Waste Not, Want Not. Meet Ashley & Eliza of EvenOdd

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(photography by Hannah Folkerts, see her portfolio HERE)

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Eliza Sullivan and Ashley Cellura, co-founders of EvenOdd, a fashion accessory brand. We design and manufacture one of a kind bags and unique accessories from recycled bike inner tubes, other reclaimed goods, and quality US sourced materials.

What are you passionate about?
We are driven by an internal desire to create. We are constantly striving to improve our process and making our products better each time we step into the studio. Running a small business is all about problem solving. I think we became professional makers to answer a personal need for certain things. We make products that we have always wanted to use ourselves. And we do it in way that fits within our value system of not wasting, of making use of everything around us.

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How did you get started? What were some of the difficulties you faced?
We started working in a 3’ x 6’ closet in our apartment that we converted to a studio and it grew naturally from there. We stumbled upon using upcycled materials quite unintentionally. We initially just wanted to design awesome accessories that we wanted to carry. Upcycling was born naturally out of the process of experimentation. We needed inexpensive material to play around with and before we knew it we had boxes and boxes of “junk” to pull from.  Our biggest stuggle was leveling up our production skills to the point where the quality and design of what we were making matched what we imagined in our heads. We found the only way to do this was put in the time. There is simply no substitute for the hundreds of hours of practicing our craft.

What is your biggest regret?
I wouldn’t say we’ve regretted anything. It isn’t about the specific mistakes you’ve made, but more about what you do after the fact. You have to learn to just keep going and find creative ways to turn a perceived failure into a lesson to carry into the next project.

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What is your best advice to someone just starting out? What advice do you wish someone had said to you?
One thing we have learned is follow your gut and stick with your vision. Take on the projects you are passionate about and don’t give up!

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(hand lettering by Emma Rowlands)

What is your favorite part of what you do?
We wear so many different hats as owners, and to some degree we love all aspects of what we do. Most notably, we love the “discovery phase” that comes with making/protoying a new product. The feeling we get from finally seeing the positive results of weeks/months of struggle is very satisfying. Finally, hearing from customers who are super happy with our products definitely keeps us going!

Name some local creatives that you really admire.
There are so many small businesses in Rochester that are doing some great things. We try to learn from all of them.  We are typically drawn toward businesses that pay close attention to detail.

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