Tell us about your business.A life long obsession with thrift shopping combined with a love of pop graphics sparked the idea of creating a unique line of screen printed cashmere sweaters, cashmere iron-on patches, and elbow pads. Sourcing, cleaning, printing, sewing, and die cutting thousands of recycled sweaters has been a labor of love that has encouraged people to recycle and dress uniquely. How great is that? I feel there is no limit to the innovation that can be applied to recycled products. I am currently designing with a variety of fabrics to take my ideas to the next level. I'm dedicated to original design, sourcing the highest quality recycled and sustainable fabrics, and working with my talented local production team. My goals are to give back to the local community while finding ways of maintaining ecological integrity as Stella Neptune expands as a company - and in doing so join the portion of the fashion community that manages to remain eco-conscious and turn a profit.
What makes your business stand out?Working with reclaimed cashmere is how I create fresh fashion without taxing nature's resources. "Cashmends" - my recycled cashmere iron-on patches and elbow pads - are unique in the fact that they are the only product on the market designed to extend the life of your knits in a "green" luxe way AND they were invented because I was on the Martha Stewart show! In 2010, I was asked to be on the show for a sewing project. I asked the producers to give Martha Stewart a sweater I had made with my hand sewn moth patches as a gift. I received great feedback along with a request to offer complimentary moth patches to the live audience. I took that opportunity further by widening the range of patches to designs beyond the moths, as well as making them "iron-on" patches instead of hand sewn. As a result of this unique opportunity, my patches were in production and available on my website within hours of my national TV debut - "Cashmends" was born!
What's the best business advice you've received?Years back, I met Ron Popeil - the undisputed infomercial King. He was very busy selling at a trade show and I asked him what the secret to his success was. I was young and brash enough to stay in his booth until he told it to me. While autographing his invention the "Mr. Microphone" and a little exhausted with my presence, he looked straight at me and said, "surround yourself with people who are smarter than you". As humble as it was, it was tremendously forward thinking. Hopefully I'll be able to thank him for it one day.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 9, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.Vote now
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