If you've heard me talk about food (or eat a whole pizza), it should come as no surprise that I am head-over-heels in love with Thanksgiving. It's an annual holiday filled with great company, memorable times, and copious amounts of food. Nothing compares to a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving dinner, not even a 50% off sale during Black Friday . But what makes the dinner so special? Is it the turkey, the mascot of Thanksgiving, or various gourds? No, it's the sides, which are given equal—if not more attention—to the turkey. With so much time management and passion behind-the-scenes, the meal becomes a great standalone experience, enhanced by friends and loved ones.
As creative professionals, we're known for what we deliver well: our "turkey," so to speak. But what makes a good creative great is what he/she decides to do out of the office. I write . My girlfriend practices Japanese and acts as an unofficial tour guide. But I'm amazed at how far people have gone outside the workplace. Since I've graduated, I've gotten to known some really great people who go above and beyond to follow their passion, creating a business on their own. And I've gotten to reach out to others who had taken a similar path. To celebrate them in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here's a list of side ventures run by my fellow peers:
Kae Q: Ran by Nicole Fiori, Kae Q is a collection of homemade bodycare products straight from Nicole herself. She makes all her ingredients entirely from scratch. I was mindblown when I found out the coconut oil that goes into her lip balms come from coconuts that she cuts open herself, from a local farm in Florida.
Happen Clothing: Ran by Valentin Saqueton (Veej), Happen Clothing is a urban wear clothing brand that aims at the possibilities initiative can achieve. While he occasionally collaborates with illustrators and other creatives on a few shirts, it's impressive knowing that he manages everything with Happen. Photography, website layout, and prepping orders are all done by Veej himself, and if that weren't enough, his shirts are comfy (I snagged a couple shirts).
Sari-Sari Books: Ran by UF alum Christina Newhard, Sari-Sari Books is an initiative to support Filipino language and culture using the powerful storytelling and medium of children's books. While the books are still in the production phase, I'm eager to see how the stories serve as tools to teach children Tagalog and other Filipino languages.