Take A Bow

Well, folks- that's it! We are all done, after five years of hard work, love and lots of energy to be a part of the handmade community that's sweeping the nation. All of our inventory can now be found at Strands of Sunshine in downtown St. Pete and at The Blind Tiger in Ybor City. We have a few beanies left on our Etsy site but will be closing that down soon as well. 

Here's a few snaps in reflection of where we started to what we became over the years....

Floral Headbands

Oh my God.....I totally forgot that we even MADE those things....This was our first little DIY project, floral headbands! Hee hee!! We hand painted the tips and hand sewed each little flower on rubber headbands. We sold them for $15-20 each and hauled buckets of these things to all the local markets. I remember sweating in the sun for hours just to make one or two sales. We stopped doing that pretty early on. =)

Our first home, on the 600 Block of Central Ave

Our first home, on the 600 Block of Central Ave

We got pretty ballsy back in 2010 and rented a spot on the 600 Block. I quit my day job and went full time managing the shop. I really don't advise anyone to do this until you KNOW that what you're selling is amazing and there's a real need for it and you can't handle how many orders you're getting. We just opened up a shop and taught ourselves everything, including how to sew. I had no idea how to sew when I opened this business. I also would not advise this behavior. 

But, somehow we made it work. The shop stayed open and we hosted classes, DIY projects and made work that just kept selling. I guess you could call it luck. We started dabbling in handbags and I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could make one out of leather and vintage fabric. That's when our handbag business budded....

Look at Ray.....posing. ;)

Look at Ray.....posing. ;)

Then Ray applied to Parson's School of Design in NYC and got in. I wasn't surprised at all and was 100% behind the move for her. She went to chase her dreams and I had the company all to myself so I took the plunge into wholesale with the handbags. I moved out of our little shop and shared a studio warehouse with Sara from MisRed, Nya and Caryle from Starrbird Productions, Patricia Valery and Lisa Gilmore Design. I'm proud to call each of these women my friends. 

What a wonderful experience! So many encouraging, amazing, assertive, creative, motivated women in one space constantly helping each other and working on their own businesses to progress to the next level. There was never any animosity, competition or caddyness. We all wanted the best for each other and were all so eager to help. It was a truly unique experience. We stayed together for about a year when all of us separated and moved into better spaces as we were all growing fast. I remember this time fondly. I truly learned so much from those women and will never forget the fun times in that hot sweaty warehouse (and the mysterious Captain cockroach that haunted us daily).

I then moved onto a beautiful studio shared with Nya of Victory Stitch Manufacturing and that comradery stayed tight, even if it was just the two of us. I started creating the hand painted line shortly thereafter and created wonderful relationships with all my retailers by incorporating exclusive designs for each shop. 

One woman show.

One woman show.

I managed to create hundreds of bags this last year and even got a chance to be a vendor at Renegade Craft Fair in Austin, TX. It was such a great experience. To learn how to manufacture and streamline your own work, especially when it was as complicated as I was making it. I relied heavily on my experience of being a professional painter and worked like a workhorse in 2014. 

Now that we are breaking onto a New Year I really feel that it's time to move on. I've taken EW as far as I want to take it. What started as a sister duo turned into a little wholesale company. I'm really proud of the progress I made and being a part of this amazing local community and a part of the broader landscape of handmade artisans who love what they do. 

Sisters and best friends. 

Sisters and best friends. 

Please follow me now on my personal art page Rebekah Lazaridis. There you can see all my madness! 

What a joy it's been to share my little story, talents and love with each of you. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Especially you, little sister. =)

Love, Red

Flamingo Art Inspiration

So, we've been busy bee's all summer long with some really exciting plans (that we can't reveal quite yet) but have added a few things to our growing list of bags. One design is that of our new Flamingo. As you may know, we are slightly obsessed with tropical pink birds....

Image from Susan Woods Alderson

Image from Susan Woods Alderson

We love these birds so much, words cannot describe. I mean, look at that....

We've also been inspired recently from a trip down to the NSU Art Museum in Ft. Lauderdale, FL where they have an unbeliveable exhibit on Danish Avant-Garde works during WWII. Some of these works were by an artist named Asger Jorn. His work really made my eyes open a little wider with his graceful lines and blurbs of poignant color. The work this artist, and many others did at that time, was really important as it was a movement to rebel agains the Nazi forces to control art exhibitions and creation. If you get the chance to go see this show, it's called Helhesten and you won't be sorry! 

So we made a little bag inspired by the artist but we put our own little spin on it. Here's a peek:

Museum Collaboration

So, I'm pretty pumped. I'm creating one of a kind art bags for the Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. I'm taking actual paintings that are in their permanent collection and reinterpreting them onto small bags and pouches. Art that you can literally use. I took a trip down to the museum, broswed through and was allowed to pick whichever artwork I was inspired by to recerate. These are the three that knocked my socks off. Left to right: Jimmy Ernst Sea of Grass, Claude Monet House of Parliament and Thomas Moran Florida Landscape.

So, basically my background is drenched in painting. I've been painting professionally for over 10 years. I got out of the industry to start Eugenia Woods with my sister, Ray (who still appears on the blog now and then). I've done scenic painting for theater, film, Broadway and live television. I'm trained to be able to interpret things quickly (time is money, people) so I dipped into my trade and am now incorporating it with makin' bags. Cool, huh? It's pretty rad and I feel fortunate to play with paint all day. Well, not ALL days.... =)

Here are a few snaps of the work I've done for MFA.

I started painting the bags before they were constructed, so I made my cuts, prepped the fabric with a fabric medium (prevent paint from chipping or cracking) and painted like mad. Once the paintings are dry I then sew them together with some fancy trimmin's and voila! Art Bag. These are nearing completion and will be for sale exclusively with the Museum of Fine Arts Gift Shop

 

Birthday Ray!

Oh, Happy Birthday, little talented sister. Even though you're far away chasing dreams and adding them to your bag doesn't mean I can't post a few nostalgic pictures that we can all snicker at. 

So, we are knee deep in the 80's here. I mean, it looks like we are going to be swallowed alive by all that hideous sundrop yellow. We just blend right into the bedspread. Good thinkin' Mom! 

Also, snaggletooth. I probably could've snagged a taxi in New York with that whistle.

Also, snaggletooth. I probably could've snagged a taxi in New York with that whistle.

Aw, look. Mom rolled our hair! My bangs are lookin' swifty. Ray, you look so damned cute here.

That nightgown was itchy, too....

Is that three fingers there, Bek? 

Is that three fingers there, Bek? 

SO much happening  here. Again, immersed in that God-Awful yellow. It's probably the reason I have zero yellow clothing in my wardrobe. I spy my bottle of Pumping Curls! Thanks for making us look so fly, L'Oreal. My Electric Youth was acquired around this time. And, man, do we look like sweaty little ragamuffins. 

It's amazing what a little pink chapstick can do for your ego. 

It's amazing what a little pink chapstick can do for your ego. 

I'm like crying right now because I can't stop giggling at this next photo. I mean, look at my big fat mouth hovering over not one, but TWO scoops of CHOCOLATE. My hair.....sweet Lord, WHY DID I ALWAYS LOOK SO DISHELVELED AS A KID??? Yardape.

Rach, honey, you look like you were just handed ice cream to make you stop crying. "HERE! Stop crying'!

We're just a coupla Yardapes, out here havin' fun!

We're just a coupla Yardapes, out here havin' fun!

We are never leaving this yellow room. 

Ever.

We look really clean here. 

We look really clean here. 

I hope this happy trip down memory lane has made you smile. Little Ray, you and NaNa and First Born are my best friends. Am so grateful to have shared such an amazing (and yellow) childhood with you. I hope you have the bestest birthday ever. 

Love, Red