Oh Joy

Inspirations this week... 30 Nov 2005

Inspirations10_2

Feeling inspired by high-contrast, grainy, black and white photos & 16mm film...also, ornate things like white coral, cathedrals, and 70's feather prints...

Cool Discovery of the Week: Stella Neptune 29 Nov 2005

Stella

Check out the cool new clothing site Stella Neptune. Designer, Eva Kisevalter, picks out interesting & quality vintage clothing and reinvents each piece by adding a new design. Most of the pieces are basic & classic, but with her added prints, they take on a whole new life. She refers to the process as their "own private revival". There are pieces for women, men, and baby...as well as non-vintage t-shirts with the same provocative & edgy graphic prints. Here are some of my favorites...

Cool Book of the Week: Spoon 29 Nov 2005

Spoon

For design lovers, Spoon by Phaidon gives an overview of modern industrial design and showcases the hottest designers over the last five years.

Designer Interviews Premiere! 28 Nov 2005

Frenchbull1_1

Most of you who read my blog are creative types, whether professionally or not...you love design, fashion, and crafty things. A lot of you have hopes and future plans to start your own business....whether as a side gig or a full-time business. So, here we have the first of (hopefully, many) designer interviews in which I'll post interviews with various designers who have made their mark on the business and design world. I'll ask about their inspirations, how they got to where they are, and what they do on Saturday afternoons. All of them will be somewhat new...businesses that have started in the past few years. I'm not looking to interview the booming Kate Spades of the world, but those who manage to be successful on a smaller level. Hope these inspire you all to spend your days doing the things you love.

Designer Interview 01
Who: Jackie Shapiro of French Bull

I happen to have met Jackie from working with her on a project a few years back. I remember when we met, her French Bull line was out in stores and consisted of the original set of melamine plates. It's been amazing to see her collection grow so incredibly over the past few years...she now also designs paper products, sleepwear, travel accessories, and more. I am delighted to have her as my first Designer Interview.

1 ~ What is your role in your company?
Owner & Designer

2 ~ What inspired you to start your line?
I have a print collection that is sold to mostly apparel manufacturers. When I sell a pattern that is pretty much the end of my involvement. I really wanted to get a product out into the market where I could see the process through from beginning to end. We moved to a mid-century modern house about 4 years ago, that had a bunch of formica surfaces throughout. I found that I could make the formica in any pattern I liked, almost at the same cost as if I went to Home Depot and ordered it. Once I started making formica surfaces for our house, I discovered melamine dishes sort of use a similar production process. That is how I started French Bull.

3 ~ What's the significance of the name "French Bull"?
I like that French Bull can mean many things & is pretty open to interpretation. Some see it as a high contrast combo name {French being soft - Bull being hard}. Others see the two words as having the same meaning ie French & Bull. Others really think the the French Bull dog is an incredible looking dog & the word is just fun to say.

4 ~ Did you find it hard to get started?
Not really hard, but there are so many things to learn, and you can't possibly know everything until you just start. I am amazed everyday by what I don't know.

5 ~ Did you start the business cold turkey full-time or did it start as a side project while at another job?
I still work on many projects while designing and managing French Bull. I design all the assets for both The Power Puff Girls and Puffy Ami Yumi licensing programs for Cartoon Network. I also have a line called Tepper Jackson of pajamas & bags. I have a partner with this line so it helps manage the time needed.

6 ~ What is your favorite product or series of products in your collection?
My favorite product in the French Bull collection is the 8" side plate. I know that sounds crazy (there is nothing ground breaking about it), but its the item I use all the time. It's little & big enough to accommodate all sorts of foods. The coolest product in the line is what we call a salad server, but I use it for everything. Stir frying, dishing out rice, and of course serving salad.

7 ~ Where are your items made? Are they made in factories/mills or in your own studio?
All French Bull products are manufactured in Asia.

8 ~ How did you go about finding a manufacturer?
I was referred to a factory by a friend that I asked with a lot of experience producing overseas.

9 ~ What inspires you in general?
~ Fantasy scenes like a set in Alice in Wonderland or Boohbah.
~ Really Rockin' Rock & Roll like the Foo Fighters, Black Sabath, ACDC, and Audio Slave.
~ Anything Jet Set high end luxury from the seventies - jewelry, furniture, stationery, luggage, textile patterns, shoes. The Italians being the greatest in my mind at this style.

10 ~ What is one piece of advice to other designers and creative types who are looking to start their own business?
Just start. Start really safely though. Keep it small and manageable - try and start a business that doesn't require a lot of capitol. Do as much as you can from home and by yourself till you work out all the kinks.

Also, get sales reps. They are your sales force and really important to get your product out there. Ask a store that you like what sales reps they like working with, then call them to see if they want to represent your product.

11 ~ What's your favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon?
Hang with my kids. They are the funniest people I know - they crack me up.

12 ~ What is your favorite flower, pet/animal, and magazine?
~ Coral Charm & Eventide peonies
~ Dogs - any (sorry I know you love cats), polar bears, penguins & monkeys
~ Any teen girl pop magazine like Pink World

Thanks to Jackie for giving us such great advice!

Frenchbull2_1

Unexpected find: Alloy catalog 27 Nov 2005

Alloy

Well, we may not be 15, but the Alloy catalog actually has some really great pieces that work for the adult set. AND, prices are super affordable...

My Wish List... 26 Nov 2005

Wishlist_2

Santa, if you're out there...here are some things I've been eyeing...

{left to right, top to bottom}
TOP ROW: A.B. Sutton Leather Nano Case, Turquoise Branch Ring, Bulga Bag

MIDDLE ROW: Xyron 510 Machine (I know, kind of random...but I totally want one!), Amenity Peacock & Gold Pillow, Floral Rug from West Elm

BOTTOM ROW: Rebe Dahlia Sweatshirt, Kate Spade Cosmo Dana Wallet

Good fortune to come? 26 Nov 2005


On Thanksgiving, while sorting through some of my old artwork in my parents' basement, I looked inside a bag of trash they had set aside and saw an envelope with my name on it. I figured they had thrown away an old birthday card, but I wanted to take a look and feel that bit of nostalgia. So, I opened it and saw a Happy Sweet 16 card from a friend in high school. AND what do I find but fifteen dollars inside! This made me really happy. I have never "found" money in my entire life, and the money I do find actually belongs to me from 10 years ago!

This made me think that had I not been curious enough to see what was thrown away in that trash bag, the fifteen dollars would have been thrown away and lost forever. It was only fifteen dollars, but still...hello, symbolism? I wondered how much money really does get thrown away in the this world. The superstitious part of me thought (and hopes) that maybe this means good fortune is coming my way. I've had a slow couple months and I could really use some good fortune right about now. I was thinking I'd use the money to buy lottery tickets or something...and maybe it would launch an upward spiral, some life-changing event.

BUT in a moment of desperation last night, it was used to pay for pizza. There goes my good fortune...

Feeling like decorating the tree today... 25 Nov 2005

Ornaments_1

It's the day after Thanksgiving, which means it's officially the Holiday season. I'm super excited for the Holidays this year because I finally have an apartment large enough to have my own Christmas tree! {Let's hope the cats don't make a mess of it!} For those of you who celebrate Christmas, here are some fun ornaments for your tree-decorating pleasure...

{top to bottom, left to right}
TOP ROW: Red Heart Ornaments at Target, Multi-colored beaded ball at Free People, Ceramic Pig Ornaments from Big Pagoda

MIDDLE ROW: Cow Ornament from Big Pagoda, Finial ornaments from CB2, Anthropologie Enchanted Trifle Ornament

BOTTOM ROW: African Kamba Basket Ornaments at Target, Thomas O'Brien Vintage Ornaments at Target

Cool Book of the Week (part II) 23 Nov 2005

Fleamarket2

Alright folks. Remember the book I posted about just yesterday? Well, I bought it last night and it is great! As I suspected, the ideas are much more sophisticated than most flea-market inspired books...less shabby shic...more modern chic. If you look past the photos, the text gives great insight on how to combine those odd flea market finds with your current furniture and space. The stylist and writer, Emily Chalmers and Ali Hanan, have been contributors to two of my favorite magazines, Elle Decoration and Living Etc so it's no wonder I like this book! I won't give away the whole thing, but I just had to share a few more goodies from Flea Market Style...

Giving thanks... 23 Nov 2005


Well, we all know what tomorrow is...Turkey Day, Thanksgiving, a day to give Thanks. Here are some things I am thankful for.

1 ~ I am thankful for my cats Bruce, Lucy, and Max. I used to hate cats and never thought I'd have one, let alone three. They all make me happy in different ways and I find them to be so funny all with their different personalities. Hopefully, someday Bruce will stop being so territorial and let the other two relax in peace.

2 ~ I am thankful that I get paid to design stuff for a living. I could be doing something much more boring and less fulfulling...and I make enough money to live a decent life, so I am thankful for that too.

3 ~ I am thankful for my friends, most of whom I no longer see regularly but whom I talk to often enough that it doesn't feel like too much time has passed.

4 ~ I am thankful to be back home living near my family. I left for eight years and now I'm back as an adult and enjoying this city in ways I never did before. I get to see my parents regularly and see my little brother living the life of an actual grown-up person in college.

5 ~ Finally, I am thankful that nine years ago Bob asked me to be his prom date. Who would have known that one date to the prom would lead to a real relationship and we would grow together in so many ways. Who meets the love of their life when they are 17? Even though I didn't know it at the time..Me, I do. And I am definitely thankful for that!

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's to giving thanks with those you love!

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