Today’s the day folks! Re:Make 2015 has officially begun! In addition to picking up some serious creativity knowledge from the industry’s best and brightest, today’s also a major day because we get to finally announce the selected recipient of our #IAMCREATIVE Foundation. But spoiler alert: there isn’t just one, there’s FIVE! Because, with so many talented ladies doing such awesome stuff, how could we ever pick just one?!
If you haven’t heard about our #IAMCREATIVE Foundation yet, let us fill you in. Back in June we announced that we’d be offering grants between $2,500 and $15,000 to help kickstart super stellar creative projects by women. We looked for ladies (or girls – you could apply as young as 13) who were starting a business, developing an innovative gadget or app or maybe even doing something great for their community. We received nearly 400 applications, but somehow we and our board of advisors (some of which include: Lauren Conrad, Rebecca Minkoff and the CEO of Crayola) managed to narrow that number down to five stellar candidates who we feel certain are about to do amazing things. Scroll on down to learn all about our fist #IAMCREATIVE winners and what they plan to do with their winnings.
Ashton Masek: Hello + Co
At just 13-year-old Ashton is our youngest winner. She’s the founder of Hello + Co, a company comprised of girls ranging in age from seven to 13 who re-do furniture and create handmade prints and stationery. Ashton, whose Christmas list includes a sander and a drill, plans to use her winnings to combine those things into a line of matching prints and decor: she wants to create custom furniture pieces with custom prints. The two will share a color scheme that’s meant to be cohesive and totally makeover a room.
Q: How do you split your time between school and Hello + Co?
“Sports was a big thing I had to split my time with but now that I’m hurt (Ashton was rocking crutches at Re:Make), that frees up a lot of time. School is from 8AM-5PM — counting homework time — so I have a two-hour window that I usually spend making things, and then the weekends for sure!”
Are there any brands + makers that you look to for inspiration?
Kristin Shearon: Havok Designs
Kristin is the founder of Havok Designs, an online shop that sells custom-made, laser cut wooden jewelry, fashion accessories, art + home decor along with eco-friendly cork wallets, tote bags, and accessories. Kristin’s business has already been up and running for three years, but she wants to broaden her capabilities by upgrading to a larger, more powerful laser cutter that will allow her to create larger wall hangings, cut through more materials and expand her product base.
Q: How did you first get into laser cutting?
“I had just graduated with my graphic design degree and was looking for something to do on my own. My husband dabbles in woodworking as a hobby thing and we decided to purchase a laser engraver. Once we got it I kind of took it over and made it my baby and started designing wood, home decor and jewelry and it took off from there.”
What would you say to people who are interested in learning laser cutting but intimidated by the idea?
“Just try it! If you can design something you can laser cut something. I have no mechanical skills and I work on the machine all the time.”
Ristina Gooden: Sugar Hippo Bakery
Ristina is an Ohio resident who’s finding a way to make baking her professional occupation. With her grant, she’s going to open Sugar Hippo Bakery, which will be a wholesale baking company located in Columbus, OH. Ristina also plans to uses local ingredients to create her sweet treats. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds made at Sugar Hippo Bakery will be used to “give some sugar” to women and children in shelters to help brighten up their day.
Q: What is one recipe you think every baker should know?
“Everyone should have a strong chocolate chip cookie recipe. There should be a go-to – that’s my one thing if someone is coming over I’ll stir it up real quick and throw it in the oven. Everyone likes walking into a house and smelling freshly made cookies. Plus you can always add some vanilla ice-cream!”
What aspect of starting this business are you most excited about?
“I’m super excited about helping and empowering other women. I like to think about this as we’re on a human mission to bring back that human element to women and children in shelters. We want to make sure we’re bringing that to them so they feel special on their special days.”
Jane Li: Walkinthese
When Jane was in high-school, she really wanted to buy a new pair of shoes. Her parents told her she already owned too many, so instead she got creative and painted a pair. After rocking them at school, a small business emerged. Jane is now a student at USC and already has a fully functioning website where she sells her hand-painted shoes. What she wants to do next is open up pop-up studios where people can come and create their own sneakers (think: Color Me Mine for shoes). Jane hopes to eventually open a mobile store or permanent space that will include a community element by allowing local artists to join a consignment program where they would be able to sell their own hand-painted shoes.
Q: What is your favorite pair of shoes that you’ve ever designed?
“My galaxy shoes! My sister always does this, she told me ‘that just looks like paint splatters on your shoes!’ But then I finished and they turned out really nice. I’m wearing them today! I also really liked the ones I made of the San Francisco skyline and a pair I made about Toy Story. Buzz Lightyear is on one foot and Woody’s on the other and on the bottom I wrote Andy so it was like the real thing.”
What supplies would you suggest as a kind of starter kit for people who want to paint shoes?
“I started off really cheap with Dollar Store brushes and fabric markers. I started with fabric markers because it’s easier to draw if you’re not good with brushes yet. Once you get more comfortable you can start mixing colors and customizing more.”
Rabiah Harris: Urban Tech Fashionistas
Rabiah is a teacher at Kelly Miller Middle School in DC where they currently have an after-school program that teaches kids to work with modern technology devices like: Makey Makey, Squishy Circuits and video game design. The program has been wildly successful since it started back in 2013, but Rabiah admits that many of the students involved are male.
There is another teacher who runs a similar course that focuses on fashion but that teacher will soon be leaving the school. Rabiah is planning to combine these two afterschool programs into one tech-minded fashion course called Urban Tech Fashionistas. Students will brainstorm what they would like to create and then be taught technologies that relate to their interests. Rabiah also hopes to pull in experts to talk to the students via Skype and IRL to give feedback on the kids’ designs.
What skills are you planning on teaching in the Urban Tech Fashionista program?
So, the fashionistas will learn 3D modeling and printing, how to use and create with e-textiles and Arduino programming. My hope is that they will continue to push me to introduce new technologies and be empowered to learn some on their own
What aspect of the program are you most excited about?
I am MOST excited about getting the raw materials in my fashionistas hands! We’ve had a couple of sessions already (hoping that we would be chosen) and there is a lot of excitement and new learning happening. I want that to continue daily.
Rabiah was teaching during the big announcement at Re:Make — we hope here students are as proud of her as we are!
All of these ladies will be updating us on their creative journey, so be sure to check the #iamcreative tag to find out how all their various adventures are going!