Albepreneurs

Ablepreneurs: AmyWonderland

We are starting a new series of blog posts called Ablepreneurs. An Ablepreneur is a person who, despite disabilities and challenges, follows their dreams to start their own business and do what they love.

Our first featured Ablepreneur is Amy Ryan.  We had read about her in the September issue of CMTA magazine.  We checked out her Etsy store, called AmyWonderland, and were impressed with her products.  Amy makes handmade hats and hair bows with unique colors and designs, such as lace, hearts, and bones.  She also has a line of ‘Charity Specials’, which are special hats and bows made with the CMTA colors.  Amy donates 10% of all her sales and 50% of her Charity Special sales to CMTA.

The Charcot-Marie Tooth Association is an organization that promotes awareness of CMT as well as actively researches treatments and cures for this cruel disease.  Check them out at: www.cmtausa.org to read about the disease and the organization.

Originally from North California, Amy was diagnosed with CMT at the age of 10.  She uses ankle-foot orthotics and a wheelchair to get around.  She has lost muscle mass in her arms, legs, feet, and hands, which causes her pain and has created respiratory issues.

Since outdoor activities were not her strong suit, Amy turned to indoor activities. She learned from family members who were crafters, and it brightened up her world.  Finding her talent for creating art helped her blossom.  Through the support of her family and her husband, Amy was motivated to share her art with the world.

As her disease progresses, she adjusts her techniques accordingly and finds innovative solutions to create her work. She never allows CMT to stop her from doing what she loves, and doesn’t take it for granted. 

Here at Fuzzy Wuzzy Design, we wish Amy luck with her shop and hope she succeeds in everything she dreams.

Are you or someone you know an Ablepreneur and want to be featured in our Blog? Send us an email at mail@fuzzywuzzydesign.com

Bottle Hill Day 2015 Review

It was a cold, grey day.  Wind was steady and frigid.  We arrived at our spot on Waverly Place around 8:15 AM.  Getting out of the car and immediately feeling the cold gave me a bad feeling about the day.  It took no more than 5 minutes for those feelings to completely fade away and be replaced by joy and excitement. 

There was not one person who did not have a smile on their face.  Regardless of the temperature, every vendor was setting up with an infectious happiness.  It took us about 20 minutes to get everything set up.  Our location could not have been better.  We were smack in the middle of Waverly Place, which is the primary road that intersects Main Street in downtown Madison.

Fuzzy Wuzzy Design was in the heart of the action.  There were many vendors and many happy patrons eagerly wanting to check out the wares despite the cold.  There were a wide variety of vendors. Not so much arts and crafts, but more retail merchants, assisted living services, schools, local community organizations and businesses.  Another aspect of this show we took note of was the amount of giveaways and games that were conducted by other vendors.  And the cold weather was to our benefit because we sold a good deal of sweaters and hoodies. 

Overall this was a great show, we would defiantly do it again next year.

Fuzzy Wuzzy at Maplewood Village

If you haven’t already heard the news, Arts Unbound just opened a permanent showcase in Maplewood Village.

Arts Unbound is a wonderful organization that helps adults with disabilities and seniors create, promote, and sell their art.  Christian has been a gallery artist at Arts Unbound for 10 years, and has sold work in the gift shop of their fine arts gallery.  You can see his Artist Profile here. They are located at 544 Freeman Street, in Orange NJ, part of the Valley Arts District. They have a fully functional studio for students, teachers, and artists to come in and create art. Next door to the studio is a beautiful gallery space, where they host monthly exhibits and art shows.

Their Showcase, located on 100 Baker Street, Maplewood, NJ, is a charming little shop.  It’s bright, colorful, and inviting.  The shop carries an array of arts and crafts, including Fuzzy Wuzzy Design products that are only available at this location.  We will be launching a new line of organic cotton baby clothing and boxed card sets exclusively at this location for the coming holiday season. 

If you plan to be in the Maplewood area, we hope you will check it out:

Arts Unbound Showcase
Regular Hours: Thurs/Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 12pm-6pm, Sun 10am-4pm
100 Baker Street, Maplewood NJ 07042
Phone973-762-1689
www.artsunbound.org

Westfield FestiFall 2015 Review

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We’re heading into the Holiday Season with the craft shows and our other venues, so its definitely getting busy here at Fuzzy Wuzzy Design.  There are a lot of new happenings going on here in the studio. One of those things is that we’ve decided to add Craft Show reviews to our Blog Topics. 

The latest craft show we took part in was Westfield’s FestiFall.  It took place on Sunday, September 27th 2015 from 10am to 5pm, and was located in Downtown Westfield, NJ, on three streets: Elm Street, Quimby Street and East Broad Street.

At first it was hard to find exactly where we were supposed to sign in, but we did get that settled in a timely manner.  The event was well organized and the staff was very helpful.  Everyone was assigned a space and you were even given a clear map as to where your space was located.  This is more ideal then the ‘first come, first served’ methods most craft shows have.   You don’t have a choice in a space, but at least you don’t have to worry about arriving very early in order to grab the best space before another vendor does.

It was little slow in the beginning, as with most street fairs and craft shows, but picked up substantially around noon.  Lots of foot traffic, especially in our area.  We were lucky to be strategically located midway on East Broad Street, just far enough from the food vendors and the live music for it not to be a distraction, but close enough that we got a flow of people who were walking from that area.  We were also lucky to be located between two popular booths. To our left, a vendor who sold hand-made American Girl Doll clothes.  They were really cute; you should check them out at sewcutedollclothing.com.  And to our right was a MaryKay booth ran by a lovely lady who we had a great conversation with about her experience with consultants who had a disability of one form or another.  See her website at www.marykay.com/Igaulke, we hope to meet those extraordinary ladies someday.

There was a great deal of diversity amongst the vendors: fiber artists, photographers, potters, painters, jewelry-makers, locally made food as well as food trucks, and so much more.  There was also diversity amongst the patrons of the event – fellow artists, returning customers, and a group of students who were studying ASL.  Christian and a young lady named Sarah had a lively conversation in ASL.  

Overall, Team Fuzzy had a great time and we made a small profit from this show.  We will definitely do this again next year. 

CMT and Me

I have lived with CMT my entire life.  CMT stands for Charcot Marie Tooth.  This is an inherited peripheral Neuropathy.  The form of CMT I have is X linked and affects my hearing, vision and mobility.  Other people may experience problems with foot drop, as well as severe atrophy of the arms and legs.

Regardless of my diagnosis and loss of functionality, I am still a contributing member of society.  While dealing with a degenerative disorder I became the first deaf person to graduate the Savannah School of Design with a degree in Graphic Design.

Twelve years ago Fuzzy Wuzzy Design was born.  This graphic design company specializes in handcrafted greeting cards and clothes.  I amassed over 300 different designs, which are now being used to create custom invitations as well as a product called Silly Signers.

I choose to fight my diagnosis every single day.  I stay very active with physical therapy and going to the gym.  I also continue to express myself artistically; recently taking up sculpting.

It’s important for me to share my story, especially with others who have a similar diagnosis.  I want everyone to see what I've done; my accomplishments in business and use that as inspiration.

To learn more about this disease and what you can do to support people like me, check out this CMTA website.  http://www.cmtausa.org/

I have gone blue for CMT, will you?

Hope For Those Who Need It

For people that have only gotten to know me over the last few years, I wasn’t always in a wheelchair and vision impaired.  

In the past year my illness has taken my vision and my ability to walk on my own.  This has made it extremely hard for me to create new pieces of visual art.  My grip has weakened, severely.

Am I looking for sympathy, for anyone to feel bad for me?  Not at all…

What I want to convey is that despite all of these situations I have come up against, I choose to face them with a smile and determination.  There’s a quote that I love, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.”

This couldn’t be more true.  There is beauty in every day that I wake up.  Something as small as making a friend laugh or feeling the warmth of the sun reminds me of this.  I choose to continue to create and find new ways of expressing myself artistically.  I’ve taken up sculpting and have already incorporated three of my pieces into Fuzzy Wuzzy Design.  

I could very easily let my illness defeat me, give in and not press on.  I choose not to and I want everyone facing similar situations or any kind of hardships to do the same.  Life is worth living; there is beauty in every day.  Be open minded enough to see it.