Meet our Vendor: Material Rebellion
Say hello to new vendor, Material Rebellion coming all the way from Massachusetts!. We can’t wait for you to check out their cool items made from reclaimed jeans and t-shirts.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jill Maldonado, Head Rebel at Material Rebellion. I design products that raise the creativity quotient of the young & young at heart and I build them from reclaimed jeans and t-shirts.
What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
The latest thing I’ve been working on is my Rainbow Play Mat. It’s a portable play mat for littles that gives them a soft, magical setting for imaginary play (complete with a popup rainbow bridge!). It took some engineering and a few different prototypes, but now I’m happy with the design and its portability. Because it’s such an inviting play space, I was inspired to create some Rainbow Folks to offer alongside it. The Rainbow Folks are bright, gender-neutral wooden peg dolls that I’ve dipped into a non-toxic dye and finished with a homemade beeswax and olive oil rub. I’m super happy with the warmth and vibrancy of the entire set and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do!
How far will you be traveling to come to UCU?
I’ll be travelling about 3,000 miles to get to UCU! I’m coming from Great Barrington, MA and couldn’t be more excited to bring my work to the Pacific Northwest. I spent some time at college in Portland, so it will feel a bit like a homecoming for me.
What do you love most about craft show vending?
There’s SO MUCH I love about craft show vending! I love travelling and spending time in different parts of the country. So far this year, I have plans to be in Seattle, Raleigh, Atlanta and Brooklyn (that’s all between NOW and JULY!). I also love the opportunity to get out of my own head and share my work in person with shoppers. The indie craft scene enthusiasts are the BEST. They’re super supportive of the maker movement and are passionate about the value of small-made products. After spending countless hours alone in the studio, shopper feedback gives me a much needed boost and I almost always leave a show with fresh ideas for products. Let’s not forget another awesome thing about doing shows – meeting other makers. They’re my peeps! I love meeting other artists and having the chance to catch up on new processes, events, business tips or crafty news.
How did you get started in your business?
I taught myself how to sew about 10 years ago when someone gave me an old Singer from a defunct Home Ec program. It took me three days to figure out how to thread the darn thing, but once I sewed my first stitches, I was hooked! I shied away from fabric stores because of the expense, but also because my aesthetic leanings were towards the DIY and make-do schools of making. I started using discarded clothes to make projects because I had so many (two growing kids), it was inexpensive (FREE) and it was challenging. Material Rebellion was born in 2013 after honing my technique for years and becoming fed up with the silent textile waste crisis. I figured it was time to rebel against the status quo and bring beautiful things to market that were made from materials other people had discarded. Now, I work in partnership with Goodwill of the Berkshires and purchase unsalable jeans and t-shirts from them in bulk.
Is this a full-time business for you?
Yes this is a full-time business for me AND I have a part time job that I love working on the marketing team of my local co-op. Rather than dream about giving up my day job, I dream of expanding my team of makers and having a happy, humming studio full of people who can also love their jobs.
Where do you see your business in 3 years?
In three years, I’d love to have my work in retail shops all over the country and have that busy studio I mentioned, employing local folks to help with production and being able to offer them a living wage. I’m in love with the notion of U.S. based micro-manufacturers making a real difference in their local economies.
What do your customers love most about your product(s)?
I think my customers love my products because they provide a jumping off point for kids’ imaginations. A pencil roll, a blanket fort, a play mat – they’re all intended to be a spark for open ended, creative play. (Today’s creative kids are tomorrow’s empathetic citizens!) They also love the eco-friendly component to what I do because environmental stewardship is the greatest gift we can give our kids.
Be sure to follow us on Instagram for your chance to win your own big rainbow pencil roll!