Meet the Maker: Open Eyes Press

I was first introduced to Open Eyes Press in 2013 at Crafty Bastards and have been somewhat obsessed ever since. When I was dreaming up our gift boxes, they were one of the first shops I contacted. Luckily Rachael, the talented creative behind the awesome products, is so kind and easy to work with. I am big fan of her tomato print - it graces the wall of our kitchen - but her tea towels are really a gift givers dream come true. Rachael was so sweet to answer my inquiring questions so you can get to know her and Open Eyes Press better.

E: In what city/town do you create your products? How does your location inspire your work? 
R: Baltimore, MD - Baltimore is a great place to be an artist!  It's diverse, supportive of the arts, and has a down-to-earth vibe.  

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?
R: I've been an entrepreneur since I was a kid- I started a neighborhood dog washing business when I was 10 (used my mom's fax machine to make flyers!), and then had a handmade jewelry business through high school.  After graduating from college with a degree in Fine Art, I went looking for a job that would support me and allow me to use my creative talents.  I spent several years working in all kinds of art-related fields, but nothing I did gave me the sense of fulfillment or creative freedom I wanted.  Around 2009, I was exhausted and ready for a change- my family encouraged me to start a business doing what I loved, and the rest is history!

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business?
R: The total creative freedom that comes with it!  By working with subject matter and materials that I naturally gravitate toward, I've been able to create products that truly reflect who I am.  The added bonus is when someone takes the time to tell me how much they love my work or enjoy using something I made- it propels me forward to keep doing what I do.  I would also say having the freedom to make my own schedule.  I choose when I work, so if it's a nice day, I can spend time outside and then get back to my work projects later in the evening.  I also have more time to spend with family and friends, which is important to me.  It's all about keeping things balanced.

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
R: Keeping my life in balance (weren't we just talking about that??)!  As owner/designer/maker/seller, work can pretty much consume my life if I'm not careful.  I work from home, so it's very easy to keep going on to the next project, because there's always something more to get done.  Setting reasonable limits for myself, eating well, and spending time outside and with friends helps me stay focused.  Sometimes you just have to take a break and let your mind relax.  

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops? 
R: Absolutely!  Trohv (Hampden and Takoma Park) and Salt & Sundry (DC) are two of my faves- whether it's exotic flavored bitters, a deliciously scented candle, or the perfect birthday/wedding/thank you card, I can always find a special gift at both places.  Twisted Sisters in West Annapolis is a cool spot, too.  They have funky, beachy finds (locally made, of course), and the owner builds and sells furniture made from reclaimed wood- super cool!

Thanks, Rachael! Many of our curated gift boxes will contain Open Eyes Press' printed tea towels - kitchen linens are definitely one of my weaknesses!