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Editors’ Picks: A Roundup of Our Favorite Products

August 17, 2018

UncommonGoods Editors' Picks: A Roundup of Our Favorite Products

With more than 4,000 uncommon goods to choose from, it’s not easy to pick favorites. It’s certainly fun trying, though. Our blog team took a look through our collection of product roundups to make this list of the items that got us the most excited.

1. Jars that make growing herbs indoors easy.

Mason jars aren’t just cute, they’re also perfect planters for your hydroponic herb garden.

Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden – $20 Buy Now »

 

2. Animals that’ll keep your houseplants company.

Made from bendable brass-plated steel, these furry (and scaly!) friends adjust to hug the stems of your favorite indoor tree.

Plant Hanging Animals – $22.50 Buy Now »

 

3. Glasses that link two of our favorite things: wine and the stars.

Sure, you could take a look at the stars by walking outside at night, assuming you don’t live in a big city. But these glasses make for an even more fun way to track the location of each constellation.

Stargazing Wine Glass Set – $30 Buy Now »

 

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Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Visiting Brooklyn’s Largest Rooftop Farm

August 6, 2018

Brooklyn Grange Co-Founder Ben Flanner in their Brooklyn rooftop farm, photos by Theresa Hensley

What do you expect to see when you step foot on an urban rooftop? “A farm” probably isn’t high on the list, but if you make your way to the top of Building 3 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, you will, in fact, find yourself surrounded by edible greenery. That’s due in no small part to the work of Ben Flanner, President & Director of Agriculture at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, where the peppers and herbs that give our Rooftop Garden Hot Sauce its unique flavor are grown. Getting hungry?

The Brooklyn Grange fields atop a building in the Brooklyn Navy yard make up the world’s largest rooftop soil farm.

As if “President & Director of Agriculture” weren’t impressive enough, Ben’s also one of Brooklyn Grange’s co-founders; he started the venture with Vice President Anastasia Cole Plakias and Chief Operating Officer Gwen Schantz in 2010. Armed with a background in management consulting and financial marketing—neither of which, you may notice, are farming—Ben took quickly to his new line of work. “Creating more green spaces in cities is ecologically, socially, and economically valuable on so many levels,” he says. “Personally, though, the idea to start farming was spurred by my love of agriculture, vegetables, and all of the many challenges and hats worn by a farmer.”

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Maker Stories

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

July 10, 2018

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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Design

Coffee Brake: The Manual Three-in-One Coffeemaker

October 21, 2017

Coffee can be a complicated thing. Unless you’re drinking decaf, it signals speed and gulp-and-go morning motivation. It’s no accident that many American offices provide a steady stream of java, as if to say coffee equals productivity. But the slow food movement has put the brakes on preparing this fast-lane beverage. “Slow coffee is really asking folks to consider coffee as something more than just a caffeine jolt,” says Manual Three-in-One Coffeemaker designer Craighton Berman. Brewing methods like pour-over and French press that predate auto drip and K-cup coffeemakers have made a comeback. You could easily end up with a cabinet full of coffee paraphernalia, but Chicagoans and slow-coffee devotees Craighton and his wife and design partner, Emily, have a solution: a brewer that combines two manual methods with an insulating double-walled design.

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The Uncommon Life

Introducing Sunny,
Your Expert Gift Guide

October 11, 2017

Meet Sunny. Released into the wild this week, we created this expert gift guide to make your search for the perfect present a much easier endeavor.

So, how exactly does Sunny improve your shopping experience? Well, instead of browsing across all of our categories, Sunny lets you search for your recipient’s interests all at once, giving you a personalized collection of gift ideas.

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Design

Functional Fashion:
The Tulry Utility Necklace

October 9, 2017

 

“A lot of everyday products are designed with a male-centric audience in mind,” says designer Nate Barr. He admits that he hadn’t really thought about that until his wife, Bryn, challenged him to think from the perspective of people who aren’t always empowered to speak up. Bryn also inspired his latest invention, the Tulry Utility Necklace.

Bryn said she loved the functionality of Nate’s tools, like the Multi-Tool Box of Wonders, but had no way to carry them. “She pointed out that dresses don’t have pockets. Jeans pockets are too tight, and a purse is never big enough,” Nate explains.  She encouraged him to create a unique way to solve this problem. The result marries an elegant jewelry design with a highly functional piece.

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio
with KaKyung Cho

October 4, 2017

KaKyung Cho gets pumped about soaps in her cozy workspace in Newburgh, New York; photos by Rachel Orlow

Some 60 miles north of New York City, Newburgh, New York, sits quietly on the western bank of the Hudson River. To some, the name of the city is synonymous with a rough history. For others, it evokes vistas of riverside streets lined with 19th-century mansions, many mere blocks from abandoned homes. To a growing group, however, it’s become a refuge—a place that celebrates local creators, welcoming artists and entrepreneurs into a vibrant community of like-minded folks.

Enter KaKyung Cho, one of many makers who’s forging a home for her business in a newly renovated space in Newburgh. Like the duo behind design firm and longtime Brooklyn fixture Atlas Industries, KaKyung is a recent transplant, still transferring operations from her kitchen in Williamsburg, where she first began crafting soaps with the aid of a rather unlikely household tool—her slow cooker.

As we saw when we visited KaKyung back in July, she does everything herself, from selecting suitable loofahs for her three-piece soap sets to assembling the boxes she uses to package her equilateral soaps, and she does it all in a beautiful space a stone’s throw from Newburgh’s notable historic homes. In her workshop, antique furnishings mingle with massive ferns, delicate crystals, and piles of snacks just begging to be eaten. (Whether said snacks are always there or KaKyung just happens to be a great hostess, we’re not totally sure.) Buoyed by calming vibes and friendly conversation, we munched on burritos, watched KaKyung hand-cut and package her soaps, and asked her a select few questions about what life as a maker in Newburgh looks like. Read on for more.

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