Mission: Small Business


The deadline is drawing near for the Chase and LivingSocial Launch Mission: Small Business Grant Program!  For those of you who haven’t heard of Mission: Small Business, it is a new grant program that awards up to 12 individual grants of $250,000 to 12 small businesses.  The program ends June 30, 2012.  If you haven’t voted for your favorite small business yet, click here.

Here’s a list of our favorite small business:

1. Study NY

Tara St James, the owner and head designer for the label, Study NY, believes that open source material plays a strong role in the development of the sustainable design community.  Study NY is a high-concept brand that is primarily produced in New York City.  St James also works with local artisans in India to create limited edition runs of hand-woven textiles.  She is looking to expand this  specialized production to other artisans around the world.

2. Michelle Vale Inc.

“We take great pains to ensure that every detail of our bags exemplifies superior craftsmanship,” Michelle explains.  Founded by Michelle Vale in 2006, Michelle Vale Inc., is a privately owned fashion company that creates high quality handbags for luxury consumers seeking distinct style and harmony.  “We are proud to be one of a very small handful of designers who are made in New York City. This has always been and will always be very near to my heart. I am also proud that we offer women the unique ability to completely customize their own look by offering hardware components in both silver and gold. Our collection allows women to modify the color of hardware they want to wear on their bag and to change the way it is carried at any given moment.”

3. Textile Arts Center

The main goal of the Textile Arts Center is to provide support to fiber artists, designers, and everyday people interested in working with fiber, by acting as a resource facility and creative meeting place.  Since its founding in mid-2009, the Textile Arts Center offers multiple ways in which the public can participate in the textile arts. Through classes, workshops, exhibitions, and special events, the Textile Arts Center aims to preserve ancient handcrafts and techniques, while enabling paritcipants to fit such processes into contemporary life.

4. The Fashion Class

With a studio located in the garment district, the Fashion Class offers sewing and fashion design classes for children ages 6-13 years and teens 13-18 years.  At the end of each course, a fashion show is held for parents and friends. 

5. Titania Inglis

With a line based in Brooklyn, Titania produces every garment in a small factory in New York from sustainable sourced fabrics including Japanese organic cotton, French vegetable-tanned leather, and dead stock wool from New York’s garment industry.  Half Chinese, half Scottish by blood, she embraces the seeming dichotomies of a line looking to the future, yet grounded in tradition, operating at the border of nature and industry.

6. Erin Barr

Barr sets out to redefine the luxury goods market with a collection that utilizes the most luxurious fabrications, but aren’t overpriced beyond reach.  Erin Barr, the new designer collection by Erin Barr, is a study in contrasts reflecting the real attitudes of the modern day woman. Combining the ease of American dressing with the chic of Parisian culture, a dose of menswear inspiration and a hint of utilitarian details, Barr has created a wardrobe that promises to fill a void most new collections lack: Sophisticated and beautiful clothes that are also practical and wearable.

7. Indigo Handloom

Smita Paul formed Indigo Handloom not just to celebrate the beautiful fabrics produced by centuries-old weaving practices, but also the weavers themselves, most of whom struggle to support themselves and their families with a living wage. Despite a surging Indian economy, weavers, farmers, and other members of the rural poor are faced with worsening economic conditions; indeed, since 2006, government sponsored subsidies for handloom associations (many of which supplied raw materials, micro-loans, and marketing and design assistance) have virtually disappeared, leaving many artisans without the guidance and financial support they need to pass on their talents to the next generation.

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