Amazon - The New Kid On The Handmade Block

Well now isn't this interesting! I was kind of waiting for this… Amazon saw the opening with Etsy woes I bet… and here comes competition. They are launching a Handmade at Amazon. Not much info is available but I am sure it will be competitive. Many Etsy sellers and other handmade artisans already sell on Amazon, but it is not in a specific Handmade Marketplace and you need to follow Amazon's strict rules on return policies, UPC codes and other various requirements.

But in the wake of recent Etsy woes since going public (exposure of their big success story being fake, scrutiny over lax practices when it comes to allowing counterfeit products & copyright infringement and trademark infringing products on the site, a potential lawsuit as a result of this practices and a severe dip in stock price) may have been a signal that the time is right for a major competitor to shake things up.

And Amazon already has systems in place to address IP / trademark / copyright  so that is a bonus. They also require certain things from sellers to maintain integrity and this could be promising. Additionally, it appears from the initial emails that they are trying to be distinctive as to what Artisan and Handmade are defined as. All good things if you ask me.

Truthfully, I will always have some type of loyalty and gratitude towards Etsy. It is where I got my start. It is where I met many other creatives. entrepreneurs and developed some great relationships. I even spoke at an event for them. I will always champion what Etsy used to be.

But in reality, Etsy has known about the "reselling" and counterfeit or copyright infringing for as long as I have been there (which is almost 6 years). Sellers on the site have raised the issue and concerns in the forums and to Etsy directly so many times I can't put a number on it.  Etsy hasn't taken any action unless the copyright / trademark owner files a takedown notice. Their stance was untouchable between safe harbor rules and being a private company. Then they went public and these things can no longer be swept under the rug. It shakes the integrity of the site to it's core in my opinion.

Etsy has a tendency and habit to stay silent. That is their known practice, while they leave sellers and merchants hanging in the throws of speculation. Spend a day in the forums and you will see what I mean. But if you weed through the conspiracy theories and rants, there are some genuine and valid concerns that Etsy just does not address publicly if addressing them at all. This has created a very love/hate and tenuous relationship with sellers toward Etsy. This can be fixed - but Etsy doesn't seem interested in fixing this.

Etsy is the known handmade marketplace powerhouse. They've never had a competitive push. Artifire, Zibbet and the many others are out there but never gained enough traction on the buying side. Sure sellers went there, but buyers didn't and that was Etsy's edge. They had the BUYER. 

Well guess what? So does Amazon! 

And that could be the big wake up call to Etsy as well as create a competitive handmade marketplace


While "Handmade at Amazon" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue since it is known as the place everyone goes for fast shipping and bottom dollar pricing on things, I am excited for the doors an Amazon global marketplace would open. 

More details to come when I have them. I applied to be a beta seller and like Etsy themselves always say.. competition is a GOOD thing.

My biggest hope is that this type of competition forces etsy to take a look in the mirror and make changes.

So maybe ... Just maybe between the public scrutiny since the IPO and quarterly filings coupled with the Amazon handmade platform - etsy will take a minute, take a look and use this as an OPPORTUNITY to be awesome again.

 

 

UPDATE:

Shortly after I posted this, I was pointed in the direction of an Etsy forum where a seller suggested this may in fact be part of Etsy's big plan. While I am typically not one to go for conspiracy theories and speculation, this perspective seems both interesting and plausible. Their comments are here:

"As business analysts are saying, Etsy is now a prime target for a buy-out, and there are plenty of HUGE ecommerce players with money to burn who would like to get hold of Etsy.

As they are saying in the business news world, it is way easier for someone else (Amazon???) to buy out Etsy than it is for them to start a whole new venture from scratch. 

The current Amazon presence is not right for selling handmade/artisan goods, so Amazon would have a huge marketing job ahead of them to gain trust and acceptance from consumers in the handmade sector.

It would make a lot of sense for Amazon or Alibaba (or similar ecommerce businesses) to just take over Etsy. Perhaps Etsy *allowed* it's first-quarter financial return to be worse than was expected, because it sure makes Etsy attractive to the really Big Boys on the internet."

This post originally appeared on Crochet By Michele

Introducing: Savannah

This scarf was born from a mistake I made while making a basic striped  hoodie. I soon realized my "mistake" was divine design intervention and with just a few more tweaks it could be fully reversible so... voila.. the Savannah Reversible Hoodie Scarf Was Born!

It is a great pattern for beginners working with color changing techniques and texturizing garments. The pattern is easily adjusted in size as well, which is great because some people have a tiny head and some people have a not so tiny head.

You can order this in any color combo you want making it TRULY yours and one of a kind.

You can buy the pattern here to make your own

Hmmmm….. Coffee!

Chemex Gift Set & Custom Phish Blend

 

A little break from the crochet chat on today's blog and let's talk about my other deep love: Java!

Now, I have always loved coffee. When I was a kid, as early as 3 years old, I remember climbing up on my grandpa’s lap while he read the morning paper and had his cup of coffee.  This is actually one of my few childhood memories and one I hold dear. My grandpa, older in years, always fell asleep right there at the table. I would reach over and drink his coffee. He had a sweet tooth so it was loaded with sugar and creamer and … well, thus began my love for java.  As time went on, I developed my own coffee taste buds, but still love it the way grandpa made it.

As I traveled the world, I was exposed to a variety of coffees; different ways to make it; different blends and beans and even learned about the art of local roasting. And even though coffee houses started sprouting up everywhere (thanks to the Starbucks takeover), I wasn’t afraid to go to my favorite hole in the wall diner near the west 4th street train station in NYC where they brewed that perfect cup and served it just the way grandpa liked.

Loving coffee to the tune of a few cups (okay fine, sometimes a few pots) per day, imagine my joy when one of my husband’s clients sent us a box full of a variety of specialty coffees and a Chemex system as a thank you gift for all his hard work on their summer tour.

Now, even in all my coffee experience, I had not previously heard of Chemex. I opened the box to see a beautifully blown glass carafe type device and thick filters. What is this contraption? I thought.

So I quickly hit the Google and read up on this Chemex, and to my astonishment this well kept secret is the gold medal in coffee making. Where has this been all my life this Pour-Over - Slow Drip coffee device and how did I knot know about it sooner? Oh my; my taste buds and I were about to embark on a journey to coffee heaven.

A variety of Phish Blends

A variety of Phish Blends

It is easy enough to use. First; I selected which blend of this gift box to try. It was filled with a variety of small business coffee roasters that I had not heard of. Excited, I wanted to try them all at once, but I knew that would be silly.  So I picked the one that jumped out at me first (by being in my hand at the time I was deciding). I was not going to be disappointed!

This was a special blend for the gifts so no identifiable name to this coffee. Just Rival Brothers Special Blend for Phish (the client). As soon as I opened the bag the aroma was delightful. It wasn’t that heavy coffee scent from the common store brands. This was rich and flavorful. If I were a food critic I would have a better vocabulary to describe the smell. Lets just say: It smelled GOOOOOOD.

I got out my grinder and poured some beans in. They even looked good. I was like a kid in a coffee-making playground. While the grinder was going, I boiled some water and prepped the Chemex. The prep was quite simple: Take out Chemex.; Place filter in top; put 1 tablespoon of ground coffee in filter.  I could not have screwed that up if I tried!

Once the water was boiled, I let it cool a wee bit (per suggestions from online articles on this method) and then poured the water into the filter. This was riveting!

Per the instructions, I had to pour just a small amount at first to be sure that the grounds did not “float” as this allows the coffee to “settle” and develop its … whatever. This is just the way your supposed to do it, don’t ask me why.

So I did that and watched the coffee drip through to the bottom of the carafe and it was so rich in color. Once that first bit of water went through, I poured the rest and then waited. And waited. And waited. Until I had a carafe full of slow drip, pour over coffee.

Well, that was WORTH the wait!

First of all, (no disrespect grandpa so don’t roll over in your grave) this coffee is so dang good that I do not even need to add all the extras I have always added since a tot. I did not need to create a flavor with rich heavy creamer and about the equivalent of 6 sugar packets. This coffee had FLAVOR!

It had aroma and it had just the most delightful taste. I was worried it may be too “raw” or bitter for me in this format. Nope. It was perfect.

So Many Memories w / Chris Kuroda & Phish … and now we have.. COFFEE !!!      

So Many Memories w / Chris Kuroda & Phish … and now we have.. COFFEE !!!

 

 

And the clean up was easier than my coffee maker. Just take the filter, drop in the waste bin and wash out the carafe. Easy peazy lemon squeazy!

In fact, it was so perfect that I am hooked! I am seriously about to retire the Cuisinart that sits atop my kitchen counter (still hang on to it for those 8 cup days) and just slow drip pour over my way through summer. I still have other coffees to try, but I am sold on both the Chemex and my newfound coffee fave Rival Bros Coffee.

If you get the chance, I strongly suggest you check them out or visit any local roaster and support the local small business!

And thanks again to the Phish gang for sending such a truly FANTABULOUS gift!

Surf's Up!

Surf-Shots-028.jpg

I have been talking to a lot of people in my online community lately about taking adventures and starting next chapters in their journey. Whether it be a big step on the career path or a short hop for a personal adventure, this topic is recurring. And, I get a lot… A LOT of questions about how I had the courage to take the leap to chase this crochet dream. My answer is always the same:  for me, it's always been easy … Truthfully, even when it is hard. I don't mind taking the risk to chase my dreams.  I DO mind being stuck in a place of "what if". I always say I would rather have memories than regrets.

It really comes down to this: I am less afraid of failing than I am of  not trying. It's a mindset. It's being curious about what's next rather than what if.

It's knowing that no matter what, I will always find a way to bounce back so why not just try and make my dreams my reality?

So in light of these conversations, I have decided to share the story of how I learned to surf, lived in Australia for and changed my whole life just by taking that leap of faith, trusting God, trusting my gut and not being afraid to fail. Though it is travel and exploration, it's very similar to the same thought process that I used when I quit my job and chased this crochet dream.

Let's start at the beginning:

I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf. To be out there, riding waves and develop a personal relationship with the ocean seemed like a calling to me. Maybe it is because I am a true Pisces that I am naturally at one with the ocean. Growing up, I had to settle for lakes, but the salt water always seemed to be calling me by name.

Another problem was that being a city kid, I had never learned to swim and never needed to. When I was a teenager, I moved to Miami from New York City and one of the first things I did was park myself within steps of the ocean and then: I taught myself how to swim. I spent hours upon hours at the beach teaching myself to swim.

There were many close calls but I have never felt more at home than when I was in the Ocean. And, even though the Atlantic is a mild ocean without waves,  I knew it would someday lead to surfing so I persisted.

Fast forward several years and I had landed a wonderful gig as Prop Master for a show that took me around the world. And when the first leg of the tour was done, where it landed me was Brisbane, Australia.

This was one of those moments. One of those JUST DO IT moments. Just jump off and take the leap. I felt it in my blood.

Instead of boarding my flight back to the USA, I took a bus for an hour ride towards the coastline to a place called Surfers Paradise. (How could I not?! The name of the city itself called to me.)

At the bus depot, I grabbed a few pamphlets of places to stay, surf schools and such and went on my way backpack and suitcase in tow. I found a wonderful place to stay and a new friend, Belinda who ran a backpackers hostel.  I traded room & board for taking the overnight shift in the front office. (and considering I just quit my job to stay in a country on the other side of the world this was a huge SCORE!)

I took a stroll to the beach and  got a job at a beach café (where I later learned how to be a short order cook which is HUGE because my kitchen is only used to store beverages and make coffee). And, I met a new lifelong friend Sandra who introduced me to her friend Cheyne Horan.

So there it was, total immersion: I had new friends and a new home and felt an overwhelming sense of purpose and joy within 48-72 hours of arriving. I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

My dream was not only coming true, it was way beyond what I could imagine.  I didn’t know who Cheyne was. To me, he was just a nice fella on the beach in Paradise offering to teach me how to surf. I only found out days and many lessons later, that he is a world class surfer.  Seriously – talk about wow factor and serendipitous!

Everyday I would meet Cheyne on the beach and he would give me surf lessons. It was brutal. It took a while but eventually (after weeks of trying) I was up and running and out riding waves. Sure, they  were small mini waves in the beginning and laughable to some onlookers. But I didn't have a care in the world because I was doing it. I WAS SURFING!

It didn't last for eternity, but the seed was eternally planted within me.

Several months later, for family reasons, I returned to the States and resumed my crazy life, career and work travel schedule. But I  brought back the memories of one of the  happiest times of my life when I took a risk, went the other direction and chased my dream on a beach learning to walk on water.

That entire experience would never have happened if I didn't take that risk of leaving my job, turning the other way from my flight and taking a bus to a place I have never been.

In life, in our careers, in everything - things may not be perfect and things may not work out as planned. Knowing and accepting that makes it easier to take the risk.  Because even though things may not work out as planned, they DO work out! We have to believe we are resilient and will bounce back when they don't.

We have to take that leap to find out what's out there and in this case, it was walking on water and creating some of the best memories of my life. I encourage you whether it's travel, work, career, moving… ANYTHING… be a risk taker. Be an explorer. Make memories.

Two Worlds Collide: The Cornwall Shawl

As a designer, I find myself inspired by so many different things: the seasons, the scenery, sights on trips, other artists and designers, something in a magazine or boutique… it is endless. Sometimes it is all overwhelming in the most amazingly perfect way but sometimes reigning in those ideas can be a challenging process. When it all comes together quickly like magic and boom, instant success it is the most unexpected delight. Other times though,  it takes a while to marinate on a concept or idea and nurture it to life.

It's all a funny, fabulous and daunting process and in fact, One of the best parts of my job. I love the experimentation and design process.

I'd wanted to experiment with leather and "tougher" fibers inspired by some of the stylings in Highlander and the Hunger Games series. But I had yet to find the right leather to work with so this became a concept I was kicking around and marinating on for some time

… until...

At least year's One Of A Kind Show in Chicago my booth was next to Urban Gypsy Designs. The artisan, Christina hand paints beautiful leather purses and satchels and accessories. She also sells these fabulous cuffs that have both an industrial and sophisticated feel. I fell in love immediately with them and knew I wanted to incorporate them into a design.

As I marinated over all the ways to incorporate her leather cuffs into my work and mix it with the softness of my crochet wear I found myself not just accenting existing pieces but designing whole new ones. Then I found myself returning to my original notes and ideas from several months ago on the mixed texture pieces I wanted to do. YES!! It's all coming together! This is the process!

So I have been hard at work creating several new styles that will be ready for Fall 2015 and I am so excited about the variety of texture. Here is a sneak peek at that new collection: This is the Cornwall Shawl.

The shawl body is made using an exceptionally soft wool blend fiber. I am using a stitching technique that gives the illusion of being striped when it is actually not. It is an added dimension by design.

I have placed one of Christina's Infinity Cuffs as an accent to the piece giving it a flare of juxtaposition and style. The cuff is strategically placed to give the shawl so many different looks.

I am so thrilled with the Cornwall Shawl and  the complete collection will launch for Fall 2015 and I cannot wait to bring you these creations incorporating new textures and leather accents.

If you would like to make your own, I have made my original design available in my Etsy shop. You can buy the pattern here

My Weekend Project: A Little Woodworking Fun Working On Show Displays

Me & The Husby Getting Our Woodshop On
Me & The Husby Getting Our Woodshop On

I am always looking for interesting ways to display my creations. But unless you catch a store closing sale, dress forms and mannequins are not cheap and building a display can get expensive. Fast. I also don't want the display to take away from or distract from the crochet creation I want to show off. And now that I am doing more in person appearances, such as at The One Of A Kind Show in Chicago, I also want displays that work within my booth while people have a room to walk around and shop. Meeting all the display criteria is not easy.

And, Like I said… it can get expensive fast.

So after spending a little time on Pinterest (and getting lost in the land of pretty pictures and fabulous ideas), I realized why not just build what I want? For raw materials cost of under $50 and a fun day in the garage / workshop with my fabulous husband I could get exactly what I wanted. I present to you my DIY Easter weekend in pictures and note I am EXTREMELY proud of the finished projects at the end:

FIRST UP: The Head Display

We started with a scrap piece of wood from another project. We cut it to the size we wanted and then let the sanding begin.

TIP: Measure the hole in the base of the Styrofoam heads to buy the right size rod. Also, buying one long rod and cutting it allows flexibility in placement or you can know the measurements you want and they will cut it in the store for you. Some places charge to cut though.

Almost done assembling the head display stand after we drilled holes for the rods.

NEXT UP: The Hanging Stand

TIP: We took a plastic hanger and traced it onto the wood for the standing frame. Use thicker wood – 1.5″ – 2″ so it will be sturdy and hold the weight of your piece. Sand the heck out of that hanger. Remember, your garments will hang here for display and you don’t want them to get snagged in the fabric. We use a tread screw at the base so that this stand can easily be taken apart for transport.

And here comes the big finish...

New displays are ready and one perfect Weekend with the husby in the can.

Crochet & Stay Organized In Style

I have been on the hunt for the "perfect" crochet hook case for about 2 years. It's not that I am picky, it's that I had in my mind exactly what I wanted and wasn't ready to settle for something that didn't meet all my needs. I was about to give up and have one made for me. I support handmade and custom work, but this "custom" aspect always adds to the cost and I am a gal on the budget. Plus there is always the fun of communicating the idea in my head to someone else in a way they get it. I call this artistic challenge.

So there I was... feeling a little frustrated when I decided to give Etsy one last try. And boom!

I discovered a Atelier de Soyun, fabulous shop in South Korea owned and run by a woman who is married to an ex-pat.  Her shop is filled with delightful cases and cary-alls for us knitters & hookers.

I purchased the case and was delighted to received a lovely thank you note. Not the typical generic note, but a very personalized thank you email with information on when my case would ship and when to expect it. It was an unexpected element that made me feel even better about my purchase.

The case arrived very quickly. Within 2 weeks, and well before the estimated time of arrival. When I opened the mailer, the packaging was clean and simple and accompanied by another hand written note.

The case is perfect. First of all the simplicity of the design is perfect. No extra wasted frills and attachment. The fabric color , embellishments and ruching really give that touch of style and beauty. The craftsmanship and materials are top notch. It has a side flap pocket for my small snips, stitch markers and quilting needle. I love the flap over top to keep the hooks from sliding out as well as the snug button closure.

I am truly blown away by the quality for the price.  Most of all though, I am thoroughly impressed by the level of customer service.

In fact, I loved the case and the buying experience so much that I ordered a second one for my larger wooden hook set.

So check out Atelier de Soyun and stay organized in style.

 

 

This post originally appeared on Crochet by Michele

Going Deep: Tech Talk In A Crochet World

People who know me best often wonder how I never spent my entire career in tech. It's a deep passion of mine. I love all things tech from conception to gadgets and finding out how things work and that is what led me to becoming a Production Manager. I actually started in the trenches on the mechanics of things. So of course as the tech revolution has grown it has become a great hobby to follow along and the growth of social media is fascinating to me as I launch my handmade business. When the app Meerkat launched I was super stoked. Not just because I was elated and ready for the next level of streaming products & apps, but because what I do is so visual, I have been searching for new ways to interact with customers and other designers using social media. Because let's face it, we live in a visual instant kind of world now. Things move fast. We want to connect and be interactive and need to stand out in the noise.

Of course I jumped on the Meerkat train early. I was already a fan and watching the app when they headed down to SXSW where they basically became THE topic and THE sensation. (Every year there is a new rave "IT" product - but this year I was on board for it). This made me very happy - because well, first of all I was right about this one (patting self on back now) but also because I see potential for brands and people like me as live streaming comes to the forefront.

I immediately started planning and strategizing on how to incorporate Meerkat into my social media plan for customer contact, interaction and growth. And, that was the initial topic for this post: How to Stand Out

But as in life, unexpected twists happen. And a twist was about to happen here.

So  I will do a full on apps / tools / social media post later. Right now I want to talk about something magical that happened courtesy of Meerkat and because I am not yet even sure if Meerkat CAN be a tool for my biz as it is still too early.

Last week, I was alerted to a Meerkat sesh with Mark Suster and Chamillionaire. Now, of course I followed Mark on the twitter because… well… um yeah, no explanation needed, but I was excited to hear / stream / see this chat with Chamillionaire or (Cham). If you don't know who he is, bust out the google and let your mind be blown.

Throughout this session they were talking about Cham being an EIR (Entrepreneur In Residence) over at Upfront Ventures and the various tools and process of selecting companies to invest in, etc. It was a really good look at the kind of discussions and things that go on behind closed doors and in the bullpens at VC firms and tech start-ups. I learned a LOT. And as I was about to bring my StartUp to the next level, the timing kind of felt serendipitous.

Then they took questions - and the first one was from me (true story).

I asked: Cham: "what drew you to go deep into tech?". The answer was so inspirational that it has been feeding me for the whole week.

I have to paraphrase because I was unprepared to be so blown away and didn't get quotes. Cham talked about how coming up as a rapper he knew he had to do more than "just rap". He made it a point to learn the ins and outs of producing the tracks and creating a sound and using new equipment. He went behind the scenes of what it takes on a marketing level, product and brand level, all the things you think "other people do once you're discovered"… Cham went deep and learned how to do it himself.

So when he wanted to start investing and getting into tech companies, starts up and work with VC firms he started from scratch again. He went to where the tech people were and started meeting them and talking to them and learning from them. He talked about how he began to feed that area of knowledge. The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn.

That answer struck a cord with me. It's at the core of being successful isn't it?

YES!

If we want to really succeed and be the best version of ourselves and whatever we are doing, then we must go deeper and not just take what's on the surface. All those tools Cham learned, they were part of it but what he really learned was to NEVER STOP LEARNING! Never stop going to the next level by starting at the level below.

Deep thought right? It's true.

It's what I did when I first started in concert lighting. I had to start at the bottom and take apart lights and learn operating systems. I had to constantly learn what was coming up, how to improve things and how to fix things and how to solve problems.

Then, when I switched to television production years ago, I had to get educated and go deep again. Gear was constantly changing and my crews were always on the hunt for the best look and best tools available. I had to learn the best and the worst. Lots of trial and error. But ALWAYS LEARNING.

So it makes perfect sense now, as I launch this new venture and build my crochet dreams, (and yes, you knew this would somehow land back to me hooking right?), that it is time to get my hands dirty and go deep once again.

I am so inspired by what Cham said. I have re-committed to going next level on this new business venture. My brain has literally been ON FIRE since that sesh.

it's a tweet
it's a tweet

I busted out the white boards, got my groove on and got to work! I booked a few conferences to attend to learn more than just  the design which is my passion, but on the fashion and textiles and branding end. Learn and negotiate platforms to best drive this ship to smooth sailing and success. All the things I was going to "hire" someone to do… oh no grasshopper. Do NOT hire anyone. Time for me to dig in, find a few more hours in the day and learn the ins and outs of the fashion world. I may be scared but I am not afraid!

And it lit that spark inside me that started it all. So there is another new project in the works that I am excited about and will share when I can. The point is that my passion for tech was reignited by Meerkat and that led me to being fired up for my crochet adventure. I am excited for the world in front of us and how we can all be part of making it awesome.

So while I may have started out excited about seeing how I can integrate Meerkat into what I am building and as a branding tool to reach & interact with customers, it has already proved to be a tool to feed my soul and mind. It is also reviving that love for tech in me like in the early days.

You can't beat that!

and thank you Cham & Mark for feeding my soul and setting my brain ON FIRE!

Also…. side note on what is also awesome about Meerkat is the random fun that it brings to your day. Like while I was working in my studio on how to put these plans and dreams into action, the most epic thing happened: I got a Meerkat Alert that Quest was streaming. So boom, I hit the link and while I am working there are the Roots rehearsing for Carnegie Hall with special behind the scenes stuff. QUEST WAS IN MY FACE!!! It was so epic I had to take a pic.

Enjoy!
And check out Meerkat - see if it works for you.
And don't be afraid to go deep and be awesome in whatever you're doing.

Quest Love IN MY FACE
Quest Love IN MY FACE

Introducing The Molly Four Way Crochet Shawl

Molly Crochet Shawl
Molly Crochet Shawl

As a designer I am always challenging myself to try new things. And as a former frequent traveler I know the need of packing light and having garments that serve multiple functions. That was what inspired me to design my new Four Way Shawl. Wear it as a shawl, a scarf, a wrap or even a sarong. I pack this one item from Chicago to Miami for it's multi function awesomeness.

This one item will truly get you through every season and is fun to create. What is special is the triangle shape and the ability to make this larger or smaller with ease. I chose a soft acrylic fiber but then moved up to a bulky weight fiber for the winter collection.

The Molly shawl is available in a variety of colors here.

The pattern is available here to make your own.

Meet Isaac!

image1.jpeg

I’m so thrilled to announce the launch of Isaac, my very first collection of 2015.

I’m always striving to combine fashion with comfort, and when I saw the Carlyle collection of fibers by Isaac Mizrahi & Premier Yarns, I knew I had to create a collection around it.

A few days later, I had a few prototypes and they turned out better than I ever could have imagined. It just so happened that my friend, Emmy winning actress and best selling author Kristen Johnston was in Chicago filming a movie at the time, and I couldn’t wait to tell her about it. I brought an Isaac hat to give her as a Christmas gift.

I had NO idea she happened to be good friends with Isaac!

Kristen says:

I’ve been a huge fan of Michele’s extraordinarily chic and insanely comfortable knitwear for a few years now. (I’m obsessed with her ponchos.) One evening at dinner, she gave me a stunning hat as a gift. As I was oohing & aahing over it, I almost didn’t hear what she was saying. When she said “Isaac Mizrahi has a new line of yarn and it’s the most incredible stuff I’ve ever seen! I’m thinking of doing an entire line, just using his yarn,” she finally had my full attention.

(Okay. I’ll admit it. I shamelessly name-dropped.)

“Michele, Isaac has been a good friend of mine for years! I’ll email him about you…he’ll love it!”

(Is it name-dropping if it’s true?)

At any rate, I emailed Isaac, and included a picture from that night.

He LOVED it! He truly loves creative people, and he was thrilled Michele has made his yarn look so stunning.

I asked if he’d be interested in emailing with her, and he immediately agreed…

As a proud owner of an Isaac hat & scarf, I get constant compliments on them.

Fingerless gloves, you’re next.

Kristen”

WOW!I am blown away and so grateful when people have that kind of reaction to my work. Especially this collection because I truly believe in it and it is from the heart.

I am madly in love with the Carlyle collection of fibers by Isaac Mizrahi & Premier Yarns. The colors, the texture: this fiber speaks to me.  The texture is both subtle & soft but still strong and bold. This fiber truly reminded me of NYC landscapes and buildings and the colors being named after landmark NYC hotels only makes me love it more.

I knew I needed to design a collection of winter accessories for the uptown gal but at downtown prices that would encompass all that this fiber represents to me. It takes me back to that city life that is ingrained in my blood.

I designed for me, for the city, for you.

The Color 'Regis' is like the city at dusk. With gold metallic woven throughout the fiber it is exactly like someone took a picture of the City SkyLine at dusk and waved a magic wand of gold dust over it. It is regal and fabulous.

The colors 'Astor' and 'Algonquin' remind me of the gritty downtown side of NYC. Not for the faint at heart. These colors both powerful in their own right. The Metallic enhancements remind me of how the city comes alive when the sun sets and the night lights take the town to a whole new level. That inspired me to design chichi accessories that suit that nightlife style.

'Plaza' is white sparkle all the way and reminds me of how Central Park would glisten after a fresh snowfall.

Being so inspired by this fiber collection, I used it to design select pieces that function as you would want winter fashion accessories to function but do not sacrifice style for the sake of warmth. Being a native New Yorker,I had that city style in mind.

Isaac by Michele Costa is full of texture, sophistication and stays true to what I myself would wear walking on the NYC streets or anywhere.

Each piece is designed to be worn as a stand-alone or you can mix and match as you please.

So wrap yourself in luxury and spend some time falling in love with Isaac just like I did!