Eric & Christopher
Tell us about your business.Just over two years ago, Eric & Christopher met at an art show that Christopher had developed. Both Christopher and Eric are passionate, life-long artists, and Christopher, a self-employed screen printer, came up with the idea to host an art show featuring screen printed art by artists who were not screen printers. After three successful shows, a few of the artists started their own businesses featuring screen printed art. One of the very talented artists, Eric Fausnacht, approached Christopher and asked him to join in his quest to screen print pillows. Eric started selling pillows at craft shows he participated in. Within the first six months, the pair sold about 1,000 pillows. Two years later, Eric & Christopher's hand sewn, screen printed pillows and tote bags can now be seen in 300 boutique shops and online retail stores. In fact, in May 2014, they made custom goat pillows and totes for the Beekman Boys that sold out on the Beekman website within a couple of days!
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.When our business first started, we were running it out of Christopher's basement in Doylestown, PA. As the business expanded, Eric used his art studio on his property in Kintnersville, PA to sew the pillows and to hold the inventory of products. In January of this year, the business was moved into a 6,000 sq ft warehouse in Perkasie, PA. The new space is great. It's a nice open space and the size allows for everything to now be done in one place - screen-print the pillows and totes, sew the pillows, package them and ship them out to customers. The new space is especially large so even Eric & Christopher's dogs, Maya and Rerun can come to work every day too. They have a blast!
What inspires you?Being lifelong artists, there are several things that inspire us. Nature. Our love for animals. Emotion. The urge to create. Wonderment. One thing that inspires us and encourages us to continue creating new products is our fan base. We hear from customers everywhere how much they enjoy having our pillow in their home, or how a pillow they bought reminds them of a pet they had. Our products tend to strike an emotion with people, and we greatly appreciate their honesty and love for our products. That is inspiring.
What makes your business stand out?We are both passionate artists with a love for animals. We personally take photos of all the animals that we screen print onto our products. We visit friends who have local farms and make a fun day out of it. It's a business, yes to make money, but more importantly we find our ultimate success in spreading joy to our customers. The biggest reward is seeing someone pick up one of our pillows at an event, and just stop, take a moment and stare at it with a huge smile on their face. There's something unique and real about the images that we take that people tend to respond to. We are also very proud to say that we hold personal relationships with all of our retailers - from the mom and pop boutique shop down the street, to Pine Cone Hill, The Plaza Hotel Boutique Shop in NYC, the Beekman Boys and more. We never could have imagined that screen printing animal images onto decorative pillows and tote bags would be such a successful business. Simply put, we love what we do!
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?We would say the biggest piece of advice is to not be afraid to take risks. The biggest fear some people have in starting your own business is taking those first steps and working towards your goal. Also, ensuring you have excellent follow-up with your customers is a major key to success.
What does American Made mean to you?To us, American Made means celebrating creativity and the products that come as a result of it. Hand making products here in the USA is something that we all should be proud of. We thoroughly enjoy knowing that we bring smiles to our customer's faces with our product, but most of all, our business model reflects supporting hundreds of other American owned businesses. American Made means supporting your community, other American businesses, and putting your innate passions behind your creations.
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.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