important for small business people such as myself to have a fun physical outlet. The body can get really kinked up from working in the house all day. Which leads to my next thought- just finished reading Craft Inc. and I highly recommend it to any craft or design entrepreneur. Been wanting to give it a review here on this blog, but haven't done it just yet!