It used to be that “incubator” meant a place where little chicks were hatched. Now, it means a place where product “makers” and their fledgling innovative businesses are nurtured with manageable rents and education on business basics like marketing, regulatory compliance, and bank loans as well as links to strategic partner and access to investors.
Monday, our Product Manager, Ellen Letchinger, and I visited the Brooklyn Incubator in south Williamsburg, New York in search of creative artisanal tabletop products to be offered on our new e-commerce site, The Storied Table. As with our EC catering, what we’ve been saying about The Storied Table is that small batch is the new luxury. We were on a search for creative “makers” who are limited in their product and limitless in their innovation.
Before getting to the Williamsburg incubator, Ellen and I first explored the Javits Center Home and Lifestyle Show and along with 30,000 plus attendees explored miles of booths. Stashed among all those booths, we discovered a few of those “maker” gems. We discovered, for instance, DeJong and Co. – we couldn’t resist their brand statement “We …represent a range of disciplines, perspectives and locations but are always working toward functional, beautiful design. Our goal as an interior design and home goods company is to create interactions that are graceful. All of our products are hand crafted with attention to everyday use. All of our spaces are designed for comfort and beauty. Our passion is to create the elevated everyday lifestyle.”
How perfect is that?? Offering functional beautiful design for elevating the everyday is the concept behind The Storied Table!!! We’re excited with the possibility of offering DeJong and Co. fabulous cutting boards and other products on our upcoming The Storied Table e-commerce site.
At the Javits Center, we also loved the graceful poetic ceramic stylings behind Isabel Halley’s ceramics. We’re going to love Isabel’s small handmade bowls at Entertaining Company as they are perfect for tasting delicate small portions. We will also be offering an array of these products online.
After the Javits Center, through the miracle of our trusty Hop Stop we then ventured further afield, on the “E” and “G” and over to the Williamsburg incubator. There we met with Claire, one of the co-owners at LuRu Home. Claire graciously showed us some sections of the eight floor 666,000 square foot former Pfizer Plant which has been transformed into a creative hub. As the incubator is a space breathing new life into what was an abandoned building, Claire and her partner, at LuRu Home, are reviving the 3000 year old indigo dye and soy paste resist printing technique of Nankeen, China. We’re excited about the prospect of co-designing table textiles with LuRu, from the revival of this ancient practice which is practiced by only a few Chinese families currently. Claire is part of the great story of revival and sustainability and we think our Storied Table clients will be excited about these vibrant patterns and historical story.
Over at the incubator we were introduced to natural dye foraging by the work of Liz Spencer, The Dogwood Dyer. We loved looking through Liz’s workbooks where she shows examples of fibers dyed with plants grown in streetside planters in central Brooklyn as well as wild plants she’s foraged with color potential in surrounding rural environments like upstate New York. As described on her website, everything from bark, to berries, to leaves & roots is used by Liz to create a diversity of rich & living colors. Her work is absolutely stunning and we can’t wait to commission a textile project for a very special client EC catering client as well as offer on The Storied Table site!!
Here at Entertaining Company, we aren’t in an “incubator” and we don’t have an incubator, although we do have lots of ovens. We are, however, all about developing new ideas for our clients and looking forward to hatching a few in the coming months for both Entertaining Company and The Storied Table.