Over the holidays my good friend John urged me to sell T-shirts. So, I got a batch of high quality Made in USA shirts and got them screen printed - front and back - right here in Brooklyn. 'Cause they just gotta be Made in Brooklyn! Available on Made in Brooklyn Tours while supplies last. Get 'em while they're hot!
I do private tours, but this one was a little more personal. You see, Howard "The Rock" grew up in my neighborhood during the Great Depression and this Made in BENSONHURST Tour was for his 85th birthday. As a proud Bensonhurstian, it was an honor to give him and his family a very special time together. Lucky for me Howard felt like he was back home again - otherwise he might have decked me. ;) Here we are noshing on pastries at old school neighborhood favorite Savarese, established 1918.
Noble Plateware was a regular on Made in Brooklyn Tours. Another victim of Brooklyn's roller coaster real estate ride, the business I watched expand over the last few years was forced to leave DUMBO. But Wynne Noble didn't leave Brooklyn. Now in the shadow of the Gowanus expressway rather than the Manhattan Bridge's she's determined to continue to grow her business. In fact, she's so busy she's looking for help. That's the (Brooklyn) spirit!
Making a product - from design to manufacture - is a creative process. And featuring the art of someone like Craig Anthony Miller (CAM) on the package makes that more apparent. The bar of chocolate or bottle of rum itself becomes more valuable as a work of art - one that people may be willing to pay a premium for. The art and artist are appreciated by the maker and, indirectly, all their customers.
As a business owner who's passionate about local makers it feels good to buy Made in USA. But that's not enough. My new CourierWare messenger bag has to do its job. It's Made in Vermont and it's perfect. High quality and even customized. In my experience smaller established businesses often make better products than the name brands and for less. I just make the effort to shop for them.
Happy Holidays everyone! This time of year you can see Brooklyn from space. 'Cause when Brooklynites decorate they may just get it - you guessed it - Made in Brooklyn. Lou Nasti at Mechanical Displays in East Flatbush sends his regards.
Many Brooklynites aspiring to start a business can trace their roots to other countries. It's back in the "Old Country" where they may draw inspiration and support. In fact, I formed Made in Brooklyn Tours after my own voyage of discovery to Sicily where I have family. A local trade, indigenous materials or ingredients there may be Brooklyn-ized here - and become a way to uniquely differentiate a skincare product line for example back home in the USA.
With all the ongoing waterfront development, Brooklyn emerges as a hub for bespoke furniture makers. They often use high quality, exotic materials sourced locally from demolished industrial buildings. Old-growth wooden beams and floorboards. Redwood from water towers. Even this highly durable and fire resistant Brazilian walnut (ipe) salvaged from the Coney Island boardwalk. The supply of this lumber makes it profitable for makers to upcycle furniture Made in Brooklyn.
The ties between Brooklyn and Manhattan go way back to the time of the Dutch. But the Industrial Revolution brought more rapid change. First steamboats, then bridges. The Williamsburg Bridge - the first major suspension bridge of steel - inextricably tied Manhattan's Lower East Side to North Brooklyn. Williamsburg radically changed - maybe as much as it did after NYC's 2005 rezoning of the historically industrial waterfront.
I met Wynne Noble at the now defunct DUMBO Arts Festival when she was primarily creating ceramic works of art. Since then, I've brought many tours to her studio and watched her business expand. Gradually she transitioned to making artful servingware for the restaurant trade and offering pottery classes. It's been wonderful. Here she celebrates her move to a fabulous new studio in Sunset Park. Best of luck Wynne!
Somethin's cookin' at HQ...
Hmmm... Somethin's cookin' at Made in Brooklyn Tours Headquarters...