The staffers at Hands on Pottery Studio appreciate that many artists need an inspirational push—especially in the face of more than 150 paintable objects. That's why they've installed a design center, where guests can peruse books, trace stencils, or print patterns from a computer to inform their opus ideas. They allow painters unlimited access to their wall of paints, and mosaic-makers can pick through a trove of marbles, glass, and tile fragments. Constantly striving to nurture creativity, they stroll past tables of guests at work and remain attentive to questions or requests. They don't believe in obstructing the process by charging by the hour or the final number of paint splatters on the guests' clothing. Instead, they encompass all equipment and studio time within a single price for paint-your-own appointments, freeing artists to craft elaborate home-decor pieces or personalized gifts fit for weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.
Their vision of communal artistry stretches beyond these sessions, however. They host mobile and onsite parties, workshops, and summer camps, which teach children to exceed the output of every great film director by crafting five projects in five days. With a retail stock of customizable gifts, they also display their own painting prowess to commemorate cherished events.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
The Painted Penguin is all about having a fun experience. They showcase the art of ceramics, inviting participants with any level of experience to unhurriedly paint their bisque and plaster pieces in the company of friends, family members, or birthday party guests. When designing their own pieces or attending any of The Painted Penguin's parties, customers can choose from over 3,000 pottery pieces and enlist the help of staff members, who are always on hand to provide tips or inspiration. Walk-ins are welcome, and guests can paint and take home their piece the very same day.
Everyday Errands Etc. is the family-owned and operated brainchild of Kerri Fittro and Janessa Butler, who rally both traditional and green products for residential- and commercial-cleaning projects. Though home sprucing is the company’s forte, fully licensed and insured technicians can be deployed for professional organization projects such as systematizing a closet or arranging a pantry. The Errands gurus also make themselves available for specialty services including personal shopping or beat boxing personal theme songs whenever a client enters a room. To give back to their community in more ways than mass-basement organization, Kerri and Janessa arrange a confidential donation of services each month to families in need.