2013 Team

Hi Friends!

We’re kicking our holiday hangover to the curb and gearing up for our busiest year yet! To help us hold down the fort in 2013, we’ve recruited a bit of help. For starters, we’ve got a new go-to girl for all things wholesale – Ms. Jackie D.! We’re also thrilled to announce that Diverse Marketing will be representing us in the middle US states this year. From this month on, you can find us at Diverse Marketing‘s permanent Atlanta showroom, located at AmericasMart, Building 2, Ste 1401, 1403 & 1405.

Speaking of Atlanta…guess what we’re up to?

Happy Holidays!!

Now that it’s officially Friday and the world has not come to an end, all of us at Studio Manhattan are ready to welcome les vacances! No matter where you are in the world, we wish you a holiday season filled with all the magic of Manhattan. And if you’re nesting in New York for the next week, throw your ice-skates in a bag and head over to Bryant Park. If we’re not at our booth, you’ll find us on our bums in the middle of the rink.

Manhattan Memos – The Creative Process

In the spring of 2009, I took my scooter on one of its usual trips to Brooklyn. It was a cloudy day – one that was perfect for my new HDR portfolio. As I rode around Dumbo, I suddenly noticed the rocks on the East River, which had emerged as a result of the low tide. I realized I had just stumbled upon one of those postcard-perfect scenes of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan.

This photo made my portfolio, and at Studio Manhattan we decided to create our first five-piece canvas set around it. It was an instant hit and I was really proud of the result – partially because I think of my work as my children. I create them. They even have birthdays – as well as ISO values and shutter speeds.

This is what I thought when I saw my newborn son’s identification tag for the first time this past weekend.

Name: Ali Emre, Weight: 3246 gr., Length: 48 cm, Born: 5:54AM, 12/03/12.

This time, however, I wasn’t the real artist. I was, like the camera, merely an instrument in the creative process. My immense gratitude goes to the true artist who brought me this perfect little masterpiece.


Manhattan Memos – Giving Thanks

I was born on November 24th in Vienna, Austria. I was in such a hurry to join the world that I opened my eyes in the ambulance en route to the hospital. At the time I was born, my parents were factory workers who had migrated to Austria from Istanbul, Turkey. When I was six years old, we moved back to Istanbul. There, I spent my childhood playing amid Byzantine walls, ancient Roman churches and Ottoman mosques. In this historic city, I grew up to become a photojournalist. Eight years later, in 2002, I decided it was time to leave the old empire behind and set foot in a brave new world. That world was New York City.

 New York gave me the chance to create my life through art. I wanted to create moments, ideas, and ways to change the world. So I set out to do just that. Getting access to galleries and stores where I could display my photography proved difficult, if not impossible. So I found another – and arguably better – way to reach the eyes and ears of New Yorkers: I hit the streets. I showcased my work in front of museums, at art fairs, on the streets of Soho, and anywhere else where I could prop up a stand and chat up a crowd. Four years later, Studio Manhattan was born.

 My goal is, and has always been, to create art and designs that enhance people’s lives. Making art out of everyday products is my way of creating, communicating, and bringing the world a little bit closer together.

 As we approach the season of giving, I would like to give thanks to those who brought me – and Studio Manhattan – to this point.

 I wish everybody a prosperous and peaceful holiday season.



When you love fashion as much as we do, the biggest hurdle when stepping out the door in the morning isn’t deciding what to wear, but, rather, refraining from spending every penny you own. Luckily, at Studio Manhattan, our most spend-happy style mavens are kept in check by our team’s most cost conscious fashionista, Amanda. As the author of the fashion blog TheSensibleStyle.com, Amanda Irel knows how to stay stylish on a budget. Needless to say, such sartorial smarts quickly earned her a brand ambassador appointment. We sat down with the twenty-something New York native to pick her brain about fashion and blogging, as well as to – hopefully and clandestinely – glean some tips on how to get the most mileage out of our own products.

  •  Your blog, TheSensibleStyle.com, offers readers tips on how to stay fashionable on a low budget. When and why did you decide to start blogging and where did your inspiration come from? 

Since I have a lot of hobbies and eclectic interests, no matter what I’m doing, I’m always interested in making sure that my outfit reflects my mood and is comfortable and appropriate for the activity. As a fashion blogger with a psychology degree, I consider it of great importance to analyze the clothing we wear relative to the activities we wear them for.

More importantly, I love finding affordable alternatives to designer wear that are still high quality. Forcing myself to remain on a budget just after college (while living on my own and paying for my education) was tough, and I realized that so many young people were in the same predicament. That is why I began writing The Sensible Style. The Sensible Style is an outlet for those striving to look fashionable and to keep up with the latest trends, despite living on a budget.


  • What do you love about fashion?

As I’m not artistically inclined, I love that fashion provides an easy way to create something aesthetically pleasing. In a world where we always try to look appropriate and people are highly judgmental, fashion is an outlet through which anyone can stand out while fitting in. You can learn so much about a person’s personality just by their choice of garments. I believe fashion is a simple creative way for people to express themselves. What’s better than that?


  •  What does blogging offer you, personally? And what do you hope your blog provides your readers?

For me, blogging is a creative outlet. I love writing, and often help friends with styling, shopping and organization –  so being able to share my thoughts on a larger scale is exciting. Unlike some, I blog for my own enjoyment and to help others, NOT to gain popularity. I hope that my readers recognize that they can look put-together, whether professionally or casually, regardless of their financial situation.


  • What appeals to you about Studio Manhattan’s products? Which designs/items are your favorites?

Studio Manhattan’s sophisticated-yet-worn look immediately caught my eye. I have a weirdly edgy-yet-feminine style, so industrial art on the high quality materials makes me really love Studio Manhattan’s products.

My favorite item, the American flag clutch, can be worn with a dress for a night out, or carried with jeans and a t-shirt on a weekend brunch date. The clutch even comes with a skinny strap, so it can double as a small cross-body purse. Being a blogger who focuses on fashion on a budget, I especially appreciate that Studio Manhattan’s products are super versatile.

Style Files

We’re just gonna put it out there: Our brand ambassadors are kind of a big deal. From styling celebrities to managing companies, these studs are busy doing big things. No matter how high-powered and hectic their days are, though, they always remember one thing: to bring us along with them. Check it out.

Katie in an empire state of mind at the office.

Former North Carolina resident, John, pays homage to his new home at breakfast.

Elle brings killer style home with our Kate Moss canvas.

Interested in becoming a brand ambassador? Email us at info@studiomanhattan.com

Lions, Tigers & Bears (Oh My!)

While half our team jetted off to Vegas this week, the rest of us held down the fort at the New York International Gift Show. Now, we know you’re thinking we got the short end of the stick here, but, actually, we beg to differ. What’s more fun than people watching manning our booth?

Below, a few shots from the show:

Vegas, Baby!

We’re in Vegas, baby! Arguably, we’re here on business, not pleasure, but, since we take so much pleasure in our business, we’re really not sure why we’re here. Anyway. We’re workin’ our booth here at the POOL Tradeshow and soaking up the scenery – which, of course, we’re happy to share with you guys. (Sharing is caring, folks.) To this end, we’re adopting a new philosophy that says “what happens in Vegas, goes on the blog!”

A Piece of New York – Studio Manhattan Chats with Exit9

At Studio Manhattan, we love innovators. We applaud people who create things. We identify with those who take an idea, turn it into a project, and then grow it into a business. (Given the fact that we ourselves were born on the backseat of a Vespa – from the accelerated ambitions of a Turkish photojournalist – this is hardly surprising.) Charles Branstool, owner and founder of Exit9 The Gift Emporium, is one of those people. It began during his college years, when, in order to make ends meet, Branstool developed a line of re-purposed products called Funky Junk. Post-college, Funky Junk gave way to Exit9 – a show-stopping selection of gifts and novelties – and today, the product pioneer runs two successful stores – one in Manhattan’s East Village, and the other in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. We stopped by the Brooklyn location to catch up with one of our oldest customers.

SM: Tell us a little bit about the products that comprise Exit9. What do you typically look for when sourcing merchandise for your stores?

CB: Anything that is tragically clever is hard for me to say no to. Anything that helps save space in a New York City apartment… or that can serve a dual purpose – like a ring that’s also a bottle opener – is another thing that might turn me on. Overall, I seek out products that are designed in a smart and clever way.

SM:  So what attracts you to Studio Manhattan’s products and why do you think your customers gravitate towards them?

CB:  The Studio Manhattan line falls within the definition of dual purpose design. A Studio Manhattan wallet or [credit card] case can function on its own, but because of the [urban] imagery, it allows people to kind of take a piece of New York home with them. It gives people the functionality of a coin purse, for example, but then also they get to take New York back to Nebraska or wherever they are from. And the products aren’t designed in a souvenir shop way. They’re done in a very sophisticated, New York way.

SM: What is your favorite product in the store right now?

CB: I’m a scientist at heart (I’m really in the wrong career!), so this pocket microscope is probably one of my all-time favorites. It doesn’t take any batteries, and it magnifies the item that you want to look at by thirty times. It’s one piece, so there’s also nothing to break. You can take it into the woods with you and magnify mosquitoes – that’s what I do.

SM: What, in your experience, has been the biggest challenge of building a business from scratch?

CB: The challenge of starting a business, for me, was that I was really flying by the seat of my pants. I was new to the city, with this little idea in my head, and I just sort of went for it without any real business knowledge. So the learning curve was the biggest challenge for me. [Looking back,] I wish that I had taken at least a couple of business courses.

SM: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of this journey?

CB: I would say the biggest reward has been becoming a part of the neighborhood. We are very connected to our neighborhoods, unlike most corporate companies. We really represent a face to the community, a place that helps build the community into what it is.

Over the past year, we have finally been able to give a little back to the community. So we [now] have this program called Tuesdays for Good, [where] ten percent of sales generated every Tuesday will go to a non-profit. This month’s non-profit is called Badass Brooklyn, which is an animal shelter in Brooklyn. So that’s been a very feel-good component.

I also like to see how local artists can produce their own line, and watch them come into the market place. 

SM: Do you love what you do? Tell us why.

CB: I do love my job. I love it when people can walk in and be wow’ed by what they see. Because I feel that way too about these products.


Trading Places

Born in a city that never sleeps, the Studio Manhattan crew has a tendency to err on the side of insomnia. So, when it came time to determine how to get ourselves and our merchandise off the island of Manhattan and into the state of Georgia, we decided to roadtrip it. All night long. Oh, and then we chugged a whole truckload of coffee and built our booth with our own bare hands. No big deal.

Come check out our caffeine-happy crew (and our products!) this Friday, July 13th at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. See you there!