Tell us about your business.I started making EcoChristmas Critters from financial necessity and a desire to help rescue the landfill. One Christmas I was short of funds but needed to give gifts to friends and family. I made stars and angels from fabric scraps. Then I discovered champagne corks. I "saw" an angel in a cork. I made some fro friends, and then I began making commissioned pieces. I experimented with different found objects and the list of figures grew. My process is to gather found objects and trash, clean, sort, and catalogue. I sit down with some gathered items and "play." I do what pleases my eye. I love making the different figures. It always cheers me up and stimulates me to create more. I see my business evolving to a larger scale. I would like to have a bigger space in New York City, create jobs, hire disenfranchised women (and men), sell on the internet and maybe in shops, and take the model that I have created and put it into other cities in the U.S. There' s a lot of trash to be rescued
What makes your business stand out?My business is unique for several reasons: I create keepsakes from trash, I help rescue the landfill, my ornaments are collectable, and they don't look like what they came from. People are always surprised when they find out they come from trash. I think people want to buy products that benefit the environment. My business is also unique because I am a senior citizen that came up with some original ideas, and started a business from it. People are always interested in my story. It shows that what is important is not age, but vitality and creativity. And if I can do it, so can others. Most Christmas ornaments nowadays are made in China. I am a firm believer in buying American. And therefore more things should be made in America. I was told by a large retailer that I should have EcoChristmas manufactured in China. I refuse. I want to "manufacture them" by hand, and only here in America. I am an American artist. I would like to grow this business to other American cities.
What's the best business advice you've received?People will often buy products based on WHY you make them, as well as how you make them.
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