Tanya Tracy

 

What is your name and business?

Tanya Tracy from Tanya Tracy

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Tanya is the culinary force behind her line of baked goods, chutneys & dips. Her inventive East meets West flavors mix has garnered her buzz amongst NYC & Hamptons foodies. Tanya has trained at Manhattan’s renowned Institute of Culinary Center but calls upon the tastes and techniques she picked up in her native India to inspire her creations. “In India, our house was always filled with guests and the savory smell of cooking,” she says. “I grew up on dishes that seem so exotic here—Punjabi Goat Brain Masala, Kashmiri Lotus Root, Chayote Squash, Buttered Turnips and Spiced Pistachio Himalayan Raisin Phirni to name a few.” Tanya has warm childhood memories of hours spent in the kitchen with the family cook or watching her mother baking Radish Parantha and Tandoori Keema Naan in a clay oven. Summer vacations meant visiting her maternal grandparents in Chandigarh, India where her grandfather, a retired forest officer, maintained an extensive vegetable garden and a beautiful orchard with every imaginable fruit tree from Mango to Guava to Jackfruit to Lemon to Mulberries. “I remember grabbing a basket immediately upon arrival to pick grapes off of the grapevine on Grandpa’s terrace or climbing Guava trees with my cousins and eating the fresh-picked fruit while sitting on a branch,” says Tanya. It engendered a lifelong love of organic and seasonal ingredients, which are at the heart of every Gourmet Home Cooking offering.

How is your brand special / different?:

Tanya Tracy brings a fresh, updated approach to clean, whole food cuisine. Her line of chutneys and signature sweets have earned her a devoted and discerning following in New York City (a feat in such a crowded foodie market) and deserve the attention of a wide scale audience.

 

Mana Made Jewelry

 

What is your name and business?

Amanda Paulsen from Mana Made Jewelry

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Mana Made Jewelry is designed and handcrafted at a local metal arts studio in Brooklyn. The jewelry is minimalistic in style and made from locally sourced stones and metals.  Mana Made Jewelry has been a long time in the making and officially launched this year. It began nearly a decade ago in CA where I was designing stone and beaded jewelry – at that point ‘Mana Made’ was in its conceptual phase but quickly became a dream project to pursue. When I moved back to NYC several years ago I started working out of a community metal arts studio under a few metal artists and became fascinated with metalworking. The studio became my ‘happy place’ where I was spending any free time I had at night and on weekends working on jewelry pieces. Over time, I evolved my jewelry designs to integrate metalwork and created my first line of minimalistic stone and metal jewelry.

How is your brand special / different?:

I am the sole person behind the brand – the owner, designer, and maker. I personally source all materials locally and handcraft my jewelry in Brooklyn.

Designs combine carefully selected stones with metals using various metalworking techniques. The process of hand drilling stones and cutting and forging metals allows for slight variations in each design, creating pieces that are one-of-a-kind. Having creative freedom in both design and production allows me to custom make original jewelry that continuously evolves into new collections

 

Cecilia by Cecilia Motwani

 

What is your name and business?

Cecilia Motwani from Cecilia by Cecilia Motwani

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Art that breaks away from every fashion cliche and rule. The line is a modern slant on couture techniques, a quasi-unisex street-ready rendering of sartorial elegance with a touch of avant-garde. I started sewing when I was nine and  along with writing and sculpting has been something I always did for fun and later, with the encouragement of some people who loved what I would dress, started the business of making bespoke pieces.

How is your brand special / different?:

I always say to everyone I get to talk how hard it is to be true to yourself when you compete in a market. There are a lot of brands out there that follow a formula and their owners know actually nothing about couture or even what a needle is for. I want to offer a product that preserves the traditional interaction between the customer and the maker. I offer pieces that given the intricate and painstaking adornments cannot be factory produce and because of that each piece is very unique and won't be found in thousands of bodies across the globe. I personally cut them, pick fabrics, sew them and hand embroider them if necessary. I want to represent the need to protect our resources, and local labor is one of them. Also want to convey the message of how damaging is to our environment the overproduction of garments in factories overseas where safety and labor laws and otherwise "fair-trade" rules are not observed and then the market is flooded with items that have no real value, no meaning to the wearer and end up sooner than later in a landfill. My brand, on the contrary, is as green and local as it gets.

 

Silly Chilly

Hot Sauce

 

What is your name and business?

Sufia Hossain from Silly Chilly Hot Sauce

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

Her hot sauce is smooth, spicy, sassy in All the right places.Don't underestimate the ChillyintheSilly. She will bite. This gluten-free product will be a hit at your next BBQ, wedding,and or corporate event leaving your guests with a unique culinary experience. SillyChillyHot Sauce is sass in a sauce!

Like all creations, it started with a dream. That simple dream of winning the national prize of "the hottest hot sauce" eventually propelled to a goal. Why hot sauce, though? I was a graduate of F.I.T. working in the confines of textiles, board meetings, and in search of the latest style trends; I was far from being a connoisseur of the kitchen. As a first generation American, I sought comfort from the hectics of Manhattan and returned to my roots of Bangladesh, through culinary exploration. Growing up with the richness and depths of classic South Asian peppers and spices, in the summer of 2015, what became a de-stress refuge transformed into a passionate and driven business.

 

BundtsNYC

 

What is your name and business?

Randall Grant from BundtsNYC

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

BundtsNYC is a Astoria based bakery service that offers 20+ cake flavors in 5 sizes for FREE local area delivery, discounted 2-day Priority Mail shipment, and at seasonal weekend markets. BundtsNYC began when when the owner was asked to make a cake for  a charity event, and the attendees began to ask for more in the following weeks. A bundts cake is made with care and attention to the bare cakes appearance.  Most cakes are frosted over and the look of what is prepared is not keenly important.  A bundt has deep ridges, even tones, and a special care that shines through with each cake

Tell us more about your product?

The products started with Grandma Vaughn's Five Flavored Pound Cake.  It was a long family favorite taste that deserved to be spread.  In the first month of business we offered 3 cake flavors (adding Pumpkin Spice, Butter Supreme) that became 6 in the next 4 months. One year later, with the dozens of cake experiments tried, we offered more than 20 delicious tastes, plus seasonal special items. Most recently we added Brownie Bundt and Velvet cake lines.

 

 

Sweet Muse

 

What is your name and business?

Laura Siner Kornegay from Sweet Muse

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

SweetMuse specializes in premium, hand-crafted, fudge brownies.  With over a dozen tempting flavors that are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, Sweet Muse brownies are offered in a variety of gift tins and boxes. Baking has always been a creative and relaxing activity for me. I love trying new recipes, tweaking old ones, and the search for the ultimate scrumptious experience.  Another of my passions is acting.  When the two came together, Sweet Muse was born.

Several years ago I started baking as part of my daily pre-theater preparation for a challenging role.  It proved to be the perfect activity for reviewing lines and clearing the day’s clutter from my head so I could arrive at the theater centered, open, and ready to perform. Brownies were one of my favorite things to bake during this time, and I started taking the extras to the theater where they quickly became a hit at the concession stand. Soon I was filling orders for folks who wanted to share these treats with others outside the theater.

Now, Sweet Muse ships brownies to locations throughout the US. You'll also find us at various food shows and markets, and perhaps your local coffee shop or specialty store. And harking back to our beginnings, we continue to supply some New York City theaters with their concession stand treats.

 

The Queens Bookshop Initiative

 

What is your name and business?

Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa, Holly Nikode from The Queens Bookshop Initiative

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

A community effort to open a second general-purpose bookstore in Queens. As of Dec. 31st, 2015 - our borough of Queens has been left with one general-purpose bookstore. Our mission is to change that with the help of our community.

As former Barnes & Noble booksellers and avid readers, we were devastated when all the Barnes & Noble bookstores left our borough in one fell swoop last year. We feel that our community deserves a literary space that they could come together and find their next favorite read. We launched our initiative in January by spreading the word in person and through social media. We were overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement we received! On April 24th, we launched our Kickstarter campaign, which was successful and raised over $72,000! Currently, we are on the hunt for a location to open our bookstore and collaborating with local businesses, by having book pop-ups in cafes and now MiQ!

 

Jamie Clawson

 

What is your name and business?

Jamie Clawson from JAMIE CLAWSON

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

My friend bought a faux leather skin for his iPhone that fell apart. He knew I liked figuring out how to make things and suggested I make real leather skins one night at happy hour. I was working as a graphic t-shirt designer at the time and a few months later I was laid off. My friend lent me $500 and I started making samples. I was using the workshop at NYDesigns and working out of my girlfriend's apartment and had no idea what NYDesigns was. Things were not going well and I was packing up to move back to Cleveland in September 2011, but I was given a trial studio at NYDesigns and have been here since then. I started with one product in a few styles and now have created over 30 different products in a huge selection of leathers.

How is your brand special / different?:

I literally do everything from sourcing leather, product development, shipping, production, customer service.

Each product is handmade to order at my shop in Long Island City. I use a clicker press and a laser cutter for most of my products. I use a custom 3M adhesive that easily applies to your device and it easy to remove and re-apply.
The amazing thing about my products is that they don't cater to a specific market, they're tech accessories, but with the premium materials I use, they can also be fashion accessories/accent pieces. You can swap them out depending on your outfit or mood. They can also be used as branding tools, I can laser-engrave a company logo/graphic and you have a branded device.

 

Dutch Kills Klotheing

 

What is your name and business?

Eva Weiss from Dutch Kills Klotheing

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

We have seen the continuing evolution of the neighborhood and would like to capture some of the old world flavor before it fades away

I own a screen printing business so was a natural extension of that business.  I was inspired by all the old buildings around us and wanted to capture some of it.

How is your brand special / different?:

We hand print and design everything in Queens.  Some of the shirts are sourced from  US brands and others from Fair Trade brands that manufacture overseas.   I personally choose the inks and fabrics to be the softest fabrics and best inks.  We cater to everyone from Newborns to Grandpas.  From hipsters to goth girls.  From your Uncle Joe to your niece Jalissa.

 

Niizeki Hiromi Studio

 

What is your name and business?

Hiromi Niizeki from Niizeki Hiromi Studio

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Disgusting trash for someone, and deeply touching and such a beauty and personal for someone. Over 20 years, I have built and exhibited participatory installation using discarded materials from our everyday life at Museums, galleries and public spaces.  I wanted to connect and reach reality of everyday life and art than separate them away.

How is your brand special / different?:

From “GumHearts” Project, I have created temporary tattoo stickers and Greeting cards. GumHearts Projects: Documentary Cellphone Photography of coincidentally happened heart shapes gums on the street. Tattoo stickers come with own original location, date and time, as identity.

 

Sweet Relief

 

What is your name and business?

Joseph Puma from Sweet Relief

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Sweet relief uses the latest technology available to show how these tools lend themselves beautifully to classic aesthetics. Victorian wallpaper patterns and Islamic art are influential on the designs

The idea behind the stacked layers of acrylic patterns came from working as an architectural model maker. When the architects needed to represent topography we would cut out and stack layers of material to accurately represent the hills and valleys on the models. Using this same process,  I began drawing Damask patterns to see how detailed wallpaper would look in relief.

Recently my business has been accepted into the business incubator at NYDesigns which is located in Long Island City, Queens.This business incubator has one of the largest laser cutters in NYC, so it is a fantastic opportunity to create some of the larger pieces that I have planned.

How is your brand special / different?:

These wall panels are made with a process that I have not seen before on decorative wall panels

 

Sexy Batch Baking Company

 

What is your name and business?

Nieves from Sexy Batch Baking Company

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Sexy Batch Baking Company handcrafts sophisticated classic cookies, enjoyable by everyone. For years I've baked for family and friends, who regularly told me that my cookies were the best they ever had.  In 2013 I finally got serious about baking and started honing my recipes.  Things started slowly as it was just me in my kitchen, baking whenever I had spare time.  The first holiday season was insanely busy; I didn't sleep for about two weeks straight.  I knew that I would need help in order to grow.  The next year I hired my first employee to help with workload and business development.  We've grown so much since then - we now sell our cookies in several shops throughout Queens and Brooklyn, as well as on our website.

We recently moved to a new incubator kitchen, Tiny Drumsticks in Long Island City. Over the last several months we've adjusted to the new pace and new equipment, hired a few employees, and now we're ready to take on the world!

 

Schmidt's Candy

What is your name and business?

Margie Schmidt from Schmidt's Candy

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Located in Woodhaven, Queens, Schmidt's Candy is a third generation family business that has been using Grandpa's recipes from Germany for the past 90 years. Grandpa Frank started Schmidt's Candy during The Depression.  After World War II, with the help of his three sons two additional storefronts were opened within a ten block radius.  Later on these stores were condensed back to the original where all the extended family joined this family owned business.  Today Margaret is the sole family member and sole worker of this totally hand-made confectionery.

How is your brand special / different?:

We use only simple ingredients from the mother country and make everything fresh and by hand. We make home made candies and chocolates.  We make the caramel, jellies, butter-crunch, coconut, marshmallows and other center fillings from scratch in the old copper kettles, just like Grandpa did.

 

Roni Sue's Chocolates

What is your name and business?

Rhonda Kave from Roni Sue's Chocolates

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

At Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, located in the heart of NYC, we celebrate our ingredients, crafting our own direct-trade chocolate from Belize into unique truffles, toffees and confections to delight and surprise! After making chocolates for over 25 years for friends and family, taking many classes along the way, I "went pro" and opened Roni-Sue's Chocolates in October of 2007 in a tiny stall in the historic Essex St. Market on NYC's lower east side. I soon realized that I needed to diversify my product line to include some shelf stable snacks for wholesale customers as the market for fresh chocolates was limited. So after two years I acquired a 'larger' space in the market producing, shipping and selling my expanded retail and wholesale product line there with two employees all in only 200 sq. ft.! 

In 2013 I opened a beautiful LES storefront cafe and production space on Forsyth St., still retaining a small retail stall in the market until February of 2016. Beginning this summer I've redesigned my operation as an atelier space with more limited retail hours. This is now allowing me to focus on our all important wholesale production, web sales, local delivery and my new passion -- teaching!

How is your brand special / different?:

We make everything by hand in our LES atelier, sourcing our ingredients with care, locally where possible. Our market is the discerning consumer who cares about sustainable products and appreciates great quality and taste! We are known for unique flavor combinations--usually at the forefront of all the trends. (bacon treats, beer-centric candies, cocktail infused chocolates, etc) as well as our own twist on classic confections.

 

Keap

 

What is your name and business?

Stephen Tracy from Keap

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Superior scents without the markups, and a social mission to share light with those who need it most. Candles made better. Keap was founded in early 2015 by Harry Doull and Stephen Tracy, two friends who discovered a shared affinity for quality candles during their time as roommates on Keap Street, Brooklyn. Frustrated by the luxury candles they found—inflated in price, and lacking in purpose—they quickly found themselves planning a better way. Before long they were experimenting with different waxes, and attending perfumery courses at The Pratt Institute. In July 2015 they took the leap to quit their jobs and rented a space at innovation hotspot Industry City where they now design and make their candles.

How is your brand special / different?:

We're on a mission to make candles better for the urban renters looking for thoughtful design pieces, by vertically integrating all aspects of candle manufacturing, production and selling to our customers online directly. This allows us to cut out the middleman, and pass on savings to the consumer—so we can sell for $28 a better candle than our competitors sell for $60. We also founded Keap with a social mission to share light with those who need it most. For each candle sold $1 goes to our partners SolarAid to distribute a solar lamp to someone who lacks access to the electrical grid.

 

 

DaniPrints

 

What is your name and business?

Danielle Barbaro-Mutone from DaniPrints

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

I grew up always being crafty and creative. I always knew since I was a child I was going to be an Artist in some capacity. Eventually, I went to Pratt Institute, graduated with a Masters in Art & Design Education, and became an Art teacher in the NYC Department of Education. While in the DOE, I felt that it was important to practice what you teach. Therefore, I continued flex my artistic muscles by dabbling in various types of art. I no longer work for the DOE, but continue to teach and constantly create. I love that I can create something beautiful, teach someone how to do it, and help them find their creative side. I found a balance of teaching and creating that I am truly thankful for.

How is your brand special / different?:

My hand-dyed fabrics are all done in my kitchen in Astoria (and sometimes the living room, but don’t tell my husband!). The dyeing process is somewhat unpredictable, so no swatch of fabric, bag, or accessory item will look the same. Everything is truly one of a kind. In regards to my prints, they are inspired by ideas and musings from my past and present. The aesthetics of my printing are meant to portray a “rough around the edges”, obviously hand-carved look and you’ll see that aspect in my prints. I hand-dye fabrics using a combination of Shibori and other traditional resist techniques to create a one of a kind pattern on finished bags or plain fabrics that are sewed into accessories. Additionally, I create works of art using either linoleum or wood. I carve small editions of images into the surface of the material, ink the surface, and print the images onto paper.

 

Queens Thread

 

What is your name and business?

Adam Stoler from Queens Thread

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Queens Thread apparel celebrates and empowers each individual to live authentically, inspired by the uniqueness and diversity of the World’s Borough. Designed, printed, embroidered in Queens, NY.

Founded in the summer of 2015 by professional musician and Queens resident Adam Stoler after overwhelming response to a hat he had made for himself years prior, Queens Thread began to create apparel and awareness celebrating "The World's Borough" as a means to express Queens pride and culture. QT's street-smart designs also pay tribute to the former 5 Pointz art complex in Long Island City. Relying mostly on word of mouth, Stoler hit the streets of Queens to spread the word, and ultimately joined the Queens International Night Market to further promote and sell his vision of pride, diversity, and authenticity. Selling at markets, special events & parties, and online has allowed Queens Thread to gain a strong local grassroots following that continues to grow. Adam Stoler's international music presence has also allowed the brand exposure abroad in Europe and Asia, and provides a unique insight into the global diversity that is reflected in Queens.

How is your brand special / different?:

Queens Thread designs, prints, and embroiders all of it's apparel in Queens, NY. Not only is partnering with local business and vendors extremely important to the company ethos, Queens Thread also commits to various community support programs in Queens as we believe that building a better global community starts with a better local community. In addition to volunteering at local cleanups and supporting community events, Founder Adam Stoler also speaks at public schools about diversity and authenticity, such as JHS 157 Halsey, where he initiated an essay/art contest around those topics. Our goal is that as Queens Thread grows, our efforts to support the Queens economy and culture can grow proportionally.

 

Wear LIC

 

What is your name and business?

Stuart Lowitt from Wear LIC

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

We produce creative tees with LIC and Queens focused designs that celebrate it's vibrant culture and lifestyle. I started this business about a year ago just as a hobby. People saw the shirts and asked where they were purchased. About four weeks ago I incorporated the business, had additional designs made up, screen printed and started selling the online and at the LIC Food and Flea.

How is your brand special / different?:

All shirt designs are designed in, and focused around the Long Island City area. As a resident of LIC, I wanted to create a series of colorful and energetic t-shirts that better represent our growing and diverse neighborhood. All current tees come in adult sizes but we will be expanding to youth sizes and dog clothing.

 

Worksman Cycles

What is your name and business?

Bruce Weinreb from Worksman Cycles

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Worksman Cycles is America's oldest bicycle manufacturer. Worksman Cycles have been built in NYC since 1898 and Queens since 1979. Our classic bicycles are made in our solar-powered factory in Ozone Park.

Morris Worksman established the business in 1898 producing bicycle pulled carts to replace horse-drawn wagons. Today, we continue to be a leader in manufacturing environmentally friendly vehicles. Amongst our most famous products are the iconic Good Humor Ice Cream Tricycles and the NYC Stainless Steel Hot Dog Cart. Today we manufacture Industrial-grade bicycles and tricycles, classic consumer bicycles, and mobile food vending equipment.

How is your brand special / different?

Worksman continues to build our bicycles in traditional, time-honored methods. All steel, fully-lugged, hand-welded frames in classic styles such as Cruisers and upright Roadsters. While our biggest selling products are industrial-grade cycles used in large factories, warehouses, airports, etc., we wish to showcase our classic bicycles at this venue.

 

Fresh Routes

FreshRoutes_Profile01b.jpg

What is your name and business?

Sarah and Josh from Fresh Routes

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

In 2009, we moved together to NYC and discovered a love for New York's diverse food traditions. We began to envision a food box solution to make cooking fit their lifestyles. After winning the 2012 Food for Health Business Plan Competition in NYC, we created Fresh Routes to offer people fun and functional cooking kits that transform dinner into a fast, fresh-focused experience any night of the week.

How is your brand special / different?:

We hand pack our kits in small batches at Hot Bread Kitchen Incubates in East Harlem. We started Fresh Routes making kits with all fresh ingredients included and with customer input we shifted in 2015 to shelf-stable pantry kits. Customers now shop for fresh ingredients at their own convenience. Using a grocery list included with each kit, customers can opt for locally-grown, Organic, or more affordable options for fresh produce and protein pairings. We cater both to new cooks looking for an on-ramp to fresh-made meals at home, and also to more experienced home cooks seeking easy solutions for fresh-focused meals on busy evenings. Customers value the robust flavors and unique ingredients of our kits as well as the ease and convenience of preparing them.

 

NadiraBag

What is your brand and business?

My name is Nadira El Khan of NadiraBag

Tell us about your brand / business

Simply by hand, classic, stylish and made with passion and love. NadiraBag makes handmade leather bags for men and women using high quality of leather and has an eye for details on each item. NadiraBag focuses on unique,stylish and professional products.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

I grew up in Marrakesh, Morocco and comes from a family of craftspeople where rug-making and working with leather is part of my family tradition. At the age of twelve I learned the trade of making bags and working with leather as I was helping my father repairing vintage leather bags, leather poufs, pillows and rugs and serving our customers all over the world from my father’s shop in the Marrakesh bazaar.

With a dream of venturing beyond my father’s shop, I came to the U.S. in April 2009 and enrolled at LaGuardia Community College as an undergraduate student majoring in accounting. While studying, I was still designing and making the leather bags as I had always done in Morocco.

My brother would come to visit me few times a year and during his visit I gave him the bags I had made to sell at the flea market in Williamsburg and at Chelsea Market.

The decision to start my own business was solidified when every single bag was sold at the flea market in Williamsburg and at Chelsea Market. That’s when I realized she had something special. I started operating her business from my little apartment in Queens and soon realized I had to find a way to grow in a bigger way and my next step was to set up my Etsy store and since then, I have sold her handmade bags all over the world and rated five stars positive reviews. As the demand for the bags increased; I had to start looking for a larger space since my own apartment soon became too small to function as an office, production space, and home.

After moving into the incubator space at NYDesigns in June of 2014 I have the creative space I need to expand her production as well as a place to run my business in a more efficient way, which I already see reflected in revenues.

How is your brand special / different?

NadiraBag products are handmade in the studio at NYDesigns in New York City. The process for the production of the products is tracing and cutting patterns first. Then, punching each individual hole and sewing the leather together piece by piece. The last part is the accessory stage – attaching buttons, buckles, and zippers.

 

Sandra Smith

What is your name and business?

Sandra Smith from Sandra Smith LLC

Tell us about your brand / business?

Sandra Smith, LLC is a mom-owned business passionate about designing and crafting personalized bags and home décor products that are meaningful, versatile, and built to last. Constructed by hand right here in Queens, NY, every product is the result of a thoughtful collaboration between designer and customer. Creating memorable experiences is the heart of Sandra Smith, LLC.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

I am always one to take on new creative endeavors, and Sandra Smith LLC is no exception. In 2012, I taught myself to sew, fell in love with the creative process, and began eagerly gifting completed projects from my newfound passion to friends and family. Their positive feedback invigorated me to continuously innovate and refine my work into custom pieces others could buy and share with their loved ones. I loved bringing joy through my work, so I took the leap and dove head first into transforming my hobby into a home-based business: I handled retail and wholesale clients, designed and maintained brand image, tackled marketing and packaging, and managed all financial and legal processes. When the workload became too much for me to handle alone, I expanded my business by hiring women within my community, most of whom are mothers like myself.

 

I thoroughly enjoy the challenges of growing a business, and I find continuous inspiration in creating tangible tokens of affection. My drive to succeed also empowered me to overcome and rise above the adversity in which a great number of women experience in their lifetime: Intimate Partner Violence, also known as Domestic Violence. Constructing beautiful bags helped my spirit to flourish through the difficult circumstances to eventually take back control and redefine my future.

How is your brand special / different?

Sandra Smith, LLC is unique because its core value is to make a positive impact on people’s lives – straight from the home. My personal beliefs of empowerment and spreading positivity through creative expression is apparent in every aspect of my business. I support local domestic violence centers through personal advocacy work, and am working on using my business as a platform to build awareness. I also hire within the community, and place emphasis on employing people that I trust to connect with customers’ needs. Aside from creating bags and home décor with uplifting messages, my team and I frequently collaborate with customers to design heartfelt bespoke gifts for their loved ones.

 

Trill Tea

What is your name and business?

Chaz Greene from Trill Tea

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

Trill Tea is an online ready to brew tea company that encourages creativity through culture and innovation. We make tea more appealing by juxtaposing it with millennial life.

Never being a tea drinker, the idea for Trill Tea started when I was at work sick drinking a cup of  tea with no additives. After that unenjoyable cup of tea I wondered why the flavor, experience, and energy of tea had never been recreated for the 21st century. After making a call to my long time friend now business partner the idea for Trill Tea was born. Our aim, to create a company that we would be able to relate to. From the flavor names to the design of the boxes we make every decision with millennial culture and creativity in mind.

How is your brand special / different?

Trill Tea is different because unlike most tea companies we use modern pop references, bright colors, and urban culture to make tea more approachable. We are the only tea company that includes free honey crystals with every box of tea.

 

Metrix Jewelry

What is your name and business?

Lisa Mignoli from Metrix Jewelry

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

I grew up always being creative.  I have a vague memory of selling friendship bracelets in front of the house instead of lemonade like most kids.  As I got older the projects became more focused on jewelry making.  I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, but while my focus was on fashion business, my favorite classes were, by far, the creative electives I got to take.  Besides a jewelry design class, I took while I was there, everything I know has been self taught.  Metrix Jewelry is a one women show. There has been a lot of trial and error on my part, along with help from family and friends. Every piece of jewelry I make is handmade by me.  The last year I have been experimenting with 3d printing as a jewelry making technique. Those pieces have been designed by me, making the pieces still feel like my own, and then printed by local companies in various metals to help create techniques I would not be able to achieve otherwise.

How is your brand special / different?

Right now I don’t work out of a fancy studio, but the garage and basement of my parent’s house in Floral Park, Queens where I reside.  Officially, Metrix Jewelry has been in business for three years.  Every moment has been a learning experience.  I have had to not only create, but market myself, keep records, become a photographer and stylist, and wear various other hats. 

I would love to be part of thisMade in Queens Collective.  Supporting local/handmade businesses is important to my lifestyle and needs to be shared with others.

 

Sweet Gritty Style

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What is your name and business?

Craig Clements from Sweet Gritty Style

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

Sweet Gritty Style started from the love for music and dance, specifically “HOUSE MUSIC”. The business started in 2015, but the idea and concept for developing graphic tee’s started as early as 2007. When I was reintroduced to the sounds of house music by NYC DJ’s like Ray Vazquez and Ruben Toro.

I wanted to contribute to this by creating Tee’s that captured the feeling and spirit of House Music. So, by 2012 I started working on designing my first Tee shirts. I currently have an online store. However, my sales at this time are generated from seasonal NYC festival and house music events.

How is your brand special / different?

What my customers have in common no matter the age is the love for dance. My customers are my driving force, for most have been dancing to house music since the late 80’s and they remember clubs like the Garage, The Temple, and the Loft. And even a younger generation is enjoying the sounds of house music at dance competitions. Yes, outsourcing is required for printing of our complicated designs. And our less complicated designs are made at our home-base. Our target market is mostly urban male and females ages 25-55.

 

Hooks and Luxe

What is your name and business?

Ryoko Kitazawa from Hooks and Luxe

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

I moved to New York from Japan to enter Parsons the New School For Design in 2009 . After my graduation, I have worked in fashion and design industries. Through my working experience, I started thinking that I want to connect with people through my creations. The internet makes it easier. I started selling my fashion accessories online in 2013. Since then, sales has increased every year. Last year, I finally decided to quit my day job and to take my creative business to the next level. Now I work full time for Hooks and Luxe from home in Queens.

How is your brand special / different?

One of my main products is women’s suspenders. I believe they are definitely a unique item because there are not so many women’s suspenders sold in the world, and also because of their distinct designs with chain and trims. Customers would enjoy this unique item as a fashion statement.

 

Sweet Cicles

What is your name and business?

Andrea Patel from Sweet Cicles

What is the 30-words description of your brand / business?:

We're obsessed with the flavors of Earth.  Fruits, roots and shoots inspire us. We work hard to bring you delectable Sweetcicle's Soft Chews in sweet (but not too-sweet) flavors.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

A lifelong sweets aficionado from rural Pennsylvania, our founder Andrea (aka Sweetcicle) was inspired to craft her own take on confections.  Drawing influence from treats from around the world, like the rich texture of soft Australian licorice, but wanting to put a twist on it by concentrating on nature inspired and out of the ordinary flavors, we have worked 2 years to bring these unique sweets to fruition.  Keri Confections, LLC was formed in 2014 and is currently doing business as Sweetcicle’s brand.  We officially launched our Soft Chews in market January of 2016, and manufacture our product out of Queens.  We are developing our wholesale business with local retailers and making our product the old fashioned way-- small batch with lots of love and attention.

How is your brand special / different?:

All product is produced at the Entrepreneur Space in Queens.  We are a vegan candy; made entirely with plant based products.  This is unusual for chewy candies, as many are made with binding agents that are derived from animal products.  We use a hand crafted cooking process to get just the right texture for our product, and use natural colors and flavors that celebrate the flavors of nature.   We have been selling like hotcakes at The Sweet Shop NYC, once people try our product, they want to buy it for themselves and as a gift.

 

 

Forest Witch

What is your name and business?

Stephanie Sanz from Forest Witch

Tell us about your brand / business?

Organic, no additive, loose leaf herbal tea spells. Forest Witch offers organic loose leaf tea blends that include a handcrafted incantation. We believe that everyone can live a magical life; they only need to evoke the magic within.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

It began as an idea while I was drinking a cup of tea in a restaurant in Connecticut, 3 years ago. I recognized the herbs in the tea package as being herbs that I often used to add to candles to burn while I meditated with the hope that the scent will remind me of the intentions that I was meditating on, or rather, the herbs would represent my intentions and I would mediate on the intention; that is spell casting. As a self identified white witch, I would pick the herbs based on pagan beliefs and suddenly realized that instead of using them to burn in candles, I could consume them, making it more of a magical experience. I began perfecting my first seven blends, which took 2 1/2 years since I was a college student. Although I am still a student, I decided that my seven blends were ready for to be shared with other people who are interested in bringing magic into their lives.

How is your brand special / different?

My brand is bold. The word “witch” has been stigmatized and my brand is reclaiming the label to re-define it. It takes the negative connotation of a witch from being evil to being of love and light. It is also a brand that is playful and encourages the child in us that once believed in magic to come out and play.

The blend itself is unique because it is one of the few blends in the market that are free of any additives. The herbs are organic and completely natural. The suppliers used are in the west cost is a fair trade company and provides and certified organic herbs.

I reblend and package my product using recyclable rice paper bags in a certified shared kitchen. The labels are printed locally, in Astoria Queens, and the incantations are written and handmade by me, while I sit as a goddess alter with litpositively charged candles and crystals to help raise positive energy. The incantation making process is meditative and spiritual and the belief is that the good energy raised in the whole process with transfer to the customer.

 

Halety Sweets

What is your name and business?

Teresa Hogan from Halety Sweets

Tell us about your brand / business?

Halety Sweetz is a gluten free, low sugar, diabetic friendly baked goods option. We offer products using natural and organic ingredients like raw sugar cane, honey and agave.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

I started as a party cake baker. Now I'm doing healthier options with the help of the REES PROGRAM, START SMALL THINK BIG, SBA offered through NYCHA. I completed their business course and received funding to operate from an incubator (E space). I created a logo, business card, website, etc to introduce Halety Sweetz to the world and being apart of MIQ pop up store would help boost my company name.

How is your brand special / different?:

Halety Sweetz is different because we offer gluten free/sugar free cookies, cakes, brownies, as well as protein enhanced products that taste great and are better for you. We use no preservatives, additives or fillers, we bake often and by order so your product is always at its peak freshness. Halety Sweetz is driven by my interest in creating a healthier way to snack for my community and others. Our market is simply the sensible snacker, dieter, health conscious consumer, as well as diabetics and people with gluten allergies, just to name a few. Our goal is to become a distributor for DOE schools system. There are a lot of children with allergies and sensitivities and Halety Sweetz would be a better option for them.

 

DMITRY Ties

What is your name and business?

Dmitry Toscano from DMITRY Ties

Tell us about your brand / business?

DMITRY Ties have redefined fashion by introducing a unique & exclusive palette of luxurious silk men's neckwear that appeal to fashionable men of all ages.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

I began my journey working for brands like Banana Republic, GAP Japan, and Dolce & Gabbana.  I started in retail as a sales associate and then climbed my way to being a buyer & a production manager.  While learning and getting my experience, I always had one goal in mind, to launch my own venture.  In 2006, my dream came true, and I opened my DMITRY Ties boutique in Forest Hills, NY.  Being in business I've learned many things, one of the most important lessons is to always stay relevant and move forward with the outside world in order to stay afloat.

How is your brand special / different?:

Whether you are high rolling in Monaco, embracing a new lover in Capri, or strolling down the chic streets of Soho in London, our ties will travel with your lifestyle. DMITRY's vision transpired from his personal travels around the world coupled with a splash of his own style recipe. However, his love of Italy and its fashionable elegance inspired his venture to produce ties that dress a man in sophistication. One benefit of sporting a DMITRY tie is its distinctiveness. Our neckwear is produced in limited quantities in multiple styles and patterns. We provide 100% silk Italian crafted ties that are tailored to the buyer's personal needs and lifestyle. We specialize in neckwear thereby devoting our time to product quality, individuality, and consumer satisfaction. A DMITRY tie is your passport to fashion

 

Biggie's Crack Toffee

What is your name and business?

Stephanie Golden from Biggie's Crack Toffee

Tell us about your brand / business?

Thin crunchy additive Dark Chocolate Toffee with Sea Salt in a variety of flavors. We have taken old fashioned toffee and updated it making it thin and using premium dark chocolate, sea salt and a daring variety of toppings.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

I got the original recipe from a friend's mom and began experimenting with it making a toffee that I wanted to eat.  I gave it to friends as a gift and they all suggested I started selling it.  I began selling on the internet and am now in stores throughout the east coast.

How is your brand special / different?:

Most toffee is made the same way; thick, using milk chocolate and peanuts or roasted almonds.   There is not much variety.  I make my toffee thin and use only premium dark chocolate and sea salt thereby making a product that is easy to eat and not too sweet at the same time.   I also use unusual flavors including toasted pecans, mint, cherry almond and pistachio to name a few.  We currently feature 10 flavors and rotate them.  I also recently created an ice cream topping.  We chop up the toffee and it is amazing on ice cream or yogurt.

 

Guilt Free Snacks

What is your name and business?

Juanita Miranda from Guilt Free Snacks

Tell us about your brand / business?

Delicious treats, Gluten-Free, Less fat, Less sugar, and Free of Guilt! We believe that indulging yourself with a sweet treat can make you feel happier. Even if you have problems with Gluten, want to watch your calories and avoid the Guilt!

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

2014 I thought about creating some sweet products to indulge after a meal but they should be free of guilt. Then after a year of thinking I decided to quit my full time job and start this journey with nothing on the table besides a dream.

How is your brand special / different?:

Guilt Free Snacks is not only a brand is a life style. It is avoiding the guilt in your life and food usually gave us the more guilt. So by making these snacks I’m giving the opportunity to the people to indulge in a healthy and tasty way! In our website we have the Guilt Free Philosophy with 5 different rules that if you practice them will help to remove the guilt of your life. Guilt Free Snacks is different than the other Gluten-Free products because besides this characteristic, it has less calories, less fat, less sugar, low sodium and also a great taste. The product is made by a small bakery that was able to find a spot in their production to manufacture my recipes. It is a local beautiful bakery that also sells my brand.

 

 

Chi-Cho Sauce

What is your name and business?

Matt Konchan from Chi-Cho Sauce

Tell us about your brand / business?

Not just a hot sauce but Chi-Cho Sauce, made and manufactured in Queens. Don't let the words 'hot sauce' fool you.  We're not a novelty with flames&devils on the bottles. The design of our bottle is just as important as what's inside.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Started around 10 years ago with a Peruvian friend's family recipe that we tweaked and turned it into Chi-Cho's recipe today.  We started cooking and designing in college for Chi-Cho but was always on and off again, we became a legal business in 2013 and have been putting focus on it since.

How is your brand special / different?:

First off, we're from/made in Queens.  I see a lot of products actually made in parts of the boroughs that go off to say they are made in BK-we love living here and are proud to put the area on our bottles.  We're a bit different as we're not a standard hot sauce.  We want to be a product you can proudly display on your kitchen table or as a restaurant owner your customer's tables and not be embarrassed that the label has a pain scale on the side printed on gloss paper (not saying they aren't delicious!)

 

UJI Whole Grains

What is your name and business?

Nick Oleng from UJI Whole Grains

Tell us about your brand / business?

Delicious whole-grain smoothies. We obtain grains from around the world and combine them with fruits and spices to make healthy delicious smoothies that make a great breakfast.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

Growing up in Kenya, our founder, Nick, enjoyed the many benefits of a wholesome breakfast made with nutrient-packed grains like millet and sorghum. Now that he lives in New York City, he's learned that every region of the world is unique and holds the treasure of a nutritious grain or seed that has helped its population to survive and thrive. However, his busy lifestyle doesn't afford him the time he needs to make the same type of breakfast his mother used to make for him. Thus was born UJI (Swahili for porridge). Our team finds the best grains that each region of the world can offer, and puts them into delicious and super-nutritious smoothies that you and your family can drink at home or on the go.

How is your brand special / different?:

Our brand is unique in its incorporation of a variety of grains, making our smoothies wholesome and nutritious.

 

Starch Slides

What is your name and business?

Shannon Crowley from Starch Slides

Tell us about your brand / business?

Eco-friendly, fashionable shoes made from up-cycling used men's shirts. Starch Slides is an environmentally conscious fashion brand. We want to bring awareness to textile waste by up-cycling textiles not wearable anymore and making trendy, comfortable, individual slides for women.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?:

I started my company 6 months ago, growing an online presence and selling the majority of my stock direct from my website. I come from a fashion buying background and watched brands grown from nothing which inspired me to do something on my own. I knew I wanted to up-cycle unexpected textiles in a new way and the idea to do a  slide on shoe came to my mind, and Starch Slides was born.

How is your brand special / different?:

We source our shirts in the US, by donations and thrifting.

 

Bright Sun Naturals

What is your name and business?

Collette Rameau from Bright Sun Naturals

Tell us about your brand / business?

Natural personal care inspired from the delights of the bright sun and scents from childhood. Bright Sun Naturals crafts natural products  with passion.  A passion routed in the delights of the tropical sun, the scent of  medicinal plants, of flowers, fruits and spices from childhood.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

Years ago, I was preparing home extracts from herbs and fruits and blending them into hair and body lotions and home remedies.  I offered them to family and friends.  Later on I decided to turn this hobby into a business.

How is your brand special / different?

The brand carries the sweet memories and scents of my childhood to my clients.

 

Ash Apothecary

What is your name and business?

Ashleigh Crowther from Ash Apothecary

Tell us about your brand / business?

Ash Apothecary makes small batch simple syrup for cocktails, coffee, and more. Made with organic sugar and whole spices, Ash Apothecary syrups are an all-natural alternative to conventional sweeteners.

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

Demetrious O’Neil, who has been a bartender and barista for over 10 years, frequently found himself cooking his own simple syrups to achieve more interesting, robust flavors for cocktails and coffee drinks. When friends started asking how they could recreate his signature drinks at home, Demetrious decided to bottle and sell his syrups. Together with partner Ashleigh Crowther, he founded Ash Apothecary in 2014 to bring the craft, artistry, and joy of mixology to everyone.

How is your brand special / different?

We manufacture and bottle our products in small batches at the Entrepreneur's Space food incubator in Long Island City, Queens. We have been working out of the E.S. since Fall 2015.

 

Wishwas

What is your name and business?

Nivedita Chandroppa from Wishwas.org

Tell us about your organization?

We create a socio-economic integration model for South- Asia immigrant women through innovative micro-credit projects such as local handmade ethnic garment production

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

Wishwas was founded in 2010 as a response to a growing number of immigrant women in Queens who lacked access to capital and sustainable work.  It was in the midst of the economic recession that many women became increasingly isolated and vulnerable with no safety net or insurance.  Some had never opened a bank account and many were left out of all financial decisions made within their families and communities.  

Starting with donated space from the Kew Gardens Community Center, Wishwas started organizing weekly meetings, where women could practice their communication skills, engage in skill-based training and develop relationships with each other. The idea of cooperatives emerged as a self-sustaining alternative for women to gain control of their livelihoods.

Our weekly meetings provide a vibrant space for the following programs:

- Vocational Skills Training

- Cooperatives

- Small Business Entrepreneurship

- Legal and Health Resources

How is your brand special / different?

We produce locally and sustainably in the Queens.

 

TENDER organics

What is your name and business?

Taina & Alvin Parker from TENDER organics

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

I have always made my own personal skincare products since I was very young, and I've always dreamt of one day becoming this strong, independent business woman, I just didn’t know how that was going to manifest itself. Then one day my husband sat me down and confessed that he had been selling my skincare products to his clients (without my knowledge), and that they absolutely love them and want more! I knew at that moment that I needed to take his advice, abandon my fears & make my dream a reality. I started churning out products like crazy, selling at markets all over NYC and the rest is history. We just recently celebrated our one year anniversary as a company.

How is your brand special / different?

TENDER organics is special because of our uniquely creative approach to handmade skincare; we believe that skincare should be natural and fun! All of our products are made with pure ingredients that not only offer therapeutic benefits but also create a fun experience. We feel that you should never have to sacrifice effectiveness for safety and you shouldn't have to give up fun scents, textures & colors to "go natural”. We are a two person team, in business and in life, we’re very outgoing, very colorful and very happy. Our goal is to make other people happy too. We believe that TENDER organics thoroughly encapsulates the essence of who we are and the mark we want to make on the world.

 

Mahalo New York Bakery

What is your name and business?

Sunita and Michael Shiwdin from Mahalo New York Bakery

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

Mahalo New York was created because I wanted to share with New York all of the exotic flavors I grew up with, and the flavors I tasted in Hawaii on my honeymoon. The many tastes and pure nature of Hawaii invoked the happiness in me. I found myself saying "Oh my god! It's so pretty!" to almost everything I saw there. The flavors of Hawaii were mouth watering good! I was amazed of how similar the flavors of Hawaii were to the flavors I grew up with in Guyana. I wanted to bring some of those flavors to New York City. Together, my husband and I created a line of tropical and classic American treats that we both love eating ourselves.

How is your brand special / different?

We serve unique tropical flavor combinations that cannot be found anywhere else in New York City. We strive to serve only the freshest ingredients and have a strict 2-day policy for all baked goods in our shop. As a result, we make everything in small batch form, which allows us to sustain consistent quality in all of our baked goods. Our best sellers include our Mango & Passion Fruit Whipped Cheesecake, Hibiscus Cupcake, Mango Mango Cupcakes and Pineapple Guava Cupcakes.

 

 

Phoebe's Sourdough Bakery

What is your name and business?

Phoebe Goh from Phoebe's Sourdough Bakery

How did you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?

At the age 36, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I began to research what foods were best for my body, and during chemotherapy I also searched for ways to calm my mind. Nothing really worked until one day I tried baking bread and found kneading the dough extremely therapeutic. Remembering what I had read about the health benefits of sourdough, I taught myself how to make a sourdough starter and began baking with grains that naturally carry more nutrition and less gluten with no added yeast.

Happily, my cancer is now in remission but I remain vigilant about my health and living a happy life. In 2014, my family and I moved to New York City for a fresh start. I always knew that this was a place that supported people who work hard and have creative ideas, so I decided to pursue my dream and start a sourdough bakery.

How is your brand special / different?

While sourdough bread is found on the market, almost all of it is made with white refined commercial wheat flours and added yeast. My products, however, are all made from ancient whole grains such as emmer, spelt, rye and barley. I never add yeast and use only my own starter and Mother Nature to let the bread rise during a 26-hour fermentation process. Ancient grains are naturally lower in gluten and have more nutrients than commercial wheat. And the long fermentation process breaks down sugar and gluten in the grains, which makes the bread very easy to digest. In fact the sourdough bacteria are actually a probiotic and good for the gut. 

In addition, all of my ingredients are certified organic, non-GMO and wherever possible are sourced locally to support local farmers and reduce impact on the environment.

 

... and more!

 

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