design, small business

Meet CHEMlab – Creative Chemistry during Covid

I have been searching for a creative soulmate for a VERY long time. Back in the 90’s, while at art school, I would read articles in Vogue about design duos who met at college and continued to work together after graduation. Yes please! Where was my kindred designer? We could be the next Clements Ribeiro or Dolce Gabbana. I kept an eye out throughout art school but it never happened. Actually the world of fashion textile design turned out to be just the tiniest bit more cutthroat than I had expected and I retreated into my shell a bit.

Then, last year I met Emily Steigler, the owner of fabulous kidswear label Scout & Indiana at the Crafty Festival in DC. We ended up squealing at each other like little kids, and the rest is history. We started meeting regularly to talk about our work ideas. This also involved cracking really bad jokes, drinking tea, and appreciating that lovely bloke in The Witcher. In time this somehow turned into us plotting to run the best summer camp ever known to humankind and possibly take over the world?
Little did we know what 2020 had in store for us.

CHEMlab

Emily and I started making and selling things together out of a need to just keep going and to stay in touch through quarantine times. We came up with a specific label for our collaborations because, well, we both enjoy geeking out over a bit of good branding design. Initially we were just playing around with the letters of our names (Chitra +Emily), but we liked the imagery the name CHEMlab conjured up of us cooking up new ideas in a lab. Our spouses didn’t think much of the name, which, to be honest, just made us like it even more!
Our tagline is Creative Chemistry, which really sums it up. We have great creative chemistry, and honestly it has been one of the primary things motivating me to put down the cookies and work through these Covid times.

What we are selling right now

We started off by cutting up vintage Noctiluna onesies and shirts (ones with discontinued prints, or smudges on them) and sewing them into jersey masks (Emily is a master sewist). This is a lovely, zero waste way of upcycling unsold stock into something really useful. Emily encourage me to started printing new lengths of cloth, which she then turned into more masks for both adults and kids. It is so much fun to play around with new printing methods, and we are constantly coming up with new mask designs.

The Future

Watch this space and please support our new endeavours. Follow our newsletters and Instagram accounts for updates. With all our markets canceled, we will be brewing up new ideas for the Holiday season, with our kids by our sides always counseling and critiquing us. You can find our products on both the Scout & Indiana and the Noctiluna sites. I see more masked plotting over big cups of tea on my deck happening throughout Autumn. Until then, stay cozy and safe. xx

About Author

Artist, Educator, Parent, Small Business Owner, Big kid from a big city, in a small town.

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