I recently had a chat with Jena Coray about her fab indie blog, Modish, and wanted to share our conversation with decor8 readers with hopes of inspiring you to either create or purchase more indie goods, and of course, to learn about a great new blog called Modish!
decor8: I dig the name of your blog, can you tell us more about it…
modish: Modish means stylish, fashionable. I wanted a name that has something to do with fashion, and was trying to avoid something trite like “indie style” or something. Modish just has a nice ring to it.
“Welcome to Modish-the new shopping frontier. We ignore the stale, the overdone. We are not interested in the mass-produced, mass-marketed or overindulgent. We are for the independent craftsperson, designer, shopper, creator and artist. We show you the goods that are made by hand, created with attention and intention. Modish is about style the indie way- the way it was meant to be.”
decor8: Outside of blogging, what do you do to pay the bills?
modish: I currently work at Patagonia, an awesome, enviro-friendly outdoor clothing company. My work there has nothing to do with my future career goals though. I ultimately would like to make a living as a writer. I have a Bachelor’s in English-Writing and a minor in Photography/Videography, so I’m hoping to make money doing something creative, eventually.
decor8: Blogging is a great start, many bloggers break into the publishing world through blogs. You’re on the right track, you’re getting your name out there. Tell us, where do you call home?
modish: I’m living in Reno, NV. No, it’s not a little version of Vegas, it’s actually growing into a really nice town. I’ve been here all my life. Although, living here is not the best fodder for my artistic interests. I’ll be escaping soon to Portland, hopefully!
decor8: I’ve never been to Nevada, but I’m sure it’s beautiful there. Regards your writing, remember, you don’t necessarily need to live in LA or NYC these days to reach people. Just look at Modish! Plus, you can start establishing your contacts now, before you fly the coop. Now, back to Modish, what inpsired you to launch the blog?
modish: I was inspired by all the amazing design blogs I had recently discovered, and woke up one morning, shot up in bed and said, “I should write a blog about indie designers and handmade stuff! Yes! That’d be awesome!” My boyfriend rolled over and told me “that sounds nice” and fell back asleep. But, it had been said, it was out in the universe, and it had to be done. I got a typepad account in mid March, didn’t actually start writing until April 4th, but have been steadily at it ever since. And, Modish was also inspired by design*sponge, oh joy! and decor 8. After I found those 3 blogs, I was convinced that this “blogging thing” was something I could, and should, get into.
decor8: I know you feature an array of talent on your blog, any in particular that inspire you or ‘speak’ to you personally?
modish: Almost every designer that I feature inspires me in some way, which is why I feature them. There are some stand-outs though, like Jill Bliss, Happy Owl Glassworks, Sidepony, Blend Creations, Pashupatina…oh my, I better stop now, this list could go on forever! Honestly, I kind of identify with all of them. They are mostly all women, all creating these things by hand, all have high hopes that they can leave their day job and pursue their passions full-time. They are all me, and I am them. That’s why I created Modish, to help support the people I identify with most.
decor8: I love those guys, too. Happy Owl has these brand new (modern, too!) skunk soap dishes that I really like. I’ve purchased from them before and got nothing but the best service, too. So, with all of the indie craftsters out there busily creating, what is one big trend you’ve spotted that seems to be creating buzz?
modish: Birds. Birds are everywhere! Owls, hawks, silhouettes of sparrows sitting on telephone lines, everywhere, it’s birds. But, despite my tone, I’m not sick of the birdies yet, in fact, I love them! I like the push towards more natural subjects in indie design, I’m seeing a lot of animals in general and plants, leaves and flowers. I’m really attracted to all of that.
decor8: What are you seeing too much of lately that you wish would tone down a bit?
modish: Ok, I get it, the 80’s are back. But, I lived through them, and there’s some trends that should not have been put back into the fashion circuit. I’m bombarded by shticky, super cutesy, day-glo stuff. Some of it’s done well, but some of it seems like a cop out for good design and seems to be playing into the “trend” too much. I’m thinkin’ that the time for unicorns and magical rainbows may have since passed, or well should.
decor8: Well, you’re talking to fellow 80’s surviver here, so I hear ya. The moment neon tops, leg warmers, and MC Hammer pants are back in style, I’ll hop in my car and drive off the edge of the earth. Can you explain to decor8 readers what lures you into the world of handmade goods?
modish: Well, I’m an indie business owner myself, and I feel obliged, nay, obligated, to help myself and my fellow crafters spread the word that mass-produced, sweatshop labored things are bad, and handmade, quality, well-designed things are good. It should seem like common sense, but the majority of America still prefers Wal-mart over the local farmer’s market. Modish is doing exactly what I want it to do. It is giving better exposure to amazing indie artists, spreading the word about the handmade/craft movement, and seems to be getting people stoked about indie biz in general.
decor8: How do you find all of these indie designers?
modish: I surf the web alllll the live long day. I have featured many indie sites that I found on an independent business women’s forum I frequent called the Switchboards. I also find a lot of great designers just by perusing the link lists on sites that I already know and love. And, lots of them were just people that e-mailed me!
decor8: If someone wants to be featured on your site, what do you require?
modish: I do choose the sites on my own, advertising, bartering, begging in no way effects the people that I choose to feature. If you have an indie business with a well put together website that illustrates your work well, and you make good stuff, you’re usually in! I want to feature people that will be inspiring to those that are just starting in the biz, that have worked long and hard on their websites and their designs, and represent themselves professionally.
decor8: With so many indie designers out there, what do you think is missing?
modish: I don’t think anything is missing within the realm of design itself, but I do think that support for indie designers could be a lot stronger. Our local businesses and boutiques should be more apt to feature local designers, our media should not proliferate and push so much generic junk. I just wish that there was more of a thrust to support the “little guy.” A lot of headway has been made in the past few years with NEET, the Sampler, “alternative” craft fairs, etc. but we still have a ways to go.
decor8: I think you’ve mentioned this already, but are you an artist or into crafty things? If so, tell us more..
modish: Yup, I run my own little indie business called curio j, and make all of the jewelry on there by hand. I created that website myself, and am thinking about delving into the web-design realm someday. I also do little things, like make embroidered cards for family and friends, and photography is a big passion and pastime of mine. Also, as a writer, I’d definitely consider writing my first and foremost artistic skill.
decor8: Do you attend indie craft fairs?
modish: I wish! I live in Reno, remember? I won’t knock our local craft fairs as I believe there are some true, amazing artists that attend. But they’re definitely not “indie”, there’s nothing hip or modern to be found, it’s more-so batik quilts and country music.
decor8: Ha, that’s right. I guess I see your point. Now, let’s jump away from Modish for a moment and chat about what you’re into. So… We all have our obsessions, what are you obsessed about lately?
modish: I’m obsessed with trying to figure out how I can make a living out of following my heart. I want to be creative and brilliant and manage my own time and write and create and read and travel and be happy! (making money all the while, of course.) I’m also obsessed with my cat, Mira.
decor8: Sounds like the new American dream to me… Next up, describe the perfect Saturday in Reno…
modish: Well, I usually do curio j stuff on the weekends, but if I take the day off it’d be…waking up around 9 and walking to the corner bagel shop for some breakfast, cuddling on the couch with my boyfriend, lazily getting ready for the day and then heading up to Lake Tahoe (30 minutes away) with him for some food at a local vegetarian restaurant, checking out some thrift stores and antique stores for some old jewelry I can use for beads, and chillin’ on the beach. Then maybe heading out to the wine bar with my best friend to catch up and re-hash old Sex and the City episodes, or curling up with my boyfriend and kitty to watch the latest netflix rental.
decor8: Since you mentioned shopping, what is the first thing you notice upon entering a shop?
modish: I first notice the layout and the overall ambiance of the place. If it’s visually appealing and I see some clothes that look cute (clothing is my vice indeed) then I’ll usually look around for awhile. I like really clean lines, and simple set ups. Any store that’s jam packed and feels too busy kinda makes me feel claustrophobic and I don’t stick around too long.
decor8: What are your favorite websites and blogs, and why?
modish: One of my favorite websites is the Switchboards that I mentioned above. I get so much support and advice from the women on that forum. Without the Switchboards, I would not have curio j (my jewelry site) and I certainly wouldn’t have Modish.
decor8: I just peeked at your curio j website, I’m lovin’ the montana and the paloma necklaces… So, what’s playing on your iPod these days?
modish: I just got the new People Under the Stairs (underground hip-hop) and it’s awesome! I’ve also been listening to Jose Gonzalez a lot, and David Bowie is always in the loop.
decor8: I can never hear China Girl enough, I love that man. If money were no obstacle, and you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
modish: I should say somewhere really foreign and exotic, but honestly, I’d choose Portland. I loooovvvvee Portland, and will hopefully be relocating there soon. There’s art galleries on every block and “First Thursdays” in the SW and “Last Thursdays” in the SE and tons of crafty, indie, inspiring ladies running amok, and great live music, and awesome local magazines, and Powells, and dogs and road bikers everywhere. It just sounds perfect for me. I don’t mind the gray skies. Plus, there’s lots of Pabst to get through the cloudy days =).
decor8: What are the top 10 things that you can’t live without? (not the basics here, go wild)
modish: instead of “wild”, I’ll probably end up going cheesy here cause I’m kinda a sap. I have to say, first 3- mom, boyfriend, kitty, but I won’t count those. I also can’t live without cheese, Ella Moss, my red hair, laughter, trips to the ocean, poetry, classic soul music, Emerson, Amelie, and constant inspiration.
Thank you for dropping by Jena, we’re so happy that you came over to decor8 to share your side of the world with us.
Bookmark Modish for your daily dose of indie lovin’ – gooooo indie!
(images from modish)