Tell us about your business.My first memory of recycling was as an 8 year old jumping into a dumpster behind a local bar to throw out beer cans for my brother to recycle for cash. I remember installing hot pink pile carpet in my Barbie's RV with leftover carpet my parents were trying to throw away after a bathroom redo! I have always been disturbed by people throwing away things that could be used for something. Or saved in the name of art. Like the chewed gum I put in a giant clear glass jar in my childhood bedroom at the end of every day for months until the jar was filled with multi-colored balls of chewed gum. It was beautiful. This past Christmas, I gave my niece a clear glass ornament filled with bright colored foil gum wrappers rolled up into tiny balls. I have an Etsy store. I make whatever I want with whatever I find. My current thrill is rewebbing folding vintage aluminum lawnchairs with leather western belts. A few great sales. Lots of online exposure. Hope to inspire others to rethink and repurpose.
What makes your business stand out?Kikithespunkymunky is unique because no one views the world like I do. No one thinks like I do. No one creates like I do. It seems like most people are not as concerned as I am about not throwing things away. Rethinking. Reusing. Recreating. I want to inspire people to buy handmade, unique, quality, long-lasting items, instead of cheap, look-like-everyone-else, fad items. I'd like to make money from my creations, but my main goal is to share my art, hoping to inspire other people to think outside the box, be different, recycle, reuse, rethink, recreate. A lil' retail rebellion is good.
What's the best business advice you've received?Do what you love to do. Find your passion. Get it out there.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.Nominate yourself
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.See the finalists
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.Buy tickets now