Interview with the Hudson Valley Hullabaloo founder, Danielle Bliss

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We love stationery, letterpress, the Hudson Valley and shopping locally! Put it all together and you have the personal and business philosophy of Ulster Co’s very own Danielle Bliss. We were thrilled to chat with Danielle to learn about her letterpress business and the Hudson Valley Hullabaloo, the annual shopping market now in its 4th year.

Tell us a bit about your business, Wishbone Letterpress.
Wishbone Letterpress is a custom graphic design and letterpress printing studio. Letterpress printing is a printing process that involves antique printing presses, cotton paper, and a raised printing plate. The printing process creates an impression that is pushed down into the paper. We do a lot of wedding invitations, business cards, and social stationery. My husband and I also have a sassy greeting card and product line that we sell to stores all over the world, and online. We write all of the copy, design and print all of our products.

What’s it like being a small business owner in Ulster Co?
It’s great, and can be difficult at times. Some of the companies that we rely on for press maintenance type things, don’t exist in this area. But other than that we have a really supportive business community and great local customers who appreciate what we do.

What made you start the Hullabaloo shopping event?
My husband and I traveled all over to sell our greeting cards at indie craft markets all over the North East. After participating in our first market ever in 2011, in Portland Maine, we asked ourselves why there wasn’t something like that event in Kingston? The market was hip and fun, there was music and food, and shoppers hung out all day. So while participating in markets for a few years, we took notes on what made for a good market, and organizationally what worked well, and came up with a plan for the Hullabaloo.

What’s your criteria for picking vendors?
When jurying the Hullabaloo I look for companies who are really engaged in their work and are committed to their craftsmanship. I look for high-quality, well-made, design-focused products that are unique, modern, and giftable. The curation process is really about finding a good mix of diverse vendors. We get a lot of applications from jewelers and ceramic artists.

Why do you think the local, hand-made quality of products is so important?
It’s important because first of all, local handmade products are usually better quality and are made to last. It’s something that you’re going to hold on to, and possibly pass down to future generations. But it’s also important to support small business, small businesses often buy their materials locally, supporting local farms and material suppliers. I think a lot of local small businesses, myself included, started businesses of their own because there is a lack of well paying jobs in this area outside of healthcare, and education. And now a lot of these small businesses are creating jobs.

How has Hullabaloo grown over the years?
The Hullabaloo has grown in size, we started out the first year with 47 vendors, each year we’ve grown a little, now we’re up to 75ish. And then there’s little things in terms of growth, more decorations, more special features, each year we hope to make the event a little more magical.

With everything from Hullabaloo to the Phoenicia Flea and Smorgasburg, where do you see the future of these hip, independent markets going?
I see the movement growing and hopefully working together to bring about more awareness about local makers in the area.

What part of the Kingston Greenline are you most excited about?
I’m excited for the Rondout section.

What are some of your fave outdoor activities in Ulster Co?
I’m a big fan of the swimming holes in the Catskills.

Where are some of your favorite places to explore in Kingston?
One of my favorite parts of Kingston is Midtown. There’s always something that you didn’t see before, an empty storefront or industrial building just waiting for a new life. I’m excited to see the eventual transformation of the area.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own business.
Dream big and work hard, anything can be figured out.

SPEED ROUND:
Fave Color: Bright Yellow
Fave Movie: I don’t have a favorite.
Fave Song: “I’ll believe in Anything” by Sunset Rubdown, although that version only exists on youtube.
Fave Food: It’s a toss up between tacos and sushi
Fave Book: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

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Danielle and her husband Joe

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The Hudson Valley Hullabaloo

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