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The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Values: Our Guiding Principles

November 6, 2019

What makes a workplace great? Your knee-jerk response might focus on salary and benefits, but we all know it’s more than that. Do you feel challenged? Are you encouraged to grow? Do you have a say in your company’s direction? Do you feel like it’s your company? Do you like your co-workers? We’ve had the goal of being a great place to work for a long time, but that can mean different things to different people. We realized that in order to actually make it happen and in turn become a stronger, more impactful business, we had to figure out what “great place to work” meant to us.

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Through discussions with our leadership, work with our human resources team and a trusted advisor, looking at the practices of businesses we admire, and a lot of feedback from team members across the company, we put who we want to be as an organization into words with our seven Guiding Principles.

Each of our Principles helps us define what we’re working to be as a company, and what we want to mean to the people who work here. In short, they’re a set of guidelines to keep us all moving in the same direction. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be differences of opinion expressed. In fact, the Principles are set up to empower folks around here to do just that.

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Gift Guides

Mother’s Day Gifts
for the Impossible-to-Shop-for Mom

April 15, 2019


Your mama taught you that you can do anything. “Just set your mind to it,” she said. Who knew she was setting you up to someday find her the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Sure, it’s not easy picking out something for the lady who already has everything (or claims she doesn’t want anything), but you CAN do it. Our list of gifts for the impossible-to-shop-for mom can help.
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Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studio with Jewelry Makers Cameron and Rebecca Stern

March 1, 2019

Rebecca and Cameron Stern in their Red Hook, Brooklyn, studio

I’ve talked to several creative people who have distinct memories of watching Mr. Rogers show us how crayons are made, so it didn’t surprise me when jewelry designer Rebecca Stern mentioned being inspired by the great Fred Rogers’ televised visits to interesting factories, where he gave curious kids a look behind the scenes. I even felt a little like I was in one of those videos when I visited Rebecca and her husband (and business partner) in their Red Hook, Brooklyn, studio. Their space is filled with tiny bits of inspiration, interesting models and miniatures, and plans to make their next imaginative designs.

If you’re one of those folks who remembers feeling a sense of wonder as you watched wax pour into metal molds as a kid, I think you’d feel the same way within the walls of the Sterns’ space. From watching images on Cameron’s computer screen materialize in the 3D printer, to trying to figure out how they get their detailed dioramas so darn small, to listening to stories of family explorations and adventures, every moment in the studio left me a little more intrigued than the last. Rebecca even made a few pieces while we were there. Watch our video below to see our own version of How It’s Made, then keep reading to learn how science influences the couple’s work, why they’ll never stop experimenting, and what it looks like when you put two very tiny giraffes in an Erlenmeyer flask.

Check out our video to see how the Sterns make their Sprinkles Heart Necklace and  Sprinkle Heart Stud Earrings

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Maker Stories

Meet Hannah and Nemo: Moving Mosaic Artists & #Vanlife Extraordinaires

February 1, 2019

Skillfully cutting found aluminum cans into sequin-like disks and positioning them in beautiful art doesn’t sound easy. Make that art about four feet wide and construct it in the back of a van, and you’ve got yourself a whole new challenge. That’s what Hannah Dreiss and Nemo do when they create their Recycled Aluminum Moving Mosaics. When they’re not using their van as a studio, they’re literally taking the show on the road. They travel with their pieces from art show to art show, calling their van/studio home sweet home along the way. Read on to find out how cans became their main medium, how cancer brought them closer together, and how their favorite things about #vanlife.

Recycled Aluminum Moving Mosaic | UncommonGoods

Recycled Aluminum Moving Mosaic | UncommonGoods

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Gift Guides

Valentine’s Day Gifts
for Impossible-to-Shop-for Guys

January 23, 2019

Valentine’s Day is famous for hearts, flowers, and chubby little winged babies. That’s adorable and all, but we realize that some guys would rather get a useful gift than a cute one. So, we rounded up this collection of Valentine’s Day gifts to make shopping for your fella easier than deciphering a conversation heart. (URQT? LUV4EVR? Gr8GFTS4Him.)

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Gift Guides

16 Literary Gifts for Book Lovers

November 21, 2018

Some call them literati, bibliophiles, or even bookworms. But they’re not too concerned about those titles, ‘cus they’re busy browsing the shelves for titles from their favorite authors. That’s right, we’re talking about book lovers. You could pick up a copy of the latest best-seller or a literary classic to stuff in their stocking this year, but chances are they’ve already devoured it, cover to cover. Instead, try one of these selections from our library of gift ideas that are sure to read well with the well-read.

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