Maker Stories

Thinking Outside the Jewelry Box: Marion Cage McCollam’s Walnut and Steel Magnetic Jewelry Holder

July 21, 2016

Marion Cage McCollam considers herself a designer first, an artist second. “By that, I mean that I am more of a problem solver,” the Columbia University-trained architect says. “My background defines my work in that there is always a technical as well as a creative component to everything I do.” In other words, whether the New Orleans resident is making hardware for a home, a dog tag for a beloved pet, or a ring for a human, she pushes herself to achieve elegance in form and function.

Marion Cage McCollam | UncommonGoods

Marion Cage McCollam reflected in a row of mirrors while working in her New Orleans studio

Marion developed her fluid yet strong sensibilities when she was in her 20s working under world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, who created the Aquatics Centre for the 2012 London Olympics among myriad other celebrated structures. “She was a mentor to me,” says Marion. After Hadid’s untimely death in March 2016, Marion found herself creating a special series: “My latest jewelry collection was inspired by the forms I was introduced to when working for her.” It’s the elegance of these shapes, as well as Marion’s thoughtfulness, that sets her work apart. The designer and Big Easy shop owner tells us about her ultimate influence and the creative process behind her latest work.

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Design

The Uncommon Collection:
Beautiful Designs, a Blueprint for Responsible Business

July 19, 2016

Roughly a year ago, we proudly launched The Uncommon Collection. While all of our goods are “uncommon,” the Collection is special because it’s a culmination of efforts to create an assortment of well-designed items made responsibly by businesses who embrace thoughtful and sustainable business practices. The Collection presents opportunities for our manufacturing partners to share the spotlight with their products, telling the stories behind those products and connecting our customer with the people who made them. We have grown a lot since introducing the Collection last year, both in terms of number of items and makers contributing to the Collection and in our understanding of the challenges and opportunities such an initiative presents.

The Uncommon Collection | UncommonGoods

What we’ve learned:

Companies come in all shapes and sizes

We approached the development of Collection criteria based on values we as a company hold ourselves and devised for manufacturers in a general sense. At UncommonGoods we work with companies both large and small, in widely varying industries employing teams all across the skill-level spectrum. It was important to us that this not be an initiative with criteria that artificially closed us off to certain industries or company sizes, but rather was as potentially broad-reaching as possible to raise the bar for as many companies as possible.

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab:
Can Combining Scents Create the Perfect Perfume?

July 15, 2016

Tanya | UncommonGoods

Product:

Mixologie Blendable Perfume Collection

Research:

I have a habit of switching perfumes pretty frequently. I can’t seem to be satisfied with the same aromas for too long because, well, I just get bored. I have never repurchased a scent for myself. I always wonder how some people have that one fragrance that they’ve worn for 15 years. I am always in search of the best scent that describes my mood and my life which is forever changing. I’ve dabbled in perfumed oils, luxury fragrance brands, body mists, and even heavily perfumed lotions. My nose immediately perked up when the Mixologie Perfume Collection joined the UncommonGoods assortment. Some features that got my attention were that the individual bottles are travel friendly and upon first sniff, I was enthralled with the 8 scents on their own. I jumped at the chance to experiment with the different cocktails that this kit suggests and make up a few dozen scents for myself!

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