For American Express' Small Business Saturday, we asked our Marketplace Director, Audra Herman, to use her New York makers expertise to curate a gift guide and tell us a bit of the reasoning behind her picks. Check it out below!
"Mostly all of our makers are small businesses, but there are a special few that also stand and support their fellow makers, too. Sometimes this is in the form of mentoring and teaching; sometimes it is with community organizations; sometimes it is as simple as opening their storefront or studio space to others. There is a special and grateful place in my heart for those to take their time to share their knowledge, skills and resources to help others achieve success." — Audra Herman
Eyelash Scarf by frittelli & LOCKWOOD: Classic, comfortable and versatile, I wear mine with jeans and more formal attire. This weaving studio spearheaded and now anchors the Beekman Street Arts District in Saratoga Springs. They organize an annual street fair for small artisans -- which I will be helping to curate this year -- and put together an annual Small Business Saturday event for their neighboring artisan businesses. I am a proud resident of Saratoga's Beekman Street Arts District!
Topographic Pillows by Greentree Fiber Arts: A perfect gift for camp, beach house or home to remind us of not only where we are, but also the places we love! Maker Susan Rivers houses her studio in the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls. In this building bursting with creativity, Susan continues her advocacy for the arts through volunteering, grant writing, advocacy and funding.
Balsam and Lavender Body Wash and Balsam and Lavender Lotion by Adirondack Fragrance and Flavor Farm: Nothing returns me to the memories of time spent in the Adirondacks like the scent of balsam and lavender. Maker Sandy Maine shares her incredible knowledge and success through her work on the board of the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship at Clarkson University, founded in 2009 to fuel and feed the entrepreneurial spirit.
Heart Dog Tag by Be In The Moment: For the beloved animals in our lives, maker Melissa Kelly creates her own line of jewelry and dog tags while chairing a group for NYC creatives, New York Handmade Collective. This group brings makers together to realize their full potential as a community.
Saratoga Lantern by Art Thorman Tinsmith: The graceful, historical design of a lantern named Saratoga captures my attention. Art shares his love of history and tinsmithing with students at the Adirondack Folk School, a unique organization that keeps the crafts and traditions of the Adirondacks alive through year-round classes.
Montauk Rock Vases by More Fire Glass Studio: I love Montauk and I love rocks, in this case remarkably crafted in glass — they really speak to me. Glassblower Elizabeth Lyons' studio and gallery in Rochester mentors other glass blowers, offering them employment and studio space while also providing a retail outlet for local artists' wares.
Small Bump Necklace by Owlkill Studio: Simple and delicate, two things I am not, but this sweet necklace is! Jewelry designer Adelia Sugarman and a fellow self-employed creative entrepreneur organizes highly curated makers markets in Albany. They aim to provide a profitable opportunity for serious working artists, designers and craftspeople who are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a contemporary maker.