San Francisco

August 4

by Priscilla Spradlin

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I have been going to Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco for the past four years, so I consider myself a semi-expert at this point. I have gone for all three days, two days, and just one day as well (that’s what I’m doing this year- see you Sunday!). Here are the lessons I have learned over the past four years at Outside Lands- hope it helps!

  • Wear close- toed shoes: I know sandals are super cute and help achieve the boho look that is so trendy at festivals, but Golden Gate park is either dusty if it’s dry or muddy if it’s wet- plus it gets pretty chilly after the sun sets. Do yourself, your toes and your shoes a favor and opt for boots or sneakers instead!
  • Wear Layers! Even if it’s a nice day in San Francisco (the high for this weekend is 68 F) and you are feeling good in your sun dress- once the sun sets, it gets chilly! So make sure to bring a warm jacket, and I usually even pack a beanie in my bag because it is compact and helps keep the warmth in!
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  • Dont’ try to split your time between two acts that are on opposite stages at the same time. I know you are dying to see both Lionel Richie and Lana Del Rey, but the walk between Lands End and Twin Peaks is longer than it seems- especially with the crowds moving at zombie-like speed and you will end up at the back of both crowds and you will not enjoy either show to its fullest potential. This is ESPECIALLY true if you are going to all three days- you will get tired of walking!!!
  • Bring a blanket. Speaking of going between stages a bunch- sometimes it’s more fun to just camp out at the front near one stage with a blanket and make it ground zero for everyone to meet at. You save your spot in the crowd and people that feel like relaxing stay with the blanket and make it the “spot”
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  • Pack a backpack! I have this bag from Ferdinands that I love and we just got a denim version as well. Keep your hands free and your necessities nearby with a cute bag that you can still dance around in!

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  • BEWARE STREET PARKING! It can feel like you hit the jackpot when you find a nice little spot on the street, but let me tell you, most of the neighbors of Golden Gate Park are not fans of Outside Lands because of the crowds and noise that it brings with it. My car was towed for being 1 inch into someone’s driveway- and it cost me a $500 towing and impound fee, plus a $120 parking fee to get my car free. Trust me- just pay for parking, or walk, or use public transportation.
  • Eat All the Food- It’s worth the lines and the price. So many good eats!
  • Bring a Refillable vessel for water- they have refill stations throughout the park for easy hydration!
  • Pack some dry shampoo- your festival hair can last from day 1 to 3 if you pack some dry shampoo!
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  • Have a TON of fun, dance, sing, eat, drink, and enjoy beautiful Golden Gate Park!
December 22
Corey Egan (pictured right) and her fellow jewelers Luana Coonen and Sharon ZimmermanI.  Photo courtesy of WereHaus.
Corey Egan (pictured right) and her fellow jewelers Luana Coonen and Sharon Zimmerman. Photo courtesy of WereHaus.

San Francisco is an epicenter of the modern Maker movement.  It’s a place of creative inspiration–an old city doing things in new ways.  It’s also expensive and workspace is hard to come by for Makers.  We recently asked one of our talented young Makers, metalsmith and jeweler Corey Egan to share with our readers her experience sharing a workspace in downtown San Francisco.

Here’s what Corey had to say…

Making It Together: The benefits of sharing your maker space

An artist’s studio does more than house libraries of drill bits and tiny mountain ranges of materials—it’s the heart and soul of our operation, a deeply personal space. A studio is the pride and joy of an artist’s careful check and balance. It inspires and nurtures our creative spirit while still being conducive to business. So what happens when that space suddenly transitions from personal to communal?

At this time last year, I teamed up with two fellow jewelers and embarked on just such a transition. We planned to share a jewelry studio in downtown San Francisco. Upon announcing this exciting news, I knew I would be hearing two guaranteed sentiments: “That makes so much sense financially!” Quickly followed with, “Won’t it be difficult sharing your creative space with other artists?”

It’s true that the road to successful sharing is paved with heaps of compromise and communication. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Sharing your creative space returns so much more than just saving a few bucks on your bottom line. The true benefit of sharing your creative space is your own evolution as a business owner and as an artist.

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Sharing Overhead

I was a bit naive when I started my search for a studio in the city. Initially, I had hoped to set out on my own, thinking that a studio should be relatively affordable since I didn’t need much space. What I didn’t count on was the insane competition for real estate — something that’s escalated to a staggering level in San Francisco. I was competing with startups as well as other makers, and space is getting harder to come by.  And if your business is anything like mine—light manufacturing with a torch in tow— well, some folks might suggest you throw in the towel.

In the end, joining forces with two jewelers was one of the smartest moves I could have made. We combined our budgets and found ourselves able to consider other types of available manufacturing space: a larger rental space that needed just a little more elbow grease.

Finding and improving our new shop was the first instance of how our combined efforts got us something greater than we could have ever achieved on our own. Beyond that, splitting the expense of our utilities, appliances, and leasehold improvements allowed us to stretch our individual budgets even further. Our library of tools had also tripled, unlocking the potential to employ new processes in our respective collections. Splitting these expenses and sharing amenities gave us each more time and money to pursue greater things–like making some of our best jewelry to date.

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Sharing Resources and Tools

When you think of a your favorite artisan, the first thing you think of is their amazing craftsmanship — that most dazzling finished product that inspires your finger to hover the ‘buy’ button. While it’s true that developing a great collection is likely their true passion, there are a dozen other facets they must tend to in order to keep their business healthy.

From marketing and photography to client relations and accounting— we artists may not excel in every arena, but we do need to at least understand them. A fantastic benefit of working alongside other makers is that it allows you to enlist your greatest resource— each other!

Sharing professional tips and resources is a healthy practice, which can help all of your companies grow. Whether you’re sharing your favorite supplier of silver chains, a reference for a local bookkeeper or introducing a photographer, you can collectively conquer more ground. This doesn’t imply that you’ll be sharing all of the same professionals for the services your companies need. Sometimes knowing what’s not right for your brand is just as important. The time and effort you put forth into researching resources can do good for your colleagues, too. You’ll find you’re right there with the support of your fellow makers when you come up against your next business hurdle.

Peer critique has been a vital part of developing a strong collection. A second (and third) set of eyes have provided valuable feedback while I worked through new design ideas. Thanks to the makers that share my space, I have learned new techniques and have been introduced to new tools that get the job done quicker. Around our shop, we discuss design, pricing and manufacturing strategies almost daily!

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Enriching Your Everyday

The energy of working around other talented artists is infectious. Some days are more difficult than others to get firing on all cylinders, but working near other creatives leaves me inspired by their productivity and tenacity. Surrounding yourself with driven individuals can get your head back in the game like no coffee break can. I also find that my peers keep me abreast of industry opportunities, recommendations, and events that are necessary to keep me inspired.

Another thing artists don’t often share with the outside world: being a business of one can be lonely! Our shop provides a great social facet to our lives. It has become a destination for other artists and jewelers to visit while in downtown San Francisco. Sometimes they drop in simply to say hello, but more often than not, they want to talk design and business strategies, too!

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Networking, educational opportunities, and specialized technology

The jewelry industry in San Francisco is its own tight-knit community of makers, and we’ve positioned our new shop to be right in the heart of it. Now, we are located next door to the very services, supplies, and technologies vital to growing our business. It’s a symbiotic relationship that does more than provide a monetary benefit. Together, we are evidence that maker communities are still viable, important contributors to the economy of a city like San Francisco.

The idea of opening up your creative workspace might make you feel like you’re giving something up, but what I’ve found is that you’re really gaining something — actually, a lot of things! Motivation, new tools, an in on community events and the kind of personal advice and support that you can’t find anywhere else. Turning my personal studio into a communal one was a leap, but what I found on the other side made it so worth it.

To shop Corey’s new jewelry on our website click here.

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