Last year, Jacob and I purchased a weeklong Livingsocial vacation deal for the Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort. We booked our trip for mid-May this year... and then I discovered that the Unique LA craft fair was scheduled for the weekend before our stay! Unique LA is one of the largest craft fairs held in the United States, and seeing as most of my favorite designers live in Los Angeles, I told Jacob we absolutely had to go. We flew in late Friday evening and stayed in LA for the night. On Saturday morning, we headed to the show to meet up with my friend Andrew from college and his cool girlfriend Nico! Andrew and Nico - it was great seeing both of you!
The Spring 2012 Unique LA show was held at the California Market Center on Saturday, May 12, and Sunday, May 13. Admission was $10 per person and included a tote bag designed specifically for the event. As a side note, I was intrigued by the fuzzy column in the background - it appeared to be covered in felt with striped patterning stitched into it, forming the texturing.
Andrew, me, Jacob
For the curious, my top and skirt are both by Jessica Louise. Of course, I inadvertently covered up the cutest part of the skirt (the cupcake and ribbon detail) with the tank top. Oops. Jewelry made by me - collection launching this summer.
Check out my Unique LA favorite booth picks!
The dandyrions booth was right by the entrance. Lisa Higuchi is the artist behind Dandyrions - I saw her awesome bear rug coasters featured by Unique LA (in an e-mail newsletter, if I remember correctly) so I was very excited to see them in person. I find them quite amusing. Check out all of the colors her bears come in! I picked one up on the way out - yes, just one - for my craft room! It is much more pleasant to work on my jewelry and other projects when I have inspiring but functional items at my craft desk.
I had the hardest time picking a bear color. Eventually, I settled on a white bear. It is unusual for me not to select a bright color when given a choice. However, I could not resist the idea of owning a polar bear coaster. Someday I will get a whole set... or maybe one of every color!
KOKO CANDLESI can now boast that I have seen the most adorable and unique candles in existence... at Koko Candles. The super sweet designer, Paoling, was kind enough to let me not only gawk at all of the cool candles, but take a bunch of pictures.
Paoling of Koko Candles
So many 'flavors' and types of sweets! The four below were the regular sized cupcakes. See above for size reference against the MONDO cupcake!
Never seen a mac & cheese candle before! I was very intrigued by that one. Koko Candles really does live up to its tagline: "Handmade candles for the non-boring."
The hefty, giant cupcake candle below keeps burning for 25 hours. That is a lot of cupcake!
The next booth to catch my eye was janiexy's handmade toys stand! I have a serious stuffed animal addiction, and these incredible plushies made by Jane Ragasa were absolutely too cute to resist. I especially love the clever packaging on the bacon and chicken wing plushies! If I could take all of these home I totally would. Jane is warm and friendly, and did not mind me hovering around her booth like a five year old in a candy shop. She graciously let me snap a few photos too!
Jane of janiexy
Jacob was sweet and told me he would get me one gift of my choice from the fair... so I chose Wilbur, the blue whale!! As soon as I saw him, I knew he was meant to join my collection. Plus, I am terrible at naming things - I mean it. Jacob can confirm this. So, I was actually quite relieved to find that he already has a name!
As soon as I saw that electrocuted squirrel with the lopsided eyes, I was in love. Sarah Brown is the talented designer behind brokesy - her critters are quirky, eye-catching, and exactly my style. Next time I am in need of a laptop case, I know exactly where I am ordering it from.
Sarah of brokesy
Yes, that is a picture of my lunch. We stopped by the food area of the fair, and I picked up a California chopped vegetable salad from the Tiara Cafe stand. It was incredible! I like to make 'epic salads,' as I deem them, so salads rarely impress me, but this one did. Ingredients included sweet corn, asparagus, tomatoes, green beans, avocado, and mixed greens.
And then... we got dessert. Of course! Cool Haus is genius, really. They had these delicious ice cream cookie sandwiches for sale. Choose your cookie and ice cream... and voila! Heaven in a bite (well quite a few actually - it was a hefty dessert).
Jacob and I shared the red velvet cookie + dirty mint chip ice cream sandwich. Of course, we had to take some mandatory 'biting my ice cream cookie sandwich' pictures. Jacob looks pretty ferocious.
Nico and Andrew chose the red velvet cookie also, but had fig ice cream in the center. I made them take their mandatory picture together. =)
I first read about Caine's Arcade on the Unique LA blog. If you missed it, Caine's Arcade was one of those videos that went viral - you can watch it here. I found it quite inspiring to see such a young, determined entrepreneur! Caine himself (in the blue shirt, leftmost kid in the picture below) was there running his arcade at the fair.
A large box on the side of a cute booth read 'pick a friend and take a picture!' (or something to that effect). No need to persuade me further! Only thing is, it was too hard to pick just one friend.
Where there are narwhals, unicorns, cupcakes, and dinos... there are Kelseas? Yeah, that sounds about right.
What a genius idea!
The booth itself was adorable too - very well set up. Faheema Chaudhury of Unicorn Crafts is so friendly! She had the cutest outfit on too. I loved her product packaging. I had to wait a while to get a clear photo since her booth was so popular. I managed to sneak one booth shot while a few other event-goers were busy taking pics with their new cardboard friends!
Faheema of Unicorn Crafts
Earrings in a bottle - such a cute idea! These would be great as adorable little gifts. They would make perfect stocking stuffers.
Critter and mustache pins! I am telling you - everything about this shop was intensely cute!
Tina Rodas is the owner of hi tree, an adorable plushie/doll shop! I was not kidding when I said I am obsessed with plushies. The little smiling tree with a heart is really what got me! I also happen to love felt creations, and I love the way Tina layers the felt for her tree plushies. Someday I definitely want one of those smiling evergreens - they are very reminiscent of home (the Northwest) for me.
JEN KIDDO, SAO ZEN, & ROLLY ROBOT
This booth immediately caught my attention with its bright, colorful pieces and the cute characters! Jen Kiddo, Sao Zen, and RoLLY Robot shared a booth for the fair. While their styles are clearly distinct, they also meshed very well together - I love how their work was intermingled.
Oscar of RoLLY Robot
Sao Zen creates the simplistic, adorable monsters, Oscar of RoLLY Robot's brand name speaks for itself, and Jen Kiddo's pieces generally feature colorful kawaii girls. I picked up a gorgeous print from Jen. Jacob was worried it would get bent or dinged in my luggage, but thankfully, my piece made it back safely.
Explosion of color? Cute but badass characters? Put those together and you definitely have my attention! Hyperactive Monkey by Jerome Lu is pretty much exactly what you would expect from the brand name. Kung fu monkeys, ninja monkeys... almost too much to handle! I loved the cool graphics, fun t-shirts, and printed totes... among all sorts of goodies.
Last but definitely not least... Locketship! I have an admission - I am a total Locketship fan girl. I discovered the fun, bright, sparkly jewelry company through the Miss Kika x Locketship Sparkling Sea collaboration from last year... and I am so glad I did! Maria is the pretty mastermind behind Locketship. I post a lot on their facebook page and sent in a fan picture wearing their jewelry, so they knew who I was before I introduced myself! Heh. A little embarassing... but the Locketship girls were so nice and friendly that I stopped worrying about that. They were sweet enough to pose for a few pictures with me and totally made my week!
Me, Maria of Locketship
I picked up a brontosaurus ring from the new Dinosauria collection (not yet released online at the time of the fair, but now available for purchase from Locketship). I happen to love dinosaurs and have pretty much the entire collection on my "must have" wish list! Unfortunately, as my current budget is quite limited (expenses of preparing to launch my business + saving for a house), those dinos will have to wait a little longer. I may just have to hint strongly to a certain boyfriend... since my birthday is coming up! =)
Stephanie, Maria, Me, Bebe, Helena
Everyone was dressed so cute + lots of colors - I love it! I was actually admiring the awesome hairstyles and outfits when I saw the group walking around the fair earlier on. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in being excited about meeting them in person that I totally forgot to take pictures of just the booth for you guys to see. Oops! Well, I plan to post more about Locketship in the future anyway so no worries.
Alright, I am a weirdo who loves cute business cards and postcards... hence the business card/postcard photo. I actually have a postcard collage on my craft room wall that I will share here sometime.
My haul! The tote is the one that came with admission. Personally, it is a bit simplistic for my taste, but it was lightweight and useful for the rest of the trip (especially the beach)! Once I returned home, I passed it off to my friend Zoe - the one who took the launch photos - as it is much more her style.
Upper left: janiexy - Wilbur the Whale plushie; upper right: dandyrions - white bear rug coaster
Lower left: Locketship - Brontosaurus ring; lower right: Jen Kiddo - "Ice Cream Tower" art print
Overall, great show! It was a large show with a lot of vendors, but I felt it was easy and pleasant to get through. They also had a free drinks section, which was quite nice. Jacob was excited about the free beer he got, but I was more excited to get a free bottle of dry soda (Seattle-based company) and a mini peanut butter cookie flavored Luna bar. I am not sure when energy bars started sounding (and tasting) like desserts, but I have to say I am a big fan of that flavor!
Unique LA is holding another summer craft fair in Los Angeles on July 14-15. They are also expanding and holding their first San Francisco show, Unique SF, on June 30-July 1. I wish I lived close enough to attend those also! I will, however, be attending the Urban Craft Uprising summer show, held here in Seattle on July 7-8. I look forward to covering the event and sharing more cool vendors with you.
Thanks for joining me on day 7 of launch month!