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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio
with Vedat Ulgen

March 10, 2016

Vedat posing on the patio of his Redhook Studio | UncommonGoodsVedat Ulgen outside his Brooklyn studio, photos by Rachel Orlow

UncommonGoods is a place that celebrates entrepreneurs and makers and wholeheartedly embraces creativity. If you’ve spent much time shopping with us or reading our blog, you’ve seen this celebration shine through the stories we tell about our products and the designers who make them. These stories share what really makes the pieces we sell and the artists we work with unique.

While every product we sell meets standards that make it an uncommon good, every once in awhile something comes along that is truly weird. Weird in the best sense of the word: In the way that weird, new music makes you want to listen again and again. In the way that a brilliant invention makes you ponder how in the world someone actually came up with that. In the way that an eccentric person makes you want to get in touch with your own beautiful inner weirdo.

Vedat Ulgen’s Worn Sleeve Vase and Worn Jeans Stool are perfect examples of this type of “weird” design. They are totally unexpected, look one way and feel another, and are as useful as functional products as they are intriguing as art.

Thislexik Designs Products | UncommonGoods

These designs are made from upcycled clothing, so they should be soft, right? But they have a unique texture that’s smooth and doesn’t feel anything like you’d imagine.  It seems like the sleeves shouldn’t stand upright and the stools shouldn’t hold the weight of a full-grown person, but they do.

Like his products, Vedat’s studio, Thislexik, isn’t exactly what it seems. From the street, it looks like a stack of shipping containers. Get a bit closer to the five colorful containers, and it becomes clear that the stack is actually a building with a living roof and windows perfectly placed to let in enough light. Inside, Thislexik is rooted in sustainable practices, fueled by experimentation, and filled with dozens incredible designs.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Red Hook, Brooklyn studio myself recently, and as a proud proponent of the aforementioned brand of weird, I was in paradise. It’s hard to convey how inspiring this space is to someone who hasn’t been there, how cool these designs are to someone who hasn’t interacted with them, and how innovative Vedat is to someone who hasn’t met him, but I hope these photos and this interview are at least a start.

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The Uncommon Life

Sky-High Romance & Rodeo No-Nos: Announcing Our #UncommonDate Contest Winners

February 17, 2016

Winners of the Uncommon Date Contest from UncommonGoods

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, we asked you to share your uncommon date stories. We expected to hear some tales of romance and a few funny anecdotes about dates gone wrong, but we had no idea we’d get so many great entries–making it pretty hard to pick just two winners.

In the end, after many “Aw, that’s SO sweet”s and plenty of chuckles, we decided on one date that we wished we could replicate and one we’d rather not.

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The Uncommon Life

Valentine’s Day Contest: #UncommonDate? Do tell!

February 5, 2016

UncommonGoods Valentine's Day Gifts

Dinner and a movie is nice, but it’s not exactly the most original romantic outing. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, the same old date just doesn’t cut it–so we put together a collection of Uncommon Gifts for the Perfect Date Night. This got us thinking about some of the truly unusual date stories we’ve heard in the past and a social media contest was born!

Maybe your own most bizarre date ended up being a total disaster, but left you with a hilarious story. Maybe the tale of your most interesting date was just the start of a great love story. We want to know about the good, the bad, and totally off-the-wall. Tell us about your most #UncommonDate in the comments below or use the #UncommonDate hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for your chance to win one of the uncommon date packages featured in our Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

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Gift Guides

Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Perfect Date Night

January 22, 2016

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and love is in the air. Speaking of mushy cliches, your Valentine’s plans don’t have to be full of them. Show your special someone that you’re up for anything with these gift picks for the perfect uncommon date.

Creative Valentine's Day Gift Ideas | UncommonGoods

Perfect Picnic 

A romantic picnic in the park (or on the living room floor, if February doesn’t quite provide park weather in your neck of the woods) is a great way to avoid crowded restaurants and get in a little one-on-one time.

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Design

Stefanie Wolf’s Mosaic Necklace 7 Ways

January 15, 2016

We knew that jewelry designer Stefanie Wolf’s Mosaic Necklaces are beautiful, versatile pieces, but we didn’t know that just how many ways you can wear them until yesterday, when Stefanie sent us this great video showing seven ways. (We’ll admit, it’s three more than we’d thought of, and we LOVE the new suggestions.)

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studios: A Year of Creativity

January 8, 2016

Inside the Artists' Studios | UncommonGoods

One of the most exciting things about serving as Editor of The Goods is that there’s always a Maker Story right around the corner. I am honored to get opportunities to meet talented artists, to see what they make and how they make it, and– when I’m extra lucky– to actually step inside their creative spaces. Over the past year, I had the pleasure of visiting several artists and seeing them in action, as did a few of our blog contributors, photographers, and buyers.  

From woodworking to weaving to jewelry making and beyond, we saw so much creativity last year that we couldn’t help but give our 2015 Studio Tours one more chance to shine before heading out with cameras and notepads to capture more inspirational moments in the year to come. Here are a few hand-picked highlights from those Studio Tours, complete with a few inspirational quotes, photos that made me want to drop everything and start a new creative project on the spot, and plenty of great advice. 

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Gift Guides

Last Minute Gifts That Don’t Feel Last Minute

December 16, 2015

Last Minute Gifts that Don't Feel Last Minute | UncommonGoods

The countdown to Christmas is on (like really, really on), and your holiday shopping is almost complete. If the emphasis is on almost and you’re still looking for one or two final presents, don’t worry. We have you covered with this list of last minute gifts so great it will seem like you’ve had them picked out for months!

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The Uncommon Life

It’s Better to Give Because…

December 9, 2015

We’re proud to support our Better to Give partners and the positive impacts they’re making on the world all year long, but on December 1, 2015, we were able to step-up our giving game and donate more to help them do good.

The first day in December this year was Giving Tuesday, a “global day dedicated to giving back.” To celebrate, we asked our community to tell us why it’s better to give than to receive, and we received some pretty on-point answers.

Better to Give | UncommonGoodsFor every answer we received on  Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, we donated $1 to our Better to Give partners. We also chose one answer from each platform and donated $500 to a non-profit organization of the person who shared that answer’s choice.

  • Twitter winner @EtheRealGrrl said “It’s #BettertoGive than receive because nothing is more fulfilling than contributing to another person’s happiness.” She chose our Better to Give partner RAINN to receive our donation in her name.
  • Our Instagram winner @zlauzia picked  The Next Door–an organization that isn’t currently one of our partners, but is definitely a worthy cause. She said, “It is always #bettertogive. There is no better joy than that of giving – regardless of what it is – a smile, your time, a shoulder, your love, a hug, money; let’s make every day #givingtuesday.”
  • On Facebook, Clara Waldhari told us, “Giving — of yourself and/or through a material item — is the best way to know you are alive and in tune with this wondrous universe. Giving from the heart is healing for the giver and the receiver. #BettertoGive and #GivingTuesday” She selected the international children’s rights organization Save the Children to receive $500.

In addition to the extra donations made through our social media campaign, we also doubled the donation for every shopper who selected a Better to Give Partner at checkout when purchasing on our website. (Did you know that every time you shop at UncommonGoods you have the opportunity to select a non-profit partner from our line-up and we’ll donate $1 to that organization at no cost to you? Learn more here.)

Better to Give | UncommonGoods

It's Better to Give | Learn More

Thanks to our social media followers who participated in the campaign and the shoppers who selected non-profit partners to receive our special $2 donation, we donated a total of $5,799 on Giving Tuesday.

Of course, it truly is better to give than to receive all year round, so don’t forget to check out Better to Give next time you place an order with us and we’ll donate $1 to the non-profit partner of your choice.

 

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