Friday, February 28, 2014

A New York Minute With Kikay's Lea Faminiano

As a connoisseur of quality handmade items, I've finally found my favorite jewelry maker, a woman named Lea Faminiano. We are fortunate to be carrying some of her handmade jewelry in our shop, Domestic Living Comforts.  You'll love her jewelry and, after reading this Q&A, you'll find that she is equally wonderful.

Lea, who is currently residing and working in New York City, got her start in Mountain Lakes, NJ
Just a sampling of the fabulous jewelry that Lea designs (I happen to own the turquoise one myself).

Company Name: Kikay

Tell us a little about who you are personally: 
I'm originally from Mountain Lakes, and moved to New York a little over two years ago while I was at graduate school at Parsons. Since I can remember, I have always wanted to be an artist, and have always been involved in some sort of creative project...painting, drawing, calligraphy, graphics, animation, I love it all! Currently, I am a food and drink editor for a blog, a freelance writer/graphic designer/illustrator, and I occasionally teach art classes in NYC.

What made you decide to start your own business: 

I love jewelry, but I mostly like wearing pieces that really mean something to me. So I started making jewelry just for myself. I had a lot of free time back then, because I was between jobs, and to be honest, I couldn't afford the beautiful pieces I saw in shops, so I tried to recreate my own! My friends began asking for their own pieces and started urging me to open up an Etsy. I figured it would be a great way to make money on the side doing something I loved, and everyone has been so supportive. It's been really fun to watch Kikay grow.

What is your process for making your products?: 
I make everything at home, either in NY or NJ. I draw inspiration from everything, and I only make jewelry that I would wear, so you know I'm always 100% behind my product! It doesn't feel like work at all - most of the work that I do outside of Kikay is based around a computer, and it feels great to get away from it from time to time and do something creative with my hands. 

Do you think it's important for people to buy American handmade?: 
Yes! I'm always attracted to handmade products because I truly believe that love and care is an important element in any product.

Favorite quote: 
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

Shop for Kikay items on our website by clicking here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

America the Imported. Buy American.

Our economy is in a very bad place. More and more, I hear people complain about how high their taxes are, how low their income is, and how we need to turn this economy around. But then, we shop at places with rock bottom prices like WalMart and buy things that are made in other countries.

For me, WalMart is a great place to buy window cleaner, movies, things like that. Living in this country, with our crapped out economy, it makes sense to save money buying something at the cheapest price possible. However, buying gifts, home goods, accessories, pots and pans, clothing? I just can't.

Less and less can we find things made in America. I walked through WalMart the other day, to see how many items I could find that were American made. Nothing I picked up was made in this country. But it's not just WalMart. It's everywhere. As a proponent of shopping locally, I've walked into small, family owned shops in an attempt to put my money where my mouth was and often times, I was saddened to see that many of the cute little things I picked up were made in China, Thailand or India. Did you know that the Fort Wayne, Indiana based Vera Bradley moved their manufacturing plant to China?* It devastated the workers in Indiana, where bags were originally made, and over 700 Americans lost their jobs. Vera Bradley said that they couldn't handle the business so they had to send it out of the country. But other businesses, like Alex and Ani, keep their businesses (and their money) in America.

Vera Bradley, made in China since 2008.

My beloved New Jersey catstudio pillow was made in India, and my Jersey Shore dish towel was made in Thailand. The pillows and towels feature countries and prized U.S. destinations, yet they are made in other countries? I'm confused.

My New Jersey catstudio pillow was made in India!

Very little is made here in America. Even Craftsman tools are now, mostly, being made overseas. On the occasion that I find something made right here in America, I feel elated. Bath and Body Works are all made in America, unless otherwise marked. If everything we bought was made in our country, our economy would turn around quickly.

I have pledged to only buy American made items. Saw a cool silicone flower that goes over your mug to keep your coffee warm, $10. The bottom was stamped Made in China so I put it down. What a difference we all could make if we only bought American made items. Try it for a few days. See how hard it is to find American made items, and how good it feels to put things down that are mass produced in other countries.

The realization that buying American is a tough job for consumers drove me to open a small online shop that sells American made items. Everything is made right here in this country. It makes me feel good to support American small business while providing consumers with quality items. Find out more. Visit my shop by clicking here: Domestic Living Comforts [American Made].

*Want a bag similar to Vera Bradley but made in America? Try Stephanie Dawn. Read more about Stephanie Dawn here.

Tiffany Palisi is the owner of Domestic Goddess Ltd., a company that specializes in hand poured, scented candles. On the side, she searches for products/recipes/ideas/shops that she loves, then shares them with her friends on this blog, and sells American made items online at Domestic Living Comforts. She resides in New Jersey with her boyfriend, their four children and two rescued dogs. She can be reached at 

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