Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Recap of Greenjeans' Talk at LIM

Last week, I participated in a panel discussion at LIM, the College for the Business of Fashion, on "Doing Business as if the Planet Matters." The students seemed really interested in learning about how we all got our start and I was impressed with their questions at the end.

Interestingly, at one point I asked the audience what they think of when they hear the word "craft," and I am happy to report that not a single person said "doilies," "afghans" or "Grandma." One said "architecture." Another said "art." Then I asked if they think art and craft have a hierarchy, if one is "above" the other. The students all kind of shook their heads no, and the only person who ventured that art is higher was not a student but a teacher or administrator. Which suggests, however anecdotally, that perhaps indeed craft is finding itself in a more favorable position with the upcoming generation.

In any case, it was exciting to participate alongside the founder of Red Queen Cosmetics and the rep from Shaklee, a company that's been green since the '60s.

It was especially nice to meet Erica from Miniminimarket in Williamsburg, who was also on the panel. Erica opened shop on Bedford Ave. nine years ago featuring lots of pieces by local designers and is a total pioneer of not only that neighborhood but the whole "Williamsburg look." She just opened a shoe store called, of course, Shoe Market, and since something like 90% of all shoes sold in America are made in China these days, will be going to China this summer to see first-hand where so many of the shoes she stocks are being manufactured. RIGHT ON. And she's super nice to boot.

Thanks for the opportunity, LIM, and I hope we helped inspire your students to give priority to environmental issues as they set out into the business world!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans. Photo courtesy of LIM.

ACC Summer Salon Series Announced

The American Craft Council announced its Summer in the City Salon Series today. They've created a stimulating trio of evening discussions that are sure to get us all talking!

Each starts at 6pm followed by a wine and cheese reception:

May 15: The Industrial Complex, with Tyler Hays
Kick off ICFF weekend with Tyler Hays, founder of the Brooklyn-based furniture company BDDW, who will discuss the company’s handmade work and its relationship to industry.

July 24: Connect/(Dis)Connect, with Bruce Metcalf & Chanel Kennebrew
Explore the broad spectrum of craft makers today in this dialogue between jeweler, educator and writer Bruce Metcalf and Junkprints founder Chanel Kennebrew, an indie craft artist, graphic designer and Etsy seller.

September 18: The Politics of Craft, with Rob Walker, Sabrina Gschwandtner & Liz Collins
With one of the most important elections of our era approaching, join us in investigating craft’s relationship to politics and its role in addressing issues in our world today. Rob Walker, columnist for the New York Times, interviews makers Sabrina Gschwandtner, founder of KnitKnit, and Liz Collins, founder of Knitting Nation.

Reservations are required. Contact Monica Hampton, or 212.274.0630 ext. 272.

Hope to see you there!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans. Image of work by Tyler Hays, BDDW, from American Craft Council.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wine Barrel Tables / Not @ Bklyn Flea this Wknd

The Wine Barrel Side Kick Tables have arrived!

They are absolutely fabulous and as you can see exactly the right mate for the Wine Barrel Folding Chair. Love them!

I was planning to bring them to the Flea this weekend, however due to ye olde extenuating circumstances WE WILL NOT BE AT THE BROOKLYN FLEA THIS WEEKEND. We'll be open in Park Slope though, so come by to check them out here!

Also remember: we have some great season-appropriate jewelry and ceramics on sale at the shop for you -- we rarely offer anything like 50% off, so this is your chance for a steal at Greenjeans!

Have a great weekend!

Posted and photo by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Celebrate Brooklyn Lineup Rocks!

The schedule for this summer's Celebrate Brooklyn festival was just announced, and there are some GREAT performances on tap this year! All events are FREE and held at the Prospect Park Bandshell.

Click here for complete schedule!

I'm especially excited about seeing Miriam Makeba (June 14), and Brazilian Girls (July 11). The Deerhoof/Metropolis Ensemble's performance of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" will probably be quite interesting (July 18), and I'll definitely be staking out a seat to see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform (August 7). I could go on -- Beth Orton, Issac Hayes, the Philip Glass Ensemble, Brave New World Rep doing Fahrenheit 451... The list is amazing!

BRIC has outdone itself this summer with this lineup -- I don't remember being so psyched about it last year. So get your picnic baskets and lawn blankets ready for heavy use this summer, and we'll see you there!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans. Image by ultrahi sourced here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Amy to Speak at LIM Earth Day Event

On Thursday, April 24, I will be at LIM, the College for the Business of Fashion, to participate in an Earth Day panel discussion titled "How to Be a Green Success: Business as if the Planet Matters."

I will be talking about the aesthetic and ethical principles that guide our buying decisions at Greenjeans, as well as the differences between art and craft.

The other panelists are Frank Fasolo, Red Queen Cosmetics Co-founder; Erica Vala, Mini-mini Market Co-founder; and Helene Kovalcik, Shaklee Coordinator/Distributor.

Held at 12 East 53rd St. (between 5th and Madison), First Floor, from 6-8pm, the event is free and open to the public, but RSVP is requested -- just email Katie Fitzgerald at or call 212-752-1530 x280.

As an added incentive, I'm told that two Marc Jacobs bags will be raffled at this event...!

It is an honor to be asked to participate, and I look forward to sharing our experience with the students at LIM! Keep an eye on the blog for a report...

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans. Image of LIM entrance sourced here.

Earth Day Tips from Greenjeans

Happy Earth Day!
Small changes and little decisions add up to big change! Here are some quick tips for achieving a smaller footprint:

1) Stop buying vinyl
I don't mean records. I mean anything containing PVC. That's the kind of soft plastic that gives off the funky smell found in everything from shower curtains to kid's toys. PVC is toxic to the environment and to your body because, among other things, it contains phthalates.

Phthalates are also found in many beauty products and baby products. Europe and California are leading the way in a ban of phthalates, even though the U.S. government insists they're harmless. Learn why here, here, here, here, and here.

2) Consider packaging
Do you really need a bag? Can you buy those nuts in bulk instead of a disposable can? Is a similar product available that's packed in less plastic? Remember when you buy something, you're not just buying the thing, you're also saying "yes" to it's packaging.

3) Use those cloth bags
And if you must take a plastic bag, reuse it as a garbage can liner. Please don't just throw it out -- plastic bags live on for hundreds of thousands of years...

4) Drink tap water
Many places, including NYC, have fantastic tap water. Don't like the taste or worried about heavy metals? Buy a water filter and fill your own dishwasher-safe reusable bottles. Buying bottled water is not only a huge drain on our wallets, it's overtaxing our highways, natural streams, and landfills (since most people don't recycle them). Plus need I remind you that water bottles are plastic, which is made from petroleum, requires a great deal of energy to produce, and lives on for hundreds of thousands of years.

5) Switch to wind or solar power
Many electric companies are offering a choice these days, and for a few cents more you can get your power from cleaner sources. Check your next electric bill -- there may be information right in there already. Or if not, give them a call. Because as more of us get involved, the prices will come down and the positive impact will increase.

The bottom line is: before you buy something, remember to ask: Do I need it? Is it worth the money and impact? And can I responsibly dispose of it? Use your dollar vote as a force for change. And spread the word!

Posted and photo (of bird in tree outside today) by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Greenjeans Now on Facebook

Greenjeans now has its own Facebook page --

So if you're on Facebook, now you can become a fan of Greenjeans!

I'll be posting events and updates there, and I've linked it to the blog to help all you Facebook-addicts stay informed about what's up at Greenjeans.

Thanks for being a fan!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Brooklyn Flea Week Three

Yesterday we set up shop in Fort Greene for the third convening of the Brooklyn Flea. Like last week and the week before it was chilly and overcast, but Lumin and I know that the sun will come out one of these Sundays!

We went all fancy this week, opening up the booth, hanging muslin scrims, and rolling out some nice green astroturf. Snazzy, no?

Our idea for the Flea is to showcase different artisans and designers every week, and this week we featured Shaker-influenced work. We presented Brian Braskie's Shaker chairs, David Emerson's Shaker peg boards and wooden totes with handcut dovetails, and flat brooms (invented by Shakers) by students at Berea College (all of which I need to get into the Online Shop!).

We also brought back Frank Ridley's wooden toys and Whit McLeod's Wine Barrel Folding Chair, which continue to be popular items with Flea shoppers. As you can see here, kids loved testing out the rocking horse!

Set up and take down are getting easier and easier, and we feel like we're starting to get the hang of it. It's kind of like camping, but without the mosquitoes and you actually WANT to see people pass by your campsite...!

Hope you'll pass by next week!
Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans. Photos by Jae Kim.

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Jewelry in Greenjeans Online Shop

For your warm-weather shopping pleasure, I uploaded a bunch of new jewelry to Greenjeans Online Shop today!

Find great selections of pieces by Connie Verrusio and Melle Finelli, as well as a new collection I like to call "Mannery" ('cause what guy wants to wear "accessories" or "jewelry?")

You can browse the entire online Jewelry Collection here.

Of course, there's lots more available in the Park Slope shop, so if these new bits leave you hungry for more, stop by this weekend.

To entice you... we're clearing out some very pretty pieces to make room for new work -- I'm talkin' an unprecedented 50% off! (Sale prices: $22-$90, with most around $35. Really!) The sale is in-store only...

(Sorry there are no pictures in this post -- Blogger is all glitchy tonight... )

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wine Barrel Chair's New Side Kick Table!

It's as if they were reading your minds...

Today Whit McLeod Furniture sent over pictures of their brand new Side Kick Table to go with their ever-popular Wine Barrel Folding Chairs! We are thrilled to be the first retailers to offer them, which means YOU are getting the very first chance to purchase one of your own!

Like the chairs, the Side Kick Table is made from reclaimed oak wine barrels. (In fact, they can get 2 chairs and 2 tables out of each barrel -- so efficient!)

All of the metal is from the bands that hold the barrels together, including the rivets in the feet. Not to be outdone, the newer rivets in the upper part of the table are the same as those used by the coopers who originally made the barrels. (We're big fans of rivets here at Greenjeans. Big thumbs up on that detail, guys!)

The top of the table is available in either the wine-stained wood or with the cooper's brand mark, your choice.

We've had LOTS of requests for a table to go with the chair, and I'm so excited that McLeod has designed such a great piece! It's a table "worthy of the finest stem ware, yet perfectly comfortable with jelly jar tumblers." And like the chairs, it works indoors or outdoors.

Our first order is on its way, and they will be priced at around $235 (provided shipping costs are as we expect.) If you want one right away, call or email us to reserve it. I have a feeling they're gonna be HOT!

(Thanks, Kristy & Whit!)

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans. Image courtesy of Whit McLeod Furniture.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Greenjeans @ Brooklyn Flea: Week Deux

Yesterday we set up shop once again at the Brooklyn Flea. It was chilly and overcast, but mercifully it didn't rain and wasn't as cold as last week. Lots of people came out once again and the mood was one of festive discovery.

We weren't as insane-busy this week, so Lumin and I got to observe the crowd more. (That's us at the top. You can see the fab vendor apron from Punkinhead I scored on Etsy! Lumin's, by Yoopers, is also fab but isn't visible here.)

I have decided that the Flea, besides presenting a smart, engaging assortment of vendors from vintage furniture to delicious waffles, is one of the best places for people-watching in the whole city. I held my camera on my knee for a while and snapped some candid pics of people checking out our booth. Here's a peek from the inside!

At the end of the day, we kinda felt like this table...

... and I slept like a rock, but we're still excited to do it again next weekend!

If it's sunny, we'll be featuring all things Shaker for week 3... Stay tuned!

Posted and photos by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Week 2 at Brooklyn Flea - Spring Cleaning

The theme for our booth at the Brooklyn Flea tomorrow is Spring Cleaning! Here's what you'll find:

Handmade brooms by students of Berea College (shown here)

Baskets by Ray Lagasse

Raku finger puppets and wall tiles by Jane Kaufmann
(to brighten up your house!)

Porcelain seed vases by Mary Anne Davis
(for spring blossoms)

Natural soaps by Patience Jones/Have Some Patience

We'll again bring wine barrel folding chairs by Whit McLeod, wooden toys by Frank Ridley, and Solmate Socks by The Sock Lady because they were all such a hit last weekend!

Next week, we're planning to focus on Shaker-inspired furniture. We'll bring Brian Braskie's gorgeous chairs, and will also offer some VERY SPECIAL PRICES on side tables and dovetailed totes (which are like boxes with handles).

And the following week (or so) we'll be sharing our booth with Enchanted Lion Books of Red Hook to offer their wonderfully illustrated children's titles!

I'm working on getting some kind of display case so I can start offering jewelry, too...

So stay tuned to learn more about all that!

In other news, the much-anticipated New York Times coverage of the Flea posted today, for those of you who are curious to know what Guy Trebey and the Paper of Record thought about it...

And thanks to Dumbo NYC Blog and the New York Public Library's Blog for mentioning Greenjeans in their coverage of the Flea!

See you tomorrow, and pray for clear skies!

Posted and photo by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What I Haven't Been Blogging About

I have been so overwhelmingly busy the past couple weeks with freelance work and Greenjeans work, I feel that I've totally neglected blogging (not to mention drinking enough water and working out). I have a million ideas of things to blog about, but haven't had enough time!

For example, I am becoming more and more disgusted with attempts to commodify the green movement by selling crappy "reusable" goods. I received the latest issue of Vanity Fair yesterday, their third "green issue," to find a red plasticy shopping bag from Target inside, presented in a recycled paper envelope (shown here). Great, I thought. Something else to feel so guilty about throwing away that I'll stick it in the closet along with the 50o other reusable bags I have, even though I'll probably never use it. What a waste! And what's up with marketing synthetic products made in China as "green?" How does that add up exactly? (And please don't tell me I should use it to like knit a belt or something. I love that some people are great at making things out of unwanted fabrics. But why should I spend my time to come up with arbitrary uses for stuff I didn't want in the first place?! Like I'm not already strapped enough for time.)

Something else I haven't blogged about but meant to: I've noticed that some of the major art fairs have stopped using their opening night galas as benefit parties for deserving non-profit arts institutions. SOFA is no longer benefiting the Museum of Arts and Design, and the recent Armory Show threw it's big opening, but not to raise money for its usual beneficiary, MoMA. So they're charging huge fees to attend the opening night previews, but then pocketing the funds? It's like breaking some sort of unwritten code. What gives?

I've also been dying to respond to the craft debate that I mentioned here a while back. I started writing my own response but haven't been able to finish it, and so haven't said a thing about it. I still intend to. One of these days...

Ditto for the fantastic new issues of American Craft Magazine which completely inspired me, but that I've not been able to respond to here. Yet.

All this is not to mention the wonderful new things that have arrived at Greenjeans recently, including some killer new jewelry by Connie Verrusio and Melle Finelli, and FINALLY wooden blocks by Frank Ridley, none of which I've blogged about.

So, there's a little taste of what's been on my mind, if not on the blog! Hopefully now that the freelance project is over (as of literally a half hour ago), I'll be able to spend more time here.

Meanwhile, hope you have an excellent weekend, and maybe we'll see you at the Brooklyn Flea on Sunday!

Posted and photo by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pictures from 1st Brooklyn Flea

Recovered now from the first Brooklyn Flea and our subsequent blitz trip to NH, I have finally looked at the pictures I took on Sunday. I think I was too overwhelmed to take many good ones, but luckily others did, including Kathy Malone of fofolle who sneaked up behind me to take this shot in my fuzzy pink Chia Hat, and the one of Lumin and I in the booth, below. The blog Dumbo NYC posted great ones, too, especially of the crowd.

Without further ado!

Lumin and I womanning our booth. Jae made the sign. It is actually blue masking tape on board. He was going to paint in the letters, but ran out of time. So we hung it anyway. We may paint it yet, but it looks kinda good just the way it is... (Thank you, Kathy!)

Lumin tells a customer about the wooden toys by Greenjeans fave Frank Ridley. Flea shoppers snapped them up all day.

Other vendors included Re/Dress with their fantastic vintage dresses.

Our booth neighbors Daniel and Sylvana Rossi of Organic Light Sculptures showed amazing bamboo and LED light creations Daniel makes in his Brooklyn studio. They captured a lot of attention.

Bamboo flower lights that plug into your computer's USB port, by Organic Light Sculptures.

Flea co-founder (and Mr. Brownstoner) Jonathan Butler, left, looks through a bin of beautiful photography presented by the Fort Greene Photography Organization. Greenjeans' friend and member Marcia Lloyd is there at the right.

I loved the incredible collection of fabulously chic/ugly mid-century West German art pottery from GinFor's Odditiques.

This is just a teeny tiny sliver of the first Brooklyn Flea. Twenty thousand people passed through the gates during the day! Some of the food vendors had lines 30 people long! There were whoopie pies for sale! It was a blast!

I hope you'll be able to come see for yourself one of these weeks -- it's running every Sunday all spring and summer!

Photos (unless otherwise noted) and posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Brooklyn Flea - brief report

The Brooklyn Flea went great today! Despite the chill, scads of people came out to see what this new outdoor market is all about. The energy was upbeat and friendly, and we were busy all day. From all accounts, the inaugural day of the Flea was a huge success!

Lumin helped me work the booth and we had lots of fun handing out postcards and introducing Greenjeans to hundreds of new people. Many friends stopped by, too. In fact, it seemed like half of Brooklyn, and a sizable chunk of Manhattan, came to the Flea today. I've heard it'll be covered in Thursday's NYTimes Style section...

I didn't get much time to look around, but I did take a quick turn around the schoolyard: The mix of 200 vendors at this market is really interesting and varied -- everything from screenprinted baby rompers to architectural antiques, with indie craft, photography, vintage clothes, and LPs in between. And lots of other great finds. It's part flea market, part craft fair, part bake sale, and it rocks!

Huge props to the extraordinarily capable team of Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby. With the help of their excellent, organized crew, things went beautifully today and I hope they are finally going to get a good night's sleep tonight after many months of enormous effort to organize this event!

I have more to report and a bunch of pictures, but I'm so exhausted I can't rally to post links or pictures right now, even though Kathy Malone just emailed me some great ones of hers. I will amend this post in the next couple days with pics and links for you...

In the morning it's off to NH to pick up some Shaker chairs. We're closed on Tuesday, but stay tuned for more Wednesday...

Thanks to everyone that came by today. More later!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

This Sunday at the Flea (week 1)

Every week, Greenjeans will offer work by different artisans and artists at our booth at the Brooklyn Flea. This weekend we're in booth B-11.

Featured this Sunday:

Natural handmade soaps by Patience Jones (Have Some Patience, New York, NY)

Classic wooden toys by Frank Ridley (Different Drummer Workshop, Solon, ME)

For maps, directions, and more information, visit the Brooklyn Flea's website.

Hope to see you on Sunday!

(And remember -- we are still open Sundays in Park Slope, but this week will close at 5:00.)

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

T-3 Days Until the Brooklyn Flea (& New Crop...)

Wow, the Brooklyn Flea is right around the corner!!

I went to City Quilter yesterday and bought some beautiful fabric to make into a table cover. (It was so hard to choose, they have so many great prints and the staff is incredibly patient and helpful!) Now I just have to hem it... (will I have time before Sunday, or will it be a tape job?!)

I also got a fabulous new haircut yesterday (that's a self-portrait above, and a before-picture below), so you'll have to come see how I look with super-short locks... Miss Lumin, who will be helping me at the booth, recently completely shaved off her long golden curls, and I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure she looks way chic. I guess it's all about fresh starts this spring!

Now we just have to make our sign, finalize our selections to bring, and pray our new postcards are finished in time.

If you're planning to come to the Flea by subway, note that the trains are a little messed up into Brooklyn this weekend, so check the subway service change info online before you head out.

But the weather looks like it's going to hold out, which is good news!

If you can't make it on Sunday, no worries -- the Flea runs every Sunday all summer long, and we'll be there for at least the month of April, and hopefully all summer, too. So if we don't see you on Sunday, we hope to see you there soon!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Announcing Launch of Greenjeans Globalization Initiative!!!

After three years in business selling handmade work by independent American and international artisans, we have decided that it is time to expand our business model in order to grow.

So today we are launching the Greenjeans Globalization Initiative which will allow us to diversify our offerings and significantly lower our prices.

In order to accomplish this, we are going to start buying only goods "handmade" overseas by companies committed to utilizing child labor, coal-fueled sweatshop factories, and plenty of nonrenewable resources.

We will, at the same time, be severing all ties with the independent artisans you've come to know and love, but don't worry -- we're exporting all their designs to the overseas factories and will sell the "authentic knock-offs" at bargain-basement prices!

We're putting 110% effort behind this new plan, which is sure to be a big win-win-win!

So join us in our new effort to "just say no" to handmade, and say YES to the Greenjeans Globalization Initiative! Because it's high time we all embrace the Industrial Revolution, before it's a thing of the past...

Greenjeans' new "studio/workshop."

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Cartoon by Married to the Sea, sourced here.
Image of sweatshop in Vietnam sourced here.