Posts filed under Fancy That

Fancy That: If & When Workshop

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Last month, Kicheko Goods partnered with If & When Workshop to bring a jewelry and household goods tent to DC Meet Market. This was our first experience combining forces and sharing a booth. While the foot traffic was slow, we had a blast. Spending nearly 8 hours with a someone underneath a tent really helps the getting to know you process. After the market, I wanted to know more about Bekah's creations that bring quirk and joy to her customers' homes, including mine. You best believe I went home with her custom designed and screen-printed dish towels.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I am Bekah and I do what I want. (Ha!) But seriously... My name is Bekah Kitterman. I was raised in the great mitten state of Michigan on the second knuckle of the pinkie finger. Go ahead. Look at the back of your left hand and see where I grew up. I now call Washington DC home and happily reside with my husband Ian in our apartment-turned-creativity-central. I am an artist, maker, designer, and glue-gun-for-hire. I'm currently the one woman show behind If + When Workshop which specializes in making hand drawn and hand printed goods aimed at bringing some joy and levity into the world.

Since joining Etsy, what has been the response to If & When Workshop and your products? 

The response has been greatly positive. Like many small businesses I started by selling things to friends, and then friends of friends, and eventually I started getting orders from people I didn't know in further flung places. That has been the most exciting part of being part of a larger marketplace like Etsy. Knowing that my goofy jokes and my artwork live in someone's home is fun and rewarding. It has been a steep learning curve though, and I'm still learning how to leverage all of the "likes" and positive feedback into tangible sales.

What is your background and how are you choosing to incorporate that in If & When Workshop?

I've always been a creative person. I'm the child of a scientist and a musician who are both teachers, so I was handed some awesome tools for creativity very early on and have been nurtured to think outside the box from the get go. In undergrad i went to a liberal arts college, and majored in studio art with a sculpture emphasis. I absolutely use my education in my everyday work and am super grateful to do so! I usually choose to start with a manually drawn image and eventually bring it into a digital format to tweak it and perfect it. When screen printing I get to go back to manual work using photosensitive chemicals to create designs on silk screens, and hand pulling the ink of every single image of the items I make. I love the back and forth between technology and raw hand work, as well as the interplay of geometry, chemistry, and design in my daily experiments to get all the details of chemicals and color just right.

What is your process for vetting your ideas for plays on words? (i.e. guffaw versus chuckle) 

Haha! I may have to make guffaw vs. chuckle my new litmus test! I keep a large amount of idea journals, and will often come back to old ideas and rework them a few times before I decide if they are 'cooked' enough to send to some trusted friends for feedback. Depending on the feedback from my first round of sharing through texts and emails, I'll often release the potential design to my personal social networks for feedback. I then decide if it has wide enough appeal to pursue. Did my mom like it? Did my weirdo friend from art school like it? Did my husband's attorney friends like it? If there's a good intersection of people I usually see that as a good sign. That sounds a lot more linear written out here than it really is! In reality it is a lot of random sharing and gaging the reaction mixed with how badly I want to make something.

Can people contribute ideas for a tea towel or do a custom run of hand towels? 

Yes! Yes! I love a good suggestion! I get a kick out of the suggestions of others and have followed some through to great results. It is not uncommon for me to get messages from friends and family about what I should print next. I don't use all the ideas, but sharing jokes and amusing ideas keeps life light and keeps the gears in my brain turning. I do take custom run requests on occasion, and am happy to talk (or email!) through ideas clients have. Seeing people enjoy the things I make brings me great satisfaction, and I enjoy the challenge of interpreting an idea into a tangible object.

What is the best part of what you do? What is the most challenging part? 

The best part of what I do is sharing it with people. I enjoy handing someone something that makes them smile, laugh, or just feel special... whether that is a physical item or something more abstract like compliments and jokes. I've been continually grateful that I've been able to find work using my love of creating things that feel very personal to me, and I think that is part of why people respond in genuinely positive ways to my work. The most challenging part is hands down the learning curve. I'm new at trying to make sense of business, and after years of working in the non-profit sector I still am not overly motivated by money (which.... is kind of a problem if you are trying to run a business). Getting over that mental block of doing something for 'love' and still expecting to get paid for your hard work has been difficult but continues to be essential.

Any advice for anyone who might be thinking of starting a business? 

I am extremely timid when it comes to taking risks, so the advice I needed was to "get over your hang ups and take the leap." The name of my company is "If + When" because I knew that only I could answer those "Ifs" and "whens" that came up when looking at my dreams, and I need to choose everyday to make my answer "Here" and "Now." Taking that leap of faith has been difficult in many different ways, but I continue to find it rewarding, exciting, and life giving.

If & When Workshop is partnering up with Bittersweet Collective Co-work Studio on Sunday, July 20 for a block printing beach towel workshop. Handprinting geometric designs on Turkish flat woven beach towels is the perfect way to spruce up your upcoming beach trip as the days of summer roll on. The workshop is nearly sold out. Check out

Eventbrite to purchase tickets for $45. Thanks Bekah for sharing about who you are and what you do. 

Travels: Pura Vida Vintage

During the #downsouthtour earlier this month, Tiffany and I stumbled upon this vibrant barn boutique in Nashville called Pura Vida Vintage. Located on Music Row and with an online store, PVV launched a soft opening in preparation for its grand reopening on August 20. A convergence of vintage passion meets bespoke tailoring, PVV is the Music Row partnership of Krystle Ochsner Ramos and Aaron McGill. A singer in the music industry for 15 years with a decade of corporate experience, Krystle is the owner of PVV and has combined forces with Aaron McGill of Only One Tailoring.

Believing that no one should wear sloppy vintage, PVV offers onsite tailoring, customizing the clothing to customers' body types and measurements. Enamored with the colorful racks full of decades of styles in shoes, tops, dresses and more, I purchased a floor-length B&W Polka Dot Sundress and a Watercolor Sundress among other pieces. Having the opportunity to shoot with them in the right settings, I was also fortunate enough to learn more about PVV's vision and unique fingerprint on the Nashville fashion scene from a recent conversation with Krystle.

PVV combines tailoring with vintage. Explain a bit more and how you feel this is a unique offering in Nashville. 

Since vintage clothing is not only one of a kind, but generally cut very differently than clothes made today, offering onsite alterations is kind of a no brainer! I was fortunate enough to meet Aaron, who works with many stylists and country music artists, so he's incredibly talented. There are no other vintage clothiers in Nashville that offer the service onsite with a full time alterations specialist.

What was PVV before the merge?

I began selling vintage online about a year ago and decided to open a brick and mortar store shortly thereafter in March. Only One Tailoring was started by Aaron's mother over a decade ago. He has since taken over the business and has been in the Music Row location for three years. Aaron had been wanting to open a vintage showcase in his location but didn't want to compete with me. He approached me a few months ago and we decided to move the store to his location and work together to bring both of our businesses more visibility and revenue.

How do you feel your location on Music Row sets you apart from other vintage shops?

Being the only vintage clothing store on Music Row is a definite advantage, simply because of the location in relation to the music industry and tourist volume. Being in the red barn building is also interesting because before it was a barn, it was a house dating back to the 1880s. My shop is part of the original house...talk about vintage! I try to make it feel like an upscale boutique rather than a hippie head or costume shop.

Describe your personal style.

Well, because I'm a singer and am very comfortable onstage, I don't mind wearing stuff that's a little crazy or avant garde, like an 80s futuristic looking jumpsuit with patent leather booties. Okay, that's my alter ego. My daytime style is boho comfort. I love 70s maxi dresses, lace, and hats. My parents were hippies so I guess that explains it.

What is your favorite piece in your store?

An early 60's Travilla White Sunburst Pleated Gown (Travilla was Marilyn Monroe's main designer). This dress is so meticulously made, it's crazy. Also, a black sheer yoke LBD (little black dress) from the 50s with a satin skirt. It's just incredibly tailored and fits me to a "t."

Where do you source the vintage pieces?

I do a lot of thrifting in more rural stores; go on out of town shopping excursions with my mom in Eastern, WA and Tempe, AZ; as well as online auctions and estate sales. I also do some consignment with a few people who have an excellent eye for vintage. They are like buyers for me really!

If you could style any musician or celebrity, who would it be?

Oh my, this is difficult. I would love to style Hayden Panettiere, simply because she's adorable and so tiny, she would actually fit into every gorgeous piece I have!

What is your favorite thing about owning PVV? 

The freedom...win or lose, I call the shots! I am okay with making mistakes and learning from them.

Pure Vida Vintage B&W Polka Dot Sundress

"Local or visiting Nashville?"Plan your visit @ 19 Music Square West. See site for hours. "Shop Online" @ puravidavintage.com/shopvintageonline"Connect" @ Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Viva la vintage friends!

Kicheko Lookbook: Midsummer's Night Reign

Kicheko Su | Fa Look Book - Fields

Today, Kicheko launches its late summer|early fall lookbook called "Midsummer's Night Reign." The first production of its kind; Kicheko, meaning "smile or laughter" in Swahili, is a cause-based brand that produces and promotes social goods.

Proceeds from sales go towards orphan care and continuing education in eastern Congo. Essentially, every pair of earrings helps a child eat and go to school. View the new collection here.

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My desire with Kicheko is to bridge stories of hope centered around children who have been orphaned by the conflict and people who would like to engage and do good. Providing stability in the form of food and continuing education are central to holistically encouraging these kids to dream, hope, and work hard towards building up their communities and together, their country.

Why Eastern Congo? Heart Relationship really. It is a privilege to be part of 57 gifted and beautiful children's lives in the eastern Congo through a relationship formed three years ago with a local community and the community's leader, Jeremiah. Through this relationship, I've met 57 children, 25 staff, and a resilient community of people around them. I don't take these relationships for granted and Kicheko is one way I know how to bridge my creativity with a deep need.

Kicheko Su | Fa Lookbook - Staircase

About the Shoot Erica and I scouted out a location that is currently caught between modernization and preservation. Half of the grounds are modern condominiums while the other half retains a 1940's glamour in an overrun and haunted kind of way. The crew arrived around 5am to make sure we captured morning golden hour and we shot for five hours through two looks and numerous earrings and headpiece changes. Exploring the grounds from wild grasses to boarded up buildings and stone statues, the shoot was so much fun. We all got caught up in the beauty of being in such a still and rich place as dawn slowly progressed through the skies. And to think this place is just a stone's throw from the District! The shoot was only a concept in my head a few months ago. To see it through and have awesome artistic women and friends come alongside to help make this a reality just puts warm, grateful fuzzies in my heart.

Visit Kicheko, share this lookbook with others, and if compelled by the product and the mission, order a few pairs. I hope your day has moments of sunburst-belly "kicheko!"

A sincere and special thanks to: Photography: Erica Baker Photography Models: Sarah Newsome & Amanda Lee Make-up: Lacey Elliot