COMMUNITY CRAFTERS: create a budget chic wallet to give or keep

Thank you to Madison from Goldsboro, NC who sent us images of this stylish wallet she crafted primarily out of Platypus Designer Duct Tape.

What was really fun and unexpected was that she lined the interior of the wallet with Real Leopard

And we liked how she paired it with Modern Houndstooth for a fashionista-inspired combo.

Very budget chic – so she can save her pennies for her next shopping spree!





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MUSIC MONDAYS: WILLIE NELSON America at its finest

I’m really excited to be writing the Music Monday post today. Lissa was getting blogged-out anyway. :-)   She’s constantly getting needled to write the blogs because she’s great at it, and it’s always nice to have her uplifting and thoughtful perspective.

For this week’s feature, I suggested we do Willie Nelson and we’ve both been listening to Willie all weekend. I love Willie, and was exposed to him early in childhood thanks to my mom (Louise Jordan, one of the Platypus People). Willie has always been her favorite musician. I have great childhood memories of us driving around in her 1977 Toyota Corona wagon listening to Willie on the radio. She even dressed up as him on Halloween one year. Here she is next to Elvis (my dad).

It’s unbelievable to consider that Willie is nearly 80. He is still such a vibrant part of the American tapestry, and his music is as relevant today as it’s ever been. I can’t think of another person that I’d like to just hang out with more than Willie. How many nearly-octogenarians do you want to hang out with that aren’t family? Yeah, that’s what I thought. In a culture defined by ‘cool’, Willie sets one hell of a precedent. His newest album, Heroes, has been in my car CD player non-stop since it came out. I encourage you to go see him on the supporting tour for this album. You can check out his tour schedule here.

Many people think of Willie as an old school country staple. That may be true, but he’s rebel country and helped the whole genre to break away from a rigid Nashville tradition. His collaborations cross into nearly every musical genre. One of his current good friends is Snoop Dogg if that is any indication of how hip he is (they actually went to Amsterdam together, and I can only imagine how that trip went!).

His immediately identifiable and distinctive voice has grown more precious to me over the years, and, I think, more importantly to the world at large. Whenever I hear it, it reminds me of not only my own history, but what I love about America. In this disingenuous political time that we live in, having people like Willie as a voice for us all is a gift, and serves as a bridge to a place we can all be proud to call home.

With that in mind, I’ve been listening to many of his standards, collaborations and poignant covers all weekend. If you haven’t heard his cover of Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe or Coldplay’s The Scientist, go check them out now.

You’ll find many of them in this fairly long and varied playlist. We hope that you’ll revisit Willie if you haven’t been listening to him in a while, and be as uplifted by his endearing and enduring songs as we are!

Just Breathe
The Scientist
Roll Me Up (with Snoop Dogg, Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson)

Songbird (produced by Ryan Adams featuring the Cardinals on all tracks)
$1000 Wedding (Gram Parsons cover)
Stella Blue (Jerry Garcia cover)
Amazing Grace

Whiskey River
Rainbow Connection (yes, that one)

Stars and Guitars
Dead Flowers (with M. Jagger and K. Richards)
The Harder They Come (with Ryan Adams)
For What It’s Worth (with Sheryl Crow)

Unchained Melody (phenomenal version!)
Georgia on my Mind

iTunes Originals – Willie Nelson
What’s Good For Me (advice about songwriting…in his own words)
Follow your instincts (advice from Willie about success)
Funny How Time Slips Away / Crazy / Night Life (one long tune…)

Essential Willie Nelson
Mamas Dont’ Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
Seven Spanish Angels (with Ray Charles)

16 Biggest Hits
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

Lost Highway
The Harder They Come

Outlaws and Angels
Shotgun Willie (live with Kid Rock)

VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson
Always On My Mind
On the Road Again

Moment of Forever
Over You Again

Milk Cow Blues
Funny How Time Slips Away
Fools Paradise

Amos Lee
El Camino reprise (a nod to last weeks Tunes for Tuesday!)

America A Tribute To Heroes
American the Beautiful

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HOW TO: personalize a party, down to the tiniest Designer Duct Tape detail

As mentioned in a previous post, the Platypus People have been super busy planning a wedding….

Well, okay, it was a bridal luncheon and it wasn’t real but it should have been! (Louise even made organic buttercream frosting for the cupcakes with the adorable, handcrafted heart-shaped treat topper. Talk about the devil being in the details! She, though, is an angel.)

And I was about ready to crack open some Dom. Because the set design was worthy of some serious bubbly….!

The inspiration for our narrative was this beautiful – and quite unexpected – bridal bouquet made out of Blue Paisley + Argyle, sent to us by one of our Community Crafters, Tamara. We were giddy at her ingenuity.

So we decided to make “marry.”

Here’s what we did:

To  highlight seamlessness, color harmonies and integration across crafting application, we created this tablescape out of Platypus Designer Duct Tape in Blue Paisley + Denim.

Felt so “now,” especially with so much maritime blue + paisley on the the fashion runways for Spring 2012. Was a fresh + modern twist on the traditional. And we like it that way.

For this photo shoot, we stuck to two designs. But now that our new White Linen is available, we would have included it too.

We like to mix it up!

(By design, our tapes look amazing when combined. No matter what the theme: preppy, chic, western, pirate, picnic, tonal. It’s just a matter of using your imagination, thoughtful planning and roll-your-sleeves-up crafting. Party planning possibilities are endless.)

Getting back to the bridal business….

Doesn’t this DIY scene looks like a million bucks with its crystal goblets, ceramics, bamboo flatware, and array of textiles? Yet the whole scene was incredibly affordable thanks to Designer Duct Tape being the star!

~ Multi-size vases look smashing – and they are made out of PVC pipe and simple plastic cap. Each cost less than $3.

~ Budget-friendly Martha Stewart Crafts from Michaels were weaved into our festive design: daisies, doily lace, heart punch, edgers and various gift tags.

~ Cupcake wrappers, heart-shaped treat toppers, napkin rings, gift tags were also handmade – very pretty + very easy to make!

~ Chandelier covers were adorned with Paisley. Simple to do + an elegant touch.

~ Plain boxes were covered and transformed into an instant hostess and/or bridal party gift. (Designer Duct Tape can also be used as “ribbon,” fantastic bows as well as gift wrap.)

After seeing this lovely scene spring to life, don’t you want to get hitched?

I do.


P.S. A special thanks to our friend, Sherry Coyle, for generously providing us with beautiful calligraphy. Based in Raleigh, see more of her work here.




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With National Stationery Show taking up our time last week followed by the holiday weekend, Rob and I totally forgot about Music Mondays yesterday!

So let’s call today’s post “Tunes for Tuesday.” That works.

Today’s pick: Amos Lee.

Typing this, I actually think Rob should be writing this post…After all, I was already a big fan of Amos Lee. And now, Rob is digging him. So I probably should have put him on the spot to talk about why he liked this new music. But I’ll let him off the hook. Because Rob’s song choices were really good ones – so I know he paid attention. (I made sure that he listened to over 50 songs….Ha.)

So I’ll speak about Amos today.

Simply put, I love his music.

I think his lyrics touch upon emotional every life stuff – love, loss, work, freedom – and so a ton of his songs make a lot of sense to me. And he just delivers these songs with intimacy and reflection. Up tempo or not.

I find his folksy, bluesy, soulful, retro 70s sound (ironic since he was born in 1978) – with a hint of country twang and touch of gospel too - varied + interesting. And as a person, he seems varied + interesting too. I read that he used to be an elementary school teacher in Philadelphia, before following his musical calling. He hangs out with Norah Jones (one of his earliest supporters). Has toured with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Adele, Norah too.

I really like his porch-like, nostalgic-y, acoustic-y vibe.

I also really like his personal vibe. He’s a cutie who passionately works hard.

His amazingly resonant songs aside, one of my fave quotes from him comes from an article  in The New York Times back in 2006: “I love what I do, so I don’t mind working,” he said. “I’ll work as much as I have to, ’cause it’s a labor of love for me.”

Pretty much sums up the work ethic over at Platypus Designer Duct Tape where we all love to “Make it with Tape” (the brand’s tagline) on a daily basis. And Rob works harder than anybody could imagine….and always has. For 10+ years, he’s been soloprenuer, until very recently. And I just think all that hard work has got to pay off soon….

Because it did for Amos Lee.

Here’s our varied + interesting condensed playlist:

Amos Lee 
Seen It All Before
Soul Suckers
Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight
Give It Up
Bottom of the Barrel
iTunes Live (Soho)
Are You Ready For The Country?
Windows are Rolled Down
Arms of a Woman
Supply and Demand
Southern Girl
Supply and Demand
Last Days at the Lodge
As the Crow Flies
Simple Things
May I Remind You
Mission Bell
Enjoy these “Tunes for Tuesdays.” Maybe you’ll discover you like Amos Lee too, just like Rob did.
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Thank you, Fab 5. Actually, Fab 8!

Dear Fab 8: Rob, Louise, Lissa, Anne, John and (not pictured) Bobby, Thomas + Shane,

Thank you for your creativity, your dedication during all those late nights, your big hearts and most especially your fortitude.

The new trade show booth is smashing!

We were proud to reveal it at National Stationery Show this week in New York City and are excited to use it elsewhere in the future.

A “teamsourced” design and handmade labor of love, we couldn’t have done it without you.

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THE BIG REVEAL! New booth at National Stationery Show


TA-DA! Here’s the big reveal of Fortis Design’s new trade show booth at the National Stationery Show in New York City this week.

It definitely stood out from the crowd given its circus-esque vibe, use of bold color, bright lights + well-styled displays.

Each detail of this booth was deeply considered. After all, it was our first time exhibiting at NSS…and we were so excited!

What a great experience for the company and its family of brands. We made many contacts and hope so much that we receive editorial coverage as a result of our efforts, soup-to-nuts. The products really are unexpected and diverse. And any awareness would be so fantastic!

Buyers certainly were kind + hopefully follow up sales orders will also help kickstart Platypus Designer Duct Tape and Azuline, a charmingly modern line of paper goods, into the fore.

(Fun fact: Did you know Rob was the originator of patterned duct tapes, by a long shot? The other guys just, well, have deeper pockets. Rob is small but mighty!)

Plus, his other products are super smart and quite manly too! Like Magwear, wallet-sized bottle opener, sleek business card holders, metal golf tees, magnetic dart games + more!

(I personally love the wide colorful assortment of cocktail napkins with catchy sayings...The most clever part: you can set your drink down and still see the fun words! Perfect for all sorts of events and occasions.)

Our booth was full of heart – and, might I add, had very comfortable carpet too.

(Thank you, Louise, for your amazingness!)

Let us know what y’all think. We’d love to know. And next show, stop on by! Up next: Atlanta…. <3

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BEHIND THE SCENES: building the new trade show booth for Fortis Design

A bit of behind the scenes today: snaps of the “under construction” trade show booth for Fortis Design, parent of Platypus.

A big thank goodness for this redo.

And an even bigger WHOO HOO!

What a total labor of love by all.

(Quick backstory: after chatting with Rob back in September about his hopes, dreams and intentions for growing his existing business, it was clear he was ready to re-architect. Putting it mildly, I sort of have this penchant for all things creative and dig innovative thinking as does Rob, obviously. These similarities of ours boded well for the winds of change that were soon afloat in the warehouse. It has been whirlwind in Fortis’ world shifting from more of a traditional manufacturing approach to one that emphasizes marketing and branding to support Rob’s product excellence. There’s no time like the present….)

The team rallied behind this new notion. And even greater things ensued.

Wildly inspired, motivated and dedicated (along with some serious elbow grease), the Platypus people and Anne of Azuline got down to some serious business and magical thinking.

Not only did the Platypus Designer Duct Tape brand get revamped and the Azuline brand newly created, but also we devised a brand new booth aesthetic for this brand new era to showcase Fortis brand goodness.

Yep, it was high time for Rob to get rid of those (um, ugly) card tables and burlap tablecloths and strut his stuff properly! After much discussion, it was clear we needed to blend the brands. Step things up a notch. Move towards the next level. And that we did!

Excitingly, the new booth will be unveiled this weekend at the National Stationery Show in New York City.


E-v-e-r-y square inch of this 10×10 foot space has been maximized….E-v-e-r-y single element + consumer touchpoint has been well thought out. No stone was left unturned…Down to the very magnets that actually hold the booth frame together….

It is chock full of heart and soul. A family affair.

(We now fondly refer to Louise as “Game Changer” Jordan. A big shout out to Anne, John, Bobby and Thomas too!)

Now all Fortis products will just jump off of the tradeshow shelves…and – as a result – look amazing at point of sale to sell through at retail.
Locking it up, we will “reveal” the booth next week!
So stop on by Booth #1326 and say hello. We can’t wait to meet you!
It is clear this team sticks together.




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MUSIC MONDAYS: My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket is what’s playing in the North Carolina warehouse this morning.

Of course, I’m in California so for me that means listening from my kitchen table, the space in this place that gives me a larger view to the outside world. Literally. Figuratively.

Kind of like this music today. It was Rob’s choice. So I embraced it. The whole point of Music Mondays is artistic discovery.

I must say that I’m really enjoying some of the crazy experimental stuff that the band attempts. And I don’t mind if the tunes I favor are “critically acclaimed” or not. In fact, I bet some people might think my choices are odd or even off.

But you know what… (and now Rob is going to get a big ‘ole Cheshire Cat grin on his face because I am certain he knew that I would say this…), I don’t care. People really need to have a point of view – and kindly, even provocatively, but always poignantly express it. Stand for something. Anything.

Just like the band. No status quo. Good for them!

The combination of lyrics, instrumentation and sound seem quite exploratory, often uplifting, sometimes vague, sometimes direct and every now and again awkward. Seems like there’s just a whole lotta stuff going on and the music is ever evolving…Feels like some sort of “sonic seduction.”

(Okay, I read that somewhere but I think the sentiment fits and word nerd me likes the sound of it. Ha!)

So here’s a huge range of tunes from Rob and me. Fire up Pandora and listen:

~ Off the Record

It Still Moves
~ One Big Holiday
~ Movin’ Away
~ Golden

Evil Urges
~ I’m Amazed
~ Evil Urges
~ Sec Walkin
~ Highly Suspicious (truth be told, my six year old really digs this song..must be the militant psychedelic Prince influence, ha!)
~ Librarian

At Dawn
~ The Way That He Sings

~ Holdin’ on to Black Metal
~ Slow Slow Tune
~ Wonderful (The Way I Feel)

Live at Bonnaroo 2008
~ Oh Sweet Nuthin (Velvet Underground cover)

Acoustic Citsuoca (Live) – EP
~ Golden Live (amazing version here + contrast to It Still Moves)
~ Sooner Live

Final inspired words of wisdom: Follow your own inner moral compass. Seek out beauty. Speak your truth. Dream big. Love big. Go out and find it. And don’t stop until you do.

Just like the band.

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SNEAK PEEK: Azuline wall art personalized with Houndstooth Platy

Next week, Fortis Design leaves for the National Stationery Show in New York City.

While there, all of Rob’s fabulous, unexpectedly fun products will be displayed including Platypus Designer Duct Tape, Magwear, The Wally Bottle Openers, Cocktail Napkins, Magnetic Dart Games…And – BIG NEWS – he is going to be introducing a brand new line of paper goods called Azuline.

Azuline is a charmingly modern assortment of greeting cards and wall art. A departure from all the letterpress that has flooded the stationery market over the last few years, each design is wonderfully hand painted by LA-based artist Anne Jordan (who also happens to be Rob’s talented little sister) using saturated color in cheerful palettes.

From my viewpoint, it’s very exciting to see Anne’s hard work come to life along with help from Rob and her mom, Louise (who you might recall is also one of the Platypus People…and Anne was the artist who painted all of our cute portraits!). Her artfully stated paper goods are going to stand out in a sea of sameness. I think buyers and editors alike will take notice….

Here’s a sneak peek of one of Azuline’s safari animal wall art, saturated with color + a nice change from most kiddie art out there. You’ll see that I framed it with “Houndstooth” Platypus Designer Duct Tape in an inexpensive clean-lined frame from Joann Fabric.

Here’s how:

  • Cut a strip of tape longer than you need so that you can easily line up Rob’s vertically and horizontally seamless tape.
  • Carefully wrap over the top around the sides (I didn’t worry about covering the entire backside).
  • Overlap the corner and then just slice the overage.

It only takes a few minutes and few bucks to personalize your art (Azuline will be available soon for purchase at…!).

Looks totally custom. Looks expensive.

But not.

Graphic chic, I think!





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ARTIST SERIES: Charles Chace, by chance

Last week, I spent one quick night out in Chapel Hill while visiting from San Francisco (UNC happens to be old stomping grounds for many of us Platypus People,  including Rob and me).

While on Franklin Street with Kristin (also one of the Platypus People + former UNC grad), I randomly stumbled across this colorful, graphic mixed media window installation made of recycled cardboard boxes called “Razor, Paint, Tape” by Charles Chace.

As per the artist, “This paired window installation is constructed of recycled cardboard boxes. The boxes all went through the same simple process of being razored into over a thousand book like shapes. The shapes were then painted various colors. The colored pieces were installed into concentric lines inside the windows using tape. A shingling type of pattern was used to build. In this process the corrugated edge is revealed. This unmasked use of material helps relate that the parts used in creating the sculpture are only props in the overall presentation of “work”. This display of “work” is an integral theme to the piece. The result of this effort is a pair of mixed media concentric rectangle window sculptures.”

Spying Charles Chace’s tape-inspired art felt very serendipitous and even auspicious to me. Especially since it just randomly popped up.

Yep, today’s “pop art.”


More about the work here:

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