Log on to fredflare.com and you’ll find yourself in a crafty sea of eye candy and fun sense of humor. We want to snatch up everything we see on the site, and we know you do too. From cute stationary and notecards, to bags, jewelry, and clothing, fredflare.com is the ultimate indie shop online. Fred also does a lot to help showcase the talents of some of our favorite crafters or ones that are up in coming with their yearly “Next Big Thing” contest . In addition to their online shop, these days founders Keith Carollo and Chris Bick are keeping us up to date with their adventures in craft, fashion, art, and culture via their cool video podcasts and their new fredflare blog, BFF. I got a chance to talk more with Keith Carollo to find out just what makes fredflare so fun and why they heart crafts. Also, be sure to go to the end of the post to get the special CRAFT reader discount (yay, free shipping!) for your holiday shopping on fredflare.com.
Nat: Please give us the deets on how you started fredflare.com with your partner, Chris. What motivated you to start your own business?
Keith: Mostly we were just so excited and inspired by stores we discovered when we first moved to New York City. It seemed like it would be the greatest dream to make something and then see it in a store and then have people buy it. Wow, sign me up! At the time we were really into the home category so we started with a stationery line and would literally take it door to door and ask stores to carry it. We created a website featuring our products and then that really took on a life of its own. Now we just keep adding and adding to it, our own things but also those of our talented friends and anyone else we have a design crush on. It’s really fun! More than anything, I hope that our store inspires others the way NYC has inspired us.
Nat: What are some of your design inspirations?
Keith: Everyone’s talking about how print is dead or whatevs but I would say we both have been avid magazine readers. I used to save up my allowance and walk into town to the drug store to buy VOGUE. The cashier was always like, Pleeeez tell me this is for your sister and I’d be like, Uh, yeah… Anyway, magazines have and continue to inspire us a lot. I love the combination of fashion plus trends plus pop plus culture plus storytelling. TEEN VOGUE is awesome. I like that DOMINO tons. I am cuckoo for MARTHA STEWART KIDS. Certainly, we’re also inspired by childhood things. We’re very young at heart!
Nat: Fred Flare today features crafty goods by tons of artists and crafters. Why is indie crafts important to you? How do you find such cool products?
Keith: I feel, as a retailer, that it’s my JOB to surprise the customer. We don’t have any marketing budget whatsoever so, truly, I NEED to find awesome products that make people FREAK out such that maybe they’ll tell a friend about something they saw on fredflare.com. Word of mouth is really important. I discover up-and-coming designers and crafters every day who completely blow my mind and it’s so cool that we get to work together. How do we find stuff? It’s easy. There’s awesomeness everywhere we look! The internet RULES.
Nat: What have been some of your favorite off-the wall pieces?
Keith: Gosh, sorry to give such a lame answer but it’s really hard to pick favorites. The cool thing is that we all at fredflare.com are such total FANS of everything we sell. At the end of each day, our Customer Service Manager announces, “The store will be closing in five minutes.” and we all scramble to snap up some of the new arrivals. Ha ha ha!
Nat: What are your future craft trend predictions?
I think collecting is the new crafting. What I mean is, DIY totally RULES. Let’s stop being all like, “Ooooh, what’s this craft movement all about? Why is there all this buzz? What does it all MEAN?” and start being more like, “Wow. supertalents like Heidi Kenney, Sarah Neuburger and Jill Bliss are important American artists who offer their work at incredible prices and I even have all these opportunities to meet them at craft fairs and stuff. I’m going to collect their work and I want to learn as much about it as I can cuz it’s so RAD amazing, it makes me happy and it should be in MOMA’s permanent collection anyways.” I think you’re going to start to see the “trend” factor of craft evolve into an even deeper appreciation level that involves researching, archiving and preserving. Wait, that sounds so serious. Well, I mean it in the best, most fun, most awesome way! I would love to archive at least one of everything we sell because I think they’re all important awesome fun GENIUS cultural artifacts. Does anyone want to go in on a storage space with me?
Nat: You guys have also entered the world of podcasting covering everything from the Renegade Craft Fair (I was there but missed seeing you guys) to a trip to Paris (which I loved, loved, loved). What kinds of podcast projects are you guys working on for the near future?
Keith: Next week we’re shooting an episode where we take a tour of the Holiday windows of NYC. I can’t wait!! We’re filming it late at night so they’ll be less people around but hopefully we won’t look too sleepy… Stay tuned!
Nat: Can you recommend to us some cool fred flare gifts we can give this holiday season?
Sure!! I think one of my fave gifts this Holiday is I LIKE YOU by Amy Sedaris. It’s so genius I really can’t get over it. Great recipes, brilliant wacky craft projects, amazing photographs and just plain hilarious.
These alpaca wool knitted trees are really sweet. Each one has a lil’ bird and they’re all named.
I’m sending these handmade gnome diorama cards for Xmas.
These cupcake pin cushions fly out the door. Yum.
Lastly, I do love our ping-pong paddle bag. It’s not really handmade or crafty per se; it just makes me smile. Hope it does the same for you.
CRAFT readers get a special deal at fredflare.com — FREE SHIPPING!! It’s CRAFT.1206 and you’ll save $7.95 towards UPS Ground shipping with any purchase until December 15th. (Online orders only. Can’t be combined with any other offer. Discount does not apply to sale merchandise.) Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!!! Fred hearts CRAFT!!!!
Read Marie’s the Sampler interview with Keith and Chris of fredflare.com – Link.