Nominee - christine sharp-crowe
Indie Emporium, made, weather&noise
Tulsa entrepreneurs are unique in the world. How have your endeavor(s) added value to our community and the future of Tulsa?
My entire business is based on community. I started Indie Emporium with the intent of showcasing handmade artists and makers, giving them a venue to share and sell their products to an audience with an interest in the handmade aesthetic. As the handmade movement was spreading throughout the country with Etsy, Renegade, and other indie shows, I felt like Tulsa needed to be on the map, so I decided to jump in and go for it. As a result, shoppers come together at Indie Emporium each year and shop from numerous local handmade artists. Throughout the year, we work with artists and makers to teach classes, host events like Swap-O-Rama-Rama and the Etsy Craft Party, and lead demos and craft segments on local television. I have partnered with lots of organizations such as Philbrook Museum, Youth Services of Tulsa, Yarn Bomb Tulsa, and others to host events and w orkshops with local and national recognized makers. My work to connect Tulsa’s makers and the people that want to buy from them has resulted in national press (including Martha Stewart’s radio show!), mentions of Tulsa’s handmade community in Faythe Levine’s book “Handmade Nation”, and recently, a nomination in Martha Stewart’s American Made contest for my line of handmade homewares, weather&noise. I am committed, along with other members of our make:Tulsa community, to encourage handmade artists, engage the community by teaching classes, and provide handmade, local and ethically made options for consumers.
If you aren’t failing, you aren’t succeeding. Share with us some of your failures to better understand how you have taken the lessons learned and applied them to support getting to where you are today.
Everything about Indie Emporium and Made has been learned by trial and error. When we first started the event in 2007, we really didn't have any idea what we were doing, but we had a goal of what we wanted the event to be like and we learned along the way. The same goes for made, our retail shops. We opened our downtown location as a pop-up shop with no plans of staying open after our one month, but I cried at the thought about closing so we decided to find a permanent location. After a year, we opened our second location. We like to jump into creative adventures! We’ve had some failures along the way, but that’s just part of the process, and we’ve learned from each and every project, event, or venture, successful or not. We have learned from many folks in the maker movement and the best piece of advice we’ve heard is to tell your story. The American made movement is rooted in the idea that consumers want to connect with makers, growers, + designers that are creating the products that become tangible pieces of their daily lives. The best way to find that connection is to share your story. So what is my story? Christine’s journey as a maker began at the hem of her grandmother’s apron. In childhood, making was synonymous with quality time. From those lessons and cherished moments, Christine has built a career and lifestyle out of blending modern life with traditional craftsmanship and ideals. weather&noise was born in 2007 while Christine was pursuing her degree in Interior Architecture & Design. She took a printmaking elective and discovered a passion for textiles and the process of silkscreening. She knew immediately that she wanted to build her livelihood around creating well made, designer home goods, blending her educational background in interior design and her newfound love of printmaking. The weather&noise line includes linen tea towels and kitchen textiles, as well as artwork, bookmarks, + other functional objects. weather&noise tea towels are designed and made with the intent to foster the American tradition of gathering in the kitchen. These moments, whether with fam ily or entertaining friends, offer more than physical nourishment, but also create timeless memories. Special moments of talking over kneaded dough or simmering ingredients are enduring and our heirloom linen towels enhance + evoke that special environment. Each linen tea towel that leaves our studio is designed and illustrated by Christine, hand printed, dried in the sweet Oklahoma air, and folded and packaged with real human hands; all at an accessible price, enriching the customer experience while practicing ethical manufacturing and using ecofriendly inks. Our linens are designed to fit in any space, from a farmhouse kitchen to an urban apartment. Tea towels are often given as housewarming or hostess gifts, and our linens come packaged in brown paper sleeves and ready for gift giving.
Being creative is vital to an entrepreneurial endeavors success. Share an out-of-the-box experience that has made you stronger as an entrepreneur.
Our approach to business has been an ongoing out-of-the-box experience. We didn't follow typical business rules, like creating a business plan, getting financing, etc. We had an idea and ran with it. And we worked with what we had (which started as nothing!) rather than taking out loans. Our business has aligned with our DIY ethics from the onset. We really have "DIYed" our way through accounting, building, press, hiring, social media, and everything else that running a small business entails. Along the way, we've decided that accounting and the paperwork/numbers stuff isn't where we are strongest, so we've hired some fine folks to help with those things. I have created my businesses with a lot of hard work, a lot of supportive friends and family, and a little luck, but I still wear many hats, maker/event planner/shopgirl/curator/display builder/designer/artist/floor scrubber/student/check writer/social media poster/photographer/graphic designer/treasure hunter. The list is ever evolving and I wouldn’t change that for the world
Tell us a story that involved you that either at the time or looking back makes you laugh.
For anyone that has attending Indie Emporium, you might wonder what the deal is with the vintage sheet & duct tape sign. It's kind of sad looking, and we're the first to admit that. It came about because our first year, we thought we were prepared for the show, but the night before, we realized that we didn't have any sort of sign. We were in the Mathews Warehouse, which at the time was just a big plain building from the outside and we were afraid people would have a hard time finding us. So, we made a very last minute, VERY DIY sign, making letters from duct tape on a big striped pastel vintage sheet from our linen closet. It's very fancy. We still hang it up every year at the event because it's been an ongoing joke since year 1. And people did find us!
- Sept. 12th: Tulsey Awards Kickoff - Nominations Open
- Oct. 6th: Tulseys Nominations Close
- Oct. 16th: Tulseys Voting Opens
- Nov. 8th: Tulseys Voting Closes
- Nov. 21st: Tulsey Awards Ceremony