This articles describes in story form how ARTIFACT's recent appearance in NYT's T Magazine transpired. It may surprise the reader how random the circumstances are.
It was July 15th when I received the following email (below) from a Fashion Assistant with a New York Times email address.
The email is professional and succinct. I'm unfamiliar with "T Fall Mens" so I walk over to our photographer Dan Brouillette who's working at his desk. I ask him what he makes of the email. Dan quickly scans it and explains T is a fashion magazine published and distributed in New York Time's Sunday edition monthly. It's a big deal. His eyes light up when he reads Collier Schorr is the Photographer. Dan reminds me when he first showed me Collier's amazing work, particularly her wrestler series. Now I was excited.
ARTIFACT hadn't been on NYT's radar since 2011 - when they featured my No.215 Wax Canvas Lunch Tote. The lunch tote was my start in product design. With it, I created a new product category and fulfilled a larger than anticipated need for those who did not want to carry their lunch in a plastic bag, bento box, cooler, or traditional lunch box.
The common thread between my lunch tote feature, this new apron request, and every time ARTIFACT has been in a major publication is randomness. I have never used a publicist, nor am I savvy at building a networking matrix with tendrils that find their way to influencers, thought leaders, and celebrities. It's one of many business shortcomings. I promptly send the requested aprons to New York Times and go about my business.
Weeks pass until I receive an email from the same NYT assistant wanting to confirm my mailing address to return the aprons. I reply with our studio address and write, "I hope the shoot went well" in hope of gleaming a clue about the fate of our aprons. No reply. You never learn why products or hi-res images you send get passed over, nor do they warrant explanation... but I always want one.
Months go by before the New York Times photo shoot reenters my mind. I get a sinking feeling as I try to remember when the release is slated for. At this point I'm convinced I've been passed over. I'm surprised by how little I've fantasized about this feature until I recall all the curve balls ARTIFACT has been thrown in 2020. Not a lot of time for day dreaming this year.
I text Dan to see if he remembers the release date. A few minutes go by and he texts back with a screen shot of an Instagram post just made by Collier Schorr. She posted a preview of the cover for this Sunday's T Magazine. The image is beautiful. The model is beautiful. My ARTIFACT apron is worn like a cummerbund around the model's waist. I have never seen my apron look so sexy. Holy Shit! It happened. This is real. I wondered how stylist Jay Massacret would use our utilitarian chef aprons in a NYT fashion shoot and now I know. So beautiful.
Later that day, I'm asked if the aprons are prominent in the photos, with tags visible. I say "no." Then I'm asked how will people know it's an ARTIFACT apron? I reply, "I know it's an ARTIFACT apron."
When you are a creative, working long hours for years, in what can be described by ALL definitions as a "small business", you need lighthouses to keep from feeling adrift. This discreet apron appearance in The New York Times is validation that my creative work is out there in the world, existing in conjunction with beautiful events. It's also a connection to New York City - a muse I owe much of my creativity to. Like many, pandemic has prevented me from traveling beyond a camp site. I dearly miss my therapy cities: New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, where I'm humbled and inspired by their creative and cultural energy.
I wrote this piece for prospective readers wondering how a small studio like ARTIFACT in Nebraska garners press.
What do you want to learn about ARTIFACT?
Make a comment (below) and let me know. In the meantime, I will be writing more about what goes into our designs and our philosophy. We did not have to hire a consultant to observe and tell us who we are, or what are our values. We are a studio of artisans creating products with utility. Our pride of work shows in our craftsmanship, as we live our brand. Thank you for reading and stay tuned by subscribing to our ARTIFACT Newsletter. Stay safe.