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Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: From Laos with Love–Clearing Bombs, Crafting Beauty, Creating Hope

December 1, 2015

As a certified B Corporation, UncommonGoods is excited about sustainability. That means more to us than just being “green”–we strive to offer products that reflect the environmental and social best-interests of everyone. So, when our makers are as concerned with sustainability as we are, we’re always eager to learn more about their process and the positive impact they’re having on the world.

Laos A village in Laos, Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Suda

While many of our makers rely on sustainable practices at one point or another in their process, we’re especially excited about those who place the wider world at the forefront of their craft–those who are making an uncommon impact.

In the case of Elizabeth Suda, founder of Article 22, making a positive impact is, in part, about helping to heal the negative impact the imposed on Laos  during the Vietnam War. The Peacebomb Jewelry designs produced by Article 22 aren’t just fashionable accessories, they’re also symbols of hope.

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The Uncommon Life

Better to Give Gets Even Better on #GivingTuesday

November 22, 2015

Giving Tuesday

We’ve all heard the old phrase “It’s better to give than to receive,” and as a B Corp, we truly mean it. We even took the name for our Better to Give program from that sentiment, because we know that giving back to the community is an important part of becoming a better business.

Every time you shop at UncommonGoods, we donate $1 to the non-profit Better to Give partner of your choice, and over the past 12 years, that’s added up to over $1,000,000 in donations. On December 1, 2015, we want to give a little extra by participating in #GivingTuesday.

Help us give more by taking to social media to tell us why you believe that it’s better to give than to receive using the hashtags #BettertoGive and #GivingTuesday. We’ll donate $1 a share for the first 5,000 shares to our non-profit partners and we’ll pick three participants (one each from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) to win $500 to donate to the non-profit organization of their choice.

Better to Give | UncommonGoods

While you don’t need to shop to share, we do plan to give our traditional Better to Give program a little extra love on #GivingTuesday as well. Place an order on December 1 and we’ll donate an extra dollar on your behalf to the organization you choose at checkout.

By participating in #GivingTuesday through social media or by selecting one of our partners when you shop, you can help us make a difference for a child learning to read, a woman survivor of war, a survivor of sexual abuse, or a natural habitat facing potential deforestation.

 

RAINNDonations to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, fund programs that prevent sexual violence. RAINN also operates National Sexual Assault Hotline and partners with rape crisis centers across the country. By providing resources for policymakers and the media and building community partnerships, RAINN promotes nationwide education and awareness about sexual violence. They also work to ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

 

American Forests

Donations to American Forests help them protect and restore forests damaged by human action and natural disasters around the world. American Forests, the oldest non-profit conservation organization in the United States, has planted more than 45 million trees since 1990.

 

Women for Women International

Donations to Women for Women International allow them to  help women survivors of war by bringing them together in safe spaces to learn life, business, and job skills. By giving women the tools and resources they need to overcome crisis and poverty, Women for Women International helps them become independent, while building stronger families and communities.

 

Reach Out and Read

Donations to Reach Out and Read help them continue their mission to put children on the path to success through the development of early reading skills and school readiness. The organization works with thousands of doctors and nurses across all 50 US states to integrate children’s books into well-child visits and encourage parents to read to their children.

We’re extremely proud of the positive impact we’ve helped our non-profit partners make in the world and we’re looking forward to helping these great organizations do more good as we celebrate #GivingTuesday.

Gift Guides

From Beer to Booze: Gift Picks for the Home Bartender

November 13, 2015

Bar Gifts | UncommonGoods

Their fridge is fully-stocked with the perfect combination of craft brews and classic beers. Their wine rack is loaded with reds, whites, and maybe even a bit of the bubbly. And don’t even get them started on what it takes to mix the perfect cocktail–the glass, the garnish, whether it’s shaken or stirred–they have all of the details down. That’s right, we’re talking about the Home Bartender. Chances are, you know one of these masterful mixologists, so we’ve gathered a collection of gifts that will surely make any adult beverage connoisseur raise their glass.

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FAQ

How do you choose artists to feature on your blog?

November 12, 2015

We’re always looking for artists with interesting stories to tell. We feature artists in several types of maker stories on the blog. Artists new to UncommonGoods are often profiled in our This Just In-spiration series, which is a quick Q&A to introduce our readers and customers to our latest products and the people who make them. We also love profiling artists that go above and beyond when it comes to sustainable business practices in our Uncommon Impact series. When we’re lucky enough to work with artists with studios near our location in Brooklyn (or in surrounding areas), we might stop by their workspace for a Studio Tour. Finally, since we know not every artist will fit into one of these categories, we’ll also feature maker stories outside of these series. If you’re an UncommonGoods maker who’d love to share your inspiration or creative process, who makes something out of unique materials, or who factors social and environmental responsibility into your business practices, we want to share your story. Email blog@uncommongoods.com to tell us more.

Gift Guides

Perfect Presents for the Party Planner

November 12, 2015

Host and Hostess Gifts | UncommonGoods

Picking the perfect present for a proud party planner isn’t always, well, a party. They have the food, music, and games covered. Yes,they already have everything their guests need to have a great night down, but that doesn’t mean they won’t love to get one of these special gifts to help them create a fresh presentation for appetizers or add a little extra flair to their tablescapes.

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Gift Guides

Gifts Someone “Who Has Everything” Doesn’t Already Have

November 6, 2015

See More GIfts for the Person "Who Has Everything" | UncommonGoods

Everyone knows someone who seems to already have everything. You know, that person whose living room looks like a museum of beautiful objects. Whose kitchen is fit for a professional chef. Who is always toting the latest gadget or the most fashionable fashion accessory. Folks who already have it all can be difficult to shop for, but as purveyors of the uncommon, we’re here to to show you a few things that will leave them excitedly asking, “Where did you find this?!”

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Gift Guides

Fantastic Finds for the Family

October 28, 2015

Fantastic Finds for the Family | UncommonGoods

Finding a gift for the whole family can be tricky, especially when each member of the group has a very different personality from the next. You could go with the standard “Happy Holidays to All of You from All of Us” fruitcake, but we think that one of these unique gifts might suite each of their individual tastes a little better. (While promoting family bonding, togetherness, and all that sweet stuff. Now that takes the cake!)

 

Personalized Family MugsDad takes it black, mom likes a little milk and sugar, and the kiddos stick to hot chocolate. Now each member of the family can enjoy their favorite drink in their own special mug. | Personalized Family Mugs

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Nils Wessell

October 16, 2015

Nils Wessell | UncommonGoodsNils in his Brooklyn woodshop, photos by Rachel Orlow

Nils Wessell is the creator of our Tablet Holding Cutting Board , an innovative design that allows cooks to easily prep ingredients with their electronic tablets ready and enabled right in front of them. While heirloom cookbooks are becoming a thing of the past, Nils’ cutting boards are beautifully-crafted and sturdily-constructed, meaning they bring a dose of tactile beauty to cooking in the electronic age. 

When I first read our This Just In-spiration interview with the Brooklyn-based designer and woodworker, I got the impression that he’s not only a talented craftsman, but also someone who is truly passionate, not only about his own craft, but also about art across a broad spectrum. When I learned that his woodshop is located in nearby Industry City, I knew I had to pay him a visit to learn more about his thoughts on the pursuit of creativity and the challenges (and rewards) that come with balancing art and business. 

Once in Nils’ creative space, I saw work, experimentation, knowledge, and–at the risk of sounding a little cheesy here–the magic in the sawdust all around me. Nils’ studio is a mix of books, designs in the prototype phase, power tools, and exquisitely-crafted cutting boards in different stages of production. Read on to see some of these works in progress, hand tools and heavy machinery, and our interview with Nils. 

Nils Wessell | UncommonGoods Studio Tour

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