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Garden

FAQ

What items are you most eager to add to your inventory?

November 16, 2015

We are passionate about showcasing creative product design here at UncommonGoods. Our buyers search high and low for unique products that come complete with a compelling story behind the who, what, where, when, why, and how they are made. As we prepare for the end of year madness that is the holiday season, take a peek at what our buyers have on their wish lists for the New Year.

 

Megan Stickel, Assistant Buyer – Children, Desktop & Leisure

I’m looking for a variety of items to grow our children’s category. I’m particularly looking for items that inspire creative problem solving like prompt journals. Our Portachair Harness is a good example of a product that creatively solves a problem. I’m also looking for creative memory keeping ideas (e.g. storage, journals, personalized products) in addition to musical items for older kids, decor items for kids (e.g. rugs, lamps, and bedding). High on my wishlist are also science kits and DIY kits that are not mass distributed. These are particularly hard to find. Handmade games followed by interesting and accessible musical instruments are at the top of my wishlist for our leisure category. I’m also looking for arts and crafts tools/accessories (e.g. handmade knitting needles) and cool tech at accessible price points. Our Magnetic Bike Lights and DIY Smartphone Projector are good examples of what I’m looking for on the tech side.

 

Jamie Hoffman, Buyer – Home Decor, Garden, & Seasonal 

For our home decor category, I’m looking for creative storage solutions like bookshelves, key holders/racks and coat racks. I’m also keen on finding new bath caddies and accessories in addition to up-cycled or unique lighting (e.g. reading lamps, table lamps), and area rugs. For our garden category, I’m looking for indoor planters with personality that integrate form with function. Weather instruments (e.g. rain gauges, outdoor thermometers), wind spinners, kinetic garden sculptures, sun-catchers, birdhouses, and bird feeders also rank high on my wishlist.

 

NeQuana Rollings, Associate Buyer – Tabletop

Eating utensils/flatware are at the top of my wishlist in addition to everyday drinking glasses, serveware (e.g. bowls and platters), and wedding registry-friendly items.

 

Sharon Hitchcock, Buyer – Jewelry

Mother’s Day is a big holiday for us, so I’m definitely looking for jewelry that creatively represents motherhood or grand-motherhood. In fact, I’m looking for jewelry that celebrates women! Our Strong Women Pendant necklace is doing well, so I think this is a huge opportunity in jewelry, especially with Hillary in the running for the White House. I’m also looking for watches (men’s and women’s) with intelligent design where form meets function. The watchbands must be vegan without any PVC. Last, but certainly not least, on my most-wanted list are well-priced earrings (ideally under $50) for self-purchase that can stand alone (they don’t have to be matchy-matchy with a necklace).

 

Jackie Udden, Associate Buyer – Jewelry & Accessories

I’m looking for jewelry holders in various materials and functionality that are decorative, but functional. These can be in the form of ceramic, wood, or metal wall hangers and pedestals. I’d also like to expand our collection of ties. I’m looking for ties that are whimsical and intelligent and that can express someone’s personality, hobbies, interests, and profession without being too novel. I’m also keen on finding more bags. I’m looking for mostly handbags, but also bags for men in all silhouettes and price points. All bags must be 100% vegan without vinyl or PVC.

 

We’re only as successful as our artists and designers, so if you have a product that you think is uncommon enough to join our assortment then feel free to submit through our online form or reach out to one of our buyers.

 

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Lisa Fida

August 31, 2015

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the person behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Lisa Fida, the designer of Clifford the Copper Eating Caterpillar™ and friends.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Hmmmm…. That’s a good question, because I don’t consider myself an “artist”… more of a crafter. When I think of an artist, I think of someone who can draw, sketch, paint, etc. Or a sculptor… or the eccentric person down the street that makes all sorts of weird kind of stuff and calls it art. Ha, ha! I spent 20 years as an accountant and always thought of myself as purely analytical, but never “creative.” However, now that I think about it, I was creating/designing, somewhat, my whole career, e.g., spreadsheets, reports, databases, procedures, processes, etc. Now, I create/design “whimsical representations of nature’s flora and fauna!” And I love it!

Lisa Fida Collection | UncommonGoods

What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?
Doing my very first craft show and seeing that other people actually enjoyed my work and wanted to pay good money for it! What a day! We had a pop-up tent, a fold up card table with a white sheet over it, and some galvanized buckets for displays. And it was very cold and very windy! Every time the wind kicked up we had to hold the tent to keep it from blowing over! We’ve come a long way from that fateful day but it still surprises me even after 5 years that people still like what we make.

What does your typical day in the studio look like?
Have you ever seen the movie “Twister”? Ha, ha! No, it’s not like that, but sometimes it feels that way. I have a morning routine; reading the news, checking Facebook and email, etc., and if I don’t get my routine out of the way first thing, then I feel kind of discombobulated. Then I check what I have for upcoming orders and plan out my work week. I have a dry erase board (don’t mind the hearts left by my husband) that I write tasks out on and that seems to keep me and my Critter Creators™ on track.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
I don’t have one particular thing. I find inspiration all over the place; from nature, other artists, in the middle of the night in a dream. I can be anywhere and my head will be swimming with ideas.

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?
They’d all get a kick out of Clifford the Copper Eating Caterpillar™ holding onto his copper leaf! I imagine the girls would like the Ladybugs and the boys would think Freddie the Fly Catching Frog™ was cool. And then, when they saw Suzzie the Sunday Strolling Snail™, they would pick her up and start making her crawl all over the place!

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
Being my own boss. My husband says I can only work for a handful of people and I think I’ve already gone through that handful. Sorry to all of those bosses over the years that I’ve frustrated or driven crazy!

What are your most essential tools?
Not what? but who?- My Critter Creators™: Nicole, Ciana, and Steven. And my husband. There’s no way I’d be able to produce the quantity of product needed to keep up with demand without them. My husband constantly encourages me, tells me I’m doing a good job, and hides love notes in the shop for me to find throughout the day. And my Critter Creators™? Well, they don’t leave me love notes, but we all work well together and they do a fantastic job!

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Bud Scheffel

August 10, 2015

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the person behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Bud Scheffel, the maker behind our new Hummingbird Garden Mobile.

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When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I knew I wanted to be an artist when I was about 5 years old. I had a sketchbook in my back pocket for my entire childhood.

What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?
The most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist was to be able to raise a family on my income earned doing what I love to do more then anything else in the world.

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What does your typical day in the studio look like?
It’s chaotic but organized. I often have several sculptures that I’m working on simultaneously.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
I have a book of Alexander Calder from 1956, that I am constantly inspired by. He championed the mobile concept decades earlier, and I am proud to be one of the very few experts in my field.

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Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?
“Oh, that’s cool that it balances like that. How do you make something so beautiful? I love the colors.”

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
Keep reinventing yourself. You are able to become a much better artist if you constantly push yourself to go further. I have made over 20,000 designs over 25 years.

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What are your most essential tools?
Hand-held lasers, water jets, welders, shears, pliers, and grinders.

How has international travel influenced your artwork over the years?
While traveling around the world, my art has been influenced and reflective of the cultural differences of the native peoples including their fashion, color choices, architecture, infrastructure, landscape, and natural surroundings. For example, while living in Japan, I chose to create a line of metal mobiles that reflected the pagoda style architecture.

What are your other interests, and how have they been incorporated into your artwork?
I was interested all my life in math and physics, and have created work from the 1980s to current – very technical, complex structures incorporating these disciplines into true marvels of engineering that nobody has ever seen before.

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Grow Your Own Organic Cilantro

July 2, 2015

Rachel

Product: Garden-in-a-Can: Grow Organic Cilantro & Citrus Juicer

Hypothesis:
I’ve been told cilantro is really hard to grow so I was skeptical. Could it really be that easy? Just pop the top, bury the seeds and water for a few weeks? And would lime juice help me win the guacamole competition? My answers were yes! and yes!

Research:
When I heard we would be doing a more gardener-novice-friendly grow kit, I jumped on the chance to test it out. If all goes well, I’d have fresh cilantro in the house for the Purchasing team guacamole competition in a few weeks! I also knew then that lime (and tons of it) would be my secret ingredient, so I employed the help of our new citrus juicer to get the best results!

Experiment:
So, I did just that! I opened up the can, gently buried all the seeds about an inch under the surface and then poured about 2 shot glasses of water in every day or two to keep it looking moist.

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