Archive for Art

Alley Cat Designs

Jewelry for the Purrr-fect Touch

When Alyssa was a little girl, she always looked forward to the special times when her grandmother would visit, bringing with her a bag stuffed full of art and craft supplies. Alyssa was creative by nature, so it never mattered much to her what was in the bag – it was all about the joy and excitement of creating something new, something beautiful, something that hadn’t been there before.

It was during one of these afternoons with her Grandmother that Alyssa first discovered her love for jewelry making.  On that particular afternoon, the craft bag was full of beads, string and jewelry wire, and as the two sat making Christmas presents for her mother, a new passion was born.

From that day forward, Alyssa wanted to do more than just make beautiful new things. She wanted to make things that made other people feel beautiful. Alyssa had always found joy helping other people feel as beautiful as they always were in her eyes, and with her grandmother’s beads in her hands, she realized that she now had the tools to do just that: make things that could help women see just how beautiful they really were. And she was right – ever since clasping that first bracelet of plastic beads around her mother’s wrist, Alyssa has been designing the type of jewelry that makes the wearer feel beautiful and which reminds everyone that it is the bird that makes the feathers.

Today, Alyssa is fresh out of Cornell University with degrees in Business and Sociology and is working to launch her jewelry company, Ally Cat Designs . What began as the passion project of a little girl in love with all things beautiful has grown into a business which has inspired and empowered women all across the globe. Alyssa spends as much time traveling as she possibly can, drawing inspiration from women around the world. Along the way, she supports local artisans by collecting materials to incorporate into her jewelry, all of which is utterly unique and designed around the women who inspire her.

Alyssa prides herself on not being limited to one style or aesthetic; instead, she has something for everyone: from classic to edgy, minimalistic to romantic, each piece is handmade and one-of-a-kind, made to reflect the individual beauty of every customer. Her designs also reflect her commitment to sustainability and accessibility. Fast fashion this is not! Each of her piece features timeless style and is made to last.  But rather than using rare metals which are expensive and easily broken, Alyssa carefully selects materials which are more widely available and which stand the test of time. Great thought is put into each and every element of the design process so that each piece tells a story.

Alyssa likes to keep things personal; for her, it’s all about relationships. She is dedicated to her clients and designs with them in mind. Her favorite method of sales is house shows: by bringing clients together in an intimate environment, she gets to meet and be inspired by the women she serves. She mingles among her clients, getting to know them and helping them find that perfect piece. And if you come back to a second show, she is likely to pull you aside to show you something special she designed with you especially in mind!

As her business has grown, she has also adapted her model to meet the needs of a wider audience and has launched a website to make her work more widely available. But even with her expanding platform, Alyssa has sacrificed neither style nor substance. She still makes each piece by hand and each is one of a kind!

Down the road, Alyssa hopes to use her business as a platform from which to support other artists and to promote ethically sourced fashion. She is also passionate about social and economic development in impoverished nations. Having traveled extensively in both South Asia and Africa, Alyssa is committed to building supportive relationships with artists across the globe and using her work to empower and give back to women both at home and abroad.

It has been my great privilege to watch my dear friend Alyssa build and expand her business over the years, and I am so excited to share her story with you. Her’s is truly a project driven by a selfless passion to serve the women of the world, and the more her business grows, the more lives she touches. She doesn’t create jewelry for women to hide their insecurities behind; instead, she creates pieces that tell a story and celebrate the unique beauty of every woman.

Tumblr: Made by a Millennial, for Millennials.

David Karp, at age 27, created Tumblr. This site is famous among youth who use the blogging platform daily. The site is normally used for sharing art and images, but it also acts well for short form blogging and sharing ideas. Many artists have gotten their start from using Karp’s technology in graphic design, modeling, poetry, or even music. Tumblr appeals to many millennials who feel outside of the mainstream. Tumblr’s focus is on aesthetics, fan groups, and art collaboration. In 2007, when others his age were studying for midterms and living on dorm food, David Karp was busy launching Tumblr, an easy-to-use blogging platform that now hosts 17.5 million blogs and receives about 1.5 billion page views per week. The company has also attracted some $40 million in venture funding (inc.com). Tumblr has been used to change many people’s lives, and is a perfect illustration of right brain thinking that has made monumental success.

Bards Alley – Books, Wine, and Kindred Spirits

As a young girl, nothing inspired Jen Morrow more than the thought that her favorite book was still yet to be written. As an adult, she was frustrated in the lack of childlike wonder she experienced from those around her. And thus was her passion born: to create a space in her local community where kindred spirits could gather to be surrounded by books, wine, and people to share them with.

Bards Alley was the realization of this dream. It is one part bookstore, one part cafe, and all parts a community space for those who want share in the joy of reading. She keeps the shelves stocked with a limited selection of books: some classics, some new publications. The cafe serves coffee and food, and in the evening you can choose from a rotating selection of wine and craft beer to accompany locally made bread, cheese, soup, and charcuterie. The store has an open floor plan with book shelves around the edge and most of the middle of the room dedicated to “family style” dining tables and lounge areas – everything in the alley is designed to foster and host a community of people who love to read and share ideas.

In the North Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C., its easy to feel alone and disconnected: it is a transient area where people and families move away just as fast as they came. This makes it difficult to build the types of meaningful relationships which allow people to get to know other people, and through them get to know more about the world. Bards Alley has become a place to find the people who value fellowship and ideas and allow them to interact in a space that provides the inspiration needed to kick-start the types of meaningful conversations which blossom into friendships and a sense of community.

Set in Clay

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Like so most small startups its beginnings were modest. It began in a small garage in Fall of 2009…Here a hugely successful social enterprise was born.

“With nothing more than an old stamp set, a box of clay, and a plan to support clean water projects in Africa, handmade creations emerged and MudLOVE was born.”

The MudLOVE team is made up of artists, makers, doers, thinkers…entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs with a skill and a passion to make the world a better place: “With ‘mud’ in our hands and love in our hearts, the chance to make a difference is our inspiration to create.”

MudLOVE partners with Water for Good through providing a week of clean water to someone in need for ever ML product purchased. Like many other developing countries, lack of clean water is a huge issue. The Central African Republic is no exception. MudLOVE aims to transform communities and save lives through providing access to safe and clean water.

MudLOVE also has a “Fundraiser Marketplace.” The company chooses initiatives to support and creates a campaign and a customized product to raise funds for that specific initiative.

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 In addition to providing water, MudLOVE necklaces, bracelets and mugs were designed to be instruments of encouragement and inspiration among people. The goal is for the products to spark conversation. “On the right wrist, a simple word can take on powerful significance.”

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MudLOVE craetes products that are aesthetically pleasing…appealing to the millennial generation through the design and the story and meaning they represent. Millennials are bound to make an impact, as they already have. We are drawn to buy products that make an impact on the world, and spark connections with others. MudLOVE products aim to do just that.

The story and mission of MudLOVE carries all the way into how they produce their product.

“Rethink, reuse, recycle: We are solution solvers. In the neverending search for improvement, we invent new tools that still require the careful guidance of human hands. As we strive to streamline production, our emphasis on quality goods remains strong. Every product goes through a careful screening process. If clay gets scrapped, we simply mix it into a new batch. There is always potential for the broken to be made new.”

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Snap Caps – Maddie Bradshaw

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Maddie Bradshaw was worth her first million at only 13 years old.  At 16, she was selling over 60,000 of her unique necklaces a month and making over $1.6 million annually.

Her idea for these unique, interchangeable, bottle cap necklaces started out as simple school locker decorations.  At 10 years old her uncle had given her 50 old bottle caps.  She decorated them, attached magnets to them, and when her friends saw them they all wanted some.  This inspired Maddie to create different designs with bottle caps.

She created Snap Caps.  Snap Caps are necklaces with metal pendants on them to attract and magnetize bottle caps.  Every bottle cap has some kind of symbol, letter, or design so that a person can swap different caps out depending on the style they want to wear for the day.

Maddie found immediate success with her necklaces.  In nearly every store she launched them in they all sold out.  As her business continued to grow and she made her first million at 13, she attracted the attention of the national media and ended up being interviewed on ABC and was able to pitch her project on Shark Tank.  The Sharks loved her idea so much that THREE of them invested into her company!

Currently 19 years old, Maddie continues to grow and expand her business.  She has said, “The great thing about our company is that it’s growing with me.  As my tastes change, so will the products.”  Maddie has also published a book called You Can Start a Business, Too.  Her advise to other young entrepreneurs like her is to, “Follow your passion. If you come up with an idea and you love it, chances are other people will, too.”

Something Fishy

When Madison Robinson was 8 years old, she was an avid drawer of aquatic characters. She brought a picture to her father of the outline of a flip-flop with her sea animals inside of it, announcing “Look Dad, Fish-Flops!” Seeing potential in his daughter’s idea, Madison’s father went out and bought the fishflops.com domain that very day.

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Now 17 in high school, Madison maintains the delicate balance of a normal high school girl, and working as a fashion designer most famously known for Fish Flops. In 2012, she wrote a letter to a top Nordstrom buyer suggesting they sell her Fish Flops in-store, and they accepted with 64 stores offering Fish Flops by July 2012. The next year her product was featured in a front page article on Yahoo, and the flood of buyers began – starting with every Fish Flop in Nordstrom selling out.

Madison has been featured on shows such as The Willis Report, Fox and Friends, and Inside Edition, as well as multiple publications including Forbes. With her huge success, Image result for FISH FLOPSMadison has become a philanthropist as well as an entreprenur. A portion of every sale goes to the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s campaign, SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction). She has also donated over 20,000 Fish Flops to several charities that help people around the world who have little access to footwear.

Madison has expanded her Fish Flops line to include shoes and slippers, as well as regular T-shirts advocating for the SAFE campaign. Despite already being a millionaire, instead of kicking back and relaxing Madison constantly seeks to improve herself and help others. She frequently speaks at Jr. Achievement events, and spreads the positive message of pursuing your dreams with a “never quit attitude.” Madison is making her mark on the fashion world, with a driven and determined attitude presented with a smile.

Life is Good

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The Life is Good Company was founded in 1994 by Bert and John Jacobs. They started by designing and selling t-shirts out of their van in the streets of Boston.

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Jake, the iconic stick figure, was created in the same year the company started. Jake was the beginning of Life is Good. The two brothers printed shirts of Jake and found that they were selling like a wildfire.

Their mission is to “spread the power of optimism”

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Their story: https://www.lifeisgood.com/our-story.html

Rifle Paper Co.

Anna Bond always loved stationary and pretty illustrations. After studying graphic design and creating a few posters for her husband’s band, she decided to create her own stationary brand. Most of her easily distinguishable pieces are floral designs or illustrations. She has expanded her brand over the past few years, and it now includes fabric, calendars, books covers, phone cases, planners, and more.

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Rifle Paper Co. goes beyond an ordinary stationary company. Anna Bond seeks to create an experience for her customers. The stationary industry is currently full of elaborate designs, but Anna Bond attracts people with her simple–yet beautiful–brand and style. She unifies her brand with her classic floral pattern and hand drawn illustrations. This helps her brand stand out and makes her company great.

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Anna Bond mixed her passion of design with her desire to innovate. She was not discouraged by the already saturated stationary market, but she found a way to create a successful and distinctive brand.

Check out her portfolio.

How To Cake It: A Sweet Business Idea

1430491ed0ba289134cb2033b20500e1As a communications major, I have been wondering if there are millennials out there who have used entertainment routes to start their business. YouTube, though known for popular cat videos, has created an outlet for entrepreneurs to express their niche in the community and get a following. Through ads and merchandise, many of these youtubers have been able to make a living off a once purely entertainment field. A rising youtuber, by the name of Yolanda Gampp, (probably known by her business as “How To Cake It”) has been growing in popularity within the past year. Yolanda, a self-taught baker after her father, has been posting YouTube videos about how to make really cool cake designs…and when I say really cool…I mean realistic to the point that it’s crazy to think it’s cake! I happen to follow her on YouTube and have enjoyed watching every video her team has posted over the past year. Yolanda also customizes her own tee-shirts (a different tee-shirt for every cake she makes) along with other merchandise that can be sold at howtocakeit.com. Yolanda and her team work to produce high quality weekly videos, and just recently How To Cake It won a Webby Award for Best Online Film and Video How-to & DIY.photo

As a mere 32 year old from Canada, Yolanda has created a business that many have grasped on to (Over 2 million subscribers to How To Cake It, and those numbers continue to grow). My hope for Yolanda and her team is to watch them grow in success, and I wait in anticipation to see what other amazing ideas they put forward into the world. Yolanda is a big inspiration to me. As a communications major, YouTube is an amazing outlet to start a career… but me just as a person, I look and I see Yolanda succeeding at her line of work, because she found something she loved. Her business is great because it combines that aesthetic appeal people crave, and also a unique skill that only she has perfected. She is innovative in her techniques for creating different cake pieces, and her skill is what has captured many people’s intrigue. A degree does not define her, but instead an entertaining and respectable mindset. That is what makes her a millennial entrepreneur. Anyone can make a cake. I can make a cake! But few can turn a cake into a watermelon with such great detail and creativity. Her personality is also fantastic, which leaves me as the viewer, always hungry for more. Check out the link and let me know what you guys think!

 

IdeaPaint

Whilst looking for a way to be able to brainstorm on the walls of his dorm, John Goscha stumbled upon the concept for IdeaPaint, a product that turns any surface into a dry erase board. Through the help of several partners and friends and over the span of four years, IdeaPaint came into commercial existence and revolutionized the process of innovation.

IdeaPaint sells dry erase paint in both clear and white colors, as well as their product PULL, which is a magnetic wall covering that combines with the dry erase paint. The truly unique thing about the paint is it allows you to turn anything into a dry erase board; we’re talking table, doors, and even a camper!

Customers from all over are having IdeaPaint products infused into their offices, businesses, and even their homes. Wayfair, an online home furnishing company, has featured this innovative creation in some of their design creations. TED even had an IdeaPaint coated wall at their 2015 Vancouver Convention Center. It was a prominent place for the TEDsters to collaborate, reflect, and add to artist Cascio’s designs.

IdeaPaint calls their product “the ultimate idea tool” and they hope that they can be a part of their customer’s best ideas. Their innovations are centered around the idea of helping others be innovative, and that’s pretty neat.