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Nan Bress

Filmmaker, Ethnographer at Docnography

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The Den of Marbletown: A Cozy Place to Meet, Play, or Stay

We're creating a Steiff Teddy Bear Museum/Bed and Breakfast that also directs visitors to local businesses in the Hudson Valley of New York.

The museum will be filled with little scenes that tell stories with the Steiff creatures (a large collection donated to us).

(FYI - Steiff is a German company that invented the Teddy Bear and they're still the gold standard of artisan quality stuffed toys.  Popular in Europe and Asia, we hope to help build the brand of these "button in ear" toys here in the states).

We will rely on local artists to create an assortment of wonderous little worlds, harkening to the magical art of Joseph Cornell.

The Den of Marbletown will also be a two room bed and breakfast so people from NYC (or locals) can have "a night in the museum."

We're preserving this lovely 1860 Victorian lady as much as possible - but we will add a kid's lounge and super comfortable beds.

We're in a great location for tourism traffic, just off exit 19 on the NY State Thruway; come stretch your legs, look at the displays of toys, grab a snack and coffee, maybe even stay for the night.

We'll also sell new Steiff toys, becoming the only Steiff retailer in this part of the country (this picture is from another Steiff store).

The key to our success will be making Americans fall in love with the Steiff brand, and buy into luxury-priced toy. We'll try to do this through video too.

We also want to have it be a place for locals to meet up, play, have classes, do skill sharing.

Imagine felting, canning, herbal potions, photoshop, final cut pro, financial literacy  -- parents will be in one room doing a class and kids will be right next door doing their own class. Like parallel play.

The Den of Marbletown: a cozy space to meet, play, or stay.

END of Assignment #1

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Entrepreneur vs. Freelancer

Seth's point here is one of the most important things that has informed our new startup.

My first instinct was to teach myself Quickbooks, make our own logo, do our own interior design, etc - the classic thinking of a successful freelancer (I've run my own video ethnography business for 12 years with this mindset).

Instead we've intentionally outsourced to an accountant, a graphic designer, a web designer, an interior designer, an architect, even a consumer packaged goods expert. These are the best decisions we've made so far.

I'm saving some of the fun work for myself (the video making) and some of the most important work (getting town zoning permits, overseeing contractors).

But the trick will be seeing if we bring in enough income to support all of this outsourcing. It is a scary prospect when you keep writing out checks before you can open your doors for business. It makes me wake up at 4:00 a.m. in sheer terror.

END of Assignment #2

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