UNIQUE is the destination for all things Made in America both in-person at our UNIQUE LA/NYC/SF shopping events and here online. Launched in December of 2008, the independent design show UNIQUE LA was created by community leader and designer Sonja Rasula as a way to bring local-made design and art to the masses while helping to grow and support the US economy and small businesses. Hailed the fresh face of a growing Made in the USA movement, Sonja’s mission is simple: “I want to bring modern Made-in-America design to the masses. My goals are to help designers and small businesses grow and become sustainable, to support the local economy, and to teach shoppers the value of conscious consumerism.” On average shoppers spend over $1.5 million at each UNIQUE shopping event – because the curated events feature only made-in-America products, the money spent is injected right back into the community.
A true media maven, Sonja’s diverse background before starting UNIQUE include work on television, in print and online. On TV she was an interior designer for HGTV’s Home to Go and TLC’s Trading Spaces. Online Sonja has created award-winning websites and interactive projects for HGTV, Food Network, Reebok, AT&T, Harlequin, Jelly Belly and many more. She was the Deputy Editor of The Home Depot’s Style Ideas magazine and her writing has been featured in numerous publications including Azure, The Toronto Star and Canadian Living.
Sonja has been featured on ABC, CBS, FOX LA, CTV, MuchMusic and in TV Guide and has been a workshop leader and speaker for a variety of organizations and schools including the Disney Imagineers group, TED-X, GOOD and Scripps College. As a consultant she works with both big brands and small businesses on creative direction and design, branding, marketing and new media projects. A leader and community activist, Sonja also sits on the Board of 826LA and Ed Begley Jr’s Greenwish.
More About UNIQUE LA/NYC/SF
Started in December of 2008 UNIQUE LA quickly became a huge success. Currently 20,000+ attendees come to discover independent designers/artists and buy local (an estimated $1.5 million is spent at each two-day show). The largest independent design show in the country, attendees get the rare chance to meet and shop directly from hundreds of hand-selected designers and artists in one space. All of the products at the show are made right here in the USA. UNIQUE makes it easy for shoppers to support the local economy, discover great design and deals, join in community, and have a blast with DJs/free drinks/free craft projects and workshops and more.
We’re expanding! We are now in LA, NYC and SF – and plan to expand to more cities in 2013. Our next exciting venture is the launch of a small business conference for creatives in early 2013.
More About the Website
Our new blog and website launched out of the realization that there was nothing else like it online; there were truly no modern resources offering fresh, curated content about Made in America design and art at all! So with an ever-growing number of newsletter subscribers, fans and followers, the team at UNIQUE realized that growing into a website from the shopping show was the next step. Over 50,000 unique users visit the website each month, with the number expected to double by 2012. For information about advertising with us, becoming a partner or sending product for review and consideration please contact us here.
Giving Back to the Community
Fostering community and using the show as a vehicle to bring awareness to great local community groups is very important to us. UNIQUE partners with a non-profit for every show and donates 10% of ticket sales to the organization. So far we’ve donated close to $30,000! In the past we’ve partnered with Ed Begley Jr.’s’ GreenWish (which raises awareness and funds for nine local environmental groups including Friends of Los Angeles River, Surfrider Foundation and Algalita), Heal the Bay, Architecture for Humanity, 826LA, and Create Now. Thanks for helping to make this all happen!