Union City Business: CAM Design CO.

I’m a sucker for “homemade” anything, especially gifts. Can you imagine having such a cool skill in 2018, when we as humans are lucky if we can move from using Outlook to Gmail seamlessly? And honestly, bonus points if you can not only make something that’s not only pretty, but actually useful in life. 


It seems to me if you want to find some skilled artisans in Hudson County, that are not only technically skilled but also make beautiful work, the Yardley Building in Union City is the place to be. Having featured 2 other businesses that are amazing, it was time to visit CAM Design Co, who I found on (where else) Instagram. Amazing with large pieces, I was very interested in owner Chris Miano’s smaller pieces he makes in his time lapse videos. 

Walking into these workspaces is always a little overwhelming to me— they’re filled with tools that I don’t understand, but I know can severely injure me. Chris’ space is also filled with what looks like an almost done dinning room table, ceramics he’s made and a kiln. He explains to me that he actually used to take a ceramics class at Parsons, taught by past featured artist Jono Pandolfi, and is actually how he found his space in the Yardley. 


He’s decided to make a butcher block and a charcuterie board. As we start sawing, sanding, glueing, staining, etc., Chris explains that often he receives wood in its most natural form, bark and all, and mills it down to workable pieces from there. 

Perhaps the coolest thing that Chris does, and what he calls his signature, is butterfly joinery. Seen in the charcuterie board we made in wood, he usually does it in a metal material. Although it’s beautiful, it’s actually used to stop wood from splitting, and a fairly meticulous process, requiring a tight, exact fit between the cutout space and the metal butterfly.  

Chris’ work is generally commissioned for large projects, but he’s making more small pieces. To snag one of his amazing pieces, you can contact him directly. And as always you can follow him on Instagram here and his website here

*All photos by Chris Miano.

Jersey City Business: Little Batch Candle Company


People are NUTS about candles. I've been known to spend a little too much time in the candle isle at Target (they're cheap, smell good, in pretty containers, and don't usually say a name brand all over them), but I've generally always considered nice candles (i.e: not Glade or Ikea) to be a luxury item. Then there are other people, like Andrew Kreup, who realized that he was spending far too much money on candles and decided to start making them himself. 

Enter Little Batch Candle Company. One day Andrew decided to buy a candle making kit and it's grown from there. Andrew's handmade, soy wax candles come in over 20 amazing scents. And absolutly true story, his candles smell so fantastic that the HudsonCounty60 Director, SanMartin Garcia, became one of those crazy candle people overnight.

Going into this shoot I thought this was going to be child's play-- melt some wax pour it in, add a dash of this and a spritz of that, and voila! No, no, no, my friends. There is actual MATH that goes into making candles that don't just combust in your face because of too much fragrance. Wax needs to be the right temperature, things are weighed, the stars must align. And this is all proprietary information, in that each candle maker has their own temperatures, weights, etc. that make their candles their specific formula. Plus, let's not forget the whole part where you have to get the scent formula correct.


What I personally find most fascinating about Andrew and Little Batch is that this is his “money job”. As an artist in any capacity— writer, singer, actor, dancer, host, director, etc.— generally has to have a second job to make ends meet. I personally have done everything from waiting tables, bartending, temping etc., as has pretty much every actor under the son, but Andrew, a stage performer, was tired of that. He found a way to make this whole other side job, that he also really enjoys, and turn that into his money job. He doesn’t have to report to anyone except himself and he makes his own hours. Maybe it’s because of my personal experiences, but I really admire his gumption and success. 

With clean lines and a simple aesthetic, Little Batch Candles are really pretty in any room in your home, and the scents really help complete the rooms feel. They’re the perfect holiday gift for friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else on your gift list! To learn more about Little Batch Candle Company check them out on Instagram here, the website here or even better, buy them here!

Hoboken Business: Stowaway Collection

I was pregnant in the winter of 2016/2017 and although I actually enjoyed that time, I remember that finding clothes that made me feel like ME was really hard. I refused to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes because I thought “how long am I even going to be able to wear this?” Everything on the market was a shirt that said some maternity joke on it or just wasn’t my style in another way. Late in the pregnancy I finally stumbled upon a brand called Stowaway Collection, but at that point I had my few pieces and didn’t want to spend more money on “temporary clothing”. Boy was that a mistake. 

Here’s what you don’t think about when buying maternity clothing— when that baby comes out, you’re not instantly back to your old size. In fact it took me about 8 months to finally fit into my old jeans. So once I was in the “keep a newborn alive” portion of motherhood, I then had to buy a whole new batch of temporary clothing, some of which were for nursing purposes and some were just to feel presentable and a little like myself. I was really regretting my decision to not buy the Stowaway pieces. 


Fast forward to this past August. I had already launched HudsonCounty60, and Stowaway’s publicist had reached out to me. As she was pitching the line the little light bulb went off. I knew the brand already and was so excited to learn that they were actually based in my own backyard. 

Stowaway Collection is owned and operated by mother daughter duo Debbie and Stephanie. Not only are they all your mother/daughter goals (I’m already trying to figure out how my mom and I can go into business together), but they’re pretty incredible business women. When pregnant with her first child, Stephanie realized there was a real lack in the market for maternity clothing that didn’t “make you look like a tent”, and also allowed you to feel put together. Stephanie has a bit of a background in fashion, but they’ve essentially learned on the job and developed this amazing fashion brand. 

The line is full of beautiful pieces that celebrate your new, beautiful shape and bump, but take you to nursing and beyond. The pieces are made of materials that last and everything is made in USA. A full collection of clothing, Stowaway is made with the modern pregnant woman in mind, so pieces are not only fashionable but also work appropriate.

One of the most important things I wanted to film with Stowaway Collection were the pieces that Stephanie thinks are absolutely essential for every pregnant women. In our second video, Stephanie and Debbie shared what they thought you must get. What made the list? A simple, yet stylish off the shoulder top with a zipper for easy nursing access in beautiful vivid color, a gorgeous form fitting dress with faux leather accents and strategically placed splits on the shoulder, and a pair of beautiful slacks that have a seem down the front of leg and elastic waist, so they easily transition to the postpartum period. 

It’s also important to mention that they always offer free shipping and returns, which I think most pregnant woman can attest is an absolute life saver. For more information on Stowaway Collection check out their Instagram here, and to shop, check out their website here

See you soon, friends!