SEA and Salt is a company that creates ethical vegan accessories in Columbus, Ohio. Each of their unique products is made by hand. We have been fans of SEA and Salt since we spotted them on Instagram. We went behind the scenes with owner, Corinne, to learn about her background and unique style. Meet SEA and SALT at our 2017 Ohio Explored Holiday Maker Mart on December 3rd!
Tell us about your local business.
My name is Corinne Furniss and I am the owner and creator of SEA and SALT. SEA and SALT is unique and ethical accessories made by hand to meet the needs of everyday adventurers. I make unique vegan leather and hand dyed cotton bags and accessories. The bags include totes, cross body bags, coin pouches, clutches, and bucket bags. I also create keychains, bandanas and scarves. Each item is imagined, actualized and produced by me in Columbus, Ohio.
What drew you to your craft?
I have always loved accessories. I love that a great pair of shoes or earrings or a bag can change your whole outfit, which in turn influences your confidence. The best part about accessories to me is that there are very few limitations. You don’t have to be a certain size/shape/age to look great in a certain shoe. Anyone is able to carry the exact same bag as someone else, and work it in their own individual style.
I also have worked with leather in the past and instantly fell in love with the material thickness, how it wears over time, and the design aesthetic it lends itself to. Honestly, nothing is as simply satisfying as cutting leather. Using vegan leathers I am able to pass on all those traits to others, while also not harming animals.
SEA and SALT has become an outlet of all the things I love to do; learning, traveling, creating, and passing on kindness to others.
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
My favorite pieces change from year to year, situation to situation. Right now I am currently obsessed with my Great Pyramid clutch and my Crescent Moon cross body bag. The clutch is very unique and I always get comments on its interesting shape. I love the fact that it can sit up on a surface by itself and I don’t constantly have to look for a chair or hook to hang it on. The cross body bag is just a perfect sized everyday bag, and I am so incredibly happy with my new adjustable (vegan) leather straps. I literally carry this bag from trips to the grocery store to out at night, it’s that versatile. Currently I’m loving both of those bags in the black suede fabric option or a brown and black vegan leather fabric combo. The classic colors make the bags very universal with all outfits and circumstances.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer from a young age. Back then, I thought the fashion designers had complete creative control to make whatever they want, whenever they want. The corporate world has taught me that is not always the case. I actually began SEA and SALT as a small creative outlet to continue making what I wanted to make, and from there, it’s grown into a business itself.
Had I not grown up to be a fashion designer, my back up choices were always chef or architect. I simply love to create things that others can use or consume.
What is your creative process?
This is a hard question for me to answer, because I feel like I have 2 very opposite ways I work. Sometimes my process involves recognizing a specific situation when an accessory would be needed, and then researching trends, and seeing what’s currently offered in stores, and lots of time perfecting that initial idea. But other times, I am going about my normal life and an idea pops in my head for no specific reason. Personally, I believe those ideas are usually the best. Once I have an idea, I think on it a few days to ensure it’s a good idea, and to work out any of the potential issues in my head. Then I’ll sit down and make a paper pattern, and sew a sample right away in scrap material. The fun part then is that I then use the accessory for a few days to ensure there’s nothing I’d like to tweak. Once I have it exactly as I’d like it, I put that idea into production.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
I’m not sure about 10 years ago, but if I had the chance to give advice to 5 years ago me, I would tell myself to just begin somewhere, and not to get too hung up on perfection. I used to worry too much about if I was doing something perfectly, and sometimes that held me back from even trying. I’ve learned quickly that something will always not go quite as planned, and you’ll always just have to roll with it. I try to use every experience as a learning opportunity. I now am pretty ok with making mistakes, I just ensure that I learn and grow and not make the same mistakes twice.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
It is important to support local artists and makers because it supports the community you live in. By keeping your funds local, you’re truly investing in your own community, ensuring your area stays thriving and healthy. Plus, your supporting someone that has mastered a skill. By allowing them to succeed in life based on that skill, you are ensuring that that skill will be passed along to future generations.
Why do you love doing what you do?
I love doing what I do because it allows me the freedom to create something that’s just an idea and make it into a tangible thing to share with the world.
What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own businesses?
My best advice to other women or anyone in general who wants to start their own business is to truly love what you’re working on and not to compare your version of success to others.
You are going to spend a lot of time and effort working on your product, so you need to ensure it’s something you really feel passionately about. I guarantee you won’t love every single aspect of running your own business, but if the positives outweigh the negatives, you’re going to feel true purpose and passion for your business. I wish I enjoyed making something that customers consume more quickly, so that I could have a constant stream of repeat customers. Instead I feel passionately about making well sewn quality products, which means that customers do not need to replace their product as regularly. However, I cannot think of another craft that I would work so hard for, because there is nothing I feel more strongly about.
Comparison is the devil in sheep's clothing. It is normal to want to measure your business against your peers and it feels like a naturally good way of gauging success, but by comparing yourself to somebody else, you’re only going to create fear and doubt. It’s hard advice for even myself to listen to at times, but it is something that I try to remind myself of constantly.
What is your favorite thing about Exploring Ohio?
I love finding new places around our beautiful state through many of the photos and and articles you share! I’m always in awe of the beauty!
Meet SEA and SALT at our Ohio Explored Holiday Maker Mart!