Diamond in the Ruff
When Jennifer Parker’s Yorkie-poodle named Rusty, kept getting mistaken for a girl, she became frustrated. So she did what any good dog parent would do, she went out to buy him a gender distinguishing neck tie. Much to her dismay, she wasn’t able to find such a thing in any pet stores. It was time for her to put her degree in Apparel Manufacturing Management from FIDM to good use. She began designing and sewing a tie for Rusty.
“The minute I walked outside with him (Rusty) wearing that tie, people were cracking up,” Jennifer Parker said. “It created this positivity wave, and soon everyone wanted one.”
And thus a business was born; Ruff Ties would be the first dog tie brand to grace the doggie fashion scene. According to Parker, the business has flourished since its launch in 2012 and has even attracted celebrities such as Damon John, Lisa Vanderpump and Gretchen Rossi.
Don’t be mistaken; this brand isn’t all about vanity. Ruff Ties is also a movement to help less fortunate dogs in shelters. Every Time a Ruff Tie is purchased, a tie that says “adopt me” is donated to a local animal shelter to help grab the attention of prospecting dog owners. Parker also donates her time to over 20 animals shelters that she’s partnered with by volunteering at the shelters and helping to advertise dogs who need homes.
Dedicated to helping not only just animals, Parker says her next goal is to move production to Cambodia where she will generously pay women in need to help her cut and sew the ties. She aims to lend a helping hand in stabilizing their economy.
Parker’s uniquely designed creations are based on seasons, holidays, sports teams, and even weddings. Ruff Ties can be purchased on her website: RuffTies.com.
Different Gems for Different Fems
Taking a leap of faith into the entrepreneurial world is always a risk. For Erika Rydell, it was the only option. After moving to San Clemente from Canada to live with her husband, she was unable to work as a dental hygienist, a profession she had received an education for in Canada. As an attempt to raise money for the dental hygienist exam, she turned to jewelry making.
Rydell’s unique line of jewelry features gems and stones associated with supposed healing properties have since taken off with an overwhelming response in the community.
Her inspiration to make jewelry arose six years ago when Rydell bought a pair of earrings that resulted in a skin rash. In an attempt to salvage the earrings and her skin, she replaced the earring backs with 14 karat gold fill which fixed the problem. So she, in turn, replaced all of her earring backs and French wires.
Rydell’s business, Aine Boho is named after a card from the Goddess Guidance Oracle Card deck “Aine,” which means to take a leap of faith. Her jewelry consists of delicate pieces with simple design chains adorned with a gem of meaning. She describes rose quartz as light pink stone, fit for February as it is known as the heart stone.
Rydell works to create quality pieces using chains that are either made of 14 karat gold fill or sterling silver. Not only are the chains quality and hypoallergenic for most, the gems themselves are carefully selected as well. Traveling the U.S. from one gem fair to the next, Rydell searches for stones from all over the globe that are not only fair trade but direct trade.
“It’s important to make sure the suppliers of these stones aren’t being exploited like they are in the movie Blood Diamond,” Rydell says.
Rydell’s creations are available at the San Clemente Marketplace and on her website AineBoho.com.
Surf, Paint, Repeat
For Joshua Paskowitz, the driving force behind his artistry is his father. Paskowitz described his late father, Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, as a mentor and a man who broke away from conventionalism in pursuit of the perfect wave and what he believed to be a healthier way of life for him and his family.
Doc was a physician who gave up his profession to raise his nine children in various RVs in which they traveled the globe from one surf break to the next. His children received no formal education but the irreplaceable knowledge that only world experience can deliver.
Joshua Paskowitz has deep roots in San Clemente. His father first came here to visit San Onofre in 1936. Today, this is the place Paskowitz lives and works as an artist using acrylic paint to create a pop-surrealistic twist on surf art. He attributes the subject of his artwork mostly to his father and surfing.
“My dad dropped out of society,” Paskowitz says. “He was a passionate guy, and he raised us in the counter-culture which was his experiment.”
Amidst third world chaos, a dysfunctional living space and daily surf sessions required by his father, Paskowitz also managed to find time to dedicate to his passions: music and art. As a young grommet, comic books became a gateway to the fine arts and spurred him to start on his path to becoming the self-taught craftsman he is today.
Inspired musically by their mother Juliette, who was an opera singer, Paskowitz, and his brother Adam Paskowitz topped the charts in the 90s with their one hit wonder “Got You (where I want you)” in their band, The Flys.
In the present, Paskowitz has found success and satisfaction from creating original paintings, which he prefers over print copies. Paskowitz strives for authenticity and says it is the most important element of his work. The Paskowitz family have often been dubbed the first surfing family, and as a result, Paskowitz credits the ocean and surfing as his biggest aesthetic influences.
“The ocean is the most beautiful and mysterious part of nature,” Paskowitz says.
Paskowitz says he is highly motivated by his devotion to music, art, film, social consciousness and most importantly by reminding people about his father and his legacy.
Paskowitz’s canvas paintings can be found in local art shows and various places around town as well as the Gregorio Escalante gallery in Los Angeles. Information about commissions and custom paintings can be found on his website: AlohaDoc.com or through messaging on his Instagram @JoshuaPaskowitz.