Archive for the ‘Sustainable Business’ Category

Artterro.com Sneak Peek

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

If you subscribe to our e-newsletter or follow us on Facebook, you might have seen some hints about an exciting development here at Artterro…we’re about to launch a new and improved website!  Not only that, but our online store is expanding to include crafting tools, extra Artterro supplies and new gift sets.

We think you’re going to love it!  Stay tuned for the big reveal on Monday.  For now, here are some sneak peeks of the homepage, blog and resources page.

Our beautiful new homepage slideshow

The new home of Artterro's Spark blog

Check out those categories! A one-stop shop for all your crafting and gifting needs!

Don’t forget, visit us on Monday for the actual launch–we’ll be sharing some very exciting coupon codes to celebrate!

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Earth Day message

Happy Earth Day from all of us here at Artterro!  This is one of our favorite holidays.  We like to celebrate it everyday, of course, but it’s awesome to have one day when everyone celebrates together.

This year Earth Day is extra special for us, because we just debuted our new and improved line of eco art kits.  We chose this week for a reason.  We wanted to highlight the fact that our concern and respect for the environment informs everything we do, every choice we make, and every product we develop.

When we started to redesign our packaging, our goal was to create a more attractive presentation for our customers and add more value to the product itself.  It can be difficult to add to a product without making it less eco-friendly, but that’s exactly what we set out to do.  We worked closely with our box producer, Green Bay Packaging, to design a 100% recycled, sturdy box in a fun shape.  We also added a 100% recycled inner tray that would help protect our materials and keep them organized while you work. The tray also allowed us to ditch the plastic bag that had previously held our materials–so exciting!

New boxes

Both the box and the tray can be re-purposed as bonus projects.  Turn the box into a special storage box for your art materials, a dollhouse, mailbox, or anything else you can imagine.  The tray makes a perfect frame for finished artwork.  Paint it gold for the museum masterpiece look!

bonus projects!

We printed glossy, recycled paper bands at Green Solutions Printing.  They have been printing our inserts since we started Artterro!  We love that they use wind power, recycled paper and soy ink, without sacrificing image quality one bit.  That was essential, since our new bands show off a ton of artwork we hope will inspire you!

Wire & Bead_samples

We also added extra eco materials, including more wool felt shapes, beads and jewelry findings, and useful tools like needle threaders and soy-foam pads for felting.  And we replaced our bead bags with a biodegradable version, which was a longtime goal of ours.

Whew!  That’s a lot of changes for the better.  We’re excited to share them and to celebrate Earth Day with you!  Thanks for reading.

A Look Back at Artterro’s Eco Packaging

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Did you know we have had over five different kind of packaging over the years?  Developing a product is a complicated process, and we’re always trying to improve and make our customers happy.

Packaging 2006 and 2007

Here are our first two packaging versions, back when our name was Arttogo (Art-to-go).  The one on the left is minimal in the extreme!  All the focus was on providing beautiful, quality materials, rather than a big fancy box.  At that point, Forrest was selling the kits mostly at community events and to friends and family.  The version on the right came about after she started working with Jennifer Conn.  Jen was then working as a freelance graphic designer, and now she is a co-owner and the Creative Director of Artterro.  The packaging was a big improvement, but still quite minimal and eco-friendly.

packaging 2008 and 2010

Here we have our redesigned inserts in 2008 (still in a reusable bag that hangs from a hook).  In 2010 we took a big step forward–we created a box that made our products look more like the special gifts they are, while still being eco-friendly and allowing customers to see exactly what they’re going to get.  Plus, it turned into a bonus project–a frame you can decorate to display your art!  Pretty fancy, huh?

You’ll have to stay tuned until Monday (aka Earth Day Eve) to see what our next big step forward looks like.  We couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.

Beautiful Materials Inspire Creativity

Friday, October 18th, 2013

We’ve been getting some exciting deliveries here at Artterro lately!
It’s always fun to see a big box of our amazing materials before they go into kits.  It reminds us an important part of our mission is to get artist-quality materials into the hands of kids.  Because if you really want them to develop creativity, artistic motivation and confidence, they need to work with supplies that inspire!  Like our gorgeous natural shell coin beads:

shell beads

That goes for adult artists too!  You don’t have to be extravagant but you do need to feel inspired to use the materials you buy so they don’t languish on the shelf.  We love to recommend artists and crafters mix it up with high-quality supplies and random recycled items.  For instance, paring our luscious, handmade (and 100% recycled) decorative papers with magazine clippings, newspaper, photos or even pieces of packaging can add up to an interesting mix of textures and patterns.

Handmade paper

There’s still time to stock up on the handmade paper in our Bookmaking Kit–FREE with any $50 purchase at www.artterro.com!  Just use coupon code FREEBOOK.  And, it’s never too early to start thinking about gifts for the holidays, or activities for the chilly, snowbound days to come.

What materials inspire you to create?

Top 5 Reasons to Go to the Green Festival!

Friday, May 11th, 2012

1. The Green Kids Zone!

This photo of the Chicago Green Festival can’t even capture all the fun being had:

- Artterro bookmaking project       – Story Time Yoga

- Hula hoops & balance boards     – Delicious snacks from Cliffbar

- Two very different petting zoos (one with fuzzy bunnies and one with less fuzzy millipedes, roaches, worms and tarantulas!)

2. Scary Styrofoam Monster!

It’s huge, right?  Actually, this big, unfriendly giant is made up of only a fraction of the Styrofoam containers that the New York city school system uses Every Single Day.  Now that is scary.  But it also seems like something that would be easy to fix, if enough people speak out about it.  The Green Festival is a great place to learn about problems while simultaneously brainstorming solutions and making connections with others who want to help.

3. Delicious Organic/ Fairtrade/ Handmade/ Heirloom/ Raw/ Nutritious FOOD!

There was something for everyone in Chicago, from raw lemon bars to vegan lasagna.  I think we sampled every brand of fair trade chocolate known to man.  Yum.

4. The message of “Less Consumerism and Better Consumerism.”

So many of us buy more than we need, wasting money, resources and space.  Events like the Green Festival remind us of the cost of excessive consumerism, and also give us great alternatives to consider.  Some of our favorites from the festival are Mata Traders for gorgeous fair trade dresses and accessories handcrafted by a women’s cooperative in India, Malia Designs for beautiful bags and wallets that support organizations dedicated to ending human trafficking, and Cliffbar, one of the event’s sponsors and a great green business role model.

5. Meeting future leaders of the Green Movement:Seeing so many kids running around the Green Festival, learning about their world and what they can do to protect it from harm, is so inspiring and hopeful!  These kids will grow up very aware of the challenges we face and they’ll have the tools they need to think of CREATIVE solutions!

Thanks to everyone at Green Festivals for organizing a wonderful event and inviting us to be a part of it.  You inspire us!

Let’s Kickstart Artterro Together!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Kickstarter Video Link

In case you missed the flurry of Facebook and Twitter updates, something exciting is happening at Artterro, and we need your help to make it a success!  Last week we launched a project that will connect us with a larger community of fans and supporters, boost sales, and help us grow our company.  It’s our Kickstarter Campaign featuring our very cool new video and lots of fantastic supporter rewards.

Not familiar with Kickstarter?  This “crowd-funding” website lets artists and creative companies bypass traditional banks and investors by going directly to their communities to find many backers.  Backers can give a little bit or a lot in exchange for a variety of unique rewards.  In our case, the rewards are various selections of Artterro kits at a great price.

So, why support Artterro via Kickstarter instead of ordering from our webstore or elsewhere?

  1. The infusion of sales will allow us to fund our next production run up front, which greatly improves our cash flow during our slowest season.
  2. This campaign will help us spread the word about Artterro.  Campaigns are designed to be easily shareable, so hopefully you’ll tell your friends and families, who will tell their friends and so on.
  3. When you support an up-and-coming business on Kickstarter, you’re voting with your dollars in favor of innovation, creativity and grassroots economic development.  We hope that you will explore lots of projects on Kickstarter.  We can all build the New Economy together!

We cannot do this without you.  We really need all our fans and supporters to help this campaign gain momentum and get off the ground fast!  Kickstarter is all or nothing, if we don’t reach our goal, we don’t get funded and no one is charged.  Here’s what you can do:

  • Click here to check out our campaign and very cool video
  • Pledge to our campaign
  • Link to our campaign on Facebook & Twitter
  • Forward this blog post to family, friends & co-workers

And please let us know what you think of this crowd-funding idea!   We hope that it will help us grow into a bigger, better, even more creative and sustainable Artterro.  Thank you for believing in us!

NY Gift Fair: Finding Our Niche

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

One of the coolest things about the New York International Gift Fair is how it promotes sustainable ideals and innovative products.  We were thrilled to have our Art Journal Kit and Wool Felt Bug Kit selected for the SustainAbility: Design for a Better World display, which meant being eligible for one of the exclusive Eco-Choice Awards.

SustainAbility Display

Only about half of the applicants were chosen for the display, so we felt incredibly honored to be included!

Here’s the bug habitat we made to show off our Wool Felt Bug Kit.

Art Bug Habitat

We also tried for the Best New Product with our Art Journal Kits.  Here they are in the Baby & Child display:

Although we didn’t take home any awards this time, it felt great to be recognized for our values along with our product design, and we left the gift fair feeling like we had connected with just the like-minded retailers we’ve been looking for.

We wrote orders for eco-boutiques on the hunt for sustainable, sophisticated gifts, museum stores looking for the next generation of arts and crafts for their art-loving customers and eclectic gift shops that are responding positively to consumer demand for US-made products.

Our Eco Art Kits were just what these buyers were looking for!  People told us over and over that they were grateful we were there.  We are proud to partner with so many stores that share our values.  Here are just a few of our newest retail partners:

The Guggenheim Museum

Fair Indigo

Contemporary Jewish Museum

greendesign

Green Ink

Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

We can’t wait to reach a whole new audience through these great accounts.

As always, if you have a favorite local store that you think should stock our kits, please tell the manager!  Or tell us and we’ll contact them for you.  Word-of-mouth is the best advertising for a small, sustainable business like ours!

Inspiring Girls to Dream Big!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

We hosted some delightful visitors this week.  Two of Forrest’s neighbors, Destiny and Claire, took two days out of their busy schedules to be volunteer entrepreneurs at Artterro.

Our ambitious and enterprising volunteers.

They learned the ins and outs of running a small business: taking orders, packaging and shipping product, making samples for store displays and, since this is the 21st century, blogging!  We armed them with a camera and notepad, and as you’ll see, they took great behind-the-scene shots and made some very interesting observations.  Without further ado, I present this entry from our guest bloggers, Destiny and Claire.

Writing and editing this post.

At the Artterro headquarters there are lots of hardworking people, making an effort to sell good products to you.

Hard workers

Shipping

They have lots of unique strategies for packing and shipping art kits to different stores.

The awesome kits in their boxes.

They use all natural products, including wood, glass, shell, bone, and seed beads.

Wonderful, natural beads.

Each of Artterro’s art kits has a basic design, but lots of different ways to switch it up and be creative yourself.  There are lot of different ways to express your creativity in art with Artterro’s art kits.  You can make something for your garden, with a garden art kit, or make a neat pattern in your jeans with natural felt.

Natural Felt

You could even add a nice colorful touch to your car by designing something  from a creativity kit to hang from the mirror.  Artterro sends their costumers samples with their orders, so that people in the stores can see how to make it.

Different Samples

More possibilities

A big thank you to Destiny and Claire for visiting our office, helping us make some beautiful samples and sharing their inspiring ideas.  We hope they had so much fun they’ll start their own businesses someday.   We also hope to invite many more girls to explore our office in the future.  The next generation of women needs to know that owning a business is a fun and creative challenge well within their reach.

Tell us in the comments if you have any ideas on how to encourage entrepreneurship in young women.  Let’s make it happen!

Artterro’s Eileen Fisher Adventure

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

We’re back from our whirlwind New York City trip!  We couldn’t wait to share some of our favorite moments with the Eileen Fisher company and our fellow grant winners, so here’s a sneak peak of what we were up to last week–making great new friends and learning from inspiring, sustainable business role models.

From the left–our three fellow grantees Holli Harris, Esmerelda Kent and Kari Erickson-Valenzuela, Eileen Fisher herself, Forrest and Jen.

They hosted 2 mini trade shows for current and past grant winners at both the downtown design center/showroom and at corporate headquarters. Here’s Jen at the Artterro table.

Here’s Forrest telling the Artterro story at the mini trade show in the yoga room of the Manhattan design offices.

Out for lunch near the headquarters in Irvington.

Fellow grantee, Holli Harris of HadleyStilwell (maker of stylish and practical nursing clothes for working moms).

The beautiful Eileen Fisher headquarters in Irvington, NY. We've never seen so many people happy to be at work!

All in all, it was an amazing trip, and in our next post we’ll let you in on some of the insights we gained and how our Artterro momentum will build as a result.

Eco-Supplier Spotlight: Shizen Design Handmade Papers

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

If you’ve tried our Creativity, Bookmaking and/or Art Dolls Kits, you’ve probably been struck by the beautifully-designed, vibrant paper they feature.

Shizen Design Handmade Papers

Wondering where we found such unique, high-quality paper (and what exactly makes it eco-friendly)?  Here’s the secret:

Shizen Design Handmade Papers

Shizen (which means “nature” in Japanese) imports all the paper in our kits.  But this is no ordinary paper!

Shizen Design Artisan

Shizen’s paper is handmade by artisans in India and Thailand.

Paper Making

It’s entirely composed of scraps from the Indian Garment Industry, making it 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper.

Pouring Paint

The paper-making process is completely pollution-free.

Paper Making

A fantastic husband-and-wife team owns the company.  Neil and Shelly do an amazing job working with their contacts abroad to bring this paper to the US, and Shelly designs all the glorious patterns herself.

Shizen Paper

Thanks for helping to make our kits so beautiful, Shizen Design!

Bookmaking Kit