Compiled by Jodi La Marco
When Cynthia Lampman first heard about the Hudson Valley Current, she was inspired to start Barnhouse Creative Consultants. Her goal? To offer a service which would allow her to participate in the local economy using local currency.
How did the Current inspire you to start your business?
When I first found out about the Current, I wanted to become a member immediately, but I didn’t think I had anything that I could offer. I was racking my brain for a couple of years trying to think of something. It’s similar to a barter system, which I love. I love that I can do something for someone else in exchange for receiving something I might need from another local business.
What services do you offer?
I do a variety of things. If someone has a craft in mind—for instance, if they see something on Pinterest—I can help them re-create what they’ve seen. If they need to make 100 for a wedding or a party, I can either help them make it, or I can make it for them. I can also help do it inexpensively.
I really like to help people see that they can be creative without buying a craft kit. When I was a kid, we didn’t have craft kits. We had to go find things around the house and turn it into something else. Now, I have gotten into digging at old dump sites to find bottles and pottery that I can repurpose. You never know what you’ll find.
Can you give us an example of how you’ve helped one of your clients?
I helped someone come up with a craft for their son’s birthday party. The mother had an idea for a theme, but had no idea what to do for a craft. I worked with her to come up with a craft within a budget. I made a sample, I gave her all of the parts and directions, and I showed her how to do it. I recently helped a PTA with an event, and I also work with senior citizens in retirement communities like assisted living facilities by coming up with craft activities for them to do.
Why did you choose to offer this particular service?
I’m an idea person. I cannot remember when I was not creating something with my hands. Even when I was a kid, I was never bored. My mother was a seamstress, so I learned to sew. My father was a carpenter and mechanic, so he taught me how to use tools. I was always making, building, and sewing things.
After college, I started working for interior decorators and designers. I wound up with my own business; repurposing and refurbishing, and also doing some sewing. Later, I was working part-time at a summer camp where I was doing arts and crafts. I also worked at a private school that my son attended where I did a lot of creative classes.
People I knew from school, work, and camp still call me to ask for help. So I figured, if people are asking me to do this year-round, there’s a need to be filled. Whether you need a little help with your birthday party or you want to get a group of friends together for a craft night, I can do that.
How does your business fit into the larger movement to revitalize the Hudson Valley?
I love to shop local, and I do that as much as possible. I like meeting other local businesses and collaborating with them on things like events.
One thing that has always been important to me is small town history. I hate to see local history just be obliterated, so I like to bring that into what I do. There’s history all around us. I hate to see something being torn down. I’d rather see it get repurposed into something else. That’s probably why I do what I do.
I would like to inspire other people to look around and notice that they can use these things to make things. They don’t have to go buy foam rubber and craft kits that their kids are going to throw away.
What measures do you take to support the local economy?
Again, I love to shop locally. I like to get to know people, because then you know who you’re dealing with. There’s a trust that’s built. I enjoy finding a new place, meeting the owners, and hearing their story.