Hi there! My name is Dan Cordero, and I’m an Emmy award-winning video producer, husband, and new father based in Charlotte, North Carolina. In my spare time, I make lighting and home decor out of repurposed vintage gadgets.
I’ve worked in video production for the last 15 years. I never thought I’d find satisfaction building stuff in a workshop – in fact, I took a stagecraft class in college as part of my film degree and hated every minute! It wasn’t until I worked alongside industrial designers and engineers that I began to appreciate the art of creating objects by hand. Around that time, I also developed a fascination with vintage and industrial design. This was when the show American Pickers was gaining in popularity; as depicted in the show, the tools and goods of a bygone era often contained fascinating stories. By repurposing authentic, Americana antiques, I got to be part of those stories as well.
I started designing, creating, and selling my work in 2012, with help and guidance from my engineering buddies. They taught me a great deal – everything from tool function and electrical configurations to painting techniques and (most importantly!) workshop safety. Because of them, I still have all my fingers. In the three years since I opened shop, my skill as an artist has definitely evolved: today, I have a much better understanding of the market, my customers, and my overall style.
Sometimes when I’m creating a new product, I sketch my ideas out on paper (my drawing skills are similar to that of a kindergartner, so the final product never actually looks like the original drawing); other times, I jump into a project head-first by tinkering around. I have a large collection of lamp parts, random doodads, and lots of whatchamacallits. I’d say 25 percent of my tinkering actually develops into a usable design that will end up in my Etsy shop. The final stage of the process is running each product by my most trusted, wisest, and loveliest adviser – my wife.
Thanks to Etsy, my small hobby has exploded into a multi-faceted line of Dan Cordero original creations with clients around the world. I wouldn’t be able to reach such a diverse customer base by selling in a brick-and-mortar store here in Charlotte, especially while still holding a full-time job in the film industry. One of my favorite parts about selling on Etsy is interacting with customers who share how they style my decorative pieces in their home, office, or restaurant. It’s as if I’ve been invited into their lives, and made their guest of honor.
I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of sharpening my creative edge. One of my main goals for the future is to continue crafting unique, original designs to please my current followers and to attract new buyers. Although I split my time between Etsy and my film position, in the long-term, I’d like to run my shop full time. Running my own business from home would be ideal for me as a new father; I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing than creating alongside my newest living creation.
All photographs by Aaron Atkinson.