We're excited to bring you a series of profiles to introduce you to a few of the makers we're so lucky to work with! This is just one in a series of Vendor Spotlights in which we let those who will be sharing their wares shine a light on what it is they do. The following profile is Andy of The Social Dept. and his response to a mini-questionnaire. We've been lucky to work with Andy since Crafty Mart started back in 2009. He's the guy behind all our awesome posters!
1). What's your name and what is it that you make?
My name is Andy Taray and our company is The Social Dept. We design, illustrate, and hand print local, regional and city pride tees in various themes including: sports, outdoors, city love, design, and cats! Lots of CATS!!!
2). How did you acquire the unique skill set to do what it is you do?
Well, came to it in a slightly roundabout way. I started school at Ashland University in the Fine Arts program and then later transferred to Kent to learn the graphic design trade in Kent State’s amazing VCD program. The printing side started in the fine arts background and learning the basics…. then fine tuned many years later from working with printmaking friends. Working with clients on brand development and promotion made me really eager to develop our own product. I have collected t-shirts since I was too young to even remember, so it was sort of the natural fit. It’s all I wear and has been my whole life… other then 8 years of Catholic School dress code! Dress down days were dear to my heart!
3). What is your best seller?
It’s definitely a seasonal or topic-based battle for our best seller. Our overall best seller locally at the shows is probably our Ohio & The Other States tee. But many of our Cuyahoga Valley National Park themed shirts are doing really well these days!
We do shirts for all 50 states and until recent years many of our best sellers were for neighboring states. Probably over the 10 years of this company our best seller is still a Michigan-based concept. Which reads Lions, Tigers, and Lakes Oh MI! Kind of unexpected for an Ohio company to have a Michigan based tee!
4). How long have you been vending? Have you done a Crafty Mart show before?
We have been vending since the beginning of Crafty Mart! So I guess this would be the 8th year. I think over the years we may have missed one or so due to being out of town but otherwise we have done all the big ones! We love being able to do such a great show right here in our backyard.
We actually started in Brooklyn, NY before returning to the homeland. So our first show was actually the Atlantic Antic. Which was kinda cool in that I had known of it for so many years thanks to a Beastie Boys lyric!
5). The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
The Who. Always The Who.
…but if I had to choose one of the two I would go Rolling Stones. Better records front to back.
Thank you for answering our questions, Andy! Look for The Social Dept. at the next Crafty Mart event, or visit them at their new storefront in Cuyahoga Falls at 1701 Front Street right next to HiHo Brewing!