How did you start in the Handmade community?
We (Brown Bag Books), have been doing pop up events with-in the handmade community for over twelve years now (gasp!), and it still feels like we’re just getting started. I also think that if you’re a ‘handmade kind of person’, it’s always been in you. So in that way I started as a kid making DIY, custom stickers and selling them out of the garage. But the real deal started when I became interested in doing something with books and their often times overlooked, amazingly vintage covers. That’s when I created Brown Bag Books, a kind of mobile book show, as I like to refer to it as. Like a librarian in reverse, I started deconstructing books, as well as collecting them for our constantly growing book collection. I then stated making cool books into a kind ‘ideal journal’ for someone who is both a writer and an avid reader. Early on I started to save the ‘innards’ as I like to call them, pages and pages of amazing illustrations found in older books, cookbooks, kids books, whatever I found to be eye catching, and began making unique, one of a kind cards from them. It’s understood that we are all moving towards a digitized world, but there some of us, many of us actually, who still need these kinds of unique, handmade items to help us … feel right in the world. It takes a lot of work to make the dis-CARDS (as we like to call them), and now my niece helps. She’s got a great graphic design eye.
What or who inspires you?
Entrepreneurs inspire me. And really, anyone working in the arts, musicians, chefs, painters, film-makers, writers, they’re all entrepreneurs really. I have a background in teaching as well (hence the book love?), and I found myself teaching students not to follow others, not to go for the ‘safe bet’ in their lives, which often times isn’t. I would always say, “Do what you love,” to young people, so I think the people who I admire are those you can tell are doing what they love. Sometimes when I’m having it tough, something didn’t work out, etc., I’ll listen to Radiohead and think man, thank goodness these guys are doing what they love. Music, a great movie, an amazing book – the idea of doing what you love inspires me. And when you’re doing what you love, it feels like everything is in its right place.
What makes your work unique and truly your own?
Our customers, friends, family, people who happen to find us at an event, or even those who follow us on Instagram can tell that my passion is for books, in any way, shape, or form. My two passions are for reading, and writing and everything that we (the business), creates goes into promoting those two fundamental pursuits. I am a book nerd through and through and people notice that upon their first visit. I love to hear someone in our booth say, “Boy, somebody around here sure loves books …” Heck yes! Because that is exactly what I want to promote, book love. As people who are creating something unique for the world to see, can we ever explain why or how we got there? Sometimes, but I do think you should be able to see the special quality of a presentation, and know that it came from someone’s passion.
What can we expect to see from you at Jackalope?
You can expect to see one of the best, highly curated, small collections of books concentrated in one place. We choose books specific for each event, so in the case of Jackalope, art, design, textiles, hard to find cookbooks, vintage, classics, anything that we think pertains to the discerning crowds at Jackalope Pasadena. We like discerning people, that means someone cares about what they purchase, that its meaningful. And that’s a great thing.
We’ll also be highlighting our handmade creations; Rescued book journals made especially for Jackalope, and our dis-CARDS, which we’ve been saving up as well. Oh, and anything with Pasadena on it. We love local history. Book nerds love history, I don’t know why.