I am so excited to launch 12 Small Things new Fall 2010 collection in partnership with By Hand Consulting and HAND/EYE Magazine! Karen Gibbs, co-founder of By Hand Consulting, has been advising me on my collection since we first met years ago when she was working with Aid to Artisans and I was attending their workshops during the New York Gift show. She and her partner, Colvin English, have been working for over 15 years together promoting handmade goods through Aid to Artisans, the wholesale artisan company Melange they co-founded, and their work today with By Hand Consulting, advising retailers and governments about the value of handmade indigenous crafts.
Karen introduced me to Keith Recker who has been writing about the beauty of handmade crafts for the past twenty years with Aid to Artisans and on his own with HAND/EYE Magazine, HAND/EYE Blog and now, HAND/EYE Shop. Karen, Colvin, Keith and I all met up during the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, to talk about our mutual interest in suppporting artisans around the world. We have a lot of combined experience working in-house for great retailers like Gumps, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, The Gap and Williams Sonoma. And we all wanted to somehow be able to give back to those in need who could benefit from our experience. We felt our combined businesses had great synergy to be able to extend our reach to a larger network. Our 2010 Fall/Holiday collection is a rich collection of unique products from inspirational artisans who’s stories we can’t wait to share at 12 Small Things by HAND/EYE.
I made my annual trip to the New York International Gift Fair this August to meet with some of my artisan groups and receive product from Colvin, who was there teaching artisans from Pakistan and Nepal learn helpful business skills for American retail markets. Colvin showed me beautiful handmade paper products from artists in Nepal as well as hand- block-printed silk scarves from artists in Pakistan whose products we will soon be featuring in our current collection.
I also met with my friend Alden from Aid to Artisans and Omar, a visiting artisan from Africa who had expressed his interest in 12 Small things just minutes before I arrived at their booth. We had to capture the good timing with a picture for posterity. With my product samples in hand, I returned to my friend Ann Stratton and her husband Ruedi Hofmann‘s home in Harlem to rest for the night and prepare for our Fall/Holiday photo shoot the next day.
Ann and Ruedi are both wonderful international photographers who have worked from their New York studios for the past 20 years in very successful careers. Like me, their children are now older and starting college, so we were able to commiserate while Ann and I had fun making beautiful pictures together. With my friend Jeffery Hasseler’s help from Look Model Agency, we were able to shoot with two professional models for a few hours each day, Regina who is now on Verizon billboards across the country, and Victoria who was running off to film a commercial later that night. Ann typically shoots still life images but seemed to be a natural photographing Regina and Victoria modeling our jewelry and scarves, and did an amazing job shooting all the great home accessories we have in our new collection. In her spare time Ann is launching a cookie website, selling her fabulous baked confections that she used to make for Christmas gifts. With the holiday season just around the corner, my new partners and I hope you’ll shop 12 Small Things by HAND/EYE, knowing your gifts will keep giving as they help support artisans around the world.
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