Interview | NDOTO | Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This | August 28.15

  • When I stumble upon monochromatic bedding, my heart skips a beat. Strange, but oh so true. However, when Michel Tidhar Wrote me about her NDOTO (aka bedding for tiny creatures), I paused. Literarily.
    Then she offered to send one of her dreamy blankets and pillow covers for my very own mini me. I just couldn’t say no. Could I?
    It’s no secret that I’m trying to master the black and white game in my own home and if all things go well, Leo (my tiny creature), will be following my lead (but not if his dad will have anything to do with it!). So… Gray blanket with top notch illustrations? Done and done. And yeah, of course I’m still talking about Ndoto. Every single detail is being thought through. From the color palate to the spot on illustrations to the fabric choice (I need one my size!). I mean, who doesn’t want to make their kid feel super sophisticated?!
    I know that Michal really had a mission in mind, which is to save the Israelis from all these overwhelming and super colorful beddings. And she did! But now the world is her oyster. I had to share her journey and let you know how impressed I am by her and her super powers. Let’s just say that the design world wasn’t her first career of choice. Read my interview with her, and you’ll see what I mean.
    Michal, take it from here!
    -
    www.ndoto.co.il
  • I’d love to hear about your journey, how it all began.
    My name is Michal Tidhar, I am 33 years old , married to Ron and the mother of Ariel 3.5years old. I shouldn’t forget the dog Toto who is 2.5 years old.
    The birth of my third baby, NDOTO, came about in an unusual way, different from most entrepreneurs I know.
    I would like to begin by dispelling some of the myths regarding my background: I did not study at Shenkar School of Design ( I have a BA in political science from Tel Aviv University), never formally studied design and I actually had no experience in this world of design. Before NDOTO I worked in the marketing world as well as in the restaurant business.
    My love for the creative world was always there but I was only an observer and not a participant. I’ve always had the feeling that I would be an entrepreneur at some point, but never really knew when and in what area.
    After the birth of my daughter, Ariel, I decided not to return to my previous job of 5 years, as an event producer. It was a really tough and demanding job. I gave a lot of thought to the idea that I want to start a new business. My friend (and business partner at the time) and I came up with an original idea for a social website (I still think that is was a brilliant idea!). Unfortunately, we needed a substantial financial investment to set it into motion. Financing that we both did not have. After six months of spending lots of funds on a broken dream, we decided to reinvent ourselves.
    My partner identified an absence in the market of premium beddings for babies and children. From there we began to do research and market surveys in Israel and overseas. Only after we came to the conclusion that there was a business case, we moved to the creative side to design the beddings. And so, the first limited and simpler collection of NDOTO, was created. A few months after the company was set up my partner moved to Ghana, since her husband was relocated there.
    This was (as I thought at the time) a great setback for me. However, as time went by, my world did not fall apart, it only developed and grew.
    I rediscovered myself and since then managed to produce a new collection, add new products as well as hire various consultants. I believe I am constantly growing and developing and I wake up every day, feeling blessed to do what I love the most.
    Before we move on, I wonder about the meaning behind “Ndoto”.
    The meaning of NDOTO is “Dreams” in Swahili.
  • Can you describe your work process?
    My work process is complex and my inspiration for new ideas come to me from various places like blogs, Pinterest, lookbooks etc. Usually ideas begin to develop in my sleep and wake me up at night. Then I know I need to call my illustrator, Mai, and add her to the loop. Mai is one of my beloved friends. Her feedback is always honest and direct. She has this inexplicable ability to get into my head and help me turn my dream into a reality. We sit and make countless sketches, until we feel we got the perfect design.
    Alongside the creative process, lies the more realistic financial aspect of the business. When to bring a new product or new collection to the market, think about budget, production costs, cash flow and all sort of other very boring words, which can determine the future of a new idea.
    I have lots of new ideas for products waiting on the side lines for the right timing. It’s not always easy, but it is always calculated and helps me proceed in the right direction.
    I’m curious to know where does your inspiration come from.
    My inspiration comes from anyone and everything
    I surf the web for hours. From Pinterest to Instagram to Blogs and to Magazines and then repeat. Anything can set my imagination off. I also like to keep up with the latest trends in the world and try my best to adapt to them, adding my special touch.
  • What about some web sites and blogs that you visit, when you’re in a need for a boost of creative inspiration?
    Can you tell me which designers/illustrators inspire you?
    Naturally my illustrator Mayooshka. I also like the work of Yarden Galili, Uri Rozner and Tamar Nahir.
    Which Israeli creative people are you loving at the moment?
    At the moment I’m into the works of Micush, Pudish and Twilingen’s brand new collection. I also can’t get enough of Enia and Tayo.
  • You just came back from PlayTime Paris. How was it to play in the big league?
    This was an absolute crazy experience. More like a roller coaster ride between fright,shock, being proud, being under constant pressure and at the end happiness. I really was not aware of what I got myself into, even though I consulted with friends, who have done it before. Upon arrival, I was in Shock. The amount and sheer number of talented people and beauty that surrounds you is unbelievable. You just can’t wrap your head around it… The next day, my head was in cloud nine, from the moment I realized that the people surrounding me, were quite similar to me. They understood me and my products, they gave me lots of complements on my work. That is the meaning of sheer happiness!
    The fact that nothing happens right away or overnight is not something that comes easily to me. I realize that it is only the beginning of a process in which each small step brings you closer to that thing you want the most. You need to be persistent, stay on track and try to overcome each obstacle that comes your way. There are many obstacles but you simply can’t give up. All I can say is that it’s similar to raising children. I have to add that I’m so so happy that I had the opportunity to have my mother by my side, while there. It was so amazing to spend time with her and it defiantly made us even closer. And there is no doubt in my mind that I was much more successful, due to her being there and her unbelievable support.
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    There were many people who gave me advise along the way. In general I tend to consult with those who I value their opinion. One of the best pieces of advice I received was after my business partner left. I wanted to run off and find a new one. But then someone whom I really value told me not to. Another piece of advice was to not compare yourself to other designers. Just keep focused on yourself and what you want to accomplish. This is what kept me going and still does. You shouldn’t look at others and where they are headed. Go where you believe is your path. In addition, I always use the help of those who can help me with my weakest links.
    What’s next? What is your dream? And what are you looking forward to?
    At the moment I am busy trying to follow through with all the connections I made while in Playtime Paris. I’m also hoping for substantial growth in overseas sales within the next six months. At the same time, I am already thinking about my next collection (it’s already in my mind!). I hope that by September the new collection will be ready. I’m also thinking about the next exhibition. I’m thinking NYC, but we’ll see. The more you see the greater the appetite. Right?
  • What’s your favorite Israeli neighborhood and why?
    I absolutely love my neighborhood Corazin in Givatiim. It would seem on the surface a less desirable neighborhood of Givatiim which is a suburb of Tel Aviv. However it’s a friendly neighborhood just like I remember from my childhood. Kids can play with friends on the streets. You can borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbor. Go to the local grocery store, bakeries, small delis etc. I love the family atmosphere of the neighborhood, it’s the feeling of once upon a time.
    Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
    It’s really simple and not really exciting. Just wake up relatively late for a mom, have a cup of coffee and do nothing but be with my husband,daughter and our dog in our living room. I work so many long hours and so this is the family time I love the most.
    Israel’s best kept secret?
    We don’t ride on camels.
  • And finally, please do share something random or quirky about yourself.
    From the time I was a child till this day I have a busy mind. My Mom always told me that I was a dreamer, head high in the sky and would even bump into things on the street while walking. This gave the impression that I am clumsy, but its actually due to be being in a million other places at once. This is also the case with my daughter. What does that mean?!

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BigStuffed | Dana Muskat | Creatures Of Comfort | August 26.15

  • Sometimes (but honestly, more often than I care to admit) I look at creations that were made for tiny people and secretly covet them. Do you know what I’m talking about?
    Anyways, this time, when I bumped into Dana Muskat’s BigStuffed family, I had no doubt in my mind, that my mini-me (and I), are destined to add another member to our family. I can’t resist these super soft (and ginormous!) creatures, their sad eyes and overall “please adopt me now!” look. I’m pretty sure it was Dana Muskat’s intention all along.
    Behind the mastermind of this “operation cuteness”, there is a story about a girl, who wanted to become a fashion designer. Studied and even apprenticed at some of the top names in the industry, but then realized that what you see on the runway shows, is not really what you get behind closed doors. That’s when she decided to leave that world behind in order to pursue her own thing, which at the time she wasn’t too sure on what that would be. To make long story short, one meter long Octopus, that Dana made for her brand new niece, opened the door to a sea of many sad but lovable creatures. When the responses started flowing, Dana realized that she was onto something good. Then again, who can resist a huge snuggle-ish (and 100% handmade!) buddy, that will forever serve as your very own guardian angel? I know I can’t!
    -
    facebook.com/bigstuffed

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Minimalit | Lital Gurai | Leo, Other Signs and All That Jazz | August 20.15

  • There is nothing I like more than being surprised while scrolling down my Instagram feed.
    About a week ago, I stumbled upon this magical illustration by Rotem Levitan (a post about her is in the works!). That’s when I discovered, the most adorable headbands by Lital Gurai aka Minimalit. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel royal, with this badass lion, laying on top of their head?!
    When asking Lital what led her into headbands, she said: ”I love birthdays. It doesn’t matter if it’s over the top or super mellow. Something about the fact that one should celebrate his special day every year, excites me every single time. I tend to start playing around with ideas two months before my big day and this year I was busy making myself a crown (read: headband). I’m not sure if it was a coincidence but being a Leo, I started with drawing lions. After drawing lots and lots of lions (about 50 of them!) I found myself drawing other signs and from there the road to a collection of magical headbands was a done deal”.
    Everything is super new so there is no website (yet) but I just realized that this over achiever graphic designer is on to something. She just knows how to make us ladies feel extra special, Leo or not.
    You can get in touch with Lital at: minimalit.gurait {at} gmail {dot} com

{Photos by Tamir Moosh}

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Shira Keret for REDESIGN[D] | Can’t Touch The Monolith Light | August 13.15

  • By now it is safe to say that I gonna love whatever will come out of Shira Keret’s hands. This girl doesn’t really know how to stand still. It looks like her mind works 24/7 in order to create the most minimalistic yet functional objects. That’s why there is no question why the REDESIGN[D] guys wanted to collaborate with her. The Monolith Light is based on the same methodology and esthetics that led to the making of the original Monolith series of marble objects.
    Monolith Light is a series of wall mounted light fixtures, each unique in its mixture of ridges and blend of colors. The flat discs that comprise the lamps are crafted from thinly sliced Corian blocks. The use of Corian, a polymer based solid surface material, has enabled the seamless blending of colors and textures in a single slab. Each disc is held in place by brass prongs which fix it to the base of the lamp without damaging its surface, similarly to how precious stones are held in jewelry.”
    It’s obvious that for Shira, the material is king, in each and every object she creates. She enjoys following its lead and comes up with a way to surprise us with its – not so common or know characteristics.
    This time around, finding out that Corian can be cut into thin slices while having good translucence, gave Shira the opportunity to turn these textured monochromatic slices into light fixtures.
    What I love the most about this design is the endless possibilities lying between the light and its shadows.
    If you are curious to hear and see more about the process, you should watch this video. For me it’s always fun to get a glimpse into the designer’s mind.
    -
    www.shirakeret.com

{Photos by Daniel Shechter}

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Ron Nadel | Jerusalem Moments | July 21.15

  • Back in 2011 I shared with you my love for Ron Nadel’s Tel Avivian illustrations. Fast forward to 2015 and Ron has Jerusalem on his mind and under his fingertips.
    I’m sure I said it before but Jerusalem is a tough city to swallow. However, it’s pretty safe to say that Ron’s graphic illustrations take the uniqueness that this city has to offer and leaves behind all that needs to be left. Behind Ron’s illustrations lay a bunch of his very own childhood memories from the times he visited his grandmother who lives there. I can see how a childish eye can make wonders of this super controversial city…
    There is something quite magical and calm in the way this guy illustrate and so, I guess I should thank him for making me see that city with new eyes and clear mind.
    -
    www.ronadel.com

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Michal Taharlev | A Sea Of Delicate Threads Turn Into Wearable Beauties | July 1.15

  • You guys, I’m still alive. Not as productive online (hopefully it will change soon enough), but if there is one place I try to be more visible, it’s my Instagram account (not to mention, checking my feed @#%$ times a day). Anyways, I’m only sharing this because Instagram is where I first stumbled upon Michal Taharlev’s rad creations. It’s always refreshing to watch a young designer, who decided to embrace new technologies but still sticks to older traditional crafts that usually are long forgotten. BUT WAIT, let’s pause for a sec. I need to thank Jaime aka Miss Design Milk and the newly accessorized, Miss Adorn Milk for this happy revelation.
    Now, back to Michal. How crazy cool are these accessories?! I mean, whoever wears these showstoppers, needs to be my BFF. I mean it.
    At the beginning, Michal, a textile designer, who graduated from the Shenkar College in 2011, struggled with the question: “how can I take the hand weaving process and combine it to become a new and contemporary product that will be traditional yet modern?” All I can say is: Michal, you need to struggle no more!
    In her brand new collection, Michal continues to explore the relationship between metal and textile, but this time by using laser cutting in order to shape the fabrics. These hundreds of small and delicate threads, which are manually assembled and dyed, are tightened together by metals.
    I’m thinking a shopping spree is in order. Are you with me on this one?
    -
    www.michaltaharlev.com
  • {Photos by Ziv Sade}

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Student Break | Golan Taub | His Inner Harajuku Girl | June 1.15

  • In a few short months, I’ll be writing about the 2015 Graduates, however there is no rule that says that I can’t continue writing about my favorite 2014 Graduates. Right?
    I can’t remember when was the last time a fashion graduate put a smile on my face. And I’m talking about a juicy smile, that makes your cheeks hurt. And then came Golan Taub and his New Layer collection, out of the Fashion Design Department at the Shenkar College. I mean look at these insane silhouettes and colors.
    While exploring Golan’s outfits all I could think about was: “I’m pretty sure Barbie would totally rock these pieces.” BUT, I am quite sure Golan didn’t have Barbie on his mind creating these fun showstoppers. In fact, he was inspired by the shoguns, the warriors of Imperial Japan who established their identity as warriors with threatening and intimidating costumes. Golan takes the fashion world and all the seriousness that usually comes with it, in a different perspective, enjoying each vibrant color that goes through his sewing machine and creating outrageous silhouettes for the inner Harajuku girl inside every one of us.
    -
    www.golantaub.com
  • {Photos by Daniel Kaminsky}

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Instagram Dishes? Hell Yeah! | May 20.15

  • “How do you create an entirely new and exciting food experience for foodies who believe they’ve already seen it all?”
    For the team of Carmel wineries (one of the largest and oldest wineries in Israel) the answer was simple. They call it FOODOGRAPHY. “A series of unique and unforgettable live dining events, that doubled as photography workshops and at the center of lie two first-of-a-kind dishes created to capture the perfect shot of gourmet food through a smartphone.”
    You have no idea how excited it made me feel (as a hopeless foodie-grapher) when I first spotted these brilliant Instagram dishes on my facebook feed. I guess that’s what happens when most of your facebook friends are designers.
    But enough about me. Back to this rad project. The three, who turned this Syfy concept into a realty, are truly a dream team, in Israel and beyond. I’m referring to Adi Nissani (a ceramic designer who specializes in artisan tableware and develops custom made collections for restaurants), Dan Perez (my absolute favorite Israeli food photographer) and Meir Adoni (a well renowned chef).
    If you ask me what’s the best next thing you should do right now, it’s watching this yummy video and then… well, I’m sure you gonna wish these dishes are up for grabs for you to have and to hold at your next dinner table. I know that’s exactly how I feel. Oh well, I guess a girl can dream.
    -
    www.foodography.co.il

in Ceramics, Israeli Designers, Photography | Tags: , | No comments