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product development

Maker Stories

P is for Personalization – and Patricia Carlin, and Product Development!

October 31, 2016

We’ve long been fans of artist Patricia Carlin. We feature many of her beloved products in our assortment, and they’ve delighted so many people with their whimsy and personal feel. We (and our customers) just couldn’t get enough of Patricia, so our product development team worked with her to create this extra special Personalized My Alphabet Book.

Personalized My Alphabet Book

The book is tailor-made from start to finish. The cover features your child’s name and a charming illustration of an animal that starts with the same letter (Liam gets a lion, Wyatt a wallaby, Everett an elephant, etc). Inside, they’ll find a little note from the same animal pal explaining why they love their shared first letter — “L is also for lollipops! And library! And leapfrog!”

A is for Alligator, B is for Bear

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Maker Stories

Inside the Designers’ Studio
with UncommonGoods’ Product Development Team

September 16, 2016


UncommonGoods Product Development Team

UncommonGoods’ Product Development Team: Carolyn Topp (Director of New Business & Product Development), Elisha Janas (PD Associate Designer), Emily Reside (Senior Product Designer), Tiffany Jyang (Senior Product Developer), and Morgan Tanner (Senior Production Manager), photo by Emily Dryden

Each month, we have the privilege of bringing you a look inside an artist or designer’s creative space. Sometimes we hop on a train and head someplace nearby in Brooklyn, sometimes we hit the road to see friends a little farther from New York City, and every now and then a jet-setting contributor will helps us feel a little closer to a studio that seems worlds away. These adventures are always entertaining and inspiring, and they give us chances to get to know the people who make the goods we sell a little bit better. 

While planning some upcoming Studio Tours and reminiscing about the many great experiences I’ve personally had seeing where our products are made and meeting the people behind them, something occurred to me: We make products. Right here at UncommonGoods, a team of product designers, developers, and managers is at work coming up with brand new uncommon creations. 

I realized that despite all of the studios I’ve personally visited, the folders of photos from other folks’ tours I’ve sorted through, and the blog posts I’ve edited, I still haven’t given our readers a look at the place where we develop our very own designs. But that’s about to change. Welcome to this behind-the-scenes look at our Brooklyn office, where you’ll see works in progress, inspiration and advice from our Product Development team, and even a quote from The Boss (Springsteen, that is; not Dave Bolotsky).

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Gift Guides

Our Favorite Products This Week: Jewelry Edition

May 2, 2018

With more than 4,000 uncommon goods to choose from, you might need some help finding your new favorite things. Each week, we’ll round up a mix of the brand new, the tried-and-true, and our personal picks. This week, we’re narrowing down the list a little more, just in time for Mother’s Day!  Our Jewelry Buyer, Sharon, picked out a few of her favorite jewelry pieces and told us what she loves most about them.

1. Necklaces that showcase origami animals in sterling silver.

Origami Menagerie Necklaces | UncommonGoods

Sue Beatrice created these super fun origami necklaces exclusively for UncommonGoods. I love how each one is packed with personality. They bring me joy and make me smile.Sharon Hitchcock, UncommonGoods Jewelry Buyer

Origami Menagerie Necklaces – $72 Buy Now »


2. Bangles that let you keep those you love close to your heart.

Personalized All Heart Bangle Set | UncommonGoods

I’m crazy for these pretty bangles, each personalized with a name of a loved one, and linked together with a golden heart.

Personalized All Heart Bangle Set – $70-175 Buy Now »


3. Lowercase letters cast from real leafy twigs.

A to Z Letter Necklaces | UncommonGoods

The designer of this collection, Nancy Nelson, is inspired by nature and collects bark and twigs on her walks. These lovely initial necklaces were cast from bits of twig and leaves.

A to Z Letter Necklaces – $78 Buy Now »


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Gift Guides

11 Products by (and for)
Amazing Women

March 5, 2018

Here at UncommonGoods, we’re always proud to salute our makers, whether that means celebrating artists new to our assortment or visiting the studios of longtime collaborators. This year, in honor of International Women’s Day, observed annually on March 8, we’re taking a moment to share words of wisdom and encouragement from the women behind some of our most empowering, meaningful goods. Read on for more from sharp women just like you (or your mother, or your sister, or your wife, or your very best friend) and help us toast what makes UncommonGoods such a special place: our makers—and the love they put into the stuff they create.

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The Uncommon Life

Our Products

January 21, 2015

UncommonGoods | Our Products
We’re passionate about creative product design, so before bringing each new item into our assortment we make it a point to ask: “What makes this an uncommon good?”

Truly Uncommon Designs

The first part of that answer is easy. Every creation we carry incorporates an element of creativity. Truly uncommon goods meet this goal in more ways than one. We’re on the lookout for designs that serve a purpose, solve a problem, stun us with their beauty, or make us wonder why no one thought of it before.

Truly Uncommon We’re also proud to offer products that are handmade with impeccable craftsmanship and that are made from interesting, unusual, reclaimed, or recycled materials. While we welcome fresh designs with great materials stories, we don’t carry products made with fur, feathers, pearls, or leather.

People Behind Our Products

Our buyers don’t just evaluate new goods based on materials and function. They also take a deeper look at where each design comes from. We’re interested in how it’s made, who’s making it, and the process that leads to the finished product.

People Behind Our ProducsWe proudly carry hundreds of handmade pieces, but some of our products are manufactured. Our team looks at new goods from many angles, and sometimes we decide to carry something because it’s truly unique, even if it isn’t physically assembled by individual artists. Many of our pieces start out as ideas in the minds of great designers and go through production before landing with us. Others are carefully crafted by hand—whether it’s by a collective of artisans in the US or abroad, a designer working with a team of assistants, or by a single artist painstakingly creating each piece.

Some of the people behind our products are right here, on our Product Development team. Our team is always working to develop innovative designs and to form partnerships with the producers, artists, and designers that help us make new exclusive goods.

Getting the Goods

As we work to grow our assortment of products designed in-house, we’re also making sure to balance our own designs with products from around the world.
When our buying team isn’t traveling the United States visiting trade shows, they’re scouring the web looking for new stuff. They’re searching blogs, crowdbacking sites, artists’ portfolios, and other nooks and crannies of the internet to find our next best sellers.
Getting the GoodsMany original pieces get discovered by our buyers, who look for everything from jewelry and accessories, to children’s clothing and toys, to art and home décor—to everything else uncommon! But in some cases, outstanding products actually come to us. Artists are welcome to submit their work for consideration through our online form at any time.

Growing Assortment, Growing Community

With every new creation we encounter, we continue to evaluate our products to make sure they meet our uncommon criteria. Whether the latest uncommon good is developed by our team with the help of one of the many artists we work with, discovered by the keen eye of a member of our buying team, or submitted through our online form, we know that selling the finished product is only one step in continuing to build a fantastic assortment.

We’re dedicated to carrying the most unique products out there, but we’re only as successful as our artists and designers. We know that we can’t bring the best designs to our customers without a strong network of people to create them—so we’ll never stop supporting the people behind our products, even as our assortment continues to grow.

Shop the UncommonGoods Assortment

Maker Resources

4 Tips for Responsible Materials and Supplier Sourcing

May 10, 2016

How to Take the Leap from Maker To Business Owner

As the Senior Production Manager here at UncommonGoods, my job is to oversee the connection of design ideas with manufacturing resources to create new products.

Thomas Edison claimed that genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. From my experience, product development warrants a formula of its own. To carry an idea through to a finished product you should start with a spark of inspiration, then add in equal parts diligence and thoughtfulness, especially when it comes to sourcing.

I’ve pulled together the following considerations for responsible material and supplier sourcing inspired by my experience partnering with our makers on new product development. I hope these thoughts will help other small business owners navigate the rough waters of sourcing.

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The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Emily Reside

September 11, 2015


Emily Reside, UncommonGoods Senior Product Designer 

My hometown…
Springfield, Illinois.

I’m inspired by…
Changes in scenery, fall weather, and I’m extra inspired after a good workout.

The word or phrase that best describes me…

When I’m not working, I’m probably…
Trying to get my dog, Moose, to hang out with me. I can be very needy.

When I was little, I dreamed of…
Marrying Phil Collins. Even as a four year old I understood what’s good.

My guilty pleasure is…
Reading the comments on web articles more thoroughly than the actual article.

If I could throw the perfect party…
Not entirely sure but it would involve cheese. All of the cheeses.

An uncommon fact about me…
I absolutely refuse to eat any blue foods other than blueberries.