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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Jill McDonald

March 9, 2017

Aside from being a mama to the adorable pup above (as well as her human son, Luca), Jill McDonald is a talented designer and artist who has created works for top brands all over the country – think book covers, storefronts, bedding, puzzles, you name it. Always appreciating bright colors and bold illustrations, Jill decided to take her talents and create a studio of her own. We’re so glad she did, since now we have a few of her fun prints available in our assortment.

We like to welcome new members of our uncommon family by learning more about their stories and sharing those stories with you. Read on to hear from Jill about what inspires her, how she self-schedules in her home studio and the motivating phrase that keeps her going strong.

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Design

Invitation Introductions: Meet Our Tandem Bike Wedding Stationery

March 8, 2017

Save the Date - Tandem Bike Art - UncommonGoods

We know planning a wedding can feel both sweet and stressful, but we’re here to help you put the focus on the former. The invitations you choose are like a little preview of the big day, so finding just the right style, colors, design, etc., can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’re so excited to announce our collaboration with the absolute wedding invitation experts: Crane Stationery.

As a result of joining forces with Crane, our product development team has made five complete wedding suites available to our customers, each with a distinct aesthetic and production details that make them extra special. Follow along on the blog as we introduce you to each of these suites, and find the design that’s a perfect match for your own uncommon nuptials.

Tandem Bike Wedding Invitations - UncommonGoods

First up? The Tandem Bike Wedding Stationery. It features a whimsical, low-key design that’ll be a hit for hipsters, athletic-types, or anyone who wants a fun, carefree feel on their special day.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Meredith Gordon

March 3, 2017

Meredith Gordon Artist - UncommonGoods

Flowers and wine–what a dreamy combination. Meredith Gordon, a new maker to our assortment, has brought the two together in the form of her floral glassware, and we couldn’t be more excited. Growing up as a navy dependent, Meredith has seen all kinds of buds and blooms from different corners of the world, and she uses her natural talent for painting to give them new life through her stemless (well, sort of) glasses.

Floral Glasses - Set of 4 - UncommonGoods

Each of the products we offer has a story behind it, and we value those stories. We’re always eager to introduce you to our inspiring, independent makers as we welcome them to our uncommon family. Read on to meet Meredith and learn how being called “Arty” in school as a kid turned into a lifelong proclivity for creative pursuits.  

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Rachel Kroh

February 16, 2017

Rachel Kroh - UncommonGoods

If you’re not sure if you’re the kind of person who was actually born to be an artist (or if you’re the kind of person who should pursue it as a career, anyway) visiting the French countryside is a great way to go and figure it out. Printmaker Rachel Kroh did it, and ended up becoming a full-fledged working artist, with a studio and a business of her own.

Rachel’s prints, which come to life with woodblock printing and the use of an Indigo press, are unique, comforting, and undoubtedly special. We love to learn the stories of artists who are new to our assortment, and to share those stories with our readers. Check out our interview with Rachel to hear more about her journey to self-employment, how art meets religion in her craft, and the one quote from a college professor that reminds her to keep going.

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Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Recycling Books & Spreading Literacy, One Pin at a Time

February 13, 2017

You can never have too many books, right? Well, actually, you kinda can. With hundreds of thousands of new books published each year, and with many library shelves so overwhelmed that librarians are often forced to throw books away, even those of us who feel sentimental about the written word and the pages that hold them have to admit: we’ve got a problem.

So what to do with all of those outdated encyclopedias and forgotten math textbooks? Aren’t there any other options aside from trashing them? Recycling, of course, comes to mind. But the bindings of many books, especially hardcovers, contain adhesives that can’t be recycled. So the inside pages can go, but then what happens to the rest?

Enter Laura Bruland Shields. A long-time book-lover herself and an artist at heart, she’s taken on this wasteful problem and is making beautiful solutions every day – in the form of one-of-a-kind, laser cut accessories made directly from books that would otherwise be thrown away. On top of that, she takes a portion of the proceeds from her business and donates them to benefit literacy and girls’ education around the world.

When we learned about Laura’s story, we knew we had to feature her in our Uncommon Impact series – her values as a maker and ours as a certified B-Corp company are a perfect match. We love that she thinks ethically in the way she makes her products and uses her to success to benefit a cause she’s passionate about.

Read on to hear from Laura directly about her creative process, some of her favorite book-titles-turned-accessories, and how her business is helping to spread a love of reading worldwide.

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Gift Guides

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts for Procrastinating Cupids

February 3, 2017

Consider this a friendly reminder: Valentine’s Day is coming soon! How does it manage to sneak up on us so quickly every year? Don’t fret – you do not (I repeat, DO NOT) need to resort to nondescript stuffed animals and chocolate samplers from the drugstore this time. Though the 14th is creeping closer on the calendar, it’s not too late to get something extra special for your special someone. Take a look through our handpicked selection of gifts here. We bet they’ll inspire you to quit your procrastinating and pick up something your valentine is sure to <3.

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Gift Guides

10 Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Gals You Love

January 31, 2017

10 Valentine's Day Gifts for the Gals You Love

Where would you be without the beautiful tropical fish, the poetic, noble land-mermaids, the spectacular clouds of brilliance better known as your “Galentines”?! If those stunning compliments are confusing to you, start watching Parks and Rec. Even if you’re not a fan of the show, though, now’s the time of year to celebrate a very special holiday that originated on it — Galentine’s Day. It’s technically the day before Valentine’s Day, and it’s a chance to show the women who keep you going just how much you love ’em. Give your best girls something unexpected this year with the help of our Galentine-specific guide.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Bryan Mitchiner & Justin Hoffman

January 26, 2017

If you’re someone who takes the time to really look at the labels on the food you’re buying, it’s likely you’ve had more than a few unsettling realizations about the industry as a whole. Justin Hoffman had a similar experience with a jar of mustard, which inspired him to take mustard-matters into his own hands and create his own–with “no added junk.” What was initially a healthy hobby based on Justin’s own curiosity and fondness for cooking turned into a business when he moved to Seattle and met Bryan.

Flavored Mustard Sampler - UncommonGoods

We love to see makers who take good (and good for you) ideas and run with them, and so we’re happy to welcome these two new entrepreneurs to our uncommon family. Read on to hear from Justin (and a little bit from Bryan) about how their whole operation got started, what keeps them going, and, of course, which recipes they recommend!

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