Handmade Holiday Gift Guide

As a creative person, I am surrounded by many creative friends, and as small business owner I noticed that I am starting to buy more handmade products. I do it because I know the hard work involved in running a small business. I appreciate unique products. I also often get a chance to peep behind the scenes and hear the story of how those things are made. For all those reasons I want to support handmade and small businesses. Last year my friend Natalie and I realized how cool it would be to showcase our friend's products in a holiday gift guide. We made one which received a lot of positive responses. We think it's awesome to buy handmade gifts from people we know instead of big chain stores. In our second edition, we introduce you to the makers behind the products, their passions and what doing all this means to them. Shop Small this holiday season and enjoy some discounts along the way. Feel free to spread the love and forward this gift guide to your friends.

Hugs and Kisses,

 
 

MEET THE MAKER:

Jasmina Mathieu


HER BRAND:

Mina Miyaki


SHE MAKES:

Fresh prints, cute makeup bags, pillows, artprints and greeting cards.

 

WHAT GOT YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS?

I was looking for a more personal creative outlet. Since I have been drawing since childhood, it was only natural that whatever I come up with would include sketching. I combined it with my passion for prints and textiles. It was a pretty organic process that lead me to make makeup pouches and bags. 

 

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS?

It always starts with a pencil, my favorite inks and a blank page. This way I create a print which I then put on fabric. I sew it into bags and pillows. I like to use water repellent linings for a more versatile bag. Each product is made on a small scale.  You can read more about how I make my prints here.

 

WHAT DOES "HANDMADE" MEAN TO YOU?

It means that each product was made with special care and attention. It means that it has a story. It is the product of one person's passion and dream. It implies the maker with a unique vision, who infuse this uniqueness in each of its product. I love making happy prints and turning them into tangible, practical products. It's very fulfilling.

 

COUPON: 

MINAMIYAKI10 - 10% off until 1/9/17

Shop at www.minamiyaki.etsy.com

 

FOLLOW HEr

Signup to the newsletter
instagram.com/mina.miyaki
facebook.com/MinaMiyakiStudio
twitter.com/minamiyaki


Meet the maker:

Vilay Inthalangsy


Her brand:

Margc Cherry


She makes:

All Natural Skincare and Hair Care Products

 

What got you to start this business?

As a child, Vilay suffered from skin problems such as eczema and allergic skin reactions. She found that certain herbs not only alleviated her condition, they actually improved her skin.

 

How do you make your products?

We locally make the products in our Spa, Cherry Beauty in Hyde Park, Chicago.

 

Tell us what it means to do homemade products?

Homemade means we can carefully craft our products to the highest quality with the unique characteristic of exotic and medicinal properties of Southeast Asia.

 

Coupon: 

HOLIDAY expires 1/3/2017

Shop at margccherry.com

 

Follow her

www.twitter.com/margccherry
www.instagram.com/margccherry
www.facebook.com/margccherry
www.pinterest.com/margccherry


MEET THE MAKER:

Catherine von Ruden


HER BRAND:

Eos Chocolates


SHE MAKES:

Chocolates

 

WHAT GOT YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS?

Making sweets using less sugar and high quality ingredients... and chocolate man.

 

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS?

By hand.

 

TELL US WHAT IT MEANS TO DO HOMEMADE PRODUCTS?

The beauty of a handmade product from a small business is that all the attention, love and intention go right into the product. That is a wonderful and powerful energy. 

 

COUPON: 

eos10 - 10% off until 12/31/2016.

Shop at www.eoschocolates.com

 

FOLLOW HER

www.twitter.com/eoschocolates
www.instagram.com/eoschocolates
www.facebook.com/eoschocolates


MEET THE MAKER:

Nykeba René


HER BRAND:

Cori Rene


SHE MAKES:

A medley of plant-based skincare products.

 

WHAT GOT YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS?

After creating my first product in 2010, I realized that I finally found a natural cure to the excessive dryness my skin, scalp, and hair experienced during winters in Upstate New York. I officially started Cori René in 2013. 

 

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS?

I create each product in small batches with plant-based butters & oils, healing essential oils, and loads of love. 

 

What does "HandMADE" mean to you?

Each batch is passionately handcrafted and uses my original formulas. Making each product by hand enhances the authentic experience I provide by creating uplifting, healing, and hydrating products for all skin types.

 

Coupon

"handshakesandhugs" valid until 12/20 for 15% off of all orders

Shop at corirene.com

 

FOLLOW HER

twitter.com/corireneco
instagram.com/corirene

 


MEET THE MAKER:

Mahkeddah Thompson


HER BRAND:

Konjo Crochet

 

SHE MAKES:

Handcrafted crochet accessories, apparel and toys. We make hats, crowns for locks, headbands, fingerless gloves, sleeves, neck-warmers/snoods/caplets, leg-warmers, crochet rattle balls. Our chunky wool vests, cotton tanks, floral lapel pins and female crochet tees will expand in 2017.

 

WHAT GOT YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS?

Years after selling items at craft sales I decided to develop my hobby into a business that would make me self sufficient. The name Konjo Crochet was born after my time teaching English in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Lots of support and gentle criticism got me started and keeps me going.

 

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS?

I crochet all items save a few hand knitted creations. All of our pom-poms are made by Judith, a fellow creator and most importantly my sister.

 

What does "HANDMADE" mean to you?

I have to put joyful intention and energy into every product created with my hands. I am able to participate in the worldwide handmade community/market place that machines can never replace. Small business means I must have love for my craft to endure the rough road ahead.

 

COUPON: 

HUGSANDHANDSHAKES16 Expires on January 9, 2017

Shop at konjocrochet.etsy.com

 

FOLLOW HER

www.instagram.com/konjocrochet


MEET THE MAKER:

Dana McClure


HER BRAND:

Dana McClure Studio

 

SHE MAKES:

Ready to Hang / Original Artwork + Limited Edition Prints.

 

WHAT GOT YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS?

Alongside my career as a multimedia designer, I've maintained a consistent visual art practice for as long as I can remember. It has grown organically over the years expanding to hand-printed textiles in addition to fine art prints. 

 

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS?

Most of my pieces are works on paper. I use 100% cotton acid-free papers, Japanese rice paper, and textured watercolor paper for painting, screen printing and collaging archival mixed-media works. I also sew hand-printed and digitally printed textiles for the home - pillows and tabletop linens. 

 

WHAT DOES "HANDMADE" MEAN TO YOU?

It means loving what you do. Running a small business or maintaining an art practice requires a love for making and a constant stream of curiosity and exploration.

 

COUPON TREAT: 

'HANDSHAKES+HUGS' get 10% OFF through Dec 31st

Shop at: danamcclure.com 

 

FOLLOW HER

http://www.facebook.com/dana.mcclure
http://www.instagram.com/danamcclure
https://twitter.com/dana_mcclure


MEET THE MAKER:

Sarah Simon


HER BRAND:

TheMintGardener

 

SHE MAKES:

Art prints of my original works, as well as custom and original pieces by request.

 

WHAT GOT YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS?

I paint and I garden to feel. We all know, life gets busy, and the minutes of the days collide, filled with “have-to’s.” As a wife and mommy, I have a full time, wonderful job. But I’ve found that letting the table stay messy so my four-year- old can paint and keep coming back to her art project, so she can create as she feels inspired, it’s worth the chaos. It’s worth ignoring the task list so we can experience and feel. I love that when her Daddy was explaining the meaning of gifts to her, and he said, “We give gifts that people enjoy. We give friends things that they like. Now, it’s almost Mommy’s birthday. What would you like to give her?” Inside I braced myself for “Mommy does lots of laundry...” But instead she said, “Mommy likes to Art. She loves arting. Let’s get her paint!” This is why I create. This is why I slow down. I want my loved ones to feel free to experience the day and act on creative whims and feel through the minutes of each day. Not to just rush past the time.

 

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS?

I use watercolor, gouache, acrylic and ink to create all of my art.

 

WHAT DOES "HANDMADE" MEAN TO YOU?

Small business enriches all of the community around me. For my small business when I paint, I enjoy everything in my life more. Patterns, details and colors that I never noticed before are suddenly in the forefront of my thoughts. The needles of pine trees, or the way an ocean wave resembles a snowy mountain peak - all pop out to me and seem to call out "paint me paint me paint me." I didn't notice these details before I was honed into my craft. And the more I paint, the more detail I see in nature and the more beautiful my world becomes. And I know, every time I support the small business of a friend, or a friend of a friend – I am fueling their dream, and their enjoyment of our world.

 

Coupon: 

FLORENCE10 - 10% off expires 12/31/16.

Shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheMintGardener

 

FOLLOW HER

www.instagram.com/TheMintGardener


TwinkLouise_Logo.jpg

MEET THE MAKER:

Adrienne Lentz


HER BRAND:

Twink Louise

 

SHE MAKES:

Embroidered hoops

 

WHAT GOT YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS?

Raising funds for our adoption costs.

 

What does "HANDMADE" mean to you?

Lots of love and care go into each item. Connecting with my customers. 

 

Shop

www.twinklouise.etsy.com

 

FOLLOW HER

www.instagram.com/twinklouise


MEET THE MAKER:

Chrissy Klajder


HER BRAND:

A Tiny Little Triangle

 

SHE MAKES:

Colorful, trendy, modern and eclectic inspired jewelry and accessories, home decor and artwork that is a combination of abstract, modernism, pop contemporary with a geometrical vibe.

 

WHAT GOT YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS?

My passion of creating colorful pieces that can make anyone feel confident with adding that pop of color, weather it's to wear or hang up in their home. 

 

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS?

Everything starts with a paint brush and a whole lot of paint 

 

What does "HANDMADE" mean to you?

To me handmade products means a reflection of someone's passion to make something unique that you can not find in a department store. Sure their might be something similar you can get cheaper but it's mass produced and not thought out. Each piece I make I really think of what will work and will not.

 

Shop

www.atinylittletriangle.etsy.com

 

FOLLOW HER

www.facebook.com/atinylittletriangle
www.instagram.com/atinylittletriangle

 

behind the scenes

BLOG SERIES: THE STORY BEHIND THE BAGs

PART 1: The making of the print Frutti

Drawing_1600x1018_br.jpg

I started selling the Frutti print this summer. People kept asking: "Why fruits?" "Are they figs?" "What's your inspiration?" "Did you use silkscreen?" I have opened my shop in almost 2 years now, so I think it's time to reveal some of my secrets...

Let me tell you how it came to be...
Making the print is the first step for me
And the one I enjoy the most, maybe
This blog post is the first in a series
It's the story behind the bags. You'll see.

I start drawing without a clue
Forms come out... out of the blue.
I do love the surprise! I do!

 

I just moved from New York to the Seattle area and it was time to start fresh with a new collection. I drew an interesting shape that I wanted to expand on. It looked like a fruit. So, I drew more of it. Eventually, one of the elements looked like a kiwi. So, I decided to draw kiwis. I looked at image references online, but my imagination took over and expanded on the subject. The kiwis started to look like oranges, figs, heart-shaped fruits, and other nameless imaginary ones... They all had seeds and that's all that's needed to be considered a fruit, isn't it?

So how do I get inspired? It could come from anywhere, but 99% of the time it comes from the inside. I'm sure I get inspired everyday by what I see: color combinations, street art, the curl of a leaf. I'm sure I ingest all the visual stimuli, and somehow it informs my drawings. I start drawing with an empty mind. Then, I get inspired on the fly, as my ink pen forms shapes. Eventually, I will like or recognize a shape and will expand on it. That is my usual process. It's pretty organic.

I first did a pencil sketch to find an idea and then quickly moved on to using my favorite shiny inks on black paper. Those inks are such a treat! Once I had a good set of fruits, I scanned the sketches and selected the best ones. I drew over the scan in Adobe Illustrator and laid them out to create a repeat pattern. Then, I created many colorways before I finally selected the best three. Et voila!

The 3 colorways of the Frutti print

The print is now on a tote, pouches, and wristlets, all available on my Etsy shop here.

This is my first blog post ever. Let me know if you find it interesting or want to hear about something in particular. My next post in this series will be about the next step, which is getting the print on fabric.