Name: Jay Pezzelle
...After years of showing his handbags and wallets at various sale events in the Southland, Whodini Handmade owner Jay Pezzelle started adding up the cost to open a shop.
"There are so many vendors there that sometimes you end up losing money or making (only) enough to cover the space," he
and Tobias Jorda of Gnome Style founded the Handmade Union
as a way to support fellow local arts and crafts makers and showcase them monthly at coffeehouses and other venues in the Long Beach area.
"Some people can make great stuff but don't have an outlet to put it out there," Pezzelle
, 2300 E. Fourth St. "Even when I was younger I never wanted the same shoes and pants as everyone else," said Pezzelle
, who grew up in Phoenix."I wanted one-of-a-kind, that flair that no one else has."He
taught himself how to screen print T-shirts and peddled them at his
cousin's skateboard shop in Arizona.He
eventually moved to California, where he
own screen-printing business in Santa Ana.
But when the screen-printing T-shirt business got too crowded for him, he
technique to handbags and wallets he
had sewn and found success.
"I made 40 bags in a month, went to a bunch of different boutiques and sold all of them," he
Another Handmade member, Myste French
, was roped into her
A college friend interning for an artist had to crochet a few giant circles as part of the internship.She
recruited French and a few volunteers and taught them to crochet.
The Long Beach resident developed her
business slowly, making gifts for friends, including hats, fingerless gloves and tiny knit jellyfish and squid to hang as Christmas ornaments.French uses crocheting as a way to pass the time on the Metro Blue Line to and from Los Angeles, where she works for a nonprofit group called The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking.
"I can (crochet) anywhere because it's portable," she
said.French generated so much stuff from her commute that she began listing her wares at etsy.com, an online forum for selling handmade items.
"It's like the Ebay
for crafty people," she
Equal to that, more people can say that there are quality goods out there that me and Jay
and Jon are making in their homes."
...They joined the Handmade Union after running into Pezzelle at a sale event at Portfolio.
"It's been a wonderful way to network," Christian Bible said.
Like most members, Bible considers what he
sells more than just a product.
"As artists, (creating art) is something that's deep in our soul," he