Goods That Matter, New Firefly and Featured Artisan from New Orleans, Is an Inspiring and Creative F
Tippy Tippens is the phenom behind eco-intelligence, creativity, and innovative philanthropy that unite at Goods that Matter, a design for good company based in New Orleans.
FF: How did you begin your handmade journey?
GTM: I have always made things and was a tinkerer as a child. In my 20s I started designing and making furniture, after about 10 years I went to grad school for product design at Pratt. From there, I designed faucets for Kohler for 4 years and then I began to get the itch to start my own company. I have also freelanced and consulted in many aspects of design & making over the past 20 years, including architectural, graphic, toy, and more.
FF: What lead you to your current line of goods?
GTM: When the BP Oil Spill happened, I was freelancing in NYC & couldn’t let the images of oiled animals go. As a long time environmentalist, I decided to do something to help since I wasn’t a scientist or a vet. I created BirdProject Soaps as my way to give back and to raise funding for oil spill cleanup. In creating that product, I realized that this was the design business that I’d been looking for - design for good, and was inspired to start my company Goods that Matter.
FF: What materials do you work with & why?
GTM: We only work with eco friendly materials, we are deeply committed to helping make eco friendly become the norm instead of the niche. We make a variety of products: local beeswax solid perfumes and candles, biodiesel glycerin soaps, flax linens, 100% recycled paper notebooks and cards, upcycled bike inner tube and tyvek wallets, recycled cotton canvas totes, and more.
FF: Inspiration comes from where?
GTM: My inspiration starts with the social or environmental problem at hand, while doing research on that problem, the details within are what spark the product idea. From there, additional research goes into what the appropriate product type or material should be. For example, our solid fragrances and candles give back to bees. In doing the research about the bee epidemic, I read the book, ‘The Beekeeper’s Lament,’ the writer talked about how the bees actions were based on scent, from being drawn to the flowers and looking for food. Bees have highly sensitive scent receptors, this inspired me to create a fragrance, so that when we sniff the scent, we are mimicking the actions of the bee.
FF: What excites you for the future?
GTM: Growing our donation amounts, creating new goods that give back to new causes, learning new things, new collaborations, and helping to create new solutions for the problems facing our communities!
FF: Any advice for makers and biz entrepreneurs new to our creative community?
GTM: Something that has taken me a long time to get better at as a creative is the business side, things like learning excel, tracking sales, creating projections, and becoming friends with quickbooks. Over the past five years, I have improved my sales tracking and product pricing sheets to be more and more informative for the business. For example, what are the % of sales by product and sales channel? Are we doing better at wholesale or at markets? We are actually now selling these as a starter toolkit for fellow creatives, check it out on our site!
FF: If you have a strong partnership with a non-profit org, what is it and what inspired you to do this?
GTM: Matter currently has awesome partnerships with twelve different non-profits as each product gives back to a different partner cause. We donate to groups working on: education, literacy, oil spill clean up, pollinator health, women’s health, disaster relief, musicians in New Orleans, coastal health, care of animals, small business, the arts, and more. We have donated $25,710 to date and look forward to donating more!
Shop and visit with Tippy and Goods that Matter at Firefly Handmade Summer Market, July 23-24, 10am-4pm, Twenty Ninth Street shopping district , 1710 29th St. (between Canyon & Walnut), Boulder, CO.