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Maker Resources

6 Videos That Will Help With Designing Your Website

October 11, 2013

the panel of How To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoodsWe had the pleasure of hosting our latest How To Make It event at the Wix Lounge in Manhattan with the help of staff. Since Wix is a website-building platform, we thought it would be very appropriate to dispense advice on setting up your company’s website with the help of jewelry designer Catilin McNamara, UncommonGoods Assoicate Art Director Rebecca Paull Marshall, and Wix Training and Support Manager Ariele Krantznow. To make the discussion even more specific, the panel critiqued the websites of three guests in attendance, sharing what they loved about the site and what areas needed more work.

Although we would love to get to meet you in person, we understand not everyone can make it out to our events so we thought we would share the key points from the panel discussion with you on the blog! Below are 6 clips that will help design your website.

How To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoodsPelzers Pretzels! | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoods

When building a website, where should you start?

What are some ways to best tell your story on your website?

What should you expect from a hired graphic designer?

What are some tips for DIY product photography?

What are your best DIY smartphone photography tips?

What is a style guide?

Still want more? Watch the entire discussion below.

photos courtsey of Wix Lounge


Eileen Baumeister McIntyre’s Journey to UncommonGoods via Flourish & Thrive Academy

October 9, 2013

Jewelry designer Eileen Baumeister McIntyre | UncommonGoodsNow that our Jewelry Design Challenge runs all year round, we try to find new groups and organizations to partner with to help spread the word. A couple months ago, we learned about Flourish & Thrive Academy, an online meeting space for jewelry designers to connect with experts to gain the tools they need to succeed as creative business people. It felt like a match made in heaven until we realized one of our newest and most popular jewelry designers Eileen Baumeister McIntyre is a F&TA alum. That kind of gave us goosebumps. Learning about Eileen’s experience with F&TA made me realize that there are many other designers out there who could gain from the community Tracy Matthews and Robin Kramer are developing. So we asked Robin to interview Eileen about how her business has developed since making the connection to F&TA.

Flourish & Thrive Academy: One of the brilliant things about being in the jewelry industry is learning more about the artist behind the product. Recently, I sat down with one of our Mastermind students, jewelry designer, Eileen Baumeister McIntyre to discuss her jewelry business and her recent success.

Eileen is the epitome of what we consider an “Artiste” and using her art to fuse her passion for jewelry and the garden. Eileen has a BA, cum laude and an MA in fine arts, studied botanical illustration and learned metalsmithing from master jeweler, with Kathleen Di Riesta.

As a New York State Certified Art Teacher, she has been teaching art in the public school system for 25 years. Currently, she teaches at the high school level and has been awarded multiple grants to share her jewelry design and entrepreneurial knowledge with her students.

Eileen's Golden Sunflower Necklaces| UncommonGoodsF&TA: How long have you been designing and making jewelry and when did you decide that you wanted your jewelry to be a business?
Eileen: About seven years ago I decided to take a glass fusing class with two good friends of mine. It was so much fun and I became totally addicted to making glass fused pendants wrapped in sterling silver and adding them to beaded necklaces I created. It became a real problem because I started amassing hundreds of them.

I wore a different pendant to work every day and started to catch the attention of my coworkers. They asked me to bring in trays of the pendants and I would sell them at work. My coworker, and good friend Joe, suggested that he host a jewelry party at his house for me. I didn’t know what to expect or how to run a jewelry party but said, “sure!”

Joe invited about 20 guests, he has a reputation for being an amazing cook and his wife Janet was a wine buyer, so fabulous food and wine were guaranteed. That evening I sold about $1700 in Joe and Janet’s kitchen and Garden of Silver was born.

The next two years consisted of home jewelry parties and then on to juried fine art/craft shows on the sidewalks of NYC, which was profitable but absolutely physically brutal. I somehow ended up tearing ligaments in my wrist, which required surgery. I recruited my mother to help me at these exhausting outdoor shows because she is the best unpaid employee ever!

In 2011 I decided to forget retail shows and aside from my own website, focus on selling wholesale.

F&TA: What made you seek out help for your jewelry biz?
E: Initially I was learning the handcrafted jewelry business by trial and error with many costly errors along the way. Over the span of the last three years it became apparent that I lacked a host of business skills, particular to the jewelry industry, to make my jewelry company successful.

F&TA: How did you find F&TA?
E: I found out about Flourish & Thrive Academy from an email I received from Andreea Ayers of Launch Grow Joy. Andreea had interviewed me on her website the previous summer and knew I was a jewelry designer.

F&TA: When did you start working with Flourish & Thrive Academy?
E: I watched the video on the Flourish & Thrive website, read everything I could about F&TA and felt Tracy and Robin were a perfect fit and would provide precisely what my fledgling company needed.

My choice of Flourish & Thrive Academy proved fortuitous. Tracy and Robin were not only the most experienced and professional consultants; but proved to be easily accessible, personable and generous with their expertise.

Eileen's web pageF&TA: What made you want to be in the F&TA Mastermind program and what changes have you seen in your business since working with Tracy & Robin?
E: After taking the first F&TA course called Laying the Foundation, I had every confidence that Tracy and Robin could facilitate significant success in the growth of my business and decided that it would be a smart business investment to join their Mastermind program. I was (and am) determined to make Garden of Silver a highly successful jewelry design company and wanted to make sure that I was oriented in the right direction, learning from experts in the industry and getting individualized advice along the way.

I feel like I have been in business school for the last year and have extended my knowledge into dimensions that I couldn’t even have imagined.

F&TA: What changes have you seen in yourself since working with Tracy, Robin & The F&TA community?
E: I previously owned a very successful six-figure art instruction studio business for 15 years that I sold 8 years ago. I had erroneously assumed, on the merits of my previous success in business, that I had an adequate business sense.

The wholesale jewelry world is quite distinct, a different story, from my previous business. I simply did not know what I did not know. After working with Robin and Tracy, I feel confident that I am doing the right thing professionally. Tracy and Robin are so available, supportive and positive. Their coaching keeps you going when things are tough and appearing insurmountable.

F&TA: When did you learn about UncommonGoods and how did you come about submitting your work to UncommonGoods?
E: I had learned about UncommonGoods via a friend and a couple of years ago, when I was exhibiting at a trade show in Florida. Two buyers from UncommonGoods came by my booth. Last spring I decided to apply to be a vendor (on their website) because the company has an amazing reputation working with artists. Personally, I love their website and catalog!

Since working with Tracy and Robin I have created a marketing calendar, a list of my DREAM clients and I am regularly contacting those “dream” clients. UncommonGoods was at the top of my “dream’ client list.

Eileen's Windy Grass Earrings | UncommonGoodsF&TA: How has it been working with UncommonGoods?
E: Working with UG has been fantastic! I have spent all summer filling new orders for them. The buyers have been great, easy to work with and responsive with feedback. The company is extremely well run, plus their people are professional and a pleasure to work with.

Recently, the buyer contacted me with amazing news that my jewelry was their number one product launch of the year and that she wanted to put it in their holiday catalog! This is a DREAM come true for me and quite an honor!

I can’t believe the growth and exposure to my company in the last few months. Garden of Silver has been put on the map.

F&TA: What is your hope for your jewelry biz and where do you see yourself in 5 years?
E: I see my business expanding tremendously in the next five years with more wholesale clients and bigger collections. I am currently working a full time job teaching high school art in addition to launching my jewelry company. I envision being able to retire from teaching soon so I can follow my dream of being a full time artist/jewelry designer.

F&TA: Is there anything you would like to share with other jewelry designers?
E: Yes, make the investment in yourself and your jewelry business and learn from the best. I highly recommend Tracy & Robin (or finding someone like them)! You will NOT be disappointed!

Come have fun and play with us in October. Check out how our 151 ways you can boost your Holiday Sales this year!


About Robin & Tracy:: Tracy Matthews, a successful bespoke jewelry designer, and Robin Kramer, a rock star independent sales and marketing consultant, co-founded Flourish & Thrive Academy, in order to create an active community of dynamic jewelry designers who share design tips, sales successes and marketing secrets.

F&TA began as a solution to a problem many new jewelry designers face: how to treat their business like a business instead of a hobby. It has evolved into an answer to the plea, “I wish there was somewhere I can learn everything there is to know about starting a jewelry business so I can focus on being creative and work on the big picture.”

In addition to the vivacious community, F&TA offers incredible designer support services such as a complete jewelry business program, individual and group coaching, and an ever growing library of free sales, marketing, and business resources.

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Robert Blinn, Carl Collins, Peter Knocke & Daniel Stillman

October 7, 2013

the men of GothamSmith | UncommonGoodsSome designers have a creative studio, some have a company work space, but for this Studio Tour I rode my bike to the apartment of Carl Collins, the gathering-space of GothamSmith. It was early on a Tuesday morning and before they went their separate ways for the day, Pete, Daniel, and Carl got together around a handmade wooden table to meet with me and get some work done. There were few idle hands at the table; as we talked about how they all met and became GothamSmith, Carl was busy sketching new designs, Pete stamped their logo on muslin bags, and Daniel cut chain to assemble necklaces with pendants just delivered by Shapeways – a NYC-based 3D printing service that brings their designs to life.

As they reminisced about their original meeting space – a now-closed watering hole – and flipped through a book of anecdotes and inside jokes that they published for each other a couple years back, I couldn’t figure out which came first, the business or the friendship. Although Rob wasn’t able to join, I could tell these four guys are as passionate about their friendship as they are about their brand, an idea born from a lack of manly items at a handmade craft show.

Meet the guys of GothamSmith!

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Emilie Shapiro

August 5, 2013

Jewelry designer Emilie Shapiro | UncommonGoods


I would definitely consider it love at first sight. The moment I saw the ragged edges and claw-like setting of the Raw Gemstone Necklaces, I knew I wanted to meet the designer. (And get one for myself.) So I invited myself to her Long Island City office and studio for a meeting.

Whenever I meet one of our incredible artists, I try to find similarities between myself and these seemingly normal people making extraordinary things. Our artists can make us all feel so much from a necklace or a wine glass that it makes me wonder if there is some super-human element they possess. Finding a common ground might indicate some greatness within myself. So I always look for a connection.

With Emilie Shapiro, it’s the love of treasures -digging through her rock and shell collection, hunting for pieces in her grandmother’s jewelry box, rediscovering something others have overlooked and bringing it all back to her worktable to create something new – that keeps her ticking. I too share her love of found objects and breathing new life into them.

Meet Emilie, lover of found objects and handmade jewelry designer.

Emilie's essential tools | UncommonGoods

Continue Reading…


Advice from our Design Challenge Winners

June 18, 2013

Everyone always asks what my favorite part of our design challenges is. I really love sitting with the buyer and going through the entries and offering my unsolicited advice. I also love making that phone call to the grand prize winner letting them know the results of the judging session. But my absolute favorite part is getting to interview the winners for the blog post where we introduce them to our community.

Being able to be the one who makes that first personal connection with the UncommonGoods brand is really important to me. Learning what keeps these artists ticking and how excited they are to be a part of our community really warms me up! I tend to get really attached to my design challenge artists and develop design crushes on them!

Each time I ask an artist what advice they would give to someone considering entering a design challenge, I am blown away by their responses. Considering entering a design challenge yourself? Here are some of my favorite bits of advice.

Take a risk and enter. Be sure to rally up your friends and colleagues, they can be some of your best chances to filling in votes. But, above all, don’t let negative comments get you down. Constructive criticism is one thing, but personal preferences and insults are not necessary in the creative process.

Jeff Knight, Woodworking Design Challenge

This is a great opportunity it doesn’t cost anything to enter there is really nothing to lose! Even the opportunity for a jury to look at your work usually costs money; here you get a team of professionals to evaluate your design for free! The semi-finalists get great exposure on the website through the voting platform and there is another opportunity for honest feedback and insight into your work. We made a goal several years ago when looking at an UncommonGoods catalog to some day be featured in their collection, and it took this long to do it. Without ever having that thought or goal to begin with it never would have happened!

Patrick & Carrie Frost, Glass Art Design Challenge

My first bit of advice would simply be to enter the competition. Don’t prevent yourself from taking advantage of such an awesome opportunity by worrying about whether your art is good enough. Just enter it and see what happens. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Those circumstances are not very common and should always be ventured.

My second piece of advice goes hand in hand with my first. I think Andy Warhol summed it up perfectly. He said, “Don’t think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” Whatever the outcome of this competition or any other artistic venture you attempt, don’t worry too much about the results. Just keep making more art. If you’re consistent, you’ll eventually stumble upon a great artistic breakthrough that someone will notice and adore.

Elise Wehle, 2013 Art Contest

Submit work that you not only know is strong, but that you are genuinely proud of. If selected as a finalist, you’ll be discussing the design challenge with your with friends and colleagues; it’s much easier to talk about your work with enthusiasm when you feel truly engaged with the work.

Sarah Nicole Phillips, Art Contest-May

Still not sure about your design challenge entry? Check out my advice to artists here.


Art Crush: Audrey Heller

April 26, 2013

Miniatures fascinate me. Maybe it’s because I watched the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids a lot when I was little. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m 5’3″ and holding tiny things makes me feel like a giant… we’ll never know, but I do know this: Audrey Heller’s photographs are seriously crush-worthy.

Audrey transforms common foods and objects into exciting uncharted worlds for her tiny figurines to explore. Her playful and imaginative juxtapositions create some pretty surreal scenarios. Ordinary objects like grapes, cappuccinos, and breakfast cereal become unfamiliar – even dangerous – landscapes.

Like film stills, Audrey’s photos leave you wondering what came before the scene you’re looking at and, more importantly, what will happen to our tiny protagonists next. I’m a little worried about those scuba divers… I mean, how will they get out of that bowl? What if they get eaten? What happens when that shredded wheat gets soggy? Because you know it will…

Audrey is truly my favorite kind of artist – one who thinks outside the box and inspires us to do the same. You can’t help but use your imagination when looking at her photos. They make you think and that’s really what art should do, right?

Audrey Heller lives and works in her native San Francisco Bay Area. Since 1996, her photographs have been shown, shared, published, and collected around the world.

Get a peek inside Audrey’s studio here and learn more about the works featured above: Ripened, Cafe Society, Challenging Conditions, Bound, Fish Out of Water.


Art Crush: Valerie Galloway

April 19, 2013

Happy Friday! Erin from artsocial here to talk about another uh-mazing artist from the Uncommon Artist Gallery, Valerie Galloway.

Guys, Valerie is speaking my language. I’m such a fan of interesting patterns and graphic elements like stripes and polka dots. Plus I studied French in college, so I’m definitely digging the Parisian je ne sais quoi in all of Valerie’s work.

Valerie finds inspiration from post-war Paris and old family photos, especially those of her French mother and aunt with fabulous hairdos from the 1960s. She’s also inspired by French New Wave cinema, old American TV shows from the ’60s and ’70s, and the movie Amadeus, which she says had a huge impact on her creative life.

Her inspiration is without a doubt captured in each work. The blushing maidens and femme fatales, the characteristically French sense of fashion, and the mile-high patterned bouffants all carry the spirit of her influences… and that pink polka dot afro is just plain AWESOME, don’t you think? I can’t get over it.

And guess what? These prints of Valerie’s original watercolors are available exclusively at UncommonGoods. So check ’em out, mes amis! That empty wall in your living room? Yep, these prints would look so great there.

See more from Valerie in the Uncommon Artist Gallery and read more about the works featured above: Polka Dot Parisienne, Hello Gorgeous, Shocking Pink Afro, Lost at Sea

Maker Resources

How To Make It: Collaborating and Building Your Network | Videos

April 11, 2013

Earlier this month we hosted another design panel and happy hour for designers in Brooklyn. The topic of conversation was learning how to work well with other artist in a collaborative community, a business partnership and on the internet. Sitting on the panel was artist and founder of the AmDC Kiel Mead, Katy Maslow and Michelle Inciarrano of Twig Terrariums, and UncommonGoods Community Outreach Coordinator, Gaby Dolceamore (yeah, that’s me!).

Guests were invited to mingle with each other and the panel; enjoy some Brooklyn Brewery beer, Dark Horse Wine and Pelzer’s Pretzels; and vote on a community winner of the Woodworking Design Challenge. Check out Zsuzsanna’s winning design, the Floating Window Air Plant Wall Decoration.

We know not everyone can head over to Brooklyn on a Tuesday night to join our events, so we are happy to offer clips from the night’s discussion below!

Communication is key, especially when best friends become business partners!

Michelle and Katy of Twig Terrariums reveal how they split up the work in their business.

Kiel describes the dynamic of contributing to a group of artists in the AmDC.

The Twig ladies talk about how important it is for them to share their craft with the local community.

The group discusses the importance of telling your art’s story.

The panel weighs in on the belief that 80% of a group’s work is done by 20% of its members.

Kiel describes how he makes the most out of networking with other artists.

…or just watch the entire thing!

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