Name: Vera Meat
Neighborhood of residence: East Village NYC
Favorite thing about NY: The smell of tea, pee, ice cream, cigarettes, sex & expensive cologne all mixed together & that’s before you open the front door of your building to take on the day.
What made you switch gears from modeling into jewelry design?
I think any child of immigrants who studies so much she forgets to color her hair or cut it, who has so many allergies her body won’t store fat, who cares so little about others opinions of her she’ll throw an attitude at anyone – that kid can model. But not just anyone can make a Dino Eating Fried Chicken ring. Also the modeling industry has no child labor laws. So at 14 years old I was working 12 hour days & 70 hour weeks. That’s not good for even the most naturally flawless complexion. Also I’ve always wanted to have my own business as my parents always had their own business.
Did you have any formal training in design?
No, I’m lucky to say I was just inspired by my Mom weaving really strange sweaters on an old machine she got as a gift & my Dad making pins. Friends’ art work always inspired me. People’s street styles while I was traveling as a kid inspired me, especially in street caves of hilly Finland, women in the markets of Rome, Austria’s country side & the swimsuits of the Black Sea. Also, animals, natural cloths & accessories. Like bird plumage, cat and dog nails, animal mutations like Cyclops kitty & writers/artists of our time.
What else inspires you?
My mascot & puppy dog Fred. My friends, who have so much energy, and my strange family who has roots all over the world in so many different cultures.
For up-and-coming students and designers reading this, how were you able to open your first store? And then grow into multiple locations?
Well I’ve always been lucky and just happened upon the great location of 315 E 9th St in the East Village. I lived nearby so I wanted to work near my home. Then my old landlord had a store open up in Williamsburg. Since we were friendly, he offered the space to me; N. 5th near Bedford is really a dream location in Brooklyn so I jumped in.
You come from a family with nontraditional careers, and have lived all over the world. How does your eclectic upbringing play into your art?
Well it’s hard to say what came first – the chicken or the egg!
Where is your studio?
On 14th Street near 1st Ave. in the East Village
What does your typical day look like?
Feed Puppy Fred, start work on a new design, meet with Operations Manager Megan, get breakfast in the hood, visit one of my stores to see if my girls need anything, do a photoshoot or interview. It really depends on the day; go to an art gallery, museum party, you know – NY living.
Tell us how you take an idea and turn it into a product.
Does a zebra reveal it’s spots? No – it just limps away.
You just opened a new store in Brooklyn. What are the plans for Verameat’s future?
We’d love to open another store, debut our new driving gloves & wallets. We are making other accessories, not just jewelry. Check out Facebook page for details & updates!
As a small business owner and designer, what are your top resources that help in your day-to-day?
Greenerprinter is great for recycled cards. I love Instagram. Check ours here http://statigr.am/tag/verameat
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs that you wish someone had told you?
Always have fun, anywhere, everywhere – no matter what.