What didn’t fit : Roger Barrett & Sam Beberg

Roger Barrett and Sam Beberg are the co-owners of Pharmacie, a new home furnishings, accessories, and gift shop in Uptown in Minneapolis. I worked with Roger at the Science Museum of Minnesota years ago, and am really excited for his and Sam’s new venture. Both still work at their day jobs in addition to running the shop, so they’ve been insanely busy. But all the hard work has been paying off. If you haven’t stopped in yet, you should! It’s got a different vibe than any other shop in the Twin Cities, and I love it. (Oh, and yes, disclaimer, they do carry my work!)


Roger Barrett (left) and Sam Beberg, co-owners of Pharmacie in Minneapolis.

Roger Barrett (left) and Sam Beberg, co-owners of Pharmacie in Minneapolis.

Hey Roger and Sam! What are your guys’ backgrounds?
We’re both Minnesota natives. Sam is from Grand Marais, and I (Roger) am from Brooklyn Park. My background is in graphic and exhibition design, and Sam’s is in the restaurant business. He worked previously as a chef at Chez Bananas and Table of Contents, and currently co-owns Hot Plate in South Minneapolis.

What is Pharmacie?
We’re not a drug store! But we like to think, in a way, that we’re offering the same idea—a place where people can come fill a prescription…for design. In all seriousness, we’re a modern home furnishings, accessories, and gift store with a focus on up-and-coming small designers from around the country, layered with select vintage finds. We have a varied and eclectic mix of products at all price points. Offerings range from jewelry to sofas, glassware to backpacks, lighting to bottle openers, side tables to soap dishes.

When did you start talking about opening up a shop, and why did you want to?
We’ve been dreaming of this, separately, for a lifetime. But together, we’ve talked about it for at least three years. And we’ve been actively researching product, vibe, and location for the last two years.

Why did you want to open a shop?
Because we love and appreciate well-designed objects and environments, and want to share that love with our friends, neighbors, and customers.

How did it come about, and how long did long did it take?
I’m not exactly certain how the idea was born. Probably during some late-night furniture re-arranging in our apartment. I probably told Sam, “You’re really good at this. You should open a design store!”

As for the name, it was initially conceived over two years ago when the old Burch Pharmacy space in Uptown became vacant. We thought it would be the perfect spot for a home design store. And why not give a nod to the history of the building and call it Pharmacie? Obviously, we didn’t take that location, but the name stuck. We love the tongue-and-cheek nature of being named something that we’re not, but in a way still providing the same services: a prescription for design; an RX for a beautiful life.

What kind of research did you do?
The internet, gift shows in New York and San Francisco, the internet, friends, scoping out shops and products wherever we travel to, the internet…. Thank god for the internet, and for the husband and wife making furniture in their garage!

Who and/or what has been helpful in getting this going?
Without a doubt it’s been family and friends. People have been incredibly supportive of our idea and this project. And since we’ve opened, it’s been amazing how much support we’ve gotten from the neighborhood. People are pretty stoked that we’ve moved in.

You did a lot of the work in the shop yourselves. Can you tell us about that?
All I gotta say is we need better tools.

After you passed up the Burch spot, how did you choose your current space?
We looked forever at locations all over Minneapolis, but always knew we wanted to be in a vibrant neighborhood, and be close to restaurants, bars, and other shops.

What’s great about your location?
We couldn’t be happier with where we landed. We have great neighbors—World Street KitchenSooVacMoxie—that have all been incredibly supportive of our venture. And the neighboring residents are really excited about the addition to the ‘hood. The space itself is perfect, too. We love all the great windows and the raw finishing of the space.

What’s “Home” to you?
Home is a delicious meal, a good drink, easygoing friends, a good joke…and some items from Pharmacie!

How do you choose your products?
We love objects that are sexy, funny, beautiful, unique, hand-crafted, modern, luxurious, expensive, a good value, fragrant, comfortable, black, pink, white, brass…or any combination of the above.

What are some of your favorite products?
Right now our favorite products are a box of condoms imprinted with “Thanks for nothing,” and the 3D-printed skulls.

What’s in store in the near future?
Oof. We have big dreams. But for now, it’s all about getting through the holidays.

Why should people shop at Pharmacie?
We have a great selection of unique objects presented in a warm, welcoming, modern environment.

Do you have any events coming up we should know about?
We’re doing a Small Business Saturday happy hour from 6-9pm on Nov. 30.

Read all of the interviews I’ve done for redshoes news on my blog, redshoes news 2.6.


This weekend : Renegade Craft Fair – Chicago

Will you be in the Windy City this weekend? I will! redshoes26 will be among the 300-plus makers showing our stuff at Renegade Craft Fair, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7-8, from 11am-7pm both days. We’ll be in Wicker Park along Division Street, between Damen and Paulina. It’s a free event, so if you can’t see every booth in one day, why not come out for both days?

renegade craft fair chicago

In addition to some sweet new State Icons (including several representing the lovely state of Illinois), I’ll also be showing my mini State Icon holiday ornaments and something brand new: little zippered pouches with black-and-white versions of my State Icons on them!

I’ll see you there!

I am American Made

I have a favor to ask you.

redshoes26 is up for an Audience Choice award in Martha Stewart’s American Made contest, and I’d love your vote(s) to win!

It’ll take you just a moment to submit your vote for redshoes26 here.

You’ll log in with your Facebook account, or set up an account with your name and email address, and then just click on VOTE! You can vote up to six times per day now until Sept. 13, so if you click on it six times for redshoes26, I would be so grateful!

While you’re at it, please share the news with all of your fans and followers.

State Icons by redshoes26

State Icons by redshoes26

The small business that wins the Audience Choice award gets moola for our business, plus some sweet Martha fame.

Thank you so much for all of your support!

PS. If you’re making the commitment to buy more American-made goods, take a look around the site. There are some very talented American makers listed there, including my friends Oh Dier and 3waybeauty!

This weekend : Unglued: Craft Fest


Poster design by Amy Jo, courtesy Unglued: Craft Fest

Will you be in the Fargo, North Dakota, area this weekend? If so, swing into one of the coolest events in the Midwest, Unglued: Craft Fest. I’ve created some new North Dakota Icons just for the show, and I’ll have tons of Icons representing other states as well, plus giclee prints and greeting cards (all cards will be half off!).


Minot Air Force Base – North Dakota Icon by Christy Johnson, redshoes26 design

The 50-plus vendors will also include Larissa Loden, Michelle Brusegaard, The Elixery, Amy Jo, and Vandalia Street Press. There will also be craft demos and other entertainment. The first 150 people in the door get killer swag bags, too!

Bundle up and come see us!

Unglued: Craft Fest

Plains Art Museum, Fargo, North Dakota

Friday, Feb. 22, 5-8 p.m. (get tickets here for the gala this night…your only way in!)

Saturday, Feb. 23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (free to the public!)

This weekend : Renegade Craft Fair – Austin Holiday Market

I’m excited to announce that this weekend, Nov. 24-25, I’m showing my work at Renegade Craft Fair at the Palmer Events Center in Austin, TX! My buddy Larissa Loden Jewelry will also be there.

The Alamo - Texas Icon by redshoes26 design

The Alamo – Texas Icon by redshoes26 design

I’m busy making a bunch of Texas Icons, and hope to finish some Texas Icons holiday ornaments as well. I’ll also have greeting cards, giclee prints, and paper jewelry for sale. So much to do, and so little time! Here’s some info about the fair, from the Renegade website:

It’ll be a handmade holiday in Austin at the Second Annual RCF Holiday Market on November 24-25 from 11am-6pm each day at the Palmer Events Center!

Look out for a cozy holiday craft village full of today’s brightest and best indie makers from the Lone Star State and beyond (Check them out here), as well as hands-on workshops, music, food, booze, and more! Skip the Black Friday crowds and take the whole family to support handmade artists, or even try your hand at making something. You’ll be able to cross everyone off your holiday shopping list, and find some of the most unique gifts in town.

I hope to see y’all there (I had to)!

What didn’t fit : redshoes news annual gift guide

Some of my favorite local entrepreneurs share an object or an offer they think would make a fantastic gift for someone on your holiday list. In addition, they also give props to a local person or business they swoon over. Want a deal on the items you’re about to read about? Several of them offered discounts for readers of my monthly email, redshoes news. Want in? Then subscribe here! Just one email a month, always packed with fun updates, profiles, and news & event details.

But read on for some of my favorite local businesspeople and their cool gift ideas. And happy shopping!


angelbomb design + letterpress, the airship, todd thyberg

GREAT GIFT: The Airship, a digitally enhanced letterpress graphic novel
PRICE: Chapbook $150; deluxe hardbound, slip-cased edition $350
DETAILS: This limited edition graphic novel features modern tech fused with vintage letterpress tech. It’s great for techno geeks and letterpress aficionados.
FIND IT: www.angelbomb.com and Minnesota Center for Book Arts
LOCAL CRUSH: Worker B lotions. They’re local and one of my clients, and the products are amazing.



GREAT GIFT: doggystyle, a luxury dog grooming bar
PRICE: $17 for 6 oz.; $5 for 1.5 oz.
DETAILS: It’s for your pooch. It’s great for their skin and fur, especially for dogs with skin allergies.
FIND IT: www.3waybeauty.com/doggystyle and STYLEDLIFE
LOCAL CRUSH: The Elixery lipsticks. They are the first company to make a 100% natural lipstick that actually performs as well as non-natural lipstick.


dc ice

GREAT GIFT: Framed 5 x 7 original, illustrative, pet portrait paintings
PRICE: $200
DETAILS: Email me a picture of your animal friend, along with their personality traits, and I will immortalize them! You can be as specific as you want—request a color theme, mood, or even your pet’s name. If you would like to surprise yourself, I’ll gift-wrap your painting so you won’t be able to peek at it until later.
FIND IT: www.dcice.comAZ Gallery, and Gallery 360
LOCAL CRUSH: AZ Gallery will have a holiday shop in December. Purchasing handmade gifts here is a great way to support local artists!


jen shaffer, painted fish studio

GREAT GIFT: My new art book of Polaroid photographs, titled chairs : a polaroid collection
PRICE: $19.95
DETAILS: Many of the Polaroid photographs of chairs were taken in St. Paul, in addition to New York, California, Amsterdam, and more!
FIND IT: It comes out in November, so you can pre-order in my Etsy shop.
LOCAL CRUSH: Classic Retro @ Pete’s in St. Paul is my steady source of chair inspiration.


julie ann segal

GREAT GIFT: Interior design consultation gift certificates
PRICE: Prices range from $125 to $165 per hour, plus applicable taxes. Price depends on specific designer.
DETAILS: These are great gifts to give to someone who has just moved into a new home or who needs to remodel or refresh their space. Design consultations could include discussing ideas for a fresh new look, paint-color selection, furniture and/or accessory rearrangement, and where and how to hang art.
FIND IT: www.metrointeriors.com, call Julie Ann at 952-920-2827, or email julie@metrointeriors.com


karoline wells, the elixery, dessa lipstick

GREAT GIFT: “Dessa” lipstick
PRICE: $18
DETAILS: This lipstick shade is universally flattering, and was custom designed for Dessa of Doomtree by Emmy Award winning makeup artist Crist Ballas. Dessa has chosen to donate her portion of the profits to CARE, a charity that educates and empowers women in developing countries.
FIND IT: www.elixery.com
LOCAL CRUSH: Accessories by Post-. Lois and Katie are both art historians, and a great deal of care and attention goes into their designs. Not only that, they’re really ethical business people, and their products are high-quality and produced locally.

louise harris, lhoriginals

GREAT GIFT: One-of-a-kind pieces made of recycled aluminum
PRICE: Prices start at $100
DETAILS: The art is created from recycled furnace filters, and all of the profits are donated.
FIND IT: www.lhoriginals.comThree Rooms, and Paper Hat
LOCAL CRUSH: Project SuccessCan Do CaninesMinnesota Justice Foundation…these are just a few of the non-profits that have received donations from my profits, because they do really fabulous things for the betterment of others.


megan moore, commemorate the date

GREAT GIFT: Commemorate the Date 2013 Wall Calendar
PRICE: $30
DETAILS: Features artwork from Commemorate the Date oil paintings. It includes the story behind each painting, and it doubles as a new piece of art to display each month.
FIND IT: www.commemoratethedate.com
LOCAL CRUSH: Mother Earth Gardens. They’ve been carrying my prints and note cards for two years, and are wonderful to work with. More than a garden shop, they have a great gift selection, too. The owner and employees are so nice and helpful.


christy johnson, redshoes26 design, state icons

GREAT GIFT: Set of three State Icon illustrations
PRICE: $70
DETAILS: Choose any three State Icons from my series—mix and match states and/or cities.
FIND IT: www.redshoes26design.com/shop
LOCAL CRUSH: Someday I will own a carving by David Ekdahl. His work looks simple at first glance, but when you spend some time with it, you begin noticing the incredible detail he’s put into each piece. I love the mood his carvings convey. Plus, David is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet!

Want more? Contact each entrepreneur for more information on their gift ideas. 

What didn’t fit : Todd Thyberg

Didn’t get enough of Todd Thyberg of Angel Bomb Design + Letterpress, or his upcoming graphic novel, The Airship, in the latest issue of redshoes news? Then read on!

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Todd Thyberg and his graphic novel, The Airship

Todd Thyberg and his graphic novel, The Airship

Hey Todd! Tell us about you. 
It’s funny how all your experiences add up to create who you are and how that constantly evolves. I’ve done a lot of different things and what I do now, and who I am, really is a composite of my past. I grew up in North Dakota and my family pressured me to study engineering in school. I was supposed to follow in my dad’s footsteps, but had no interest in engineering, and going back to NoDak to farm. So after two weeks of engineering classes, I switched to creative writing. I loved to read and always wanted to tell stories. I’d never even heard of graphic design. I’d always drawn and loved being creative, but didn’t really think I’d be an artist. After a year of college, I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere, so signed up for the Navy to be an Aircrew Ordnanceman and go into Explosive Ordnance Disposal. I still remember stumbling upon a brochure for the design program after I was enlisted and thinking, “Fuuuuuddddggggge!”

Tell us about Angel Bomb. 
I originally started Angel Bomb in 1997 after I left my first job out of college. I was working at General Mills designing cereal boxes, and they were going to move me to flour bags, which sounded pretty lame. I was full of energy and creativity, and that just wasn’t going to cut it. The corporate design environment wasn’t one I really thrived in. So I decided to open up my own shop. I had no interest in calling it Thyberg Design. What does that mean? I wanted something vivid and memorable, and I remember running through all sorts of naming ideas when I hit upon a song title from a local group, February, called Angel Bomb. It stuck with me; the dichotomy of an angel, which was good, and a bomb, which was bad. I liked the idea of good creative with impact, and I’d had this fascination with explosives, so there you go. It was slow going and I was young and not interested in aspects of the business that weren’t creative, so after two years I shelved it. I resurrected it again in 2006 and have been going strong and growing ever since.

How long have you been into letterpress?
I added letterpress to Angel Bomb six years ago. My dad gave me a small tabletop press that he bought at an auction for me because he remembered me saying I liked letterpress. It was a great gift, but a very tiny press, and I thought, “If I’m going to learn this craft, it’s something that I want to add to my business–I’m not going to do it as a hobby.” So I searched for and bought my first (real) press, a Chandler and Price 8 x 12, learned how to print with it, and practiced until I could offer it to clients.

Tell us about obtaining a Jerome grant.
I have friends who are artists who kept encouraging me to apply. I’ve never really considered myself an artist. I’m a designer and sometimes I make art, so the whole idea of applying for a grant to make art was a bit foreign. I’d helped a friend–who had received the Jerome Book Arts grant the year before–with the layout of her book, and once I had developed my idea, I thought, “OK, I’ll give it a shot.” I reviewed a lot of different applications and had artist friends coach me on my application.

Why a graphic novel?
I’ve long wanted to tell stories, and usually think in terms of visually telling a tale. I make prints and wanted to do something more long-form, so the graphic novel seemed an obvious choice. I don’t read too many, but do feel they’re a great medium, and have become hugely popular. I have been a big fan of Chris Ware and the Acme Novelty Library.

What is it about?
I’m a huge fan of time-travel stories, and this story plays on that idea, but brings more actual science into the mix by involving current multiverse theory instead of time travel. I wanted to tell a story set in the past that involved a future or more evolved universe, and also dealt with the difficulty of crossing over from one to the other. I’m also intrigued by the combining of digital technology with the written word, and wanted to try something unique.

The Airship is about a scientist who creates this device onboard a dirigible that can transport the ship through space-time into other dimensions, or universes, if you will. Without giving too much away, he is transported to another universe and is trying to reach his father to let him know that he’s OK, but the messages get garbled and the reader needs future technology in order to decipher the messages.

The story came about when I started thinking about how I sit at a computer and design things that I then go and print on this outdated technology. I’m bridging a gap of eras, and that the people from the era of these presses would marvel at the technology we’re using today. I wanted to create a piece that took place in the past and was printed on the technology of that time, but by utilizing modern technology (future to them), the reader would have a deeper experience than just reading the story. With your smartphone, you’ll read QR codes in the book, which allow you to access messages from the son, and other goodies.

Did you write it yourself? 
I did. It’s going to be a trilogy since trying to write, design, illustrate and print the whole thing myself was way too time consuming and expensive to produce, so I needed to split it up.

Did you get help from anyone?
I’ve gotten lots of encouragement from people, but this is a solo effort. If it’s well received, I hope to be able to hire additional help with illustration for the second volume.

And you did all of the design on The Airship?
Yep. The Jerome grant gives you a timeline of a year to produce the book, so it’s great for the deadline, but also fairly short when you’re creating everything from scratch.

How many will there be?
There will be two versions, and I’m hoping to make 200-250 hand-bound chapbooks and 30 hardbound slipcase deluxe editions as well.

Tell us about the process.
It’s a three-color book, so I first make color separations of the files and have negatives made. Then I make the photopolymer plates myself here in the studio. Once those are set, I’ll be printing them one color at a time. I just acquired a larger press that will hopefully expedite the printing, but it’s been a bit stressful getting it up and running. Worst case scenario, I’ll have to use a hand cranked press to run them. There will be a little over 9,000 impressions total, so I’m hoping to avoid that.

Where can people find them?
The books will debut at Minnesota Center for Book Arts at a Jerome Book Arts Fellowship Exhibition on Nov. 2. They’ll be for sale there and, eventually, I hope, at other book centers around the country. They’ll also be for sale on my website and available at the studio. The chapbook will be $150 and the deluxe slipcased edition, $350.

Wha is your hope for the graphic novel?
I hope to raise awareness of Angel Bomb and show off the capabilities of the studio. I’d love to be able to grow the business such that I could hire some help, which would free up time for me to make more books.

Are you interested in doing more books?
Hell, yeah! I’ve got a fun idea for an homage to one of my earliest favorite  authors, H.P. Lovecraft. It would be a great, creepy read.

What has been the most challenging?
Starting. Receiving the grant was huge. I was elated, but at the same time, trying to plan out the writing, design, illustration, prepress, platemaking, printing…all these steps to the project. It was daunting. It took a while for me to break the project into manageable pieces that I could tackle without freezing up.

What has been the most rewarding?
The encouragement I’ve gotten from friends and even people I don’t know who’ve learned of the project. It’s been fantastic. When someone tells you they’re proud of you, it really feels good.

How has this changed Angel Bomb?
I’d like for there to be a “fine press” side to Angel Bomb where I create more books and unique projects like The Airship. It’s difficult to balance the daily client deadlines with longer self-imposed deadlines, but the variety and challenge is great. I love working on client projects, but I think it would be great if I could also make more personal projects. I guess I’m chasing after that artist title after all.

What’s next?
I want to make a few prints, some shorter work before getting back on Part 2 of The Airship.

Are you doing any shows this fall?
Besides the Jerome Book Arts Fellowship Exhibit on Nov. 2, there’s Art Attack at the Northrup King Building, Nov. 2-4, where I’ll have the book on display and for sale as well.

Learn more about Todd Thyberg, Angel Bomb, and The Airship here.