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Studio Visit: Outlaw Soaps

For this installment of Local Beauty, we're headed to the Bay Area for a study in soap-making with Outlaw Soaps, the Oakland-based line whose products are inspired by the attitude of some famous rule-breakers. Who says you can't be both rebellious and clean, right? We talked with co-owner Danielle Vincent about tiki bars, irreverence, and how a random stop at a Paso Robles farm stand inspired a business.

Photography by Keko Jackson.




What's the Outlaw Soaps elevator pitch?

We make exciting soaps for adventurous people. Everything we do is filled with love and laughter and the same irreverence that we feel toward life overall. We want the people who use our soaps...[have] a daily reminder of whatever it is they're passionate about, whether that's a big ol' bonfire on a camping trip or a quiet desert at sunrise. 


What’s the backstory? 

It seems kind of random, but I guess everything does from a certain angle. Russ (my husband and business partner) and I were on our honeymoon outside of Paso Robles on the 46. We stopped at a farm store and I ended up picking up some soaps, not really thinking much of it. Over the weeks that followed, I got really attached to them because they reminded me of that wonderful trip, and I thought, 'Hey, what if I could make soaps that reminded me of everything I wanted to be reminded of!' So we started studying how to make soaps. A week after we launched officially, we got a huge order for shaving kits and I quit my job. We moved to Oakland shortly after that. Many of the pictures on the vision wall are from that farmhouse store. It's really where I see us going in the next five years. 


What is "ridiculous soap"? 

We don't take ourselves too seriously and we have a lot of very funny friends. If someone comes up with a soap funny enough for me to spit coffee into my keyboard, we sometimes give it a shot. That's how Unicorn Poop came up: my friend Gretchen's daughter had the idea and I happened to have a lot of baked goods scents around (like blueberry muffin and birthday cake), so we decided to try it. And of course, it became everyone's favorite soap right away.


Why Oakland? 

Oakland was a very convenient place for us to settle. We live and work in a very, um, "safety-challenged" area in Oakland. We chose this place for very practical reasons: the rent is cheap and no one minds if we wander around looking like the cast of Breaking Bad (we wear a lot of safety gear when we're working). 

In addition to being practical, though, Oakland has really grown on us personally. There are lots of amazing places, and it's wonderful to see places like Jack London Square and downtown being revitalized. There's a lot happening in Oakland now. 



Can you share some favorite things that are happening in the area? 

I have always loved Jack London Square. Heinolds's First and Last Chance Saloon is one of the most magical places on the planet, let alone in Oakland. It's a very eccentric place, but it also feels like they kind of expected you to come in and make yourself at home. Very comforting. 

Recently, I went to an exhibition at Redux Studios and Gallery in Alameda, and it was wonderful. Alameda is just overall idyllic, but their growing art scene is significant. I feel like they're building a very unique and independent culture over there. And speaking of Alameda, Forbidden Island Tiki Bar is THE HANDS DOWN MOST AMAZING TIKI BAR EVER. Yes, it's all-caps amazing. I have quite a lot of glassware from there (they have cocktails that come with their own cup to take home). It's just wonderful. 

The place I always go when I happen to find myself in the city (that's what we Oakland people call SF) is the American Grilled Cheese restaurant. I am a huge fan of cheese and the New American has the best grilled cheese sandwiches ANYWHERE. 


Who are some of your favorite outlaws—historic or just general rule-breakers? 

Of course, I'm partial to fellow soap salesman, Soapy Smith. He had a slick swindle where he'd slip some money into the soap wrappers and then just sell off the soaps seemingly at random. People would go crazy buying the soaps hoping to get what sometimes was as much as $100 (and in 1870s money, that's a lot). Of course, Soapy didn't ever sell the winning soaps to the general public, he just sold it to his friends and got the money back at the end of the gig. 

My favorite outlaws are the ones who have a touch of humanity in their outlaw dealings... one outlaw, Tom Bell, was a surgeon and had a habit of bandaging up any victims hurt in his hold-ups. I mean, sure, he stole all their money, but that's no reason to be cruel about it. 
 

Quick: recommend one product to us (If we can only have one). 

Sage Copper Canyon soap. It will absolutely change your viewpoint for the rest of the day. 


What are you working on next? 

We just launched a lotion-to-go. It's called The Stick-Up and it's kind of like a big glue stick, but instead of glue, it's lotion. It can get through airport security, it lasts a long time, it's amazingly nourishing and soothing, and it smells incredible.


Shop Outlaw Soaps in UO Beauty!

Studio Visit: Duffy's and Herbivore Botanicals

This week, we're looking to Seattle to two favorite beauty brands doing things differently in the Pacific Northwest. First, a trip to the sunny studios of Herbivore Botanicals, where owners Julia Willis and Alex Kummerow share how running a do-it-yourself "science lab" is pretty much the best job ever. Next up is a visit to the Elysian Brewery, where we talk with Duffy's Brew owners Nicolette and Sean about the magical haircare benefits of their line's not-so-secret star ingredient. Photography by Robin Stein



A natural apothecary line operated by Julia Willis and Alex Kummerow, Herbivore Botanicals' ingredients run the gamut from Japanese Bamboo Charcoal to Brazilian gemstones. We talked with the couple about being accidental soap makers, drawing inspiration from scent, and their ideal Seattle day.   


How do you describe Herbivore Botanicals?
Julia: Herbivore Botanicals is kind of my dream come true. Its all about bringing together my favorite things: creating amazing natural scents, spa-like experiences and pretty designs. I love my job.

Alex: I couldn’t be happier. I love how everything is still done in-house. It is so rewarding creating a product from the ground floor. The initial ideas, the formulations, packaging and design, seeing the label printed for the first time, combining design and product to make something that people know as Herbivore Botanicals… I love seeing people love our product. 


How did this all start for you?
Julia: It really just came together out of nowhere, definitely not planned. In 2011, Alex, who is now my husband, and the other half of Herbivore Botanicals, bought me a soap-making kit for fun. Once I started, I became totally obsessed and knew that I had come upon something important. My friends and family were totally confused by why I was spending all my time doing this! I had never really made anything before and was definitely not a crafty person but once I started I knew it was what I needed to do. So, I pretty much followed my gut feeling
 and started this business. Alex and I now create and design everything together. We are our own formulators and graphic designers.


What inspires your products? 
Julia: For me, new product inspiration usually starts with a scent. Since all of the scents that we work with are plant based and natural I then look into the the properties of that plant, what it is traditionally used for from a therapeutic healing perspective. Then, I start blending and thinking about what other ingredients it would work well with, and what the purpose of the product will be. For example, we are working on a new body oil and our first full blown perfume right now, so I am very much in a world of scent experimentation. Visual images, color and words come next and we like to keep them simple and directly related to the scent of the product and the feeling that it evokes.



Tell us more about where you work. 
Alex: We love our workspace. The building is a tri-level building from 1900 that was used to house the horses that pulled carriages for the Bon Marche back in the day. Sadly, no more horses live here, but it is a great building filled with a handful of artists and creative businesses. 


Any new-to-you ingredients you've been experimenting with? 
Julia: I order samples of new ingredients to test out weekly and am kind of the mad scientist / mixologist around here. My current favorite ingredient is probably Tourmaline gemstone powder. This powder is amazing. It is a pure gemstone powder from Brazil that naturally brightens and refines the skin. You can find it in two of our newest facial masks: Brighten and Activate. My other current favorite is Jasmine Sambac essential oil, it can be found in our Egyptian Jasmine Luminous Body Oil and most likely a few new products that will be coming out for Spring 2015. 


Why Seattle? 
Julia: I am from here, actually. I grew up in Snohomish, a small town outside
 of Seattle. I tried moving away from Seattle a few years ago but missed it too much and came right back! I love Seattle: I think we want people thinking its all doom and gloom here so we can keep it all to ourselves.

Alex: I love the rain. Well, I loved the rain back when I moved to Seattle from a very arid climate. There is something about the Pacific Northwest that I have always found enchanting. It has an almost dreamlike, surreal vibe. The foggy mountains, the misty nights, the perfect summers...


What are some of your favorite things that are happening in the city right now?
Alex: I think maybe the best way to answer this question would be to describe
 my perfect day off. Julia and I sleep in a bit. We wake up and walk to local coffee shop Vivace for a espresso and delicious pastries. We walk a block or two over to Volunteer Park and relax in the grass amongst other Capitol Hill patrons looking to escape the hustle. Next, brunch at our favorite vegetarian restaurant Cafe Flora before heading to a trunk show at Glasswing at Melrose Market. Maybe a little siesta before heading to one of our favorite bars Montana for a Moscow Mule made with Rachel’s local ginger beer. Grab a bite at In the Bowl vegan thai restaurant and set off to see our friend Garrett Vance’s band Night Cadet at some venue on Capitol Hill. To cap it off, we would go to Pony to dance until closing to the tracks our employee/ favorite DJ kkost (Kyle Kostrzewa) would be spinning. 

Shop Herbivore Botanicals in UO Beauty

***

Duffy's



There is an old wives' tale that goes something like: put beer in your hair and the malt, barley and hops will make it shinier and healthier than ever before. Duffy's products puts a modern spin on it, using beer from Seattle's Elysian Brewery to make shampoo and conditioner. 

Why Seattle? What was it that drew you to the city / what has kept you there?
Both of us were drawn to Seattle because of its music culture. The beauty here sucks you in too… every time we fly somewhere else it looks lackluster compared to the breathtaking views and lush green landscapes we’re used to. We’re also huge foodies and severe coffee addicts and there is no shortage of either here. As far as starting/running a business, we’ve grown to love how much Seattle fosters those with an entrepreneurial mindset. We began selling Duffy’s at local farmers’ markets in Ballard & Fremont…not many cities have those kinds of grass roots venues so readily available.


Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in Seattle right now?
We just checked out the Georgetown Carnival last weekend. So many cool things happening in that neighborhood right now! It reminds us of the way Ballard was before it exploded. We had some of the best Mexican food in the city at Fonda La Catrina in Georgetown. It was amazing. 


How do you describe Duffy's?
It gives people a unique alternative to spice up their grooming routine. We’ve revived this age-old wives tale into a fun and sexy product line that has a little more personality and lot more performance than your average shampoo/conditioner.


Tell me more about the Duffy's backstory: what exactly is the old wives' tale about beer and hair?
Back in the 60s and 70s women used to pour straight beer on their hair to add volume and shine. This works great as a short-term solution for dull, drab hair…but we wanted to expand on that. With Duffy’s, we amplify all the benefits beer has for hair while still maintaining that salon quality. We also process out the majority of the alcohol so that your good results don’t end in a dry, pungent mess days later.


Tell us more about how the Elysian Brewery got involved?
We approached several big players in the Seattle brewing scene to gauge who would be interested in working with us. Elysian was enthusiastic from the get-go. They aren’t afraid to get involved in something unique and they’ve been nothing but supportive since day one. Plus their craft brews are complex and delicious! 


What's your go-to brew (for drinking, not hair-washing)?
We're both really excited about the cider scene happening right now. 2 Town’s BrightCider (out of Corvallis, OR) and Seattle Cider Company’s Dry Hard Cider are two of our favorites.  


What's next?
We’re in the R&D stage right now on a beer-based beard wash/conditioner as well as some hops infused styling products. 

Shop Duffy's in UO Beauty

UO Beauty: Rosy Outlook


We've fallen down the rabbit hole of all things rose-based lately, because with this hot, humid weather, we need all the soothing skin care products that we can get our hands on. Read on for some of our favorite products and to learn all about the magical ways roses can make your skin (and life) a little bit better.



1. Anti-inflammatory: Rose oils are actually very anti-inflammatory, which means that all those rose products you're buying for your face actually help soothe any patches of redness you may have. For example, rose water is an easy, natural way to soothe and soften skin. Using rose water and rose toner is better than using alcohol-based toners because it's not as harsh on the skin and isn't drying. (See? Magic!)

2. Aromatherapy: A rose-infused bath will not only moisturize your skin, but it'll also relax you due to the therapeutic qualities of rose oil. One of our favorite bath soaks currently is this all-natural milk bath from Lola's Apothecary. One of the reasons we love this one so much is because of how goooood it makes us feel after a long, hot day at the beach. Plus, you can totally get romantic with yourself and throw some real rose petals in the tub along with it to make yourself feel extremely elegant and spoiled.



3. Moisturizing: Roses have natural oils in them that moisturize the skin, so any kind of rose-based moisturizer is going to be especially good. One of our favorite moisturizing products that isn't a lotion is the Jurlique Rosewater Mist. It's easy to throw in a purse and spray anywhere, and it's also ridiculously moisturizing. It's our secret weapon for this heat, because we can moisturize without having to completely grease up our already greasy faces with lotion.

4. Scent: Whatever, we love the smell of roses, even if the scent is a little reminiscent of Senior Prom 2003. The nice thing about a lot of rose-based products is that they smell that good naturally, so you can smell delightful without worrying what kind of artificial scents you're rubbing all over your precious skin.



Shop Rosy Outlook

Studio Visit: Goldies and Meow Meow Tweet


With our vast beauty selection continuously expanding, we wanted to take the time to focus on some of the local beauty vendors and companies that are always working hard on making small-batch products with locally sourced and organic ingredients. This week, a few days ahead of their launches at the new UO Herald Square location, we shine a spotlight on two natural beauty brands from Brooklyn, NY, that we can't stop talking about: Goldies and Meow Meow Tweet. We spoke to Sarah Trogdon from Goldies and Tara Pelletier from Meow Meow Tweet to find out a little bit more about each company. Katie

GOLDIES



Hey Sarah! Tell us a little bit about how Goldies came to be.
I come from a family who was always growing a lot of stuff. My parents are hippies, so I had that background already; I was always gardening. I used to work at Robertas, and when we put in the rooftop gardens I finally had a garden space in New York. I started experimenting with all the herbs by making soaps, and I was really good at it. I'd come wait tables at night with a suitcase full of my products and people just kept requesting more and more. With all my connections from over the years, I eventually started selling in my friends' shops and people from all over ended up just finding me that way. [laughs] And the brand just keeps growing.

When did you realize this could be a full-time business?
I do all the products for the Wythe Hotel which was a big move for the business. That happened right at the end of my year of being a stay-at-home mom, when I had to make a decision about what I was going to do, job-wise. I thought I'd go for it and see if I could make this something to support me and my family. That happened all at the same time and it pushed me to create products that weren't just hippie, but were products that everyone all over the world could enjoy. And I did it!





Where do you find the ingredients you use? Do you grow it all?
It's mostly stuff I have to order. Most of what I grow is for experimenting or testing stuff out within our little family and then I have to source stuff in larger amounts, because I need a lot of it. I make sure it's all sustainable and organic. I try to source everything as close as I can, but a lot of the oils come from other countries.

Do you have a product that's a best-seller?
Yes! Well, the thing that Urban carries the most of is the Vinegar Hair Rinse which is a super, super herbalist, simple recipe. Also, the Vetiver Dream Cream is one that sells well.







How do you decide what you want to start working on next?
Seasons. And necessity and desire. Thinking of things that I'd like to have in my own life. That's basically how the brand got started. The things I would spend money on were wine, cheese and beauty products. [laughs] We sit there and think about how we would make things really pure and unique. Then we do! Like right now we're working on a beachy hair spray that has salt in it but also lightens your hair. We've been testing that one out the past few days on the beach near our studio in Rockaway.

Is there a scent or ingredient you use the most?
We use vetiver a lot, which has really made it onto the scene.





Where do you see the brand going in the next few years?
Hopefully doing more hotels and spas. We're working on a travel kit that will be coming out really soon. And a beach kit, with a tanning oil, hair lightener. Maybe makeup, because I think it's really fun. Just bigger, bigger, bigger. [laughs]






Hey Tara! Tell us a little bit about Meow Meow Tweet.
Jeff [Kurosaki] and I have been doing Meow Meow Tweet for the past five years, but we've been doing Meow Meow Tweet without supplementary jobs for the past two years. It started off because six or seven years ago, my grandma gave me a bar of handmade soap in my stocking from one of her friend's farms, and we were like, "Whoa, this is amazing!" We're artists and always thinking about how we can make things and we were really into urban homesteading, so we were like, "What if we made soap and it supported our performance art?" [laughs] Because of course performance art doesn't support you. So we bought a book on like, Amazon about making soap and it was successful. [laughs]

And that's how Meow Meow Tweet was born.
Yeah, I don't know what would have happened if it wasn't successful. [laughs] We were like, "Whoa, this is awesome!" and also like, "Whoa, this is a ton of soap!" so we started giving it away and people kept telling us we had to sell it. We applied to the Renegade Craft Fair without being an actual business yet, so we went back and forth on the name because we needed one. We have two cats and a bird, so that's where Meow Meow Tweet came from.





What happened after Renegade?
We were accepted for some reason. [laughs] We made so much soap and came up with all the packaging. We don't do any markets anymore, though, except for the Vegan Shop-Up. It's the only vegan open-air market.

What ingredients do you use the most in your products?
When we started, we said we wanted as many ingredients as possible to be certified organic, for everything to be natural and for everything to be understandable to a person who is not in the know. Like if you go to a fancy restaurant and you read the menu and you're like, "I don't know what any of this stuff is." We didn't want our ingredients to be like that. [laughs] Things that everyone understands but also work really well together. Most of the oils we use are from the U.S. and Mexico and then our butters are from South Africa. We definitely source so everything is from certified organic farms, and all of our glass is manufactured in the U.S.





Do you guys have a best-selling product?
Our Deodorant Cream. It's all natural. This was one of the recipes that took the longest to formulate. When I was done with it, I was like, "Jeff, you need to make a drawing that represents how long it took to make." So he drew a snake making a slam dunk. [laughs] If you look at the ingredients, you can understand it all. You just apply it with your fingers and it's highly effective.

Do you have a favorite thing to make?
Well, I formulate all the recipes and Jeff does all the drawings and is in charge of operations. My favorite thing to do is probably come up with new recipes. I always like making the newest thing because it's the thing I've made the least. [laughs] Right now I love making our newest face cleanser.

What are your plans for the future?
To get bigger, but to do it in a way that we can handle and keep the quality of everything that we make. We know we can only grow as much as we can afford but, you know, world domination. [laughs]





UO Music: Nguzunguzu


NGUZUNGUZU is Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda, DJ duo, producers and M.I.A. collaborators who live in Los Angeles. The music they mix and make is eclectic, esoteric and energetic or "the fusion of contemporary top 40 R&B and the direct-source international sounds of Latin America, the West Indies and Africa—which, in turn, had been both refracted in and inspired by that top 40 R&B in the first place," to quote Pitchfork's description of their latest mix, "The Perfect Lullaby." Think R. Kelly crossed with traditional African Zouk music and you'll get the idea. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it's pronounced EN-GOO-ZOO EN-GOO-ZOO.

Check out the "2014 Spring Mix" they made exclusively for UO and make sure to read their full interview here.

UO Beauty: Obsessed with Oils


Oils. Everyone's talking about them. For your skin, your hair, your body...in your oatmeal. Don't know your argan from your marula? Robin Black of Beauty is Boring breaks it down for us, so you can reap the beauty benefits of the luscious stuff. Read the full feature here.

First Person: Karaoke


Karaoke isn't just standing in a room and singing a song
it's a performance, a live show, a party and, yes, it's even a form of art. Whether you're renting out a room at your local karaoke hotspot, singing in front of 35 strangers, or busting out your PlayStation at two in the morning for a round of SingStar, k
araoke is one of our top party pastimes. 

What's better than
 getting together with your friends to sing your favorite songs and failing miserably while trying to remember the choreography to "Single Ladies"? 
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.




For those of you too shy to try, I promise you won't regret it. 
When it comes to karaoke, there are no regrets—only proof that you're way more fun than you thought you were. 

We asked some friends and karaoke aficionados for their favorite places to perform, their go-to songs and their ultimate karaoke moments. Trust us, you won't want to miss a thing. —Alex & Ally 



Who: Charli XCX / Musician / London
Karaoke Song: "Kiss" or "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Prince
Karaoke Spot: New York. It's always better there and people take it really seriously, which is always funny. I actually went 'round one of my fans house recently to have a karaoke party with them and all of their friends. It was kind of crazy... 
Charli XCX's new album SuperLove is out now. 

Who: Tyler Glenn / Singer in Neon Trees / Provo, Utah 
Karaoke Song: "White Wedding" by Billy Idol. Belting the "start again" part is a real treat. 
Karaoke Spot: I'm very picky, but mostly I like to do it at stuffy industry parties or creepy sports bars. 

Who: Olivia Bee / Photographer / Brooklyn
Karaoke SongSomething by Madonna! Or the "Ooh You Touched My Tralala" song.
Karaoke SpotA friend's basement.

Who: JC Coccoli / Comedian / Los Angeles
Karaoke SongSalt-N-Peppa's "Shoop"
Karaoke SpotKorea Town. (Or a rich person's house. Those are always pretty epic.)

Who: Katie McCurdy / Photographer / NYC 
Karaoke Song: Cheap Trick "I Want You to Want Me" 
Karaoke Spot: Sing Sing or 59 Canal, NYC. 
Recently at a karaoke bar in the Poconos, PA, I was reprimanded by a security guard because my "dance routine" was a "safety hazard." 


Who: Jeremy Burke / Founder of Loud Village / Los Angeles
Karaoke Song"When You Were Young" by The Killers and also "Time To Pretend" by MGMT when I'm with my buddy, Ryan.
Karaoke SpotYE RUSTIC INN! We go every Tuesday after my comedy show at Best Fish Taco (it's right down the street). That or some good ol' Korean Karaoke in KTown.

Who: Miles Garber / Musician & Model / L.A. & NYC
Karaoke Song: "With Arms Wide Open" by Creed
Karaoke Spot: Wherever my friends and I stumble upon.

Who: Bobby Whigham / Photographer / Philadelphia
Karaoke Song: Salt-N-Peppa and any '90s love ballad 
Karaoke SpotRed Lounge in South Philly. It's a semi-hidden gem that is just starting to get some exposure. The amount of space you have to perform and hold the audience in the palm of your hand here is epic.



Who: Jac Vanek / Boss Lady at JAC VANEK (Shop at UO) / Los Angeles
Karaoke Song: Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Karaoke SpotEither a shitty dive in Korea Town or for embarrassing novelty, Saddle Ranch.

Who: Joe Kusy / Guitarist and Vocalist for Far-Out Fangtooth / Philadelphia
Karaoke Song: "Give Me Just A Little More Time" by The Chairmen of the Board, although I really want to get wasted and do "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra.
Karaoke Spot: It's a tie between Ray's Happy Birthday Bar and the Adobe Cafe.



Obsessions: Sara M. Lyons

Sara M. Lyons is one of our favorite illustrators on the 'net, and lucky for us she sells her "Creepy Cute" nail decals online right here at Urban Outfitters. We wanted to find out a little bit more about this self-proclaimed "professional weirdo," so we asked her about her illustrations, her favorite nail inspo, and whether or not she hates Tumblr.
Interview by Katie Gregory

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Sara M. Lyons and I'm an artist and illustrator from Southern California. I just moved back to Orange County after almost ten years in Long Beach, and I'm now enjoying living in the shadow of Disneyland. I make stuff inspired by punk rock, comics, cartoons, pop culture, and what I think of as my version of the American teen girl experience. I like to call myself a professional weirdo, because so much of what I create is informed by having been a weird kid.

What is your favorite thing you've ever drawn?
Oh man. I'm really proud of "Fast Cars, Cheap Thrills," the Lindsay Lohan piece I did for Von Zos, and I love my Creepy Cruisers flash. But more than my finished pieces, I think I tend to like the little doodles and things I do in my sketchbook, silly stuff that often turns into the motifs and designs I use for things like my nail decals and digital drawings.



Your "Whatever, Forever" hands have been reblogged all over the place. Overall, has Tumblr been a positive outlet for you, or is it frustrating due to the number of times you may not be credited?
I have a love-hate relationship with Tumblr, and I think any artist that uses the site would agree. I think it's a great tool for artists as far as getting your work out there, but I do think there can be a big disconnect for a lot of the site's users -- people just click reblog and feel that they now have some kind of ownership over what they're posting. Tumblr is an awesome resource for inspiration, but it's frustrating to see it being used as a stock images library. I think that people forget there's an artist on the other end of everything they're reblogging. I'd like to see the site be more proactive about educating its users about intellectual property, but at the end of the day, I'm just glad my work is reaching so many people.

Who are some illustrators that you're a fan of?
Dan DeCarlo is probably my biggest influence -- I grew up on Betty and Veronica, so there's a lot of DeCarlo in my work. I love Edward Gorey for the creepiness factor, as well as texture. I love his drawings of mysterious women in furs. Right now I'm also really into the cool, girly work of ladies like Jen Oaks, Mel Stringer and Tuesday Bassen, and I have to give shoutouts to my talented artist friends Jennie Cotterill and Nancy Chiu.

We're currently selling your "Creepy Cute" nail decals. Do you have plans to produce more sets?
I just came out with a new set of designs called "Sweet & Creepy" in my Etsy shop, which I like to think of as the sister to my "Cute & Sleazy" sets. They're just a mix of 60 different designs with no real theme. I think I'll always keep doing new sets with designs that have no rhyme or reason, but I also have some themed packs in mind for 2014 -- some fairy tale motifs and more alphabet sets are in the works. I also just started producing all-over nail prints of designs like pizza and UFOs, so I'll definitely be experimenting more with those.



When you're doing your own nails, what do you like to get done? Do you have any nail inspo you'd like to share?
I have acrylics that I keep filed pointy and I'm obsessed with them. I like my shit to be over the top -- I love loading on a bunch of 3D nail art, but all the charms and stones snag my sweaters during the colder months, so right now I'm really into holographic glitter. Some of my very favorite Instagram nail artists are @heynicenails, @thisisvenice, and @astrowifey. I make my artist boyfriend JOSHR do my nails for me sometimes too! (He likes it.) (Really.)

Do you have any secret nail tips you'd like to share with us? Any amazing under-the-radar Etsy nail shops?
I get almost all of my nail supplies from local swap meets and discount stores, but Pepper Lonely's "nail art deco" section on Etsy is the closest online approximation to the nail art booth at the Anaheim Indoor Swap Meet.

We love your style. What are you constantly on the lookout for when you're shopping?
I kind of dress like a cartoon -- I like bold prints and a limited color palette, so I gravitate towards stuff that's a little outrageous but easy to wear. I'm always looking for sweaters and tees with weird graphics or patterns, things that I can mix in with some basic staples and my motorcycle boots or Converse. I also have a weakness for quirky accessories -- novelty sunglasses, printed tights, patterned socks, silly jewelry... Oh god, just GIVE IT TO ME. I feel like the older I get the more I have a sense of humor about clothes.

Where can we find you online?
Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr!

Obsessions: Renegade Craft Fair


Ah! It’s freezing in New York (Literally, the highs have been middling in the '30s), but that didn’t stop tons of makers from hauling their cute wares to the Renegade Craft Fair this past weekend. The second annual winter fair was held at Skylight One Hanson, a beautiful venue in Downtown Brooklyn that used to be the Old Bank of Williamsburg, and now looks like a lovely, gutted Gringotts. Of course, Renegade’s winter installment is for buying gifts—whether you do traditional winter holidays or secular Secret Santa with your gal pals. Here’s what some of the Renegade makers had to say about gift-givin’ and gift-gettin’.
Interviews by Maitri Mehta

CARU SKINCARE
Who: Dominique Caron
What: Caru Skincare, a line of eco-friendly, beautifully packaged natural skincare.
Years at Renegade: This is her first! Dominique only started selling in March of this year. Before that, she was just making soaps for friends and family. Dominique makes all her skincare treasures in Astoria, and she taught herself (damn!) by taking classes on herbology and aromatherapy. 



Favorite product:The French Green Clay Soap. It’s the first soap I made and it’s still my favorite.”
Best stuff to gift: “Soaps--especially because you can plant the packaging and wildflowers will grow from them!”
What you're gifting this year: “I’m making custom skincare products for all my friends.” 

CALYER CERAMICS
Who: Michelle Smith McLaughlin
What: Sweet ceramic spoons, catch-all dishes and more in soft colors. Handmade in Brooklyn at Choplet.
Years at Renegade: This is Michelle’s first year (she and her other crafty friends had a booth-decoration-making party, with wine of course).



Best stuff to gift: “I like the jewelry dishes as gifts. They’re pretty little things that are also functional.”
Best or worst gift you’ve ever gotten: “My parents bought me a plane ticket to the south of France for an art intensive, where I got to draw, paint, and travel to so many wonderful museums.”

AHEIRLOOM
Who: Amy Stricker Mowat and her husband 
What: Digitally produced, geographically accurate state and country cutting boards. They also make cute ornaments and other kitchen miscellanea for the holidays.



Most popular item people buy as gifts:The Michigan cutting board. People really appreciate that it includes both parts of Michigan.”
Best/worst gift you’ve ever received: “Once, my husband gave me one single earring--on purpose. They were sold individually, so he thought they were supposed to be worn that way.”
Gifts you're giving this year: “I like to gift from Etsy, usually pretty housewares, like cloth napkins.”


GREENWICH LETTER PRESS
Who: Beth and her sister Amy who come from a long line of letterpressers. In fact, they are third-generation printers.
What: Greenwich Letterpress’ home is their brick and mortar shop in the West Village. They’ve been there for eight years, selling their hilarious and beautifully illustrated stationery and greeting cards.



Best gifts to give:
“Everyone loves the enamel pins. They’re affordable, and we love pop culture ephemera.”
Best/worst gift you’ve ever received: My ex-boyfriend gave me an iPhone…which I kept. But I was really excited to get rid of it when I upgraded. It had bad juju.”

Renegade is on the road! Next stop: Austin, TX on November 30 - Dec 1. If you’re in ATX and planning to go to buy some gifts, you can plan your visit here.

Obsessions: The Death of Pop

English band Death of Pop have cultivated a perfectly shoegaze sound with their swirling guitars and ethereal vocals that call to mind veterans of the genre like Chapterhouse and Ride. Though the group has yet to release a full album, their Bandcamp page is littered with jangly pop earworms like "Sun In My Eyes" and "What A Day." Be sure to keep your eye on these indie Brits, as their underrated singles keep getting dreamier. Hazel

Obsessions: Jessica DeCarlo

Jessica DeCarlo first started selling her handmade jewelry at the age of 16, participating in local fairs in New Jersey. Since her youth, Jessica has built her craft both locally and internationally. She has gone from studying with goldsmiths in Florence, Italy, to working with talented designers in Philadelphia and Vermont, learning the ins and out of creating and making a business out of jewelry along the way. 




Today Jessica rests her head in Brooklyn, New York and works out of her studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn. She finds inspiration in mother nature and old objects, making her a big fan of everything antique and vintage. Jessica DeCarlo's collection is available online now and offers a variety of geometric jewelry — including crescent moon-shaped necklaces and a mix of crystals (both real and metallic) — that even Stevie Nicks would find herself charmed by.


Our obsession with Jessica is at a level ten, with her gems and metalwork making us wonder what is more important in the long run: An amazing new piece of jewelry or this month's rent?  Since we're fortunate enough to be carrying her latest collection, we decided to reach out to Jessica and find out what she is obsessed with. Below are her big top five (that we can't wait to check out!). —Ally

"S'more Bakery has the most amazing treats. They are handmade, handcrafted s'mores! My favorites are The S’morgasm and The Choco."

"Have you ever seen Antiques Roadshow? I'm obsessed. People's reactions when they find out what they thought was junk in their garage is worth $100k is nothing less than amazing."

"I use Acqua Di Rose from Santa Maria Novella every single day. It's an ancient recipe made in the Florentine Hills. I found it while I was studying in Florence over 10 years ago, it's magic and has been part of my life ever since!"

"Blithe and Bonny hand-crafted beeswax candles are the best; they are subtle and smell delicious. I burn them every day at home, in the studio, and in our shop. All natural, all handmade."

"All of the vintage and estate jewelry from my pals over at Estate Jewels by George and Raf. They are the most amazing duo, with the best taste and curation of special antique jewels."