American Made Since 2005

Caitlin Holcomb

Aurora, Illinois
Party decor designed for your home, or home decor designed for parties? Find the answers with FUN CULT.
Crafts, Celebrations

Tell us about your business.

FUN CULT began as Nice by Caitlin Holcomb in 2005, the early days of Etsy and the Renegade Craft Fairs. These two platforms provided just what I needed to create my brand- an inspiring community of like-minded creatives, and as a huge bonus, customers who were actually in search of unique handmade goods. I started out with my Hooray and Birthday banners, Mini Deer Plaques, and painted wood burnings on plywood. I eventually added other decor pieces, paper goods, jewelry, and light shades. In early 2012, I quite suddenly found out that I had kidney failure. Sadly, for the first time in 7 years, I had to put my shop on hold. I eventually decided that a fresh start was needed, and in May of 2013, Nice re-launched as FUN CULT. It may sound obvious, but all products from FUN CULT are my own original product. A lot of daydreaming, designing, and hard work go into creating each idea. Certainly this contributes to the uniqueness and success of this handmade brand so far.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

Right now I am working in a small basement space that gets the job done. I've had all sorts of work rooms in various apartments. When I found out I had kidney failure I moved back home with my parents into tight quarters. In April of this year I was given a living donor kidney from a childhood best friend, and I am thrilled to say it's working out great! In some ways I feel like I am starting over with my business, but thankfully I have a great group of creative friends with their own businesses who have kept me going and kept me positive. I am currently regrouping and setting up a proper work space in the basement and I am excited to get making in full swing once again!

What inspires you?

I’m very much inspired by the random things in life that become home decor. For example, a souvenir party favor you keep on your desk, a movie ticket that sits in your ring dish, or a favorite silk scarf that you keep in view rather than tuck away. For years (I'm talking since like 2002!) I had a bit of pink fringe that I liked so much but couldn't quite figure out how I wanted to use. Eventually I pulled it back out and decided to tack it up on my wall. Soon afterward the idea to create a banner happened organically. I wanted it to look like a piece an artist may whip together simply to brighten their studio, at the same time calling to the old school party banners it draws from. Something delicate but fun, and keeping with the theme I've stuck by, a piece that is for special occasions as well as every day. The Fringe Banner is one of my most favorite products to date.

What makes your business stand out?

You will find that my Fringe Banners can be a special detail on your wedding day just as well as they can hang in your apartment where you eat lots of pizza and play your records like they are a soundtrack to your life. You can hang up one of my HOORAY banners when your kid aces their science project, or you can tack it up in your road trip van when you and your best pals take a trip cross-country. My vintage textile light shades will work with your flea market finds just as they will compliment a clean and modern decor aesthetic. My work is sort of like a favorite vintage rhinestone necklace- you can wear it with your fancy dress just as well as with your old t-shirt and worn out jeans.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Be yourself. I know you know, but really give it some thought. If you listen to yourself- your goals, what inspires you, what you want to GIVE, things will fall into place and you'll naturally stand out and feel incredibly proud of what you have to share.

What does American Made mean to you?

It's an exciting time to be a small maker in America. Communities are being formed not just in your local physical area, but online as well. In fact, America itself is a community as the maker movement is global! The impact is incredible, seasoned and experienced as well as freshly inspired makers are venturing out to see what they can do. It's a wonderful feeling to discover what you love, what you can offer, to do it and find that this love can contribute to a greater good. I am proud to be in such good company. I enjoy making products that can stand out for a special occasion and afterward translate into a home decor piece. My pieces are designed to last and hold memories, the ultimate goal becoming a tradition. I get chills when customers tell me they pull out their Hooray banner for each family member's birthday, or bring their engagement photo Glittering Fringe Banner out again to hang in their new baby's nursery.

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