Friday, May 28, 2010

Biz, Blessings & a Martini

AvantGarb has been a growing, productive business for a really long time.
I started AvantGarb in my Berkeley, California garage when my youngest daughter was about 3 months old.

From the start, AvantGarb has been profitable and the dollars have increased through the years.

AvantGarb is a real, ongoing operation.

Even though we have been making money, and AvantGarb has been paying mortgages & rent for me and my employees for years. We have been buying shoes, clothing children, sending them to college getting our hair done and eyebrows tamed, I still sometimes think, it could be over tomorrow.

This is crazy thinking.

When I am sitting with a curved needle, stitching yellow muppet fleece to green muppet fleece, I have taken to counting my blessing.

Here are some of them:
  • I have a really grand family. They keep me involved and interested in their lives. My husband is funny, handsome and sexy. My daughters are gorgeous and glorious.
  • I  love my biz - making fuzzy critters that add a great dollop of fun to the landscape.
  • I've traveled everywhere--okay, not everywhere, but a lot of places - Kenya, India, China, Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, Taiwan, Egypt, and oh yeah, Europe. I feel fluent in the world. I like to be places where I can't speak the language.
  • ... however, I can speak Spanish, stutter through French and be polite in Swahili
  • I love going to church on Sundays, singing hymns w/ the congregation, listening to the sermon and being blessed for the coming week with the benediction.
  • I love reading the New York Times and napping on couch on Sunday afternoons.
  • I have gotten bit of fame for doing what I do.
  • ...and right now I'm listening to the general chatter in the studio as Angie drafts patterns for a very round Chipmunk, Tasha finishes some braces for the teeth of an orthodontist's mascot (sequins w/ holographic silver) and Amanda finishes 3 pairs of baseball shoes for the round Chipmunk!
  • Every Monday I look forward to the week ahead.
  • Every Friday I come home to a really good martini.
I am truly blessed. I have imagined my life, and it became real.

I suspect the story of other small biz people is similar.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Introducing the GarbGang

Welcome to Mascotland!

Garry Chilluffo, who has photographed AvantGarb's mascots for a million years, came by, the other day, and clicked away.

Above, center front is most of the GarbGang.

Next, that's me w/ Carlos Sosa  we've been riffing on graphics, webpage design and general stuff & schtick for AvantGarb since the beginning.

Natasha Heines is placing one of her hand-painted eyes on the inner structure of a mascot. She's a costume shop craft-person wizard.

Tonie Smith knows mascots and how they go together. She was a costumer for Phantom of the Opera - now she's with AvantGarb.

Angie Malone is a total theater nerd and a costume savant. She's worked in NYC, Colorado and, of course, Indiana! She designs for theater absolutely all of the time and is part of the Garb Gang.

David Orr got his degree in philosophy. Now he has a theater company - the Sapphire Theater and a business. He also makes interior structures (skeletons) for our mascots.

Amanda Baily makes the mascot Jimmy Choos. She's also great a really good mascotland tweeter. The 140 characters sing for her.

Missing is the fabulous James Beaver - a true mascot making star. He's wandered off to NY and LA for years at a time, but                 always finds his way back to AvantGarb.

Also missing is Karen Witting, who is the Mascotland EMS, the Bionic Cat and our Apple  IT guy, the Bionic Cat, Stephen Cranfill - who keeps us technically in tune, and Duncan Alney whose company, Firebelly who keeps this baby boomer virtually social.