Hi there. I’m the owner of Queork. No, not Amanda… the other owner of Queork - Julie! I know you don’t see or hear much of me on the website or in the stores or the factory. I am what you’d call Amanda’s silent partner – she “shhhhhhushes!!”’ me a lot and barely lets me get a word in. In all seriousness, while Amanda’s interest in Queork is largely made up of her sweat (and brain) equity, mine is mostly just equity, with a little gratuitous legal advice sprinkled in now and then. By day, I’m a full time attorney. But together we make a good, balanced team with a shared passion in the uniqueness and creativity that underlies Queork. Five years ago we started Queork, seemingly out of thin air—air that carried inspiration and a sense that something was calling us into doing something somehow related to fashion and creativity and retail, things with which neither of us had any experience. We heeded the call and you can read about our first five years in Amanda’s blog post here.
Over the last year and a half, we have invested in our very own manufacturing facility that is filled with cork fabrics, industrial sewing machines, tools, gadgets, gizmos, accessories… all sorts of stuff that can be used to make Queork products. We are proud to say that a growing portion of the products we sell are not only Made in the USA but Made in NOLA! This is especially important to us because New Orleans is our home but there is talent waiting to be tapped on the shoulder in every city and for anyone that wants a brighter future for your city start by believing in, and then investing in, your youth. It is gratifying beyond belief to see them bring amazing things to life with no fear of losing because they had nothing to lose. If you think a 23 year old has talent with an iPhone, put them to work in a factory driven by innovation. They have a bright future indeed!
While I’m very proud of what Queork’s manufacturing facility (which we call the “Depot” due to its close proximity to the foundation-rattling trains that pass by) might mean for our business and our city, I especially love it because, every now and then, it becomes my own personal, giant playroom! Some weekends, Amanda and my idea of Sunday Funday is to go to the Depot and just let our creativity go wild. We call it “craf-turday.” Sometimes we go with an idea or plan to make/build/sew something specific; sometimes we just go and let the muses come to us by walking around and looking at the raw materials and equipment. Usually, after literally hours of being in the “flow” of creating something, we have to force ourselves to stop for the day. As a self-proclaimed slave to my desk, my computer and sometimes the courtroom, I can tell you that switching off the analytical/lawyering side of my brain and letting the other side get into that creative flow (whether by crafting at the Depot or baking a cake or taking in someone else’s talent) is just as or more relaxing than a day on the beach (where I’m usually endlessly worrying about unanswered calls and emails and deadlines and …. arggghhhhhh!!!).
Growing up, I wasn’t musical, I couldn’t paint inside the lines, I didn’t sing well, all my jokes lacked a punch line (all still true) so I never felt gifted or blessed artistically. Nowadays, I know that absolutely everyone is creative and talented in some way and that, just like physical exercise is necessary for well-being, so is the exercise of one’s creativity. I also know that you shouldn’t be afraid of “failing” at creativity. Most of us don’t just magically become Michelangelo, Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson overnight. Even those dudes worked incredibly hard at their trade in order to make the end result look effortless and for them it was a labor of love. For most of us, you can’t get there from here. You start with an ugly lump of clay, and you mold it into a different ugly lump of clay. You pick up a guitar, and you strum out a tune that sounds like cats fighting. You throw a bunch of ingredients into a pot and you hope that you don’t poison your dinner guests. The act of doing those things over and over again may (but unlikely will) make you a world-renown sculpture/guitarist/chef. But even it if doesn’t, who cares, because it will make you happier and healthier. We realize that Queork, the entity, likewise thrives when we let the talents, unique abilities and creativity of our team members stretch and flex their muscles. We find it all very (drum roll, please) a-musing !