I’m a bit obsessed with these screen-printed materials right now as our summer starts to wind down. The prints from Kristina of Tina Produce are a friendly reminder to me of summers growing up in the middle of acres of land that produce apples and berries and grapes and vegetables to be eaten. I also really enjoy the fact that Tina’s packaging makes for an easy gift straight from the store. Meet Kristina and enjoy her product!
Please introduce yourself.
Hello! I’m Kristina Basgen and I have a line of screenprinted goodies called Tina Produce. I was raised in Minnesota but moved to California as soon as I graduated college (in Madison, Wisconsin) and have lived in the Bay Area going on 14 years, in Oakland for most of that time.
What do you make or do?
I design and screenprint kitchen towels, napkins, tees and totes that are all inspired by farmers’ markets and the abundance of year-round fresh produce available here in California. Most customers love the cute gift-ready packaging of my products as much as the designs.
Where can we find your creations?
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business? How did the name come about?
The name Tina Produce fits as my nickname is Tina and my initial designs are all images of produce. I think this name also works for whatever the future may bring because it will be produced by me, Tina.
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I left my full time job in non-profit admin seven years ago in hopes of finding more creative work. The transition was not quick but I believe that the liberation experienced after six years of office work and the absence of expectations fueled much creativity for me. I was taking a slew of photography and graphic arts classes while working part time at farmers’ markets when I finally enrolled in a screenprinting class in the summer of 2010. It was so gratifying to take your digital designs and turn them into physical, functional items all in a days work! Evidently my first designs were inspired from all that time spent working farmers’ markets. With the guidance of my marketing degree I was able create a cohesive brand and get my Etsy shop up and running pretty soon after. I never had a definite goal of starting by own business or even an Etsy shop nor did I imagine it would take off once I had it, but I’m so happy it did! It’s funny how things come back around though, I am getting by with Tina Produce as my full time job but now I struggle to remain creative while tending to all the administrative stuffs and things required to maintain your own business.
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
While not making things, I enjoy taking advantage of the all the parks near me in Oakland, California. I try to hike at least once a week in Redwood Regional or Tilden Park. I also enjoy running and yoga and love just relaxing in my little backyard oasis.
Did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?
While all of the women role models of my youth (including my mom, aunties and neighbor friends’ moms) happen to be very crafty ladies and inspired much DIY growing up, Minnesota has some pretty good public schools and I was introduced to so much art through my amazing elementary school art teacher. I am so grateful that I was raised in a time and place where weekly art class was a requirement for students K-6. I can remember learning about Alexander Calder, Seurat, Picasso and even the use of color and text in communist propaganda by age 10. Ms. Shrank THANK YOU wherever you may be!
What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
I’m thrilled that Tina Produce is currently featured at an Etsy pop-up shop in a few New York City Whole Foods locations. I’m crossing fingers all goes well and Whole Foods may pick up my line for more of their many stores.
What would be your perfect day off?
The perfect day off would be an 80-85 degree day with no traffic. I would head to Baker Beach for a few hours reading and relaxing in the sun. I’d stop at Ambiance or Jeremy’s Department Store for a bit of retail therapy, and upon stepping into either store, my phone would notify me that I’ve received an unexpected large order, so I’d splurge on that non-sale item I’ve been eyeing for months. The day would wind down with a delicious, extended dinner out with a few friends followed by a nightcap around my backyard fire-pit.