How Orit Dichter Passed Up Her Computer Science Degree to Pursue Creativity

After leaving her computer science degree to get in touch with her creativity and explore graphic design, Orit Dichter became drawn to the world of crafting, designing and sewing.  Considering this path was not the obvious path for Orit, she coined her brand plan:d.  Influenced by the vibrant art scene in Israel, Orit’s designs truly embody the “always summer”, confident attitude of the beautiful country.

Here, Orit discusses her experience taking the unconventional path, her choice to only use man-made materials, her curious inspiration, and what’s next for plan:d.

What inspired you to be a designer and how did you get started?

I’ve always dabbled with different kinds of arts and crafts. I used to spend all my free time as a teenager creating stuff, exploring the internet, and then making more stuff 🙂

I started my professional path as a computer science student. I studied for about 2 years, and really like it, but it cost me all of my free time. After a while, it became clear to me that I must make use of that creative side, not only as a hobby. And so, after 2 years, I left school and became a graphic designer. After a few years in this field, I opened my own studio, building and designing websites. Slowly, I was drawn more and more towards hand crafting – designing and sewing different items for my friends and myself. Eventually, it became obvious that I had enough sitting in front of a computer. I needed to feel the material and create fashionable items that embody my design concept. That was a great decision.

For a few years, I still worked half time and spent my spare time trying to figure out my new path-what exactly I want to design, how to find my visual language, and the right people to work with in order to make my dreams come to life. What most inspired me is the fact that I simply cannot live without using my creative sense. In some ways, I think I have to design in order to be happy.

The name of the studio came from looking at all the different paths I have taken, understanding they led me here, to what I call “plan d.” The name symbolizes the variety of influences poured into the items I make, each contributing their share, so together, they construct a new plan – plan:d.

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Where were you born, where have you lived most of your life, and how has this influenced your brand?

I was born in Israel and still live here. I think the warm weather with the ‘out of the box’, confident people around me influenced me to design bold pieces – because I knew there would be interest, even in less traditional pieces. There’s a very lively design and art scene in Israel, and I knew I didn’t have to constrict my creativity in any way to accommodate the audience.

In Israel, its almost always summer, so bright colors and prints are always welcome. Later, I realized that a bright item can go really well, even with the most monochromatic, muted winter wardrobe. Now my clients are all over the world, but I still keep it fairly bright and unconventional.

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What is the first thing you do in the morning? What websites do you visit?

Hit the snooze button! After its gone for at least an hour, I finally wake up, pet my pets (and my partner 🙂 ), then head to the studio that I share with my partner (he’s a creative as well). I drink some coffee and check my social media to see what has been going on during the night.

I like scouting Pinterest and often check out new stuff on my favorite designer sites and blogs (some of my favorites are www.openingceremony.us, https://www.notjustalabel.com/ and http://design-milk.com/).

What materials do you use and from where do you source them?

I use mainly vegan leather, canvas, cotton, and different treated fabrics (some of them I print, myself). I chose to use only man-made materials, no leather or any products derived from animals – out of respect and love for all living creatures. I source most of them locally and print some abroad. I love sourcing ‘non-fashion’ materials, as well, and use them with the more high-end stuff; that’s why I’m always on the hunt for new, uncommon materials.

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What gets your creative juices flowing? Are you an early-bird or a night owl? What songs are you listening to, what munchies are you snacking on, what are you wearing?

Most of my inspiration comes from common textures, colors, and patterns I see throughout the day. Perhaps, the contrast between a stranger’s pair of pants and the plastic bag they’re holding or the light and shade patterns on a random window will catch my eye. Sometimes, it’s just a new technique I’d like to try out, so I design ‘around’ it to see how I can use it in a way that reflects my aesthetics.

I’m the very opposite of morning bird; I only begin to really be myself around noon or so. When I really get inspired, I can work late into the night.

I mostly listen to relaxed music, some 80’s influences, mainly female voices. One of my latest obsessions is Susanne Sundfør, a Norwegian singer-songwriter, who creates modern music with an 80’s twist to it – of which I just can’t get enough!

I’m munching mainly on chocolate and pretzels, some apples here and there, but mostly, chocolate and pretzels 🙂 Oh and coffee! I hate eating large meals when I work, so small meals and munching is what I do most of the day!

I wear comfy clothes, minimal in nature with an occasional graphic print.

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Describe the first piece you ever designed…

I can’t remember the very first one, but I dabbled for a few years with many different styles of handbags (and some other products, actually), until I’ve found my current style, the one I believe really reflects who I am, as a designer. Those bags had many shapes, materials, prints, and techniques – very interesting and slightly weird to see in retrospect. Those items were really all over the place, and with each one that wasn’t “the one”, I kept getting closer to realizing my true voice.

Who is your mentor?

I can’t say I really have a mentor, but if I have to choose one, I’d go with the internet 🙂

I’m very autodidact; almost everything I’ve ever learned was from just trying stuff or looking it up on the internet. I’ve never formally studied art or design, but I had a few years of just experimenting or just staring at the wall without a clue of how to move forward. With time, I learned to better manage my time and effort – to become more efficient and to know myself as a designer.

I find myself learning a lot from people I work with. I just ask a lot of questions, and if they’re patient and kind enough to show me some secrets of their profession – that’s the best way I can learn.

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How would you describe your personal style, both wardrobe and home decor?

I’m a minimalist, but a colorful one 🙂

Both my home and my wardrobe are mainly made of white, grey, and a few black basic pieces (I have no idea how many white t-shirts I have, but I always get more). With them, I like to wear one or two colorful pieces, maximum. Almost no prints in my home or wardrobe, and if there are, they’re dots or any other simplistic geometric prints. I also like to color block once in a while, so I have many solid colorful pieces that normally go with the monochrome ones – but once in a while goes together for a more adventurous color-block look.

My home is mostly white and warm neutral colors, with some pops of color. I like to keep the color to the smaller pieces. That way, if I get bored, I can just replace them to create a different feel. I’m really not a big fan of ‘decoration’, so I have only 1 picture and just use a lot of vegetation to make my home feel more alive. You might find several dog and cat toys and beds lying around the house as well 🙂

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What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about running your own business?

In order to manage my time, I have to see the full picture at any time, and not get carried away with stuff I feel like doing at the moment. I do listen to my mood and try not to fight it – to find the right stuff to do to get the best out of myself in any given situation. Another lesson I’ve learned is to try to make everything a challenge – a case to investigate. I used to hate marketing, until I started to think about it as a challenge or a scientific experiment. I’m very curious in my nature, so when a good challenge comes my way – I must embrace it and try to solve it. I haven’t gotten to the point of making paperwork interesting enough, but hopefully, I’ll get there some day as well 🙂

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given?

To embrace my nature, try not to fight it or change it. To understand my strengths and weaknesses, and use this knowledge to try to figure out when I should try to do something myself and when I better hire someone or simply ask for help.

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What’s next for you?

Good question! I’d like to design stuff, so I’ll probably just continue my journey and find new stuff to design. Right now, I’m working on a statement jewelry line- first product that I’ve designed that isn’t a handbag or a clutch. I love working with new material and learning new techniques – so I think I’ll just continue to more fields, like accessories, home décor, and maybe fashion, one day. Who knows? What’s clear to me is that I’ll keep learning, experimenting, and making new, exciting stuff!

Product Categories: Fashion, Handbags, Accessories, (Jewelry soon)
Horoscope: Aries
Favorite Color: White
Social Profiles:
https://www.facebook.com/studiopland
https://www.instagram.com/studiopland/

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How Silvana Misantone Turned a Crafty Hobby Into a Successful Business

After working in the fashion industry for years, navigating her way through the world of color and style, Silvana Misantone combined her passion for fine papers and her knack for designing handmade invitations for parties. The combination resulted in the creation of her own line of unique, fair trade greeting cards, Signature Invitation, a company creating custom handmade invitation cards for the wedding and event industry throughout North America.  Fifteen years later, Silvana has decided to use her skills to create a new and unique line of fair trade greeting cards for all occasions to the general public, under a brand new banner and company called Carta Dolce.  Based out of Montreal, Carta Dolce sources materials from around the world, from European mill papers to handmade papers from India, to organza from Asia. When it comes to running her own business, Silvana loves a challenge. “I love making the tough decisions and although there is never any absolute certainty of success in what I do, the passion to create something different and unique is a huge driving force,” she says.

Here, Silvana Misantone talks personal style, the best advice she’s ever received, and what’s next for Carta Dolce.

What inspired you to be a designer and how did you get started?

I have always had a love fine papers and design in general; I’ve also worked in the fashion industry for a few years with the great appreciation for color and style. For as long as I can remember whenever I used to go to events or parties I would try to make my own special invitations, so I guess at some point the two just merged together.

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Where were you born, where have you lived most of your life, and how has this influenced your brand?

I was born in Montreal Canada, and I have lived here all my life. Montreal is a very multi cultural city with a huge European influence. Montreal is also home to many talented artists. I guess working with so many creative people most of my life including my husband has definitely been an influence on me. Also, I studied Communication, Marketing and Film at the University level, which also gave me some useful insights into what I do in design.

What is the first thing you do in the morning? What websites do you visit?

Most mornings I usually wake up early and do some yoga and meditation exercises helps to put me in the right frame of mind before starting my day as far as websites are concerned it really is not part of my routine I will occasionally go online to source different suppliers from around the world when I’m looking to create or incorporate some new ideas into my work and also look for new trends in design and fashion in general. I enjoy studying art from different cultures and I have always tried to look at the big picture.

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What materials do you use and from where do you source them?

I use various materials from around the world, European mill papers, handmade papers from India and organza from various places in Asia. Incorporating different materials is what makes that big difference.

What gets your creative juices flowing? Are you an early-bird or a night owl? What songs are you listening to, what munchies are you snacking on?

I am definitely an early-bird; I get my creative juices flowing in listening to different music such as classic music, 70 and 80’s rock and beautiful new age music, depending on the mood and state of mind I’m in. I have a European base diet, fruits and vegetables as the base, with some lean meats and fish. I love to snack on various nuts and organic popcorn, and fig bars. My guilty pleasure is hazelnut chocolate, but only in moderation. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

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Describe the first piece you ever designed…

I think the first card that I had ever designed was for my parents for Mother and Father’s day when I was in my early teens primarily because of my love for my parents, but also my appreciation for paper and art, I remember that I was totally amazed initially with Japanese paper and art.

Who is your mentor?

Mentors: Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Audrey Hepburn. They were all unique artists in their own right, they did not follow, they just created and the world took notice.

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How would you describe your personal style, both wardrobe and home decor?

I love dressing in black and accenting it with different colors. I follow fashion very closely, but I never like overdoing it. I like subtle, simple elegance. My home is very spacious. I hate clutter and love mixing different pieces from different time periods giving the home a very contemporary look.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about running your own business?

I’ve been running my own business for over 15 years now, I guess I’ve become a serial entrepreneur. I love the challenge. I love making the tough decisions and although there is never any absolute certainty of success in what I do, the passion to create something different and unique is a huge driving force.

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What was the best piece of advice you were ever given?

The best piece of advice probably that I was ever given had come from my parents, but it was probably what they did most of their life and their work ethic that I would probably consider being one of the biggest motivational factors in my life, work hard and be honest with people in the long run it’s always pays off.

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What’s next for you?

This new card line that I’m putting out is the first of many new kind of greeting cards that I would like to introduce to the world, something that is fresh and different and something that would appeal to the masses. There are many ideas that I would like to introduce to the marketplace, only time will tell how successful they will all be, but I’m pretty confident and determined. All I need to do is follow my parents’ work ethic.

Horoscope: Gemini
Favorite color: Deep red

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5 Things to Pack For Your Next #GirlGang Vacation

2015 was the year of the girl gang. Leave it to Taylor Swift to inspire #squadgoals around the world with her all-star roster of BFFs ranging from supermodels to actresses to fellow Grammy winners. They’ve appeared in music videos (hello Bad Blood), performed on stage at Swift’s sold-out arena tour, and taken bestie vacations with parties of pool floats and coordinating high-waisted bikinis. Whether you’re planning your next ladies trip or just dreaming of hanging in Hawaii with your squad- here are 5 items you need to pack for your next trip by ultimate #girlgang brand My Isabelli.

View more from My Isabelli in their ArtSetters showroom.

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My Isabelli Sundancer Crochet Top

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My Isabelli Cabana Playsuit Blues

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My Isabelli Drifter Maxi Skirt

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My Isabelli Casablanca Embroidery Dress

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My Isabelli Midnighter Throw-over

 

How One Artist Went From Selling Insurance to Painting Sea Creatures Full Time

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It wasn’t until she left her corporate career selling insurance that Kim Rody became known as the “fishartista”-  that’s short for artist who paints fish. We’re talking bright, colorful acrylic paintings depicting sea turtles, lobster, and octopi (the plural of octopus…cool!) and oceanic dinnerware that wouldn’t feel out of place at a Finding Nemo-themed dinner party. Think being a “fishartista” sounds fun? It gets better- Rody actually lived on her boat in Hope Town Harbour in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas, where she met and married her sailor husband. She now spends summers in North Carolina painting mountains and trees, and winters in the Bahamas painting fish and turtles. Here’s to Rody for having the courage to leave her corporate job  in order to pursue what she loves- and for proving that when it comes to choosing a career path, there are plenty more fish in the sea!

How did you start your brand?

I’m a fine art painter. A friend suggested I create dinnerware out of my images for his upcoming fundraiser in the Bahamas, so the next year I showed up with some dishes and they were a big hit.

What inspired the vision behind your brand?

I’ve always been connected to the ocean and the creatures that live under and around the sea. I love diving and swimming in the beautiful Bahama waters.

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What are three core values that represent your designs?

Quality, Delight, Creativeness

What materials do you use?

For my paintings I use acrylic on linen canvas. For the dinnerware, I fire my images onto high quality, sturdy restaurant dishes in my kiln in Florida.

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What is your background and how does this influence your work?

I didn’t become an artist until I was nearly forty years old. I had sold insurance before I made that change. That helped me with the business side of my art career.
What advice would you give to up & coming designers that want to start their own brand?

Develop images that reflect what you love – for me it is sea creatures. Create hundreds of images, that gives you a lot to choose from when you start to produce merchandise.

If your designs were a movie, which would it be?

Finding Nemo

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If you could pick one brand to stand next to in a boutique, which would it be?

Le Crueset cookware. I LOVE that stuff.

What’s next for you?

We are in the process of buying a home in the islands, and after that closes I’ll be building a new studio for painting my large canvases. New subjects: Chesapeake images: blue crabs, stripers, herons.

How Instagram Photography Is Making Its Way From Your Feed to Your Walls

If you have an Instagram account, chances are you’ve come across some insanely inspiring photography posts and thought to yourself- who are these mystery Instagram pros?! Their photos of other-worldly landscapes and artsy, abstract architecture make our pictures of what we ate for breakfast look like amateur hour. Enter Ferdinand Prinz, a former graphic design student who struggled to find affordable and aesthetically pleasing photography prints for his walls. Rather than settle on a generic Marilyn Monroe poster (you know you’ve contemplated buying one at some point in your college career),  he founded Post Collective, the first online gallery to sell work exclusively from Instagram artists. Now, with an Instagram reach of over 2 million and a growing roster of artists, it’s hard to ignore the momentum behind such a powerful, inspiring idea. It’s no surprise Post Collective has already received mention in Vogue Germany, Interview, Monocle, and more. The biggest lesson he’s learned through the process of starting his own business? “You cannot do it all alone.”

What inspired you to be a designer and how did you get started?

As a (broke) graphic design student in London I was looking for cool and affordable photography art prints but could not find much beyond a few museum prints or Marylin Monroe posters.

Where were you born, where have you lived most of your life, and how has this influenced your brand?

I am born and raised in Cologne, Germany and have lived in London for the past ten years before coming to Berlin in April.

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What is the first thing you do in the morning? What websites do you visit?

Brush my teeth and jump onto one of my all-time favourites, HUH magazine. I also like more techy stuff like Mashable.

What materials do you use and from where do you source them?

We want to differentiate ourselves from the majority of ‘poster’ suppliers online by offering highest quality art prints and frames. Our fine art paper is by Hahnemühle, the number 1 choice for most contemporary photographers and our Epson Stylus Pro 11880 is known to be the king of printers. All our art print sand frames are made in Germany.

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What gets your creative juices flowing? Are you an early-bird or a night owl? What songs are you listening to, what munchies are you snacking on, what are you wearing?

Definitely night owl – creativity comes with sunset for me. I get a lot of my inspiration from art and advertising. My favourite music is disco, soul, hip hop, techno and co.

Describe the first piece you ever designed…

It was an 80x80cm art print of a winding mountain road. It was printed on Hahnemühle 210 Studio Enhanced paper. Made in Notting Hill.

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Who is your mentor?

Competitors, friends, co-workers, my girlfriend and my family.

How would you describe your personal style, both wardrobe and home decor?

Nordic, classic, gladly too much sometimes!

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What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about running your own business?

You cannot do it all alone.

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Be willing to wait for the right opportunity.

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What’s next for you?

Further nurturing young and talented photographers from more places and backgrounds.

Product Photo Desk

From 8 Crazy Nights to 8 Crazy Lights: Inspiring Lighting to Celebrate The Holiday Season

With retail’s busiest season in full swing, communities are illuminated with festive storefronts, Christmas tree lights, and the celebratory glow of Hanukkah candles. This season, think beyond typical string lights and menorahs and get inspired by more non-traditional lighting design. As we enter the second evening of Hanukkah’s 8 crazy nights, we’re highlighting 8 crazy lights by our talented ArtSetters community. From PopUp Lightings painted aluminum deer head pendants to AyaandJohn’s psychedelic pantone-hued cube lights, these pieces are sure to inspire you through this holiday season and beyond. Read more

Soul Jewelry | Meet Amy Phipps of Story of Seven

Amy Phipps turned her childhood bead obsession into a rewarding career. Story of Seven mala necklaces are made with love, designed for the customers’ well-being in mind. Each handmade mala has a story to tell or a special meaning, using a combination of semi precious stones, chosen for their specific healing properties. Read more

Sea Sick Style|Meet Caroline Sweet of FanSea Motion Sickness Bands

Caroline has found a way to put style into a motion sickness remedy. Out with the ugly remedy bracelets and in with a more fashionable way to fight motion sickness, introducing FanSea Motion Sickness Bands. The bands cure multiples types of motion sickness from boats, airplanes, cars, pregnancies, or any other activity that could turn your stomach. Read more

Made by Skaters for Skaters – Meet Designer of Skatanist Studio

Inspired by the streets and people of London, Veronica made her dream come true and started her own fashion brand Skatanist. All pieces of her collection are tested by Veronica herself before selling. Her comfortable, funny and edgy line is designed for all the skater girls out there!

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