LaLa’s Party: An Interview with Nessa Jay

I love meeting other indie business owners! It’s so interesting to hear all about the products and passions that drive people to become entrepreneurs. Today, I wanted to share an interview with a fabulous new friend of mine, Nessa Jay. She is the owner and artist behind LaLa’s Party, making pinatas, confetti, and festooning. Her craftsmanship is just incredible, and she has such a great attitude about business. Whether you are looking for inspiration or simply planning a party, I think you will enjoy this peek into Nessa’s world.


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Nessa, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview! Can you tell us a little bit about LaLa’s Party and what made you decide to open shop?

Thanks so much for inviting me!

LaLa’s Party is a handmade pinata shop I launched in 2013 from my home in Puerto Rico. I specialize in custom pinatas for unique party themes and decor.

Since high school I made pinatas and other party decor supplies for friends and family as a hobby. About 2 years after graduating from college (and floundering in a terrible job market) my best friend Ginny suggested I take that hobby and turn it into a business. I played with the idea for a little while but about 3 months in I realized I loved it and wanted to pursue it with gusto.

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Bird Industries: An Interview with Amanda Stolle

Bird Industries Pocket Mirrors

Back in December, I made this chic set of pocket mirrors for Amanda Stolle.  Looking at the playful ‘Joy Ride’ artwork made me grab my computer in the middle of production (seriously!) to find out what Amanda and her company was all about. Turns out, Bird Industries makes bike (as in bicycle) accessories for urban ladies. Um… awesome!

As I started to learn more about Amanda, I became really impressed by her innovative spirit. With the rise of Etsy and the handmade movement, there are are a lot of talented artists out there sharing their work – but Amanda invents. Her line of practical bicycle accessories will truly make life easier the urban lady cyclists of the world. Very cool.

So, without further adieu, here is a brief interview with Amanda Stolle to talk about her company, Bird Industries, the products she has created, and a sneak peek of some new products coming soon. Enjoy!

Amanda, you are like the Thomas Edison of urban lady cyclists! The skirt garter is seriously genius. Can you tell us a little bit about this dandy little thing and how you came to invent it?

Wearing shorts isn’t really my thing. So, in the hot, humid summer months here in Minneapolis, I tend to wear a lot of skirts and dresses. One of my favorites was a lightweight cotton A-line that flew up so much when I biked, I had to ride with one hand holding my skirt down. I thought there had to be a better way, and started testing out different solutions. The current skirt garter is an elastic band that fits around the thigh, with a silicone back to keep it from riding up. The band has a clip that attaches to the skirt or dress to keep it from flying up. Simple, freedom!

The Skirt Garter

The Skirt Garter

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Corvus Cosmetics – An Interview With Noel Sitnick

As someone interested in indie cosmetics, I recently jumped at the opportunity to interview Noel Sitnick about her new business, Corvus Cosmetics. About a week ago, I made a set of custom makeup mirrors as a tie-in to her new eyeshadow line, “Mouseia”. The artwork was so captivating, I had to inquire. As it turns out, she works with independent artists to create totally unique label artwork for each every one of her eyeshadow colors. How incredibly clever!

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So, ladies, let’s all grab our brushes and curlers and enjoy this chat with Noel!

A cool new indie cosmetics line! I love it. What made you decide to establish your business, Corvus Cosmetics? Have you always been a makeup junkie?

I’ve always been a total makeup junkie! I’ve been kind of addicted ever since I bought my first black eyeliner at the age of 10. Luckily, my parents were very supportive of me wearing makeup and expressing myself, because it became a full blown passion when I was in high school. Even though my looks were hardly pretty (and I look back on them with total embarrassment), creating them was always the highlight of my day!

I decided to start Corvus last summer. I had just finished my semester at school, and I was working way too many hours at a frustrating restaurant job. I usually browse Reddit in my downtime, and in one of said browsing sessions, I found Indie Makeup and More, which is a subreddit dedicated to independent brands that make makeup, bath and body products, perfumes, basically anything indie! I saw all of these really cool brands and products and thought “You know what? I could do that!!”

So I spent the entire summer researching ingredients and working on my formulas, and was finally able to open that November with my first line!

Mouseia Collection by Corvus Cosmetics

The Mouseia Collection by Corvus Cosmetics

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Susanne Kasielke: An Interview with the Artist

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About a year ago, I spoke with German artist, Susanne Kasielke, for the first time. We began working on an order of custom made pocket mirrors and magnets featuring her ‘DC Love’ art illustrations. In just this short amount of time, I’ve realized that Susanne is someone with a rare combination of talent, motivation… and genuine kindness! I’ve really connected not only with her outstanding artwork, but with her overall positive attitude too. She’s someone who’s not afraid to set a high bar and then reach for the achievement. Furthermore, she’s a savvy businesswoman and a shining example of how to manage and promote a creative business the right way. So, as we enter into a new year, I thought now would be the perfect time to set up an interview. I think you will find her ideas about art and the business of art to be very inspiring. She’s one of a kind!

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Susanne, you are an art queen! You work with so many different mediums and materials: paint, pencil, mixed media, even graphic design. Do you have a favorite?

Thank you so much, Ali – That is so sweet of you to say!
It’s a really tough question, because I love working in different mediums. The variety of styles makes it easy for me to stay inspired and motivated. As soon as I get stuck on a project, I try a different angle and medium.

If I have to narrow it down, my all time favorite medium that I start with and go back to each time I create something new is pencil. When I draw I usually work a bit messy and it takes a while from rough sketches to the final motif – I love the fact, that I can correct my creation as many times as I like until I’m happy with it (because I’m never satisfied the first time ;).

I first became introduced to you through your ‘DC Love’ illustration series. What is it about Washington DC that is so inspiring for you?

Let’s put it this way: What isn’t?

Washington is the very first city in the US that I visited, which will always be special to me. In DC I realized that my dream of becoming a full-time artist can come true – I learnt about all the creative opportunities out there (especially in the US).  Those reasons obviously are personal and don’t have much to do with the city itself, but trust me, Washington is such a beautiful place to visit! I basically fell in love with it on my first day after moving here from Munich/Germany.

I’m absolutely fascinated by DC’s buildings: from important government institutions like the US Capitol or Lincoln Memorial to beautiful townhouses in Georgetown – I can never get enough of just walking around the city. Washington offers such a variety of neighborhoods, that all look completely different and serve different purposes: For example we have the bar district in Adams Morgan, shopping in Georgetown and a lot of culture and history on the Mall.

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To me DC spreads a huge creative vibe, that I never experienced before. The people here are extremely friendly and kind and very international – You hear so many accents and languages on the streets, which I like very much, because my silly German accent doesn’t really attract attention 😉

I could go on an on about DC, but I think it’s best if you all come to visit and see “my” wonderful DC for yourself!

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Fisk and Fern: An Interview with Laura Fisk

I’m a big fan of whimsical illustrations… and FOOD. So, when I first became introduced to Fisk and Fern, I thought “This is a match made in heaven!”.

Laura Fisk is the very talented illustrator behind the indie company, Fisk and Fern. Her playful designs have found their way onto an adorable line of greeting cards, tea towels, coasters, and prints. I’m honored to have made a new batch of magnets featuring her artwork, and I wanted to seize the opportunity to talk to Laura one-on-one. I think you will enjoy reading about her art – and art business!

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Laura, your illustrations are funny, silly, and heartwarming all at the same time! Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?

Aw thanks so much! All my designs are hand drawn and then cleaned up in the computer. My finished drawings are all drawn with all sorts of drawing pens. A character or food usually starts off as just an idea in my head and then I do a lot of doodling and sketching to work through an idea – and it’s amazing how it always gets better once I actually start drawing it!

I kinda fell upon doing the funny food line, but now it has kinda of taken over and it’s always fun to come up with new foods. I usually do a blitz of foods together, and always have a running list of new ones I want to do.

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The Hot Place: An Interview with Lisa King

One chilly November afternoon, a bright orange and black logo crossed my computer screen for a button order. The image was of a rock-and-roll-styled girl laughing modestly, with text ‘The Hot Place’ strategically placed… between her legs!

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I thought to myself, “Ok, I need to know what this logo is all ABOUT”. Turns out, The Hot Place is an awesome band with a brand new album out. A few tracks into my first listen, I realized I needed to get an interview with writer, composer, and singer, Lisa King. Her music, her vibe, and her story is just too fascinating to pass up. So, here it is! Please enjoy this chat with Lisa, and be sure to check out “The Language of Birds” available on Etsy, Bandcamp, and locally if you are in Atlanta.

lk with bass

Lisa King with the bass.

Congrats on the release of your new album, “The Language of Birds”! How would you describe the overall sound and vibe?

I wanted to create an album that encompassed all of the 60’s and 80’s influences I grew up with, and I also wanted to record in a really top-notch studio with vintage analog gear, to really get an authentic experience from those eras. I think the overall sound is very pop-rock, with a little bit of psychedelia and post-punk atmospherics. Maybe a little gothy, like The Cure or Siouxsie and the Banshees, but with stretches that might remind listeners of The Doors or Pink Floyd. As the vocalist and bassist for the band, I think the album has a lot of influence driven by bass guitar. I’ve had fans compare my vocals to Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Blondie, and Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, but it’s kind of hard to distance yourself from your own voice, and be objective. My guitar player has always referred to me as “The Punk Rock Karen Carpenter!”

Do you have a favorite song from the collection?

It’s funny, I have favorite songs to play, and favorites to listen to. I really enjoy playing “Petals of Ruin”, “Sad”, “Run Away Today”, and “Begin the Fall” live. I think when I listen to the finished album, “20th Century” and “Nighttime Summerman” remain my favorites. I’m really proud of how those tracks turned out. Perhaps the crowning achievement for me was when the legendary Richard Lloyd (ex-Television guitarist) agreed to play the solo in “Saturn Moved”. That really made that song a stand out, and every time I hear his guitar work on Track Two, I am amazed and humbled.

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