Doers and Dreamers – Korina Brewer

It is only natural that if you grow up sailing and decide to get a degree in fashion design that you reach back to your roots and up-cycle material you’ve been surrounded with to make products, especially if you embrace the concept of sustainability. It is also natural that the Kingston area would entice talented, enthusiastic makers like Korina Brewer, as this region has become a haven for artisans of every kind.  Say “Hello!” to this week’s Doer and Dreamer who found the nexus of water, mountains, and an entrepreneurial-friendly environment to be a compelling reason put down roots in Midtown Kingston.

Your name: Korina Brewer

Business or organization: Eighth Belle, sustainable bags handmade from re-purposed sails , Ferrovia Studios,  17 Railroad Ave., Kingston, NY

Occupation: Maker / Mariner

What is your approach to your business or occupation that makes you unique?
I am super committed to sustainability! I think this is a growing movement, which is obviously a great thing, but it’s the reason I started my business and the reason I continue making everyday. Working on New York’s waterways, I got a first hand view at the amount of pollution happening here in our local ecosystem. My goal is to create an accessible, sustainable product and be transparent about my process to encourage customers to ask more questions and pursue more earth – friendly choices for their homes and day to day lives.

Where are you from originally?
Rochester, NY – I grew up sailing on Lake Ontario and in the Finger Lakes!

What brought you to the Kingston area and keeps you in this area?
I started out in NYC studying design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and after graduating, I moved to Hudson where one of my best friends was living. At the time, my partner was living in Queens and Kingston was a perfect middle ground for us to move together. It had lots of maritime history and boats and we loved the different neighborhoods and proximity to both mountain and river. When I first moved here, I had an idea of the arts community, but didn’t know it was as large and flourishing as I later found out. Kingston has been a great place to grow a young business like mine, as well as one of the best spots to sail on the Hudson River. My business allows me to also work part time during the summer taking people out sailing on the river!

What is your favorite hangout in this area and why?
During the day Village Coffee & Goods and during the evening, Tubby’s. Funny enough these are pretty much the closest places to my studio, but they are favorites for reasons more than proximity. Both are owned by really nice couples and have a super friendly neighborhood vibe. I can count on running into a friend or meeting a new one every time I set foot in these spots.

When you’re not in Kingston, what’s your idea of a wonderful city to visit, and why?
I love to visit places different from where I live to discover what they have to offer. That being said, after living in NYC and then moving here, my idea of a great city is not a big one. I love quiet, sleepy towns that are walking friendly, and especially any city on the water. Last year I went to Montreal which was a super fun city to visit. This year, we’re planning a trip to Gloucester – a place with tons of maritime tradition.

Tell us something that we never would have guessed about you.
I have a 100 ton Master’s License to be the Captain of a boat. I always think this should make logical sense considering I make pretty nautically inspired work, but people always seem surprised that I actually am a professional mariner too. Also, I’m ½ Canadian.