wander blog

Turning Salvaged Barn Wood into Beautiful Trays May 18, 2017 15:28

It has been waaaaay too long since our last maker interview. So without further adieu let's kick things off with a new maker at Wander, Samantha Hartman of Infinite Abyss. Her gorgeous serving trays are meticulously crafted from salvaged and 100-year-old barn wood in a small town in Wyoming. 


We updated a few of our questions, but the idea is the same. We want to know how these amazing makers got their start and what inspires them. Samantha's story is a great one. She is basically the most creative person ever: graphic design, sewing, woodworking, you name it. 

Q: What did you do before founding Infinite Abyss?

A: I founded Infinite Abyss back in 2009 but it was a very unorganized collection of whatever I felt like making at the time. I streamlined down to sewing and for years I created bags and purses from vintage fabrics. When I moved from Pennsylvania to Wyoming a few years ago, I took a break and turned to woodworking as a creative outlet and haven't looked back since. Aside from Infinite Abyss, I am a graphic designer.


Q: What inspired you to start making your products?

A:  A lot of my inspiration comes from using reclaimed materials in my work because I just love the history and interesting characteristics that they possess. They are a great way to make a unique, one of a kind item that no one else has. When I first started making serving trays, I was just experimenting with different colors and patterns from a haul of old lath I got from someone tearing down a barn. After rearranging things a few times, I created the Aztec pattern tray and it was a huge hit.


Q: How did you come up with the name for your company?

A: The name for my company comes from the movie Garden State, when Zach Braff says, "Good luck exploring the Infinite Abyss." Since I use reclaimed materials a lot in my designs, I like to think of that as the so-called 'infinite abyss' and I am the one doing the exploring to create new pieces and bring those materials back to life.


Q: What do you listen to or watch (i.e. music, shows, nature sounds) while you create?

A: When I am working in my office, I either listen to webinars or put on Spotify. My music taste is usually more indie or electronic, but sometimes I like to just throw on some rap and get it done. When I am out in the shop, it's the plain old radio. It is usually too loud with the tools and everything going so the music is just background noise. I learned real fast that if I try to watch tv and work on the computer, I don't get anything done.


Q: Do you have a favorite product? If yes, which one?

A: My favorite product is the Aztec Tray. It was the one that got me started on this ride and it's my favorite to make. I love how clean and classic it is and it looks great in any color.

We love the Aztec Tray too! You can check it out in three color combos, along with Samantha's Arrowhead and Mountain Trays on the Wander Truck or here in our online shop.

And if you find Samantha as inspiring as we do, be sure to check out her new book, releasing this fall, called Wood Pallet Wonders. It's a DIY book on how to build 20 different home decor and storage pieces from wood pallets. 

Art Student Makes the Leap to Entreprenuer September 14, 2016 12:35

Rachel Elise Weekdayer Cross Body Bags are a big hit at Wander. We love the fresh patterns and bold mix of colors and neutrals!


The designer behind the brand is Rachel Aughtry. She started out sewing bags, added screen printing to her tool belt, and also opened a shop--The DIME Store, with a friend--to highlight both her Rachel Elise brand and more than 70 other local makers. If you're ever in Denton, Texas, stop in to check out all the ways Rachel is a total girl boss!


Recently we caught up with Rachel for a short interview, to learn more about how she got started and where she hopes to take the brand in the near future. Here are her answers:

Q: What did you do before founding Rachel Elise?

A: I actually started Rachel Elise while I was still in college--so I didn't do a whole lot before then. I had been sewing (including a lot of bags for myself and my friends!) since around the age of 10, when my mother taught me the basics. As an art student in college, I wanted a creative outlet outside of my class work, and also wanted a job with flexible hours, so trying out an Etsy shop seemed like a win-win. 


Q: What inspired you to start making your products?

A: I covered this a little bit with the last one, but as Rachel Elise grew (and after I read about a million "Quit Your Day Job" articles on Etsy), I realized that right when I graduated was going to be my best chance to try my hand at being self-employed. My gamble paid off and five years after taking that leap from school to self-employment, my husband was also able to quit his job to join the Rachel Elise team and the self-employed life! 


Q: Explain Rachel Elise in five words or less.

A: Designed, Printed, and Stitched 


Q: What has been the highlight of your year so far and what is your goal for Rachel Elise in the remainder of 2016?

A: Well, it's hard to top your partner in life becoming your partner in business! Having my husband on the team has been really amazing for both of us. Last year I made the transition to mostly hand screen printed bags, so our goal for the rest of this year is to really fill out the color and print combinations of our online store and then hopefully add some new prints in later this year and in early 2017! 



We love a good maker story and hope you do too! Be sure to check out the full assortment of Rachel Elise bags at Wander (including some new styles just added for Fall).

An Interview with Tori T. Yattaw from Maine Bags & Goods July 19, 2016 11:18

Maine Bags & Goods is a new line, recently added to the Wander Truck. People always ask me how I find the artists that I carry on the website and the truck. In the last year, I have come across or been pitched lots of great, new work through Instagram. For Maine Bags & Goods, I spotted this image in my feed and knew these bags would be perfect for Summer and for Wander.


I just love the unique, screen printed rope design and the fact that these bags are light and bright in color, but include a vinyl overlay to protect them from stains.


I spoke with designer and company owner Tori T. Yattaw about her products and how she started the company. Here's what she said:

Q: What did you do before founding Maine Bags & Goods?

A: While I was developing MB&G, I was also the Controller and Human Resource Manager for a manufacturing corporation. People are surprised when they find out I have a BS in Accounting.


Side note: Don't you just love Tori's dogs, Jackson and Georgia?


Q: What inspired you to start making your products?

A: I am primarily a self-taught artist. My mediums of choice were oils (I did huge oil paintings) and charcoals. I did many charcoals of vintage Vogue covers. I have been a bag "collector" aka hoarder for as long as I can remember and thought it would be fun to put some of my designs on bags. I originally started out hand painting all of the designs. My popular Mermaid Collection was inspired by the charcoals of the Vogue covers. I learned the basics of sewing in Home Economics in High School and eventually taught myself how to screen print (I couldn't keep up with the orders doing hand painting).


Q: Explain Maine Bags & Goods in five words or less.

A: A memorable, functional, quality bag.


Q: What has been the highlight of your year so far and what is your goal for Maine Bags & Goods in the remainder of 2016?

A: The highlight of my year has been the number of shops that have reached out to me to carry my lines - especially the ones who saw someone with my bag and made a point to find out who made it and contact me. For the remainder of 2016, my sketch book is full of ideas and I hope to keep getting them out there.


Thanks for reading this interview with Tori from Maine Bags & Goods. Shop the Rope Collection.



An Interview with Erin from Umbrella Collective February 10, 2016 12:06

Erin Sim is the maker behind Umbrella Collective's leather bags.


Chances are, if you've shopped on the Wander Truck, you may have stopped to admire the incredibly soft leather, classic blue and white stripe linings, or simple yet elegant shapes of these bags.



The bags all have simple, functional designs. From her Portland, Oregon studio, Erin seeks to create practical goods that honor modesty and simplicity




She says the goal of Umbrella Collective is to provide basic and ordinary design for everyone, everyday, everywhere.

We carry bucket bags, totes, crossbody bags and coin purses in a camel, navy and black color pallet. The bucket bags are by far the most popular and I have customers return all the time to show me how well their bucket bag has worn and how much they love the look of the vegetable tanned leather strap as it ages.


In keeping with our 2016 theme of interviewing our makers, I asked Erin a few questions. Here are her answers.


Q: What did you do before founding Umbrella Collective?

A: I graduated from Architecture school and moved to Portland. Finding
a job was a lot harder than I anticipated.


Q: What inspired you to start making your products?

A: Being fresh out of school, in a new environment, with little experience, made it all the more difficult. So I taught myself to sew and started experimenting with canvas and leather. I've always loved bags so why not try to make them?


Q: Explain Umbrella Collective in five words or less.

A: An exploration of necessary goods.


Q: What is your goal for Umbrella Collective in 2016?

A: My goal for Umbrella Collective in 2016 is to make it to 2017!


Thanks for reading this interview with Erin from Umbrella Collective. Shop the full collection of bags here.

An Interview with Kathy from Earth-In Canteen February 03, 2016 11:06

Earth-In Canteen creates beautiful, ceramic water bottles, handmade from California clay and certified lead-free, non-toxic glazes.

The bottles are much lighter and sturdier than you might expect. Glazes include stunning blues, purple and yellow, and the bottles are finished with a cork top.


I personally use a turquoise bottle on a regular basis, stowing it in my tote bag or the side pocket of my backpack when I'm on the Wander Truck.

I was curious how Kathy and her husband, Rick, got started making this product. So I asked them my favorite four questions. Here are her answers:


Q: What did you do before founding Earth-In Canteen?

A: Rick and I co-founded Klean Kanteen, the original stainless steel water bottle. Rick is also a raft guide.


Q: What inspired you to start making your products?

(Sidenote: Isn't there son, George, the cutest?)

A: We wanted to collaborate with fellow Klean Kanteen co-founder Robert Seals on a 'made in the USA' bottle and ceramic was a natural and unique choice. It's been an awesome, feel-good experience.


Q: Explain Earth-In Canteen in five words or less.

A: Stoneware, Sustainability, Made in California.


Q: What is your goal for Earth-In Canteen in 2016?

A: We have a few big ones: 1. Continue talking about the value of choosing American made products. 2. Introduce new designs to easily replace everyday single-use containers or re-usables that are made in China.


Thanks for reading this interview with Kathy from Earth-In Canteen. Be sure to check out their water bottles in four gorgeous glazes!