Modern Makers: Typecase Industries

Inspired by the Makers Mart at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the Modern Makers series highlights local women makers and their diverse companies.

Left to right: Alessandra Echeverri, owner of Typecase Industries, and Sahar Naderi; Photo: Adriana Regalado and Malik Cherry, NMWA

Left to right: Alessandra Echeverri, owner of Typecase Industries, and Sahar Naderi; Photo: Adriana Regalado and Malik Cherry, NMWA

Company: Typecase Industries
Maker: Alessandra Echeverri 

Typecase Industries is a full-service design and print studio based in Shaw. Located north of Howard University, the company creates wedding invitations, posters, greeting cards, business cards—anything on paper.

How did you get started?
There are three of us and we met during grad school. . . . About a year after we graduated we decided to start the studio as a way to make things and not have to work for anybody else.

What inspires you?
Our clients are really important because we’re making a lot of things for people like wedding invitations—which are very personal—so the inspiration has to come from them in that case. But then we get to do our own product development. . . . We get a lot of inspiration from D.C.

What does the word “maker” mean to you?
“Maker” means someone that uses their skills. . . . uses their creativity, and kind of pushes the boundaries of things that have already been made. I feel like you should always be making something new and exciting—at least for yourself if not for other people, like we do!

How do you see your company evolving?
Expansion. So, I’d like to have more wholesale business or just have more products that people know us for. It kind of frees us up to do more specific custom work and take on those fun projects.

Do you have any insights to share as a female business owner?
I feel like you should always stand your ground when you are dealing with people. Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, just try to be assertive and get your point across. Really go for those goals that you set for yourself.

What is your favorite work from NMWA’s collection?
The museum has a really great collection of artists’ books. Not many people know about artists’ books but we studied them in school and I really appreciated having that resource. It is a little gem in the library.

What inspired the limited-edition NMWA product?
I worked with Sahar Naderi, another local artist that works for Typecase. Together, we made these really cool patterns and went wild with fun shapes and color.

What is your most popular product?
Probably our greeting cards. We have really fun greeting cards that are all over the city now. People often find us through those.

Browse the Modern Makers products on Museum Shop’s website, including the limited-edition NMWA poster by Typecase Industries. Browse #NMWAMakers on Twitter to see more creations.

Modern Makers: Handmade Habitat

Inspired by the Makers Mart at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the Modern Makers series highlights local women makers and their diverse companies.

Amina Ahmad, owner of Handmade Habitat; Photo: Adriana Regalado and Malik Cherry, NMWA

Amina Ahmad, owner of Handmade Habitat; Photo: Adriana Regalado and Malik Cherry, NMWA

Company: Handmade Habitat
Maker: Amina Ahmad

Artist and chandler Amina Ahmad owns Handmade Habitat, an all-natural soy-candle and beauty-goods company specializing in products that uplift and inspire the soul.

Ahmad studied environmental science at the University of Maryland. Passionate about building the creative community in the D.C. metropolitan area, Ahmad is also the co-founder of the Unofficial Hand Lettering Society of Silver Spring. When not in her studio, Ahmad often strolls through her neighbors’ gardens in Takoma Park with her dog, Rosie.

How did you get started?
My business started a few years ago. I originally made bags and clothing. Then one year, I experimented with candle making for Christmas gifts. I ended up really liking it and started incorporating it into the existing business.

What inspires you? 
I am inspired by nature. I am really inspired by artists and a lot of the other work that I see in the world. I’m also inspired by my own yoga practice, which helped me discover what I really value in my work. 

What does the creative process look like for you?
I start with a concept—something that I want to incorporate into my own life. That’s how it has always been. I started making things that I wanted, whether it was a bag, a new dress, or oven mitts.

What does the word “maker” mean to you?
I think a maker has a really wide definition. . . . Making is a core part of my identity. I come from a very D.I.Y family. If there is a problem, you troubleshoot it first with whatever is available before you buy something to fix it.

Limited-edition NMWA Frida Candle by Handmade Habitiat; Photo: Adriana Regalado and Malik Cherry, NMWA

Limited-Edition NMWA Frida Candle by Handmade Habitat; Photo: Adriana Regalado and Malik Cherry, NMWA

How do you see your company evolving?
I think it would be really nice to be able to build a community around the brand that has a lot of the elements of presence, mindfulness, and artistic introspection.

What is your favorite work from NMWA’s collection?
Definitely Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait. I love that there is a Frida in D.C. . . . She provides a lot of power in her images. I think that the museum really shows that there is so much power in being a woman.

What inspired the limited-edition NMWA product?
While walking through the museum, I have the overwhelming feeling that femininity and art are not powerless. The works of art show that there is so much power in being a woman today and at every point in history.

Browse products by Handmade Habitat on the Museum Shop’s website, including the limited-edition Frida Candle, inspired by NMWA’s own Frida Kahlo painting. Browse #NMWAMakers on Twitter to see more creations.