February 27, 2015

Satya Twena Saves Scalp of One of Manhattan’s Last Hat Factories

After making her first hat to help her mother cover her bare head during cancer treatment, Satya Twena realized she had a knack for millinery – the craft of designing and making hats. She honed her skill making hats for herself, her mother and their friends out of her apartment. Her first tools? A Jiffy Steamer and her oven.

As her craft blossomed and interest for her products grew, she eventually began working with the Makins Hat Factory in New York City’s historic Garment District – one of Manhattan’s last hat factories. That’s why, when Makins abruptly closed in 2013 after almost 40 years, Satya knew she couldn’t let the factory be sold off in pieces.

With some hard work and a well-promoted Kickstarter campaign, Satya was able to purchase the factory and hire back all the employees. Now operating under her name, Satya Twena’s Fine Millinery continues to thrive – preserving the legacy of the Makins Hat Factory and the craft of handmade headwear in America.

Satya, we tip our hat to you.

Photo credit


February 10, 2015

A Picture’s Worth $14 Million

For some, a picture is worth a thousand words. But for Brian and Julie Whiteman from California, a simple idea is worth more than $14 million.

Brian and Julie created GrooveBook, a service that compiles users’ cell phone images into books for just $2.99/month. The couple pitched their idea to the popular TV show Shark Tank, and it was a hit. Shutterfly – the online company that creates photobooks, personalized photo cards and stationery – offered to buy Julie and Brian’s idea for $14.5 million.

Kevin O’Leary, a Canadian entrepreneur and investor on Shark Tank, said what set GrooveBook apart from everyone else’s ideas was a groove in the book’s design – giving it the ability to bend. This unique feature allows the company to ship the books for just $0.80, compared to $2.99 without the groove.

To read more about the couple’s idea, view the feature on ABC News.