Troy Mattison Hicks and Stephano Diaz are the founders of Necklush. They have lived in NYC for about 15 years and love it in spite of the long winters. They are surrogate parents to George Michael, a kitty that picked them up on the street. Stephano is the Amazing Creative Powerhouse of the business and Troy is the Genius Computer Megabrain. They make a great team.
Stephano and Troy love coffee and interacting with their customers while working 15 hour days. Their favorite quote? If it’s going to be, it’s up to me. The Etsy Necklush site is here. They describe the Necklush as many multiple, seamless loops combined to create a scarf, cowl or necklace.
How long have you been creating?
Several years full time. But we have always been making things, tinkering.
Why did you start?
We both knew we wanted to do something that was constantly changing, creative and new.
What are the items you have handy at all times for creating?
Coffee! And must have music or inspirational audio books and podcasts.
Where do you get your materials?
Living in NYC we are simply able to get what we need anytime. It is an amazing place for sourcing.
Can you tell us a little of your process?
We love to print! Color study is pretty much our new hobby. Once you really submerge yourself in color study, you realize the options are endless in what ever craft you are in. It is important to us to keep our work fresh and new and one way we try to tackle that is through the use of color.
How do you pick what you will make next?
We spend one day a week just being creative and working on new ideas. Just trying to come up with something interesting using color and print. All of our Necklush prints are conceived and achieved by us here in the studio.
Do you have a dedicated work area/room?
Oh yes. We started out in our living room, and after a week or so it looked like a Necklush bomb had gone off. There was Necklush everywhere. It took over the house and it became very hard to live and work in the same place. So we found a studio and are very happy going to work everyday, even though we have to walk over a bridge and take two trains to get there!
Where do you get your ideas for new creations?
We are big believers of experimentation. To think too long and too hard about what you want to do can just kill the creative process for us. We would much rather dive right in and start producing. Out of every mistake you can find something powerfully new and exciting if you just keep you mind open to new ideas… this is our mantra.
Do you have a best seller?
Because we sell to the whole world it really is hard to choose what sells best. We find trends sometimes, and feel like one item might be taking off while another hasn’t sold in months, and then BAM! the one that hasn’t sold in months (one with the bad, old out-of-date photo of course) suddenly starts selling like hotcakes! But it’s great, it keeps us updating our product pictures and trying to get our online stores more and more pleasing to look at.
Do you have a favorite item?
We are into the Necklushie right now, it is smaller than the Necklush… very cute, great for girls, great for summer. We are having fun coming up with specific patterns for those.
What other kinds of crafts do you do?
Oh sooo many! Toys, Tshirts, Purses, Music… you name it we have at least attempted it. We are constantly trying to keep busy creating. Art is really the only thing that ever lasts! Look at all the art in museums, all of the great architecture, all of the pottery unearthed from thousands of years ago. We place great importance on the simple act of creating non-stop. And if you do it in an automatic fashion, sometimes you will find such amazing things popping up out of your subconscious… things that would never happen if you plan things out too much.
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
Publishing a book on inspiration and running a beautiful website for artists. We have a small site now called BuyThisNow. We love to support interesting artists that we discover on Etsy and elsewhere. Today more than ever artists need help and we love trying to get the word out that there are some incredibly talented people selling amazing prints, drawings and paintings that you will love and can afford.
Have any advice for people trying to start their own handcrafted business?
Well our advice is don’t seek council from your fears. If you want to try something just do it! Don’t be afraid to try, but be very afraid not trying.
Read books by Napolean Hill (Think and Grow Rich), Wayne Dyer (The Power of Intention), Charles Haanel (The Master Key System). Study successful people! Do not take advice from people who are not successful themselves. Critics are the ones who will be the first to tell you that your plan isn’t going to work. But if they are professional critics what do they know? It is successful people, or the people who study successful people, who you can really learn from. And always know that you really don’t know anything so keep your mind open to new and exciting things. Be creative, don’t stop.