The (Even)Odd couple
Creative duo builds a business model using discarded items
Eliza Sullivan and Ashley Cellura, cofounders of EvenOdd Creative
In 2010, Ashley Cellura and Eliza Sullivan discovered their company’s business model completely by accident.
EvenOdd Creative is an accessories line that uses upcycled bicycle tubes and discarded billboard covers as the primary materials. Although being environmentally friendly is a great bonus, the idea didn’t start there.The two were originally just looking for a way to create and experiment without the process getting too expensive. Because other materials had a high profit loss if the end product wasn’t just right, the inner tubes became the creative practice materials and eased their fears of throwing money away due to error.
After earning degrees in business administration and marketing at the State College at Brockport, Cellura attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. She stayed for a year and then left with the concept of EvenOdd, ready to start branding and building the company in 2009. A freelance graphic designer by trade, Sullivan wanted to get out from behind her computer and get back to working with her hands. After making plans and throwing around ideas for their products, the two settled in Rochester to start EvenOdd full time.
Along with helping a lengthy list of recycling partners—hovering right around twenty-five throughout New York State—find a new home for their no-longer-usable materials, the ladies of EvenOdd like that each bag or accessory has to be attacked individually. “Because of the type of material it is, each product gets a lot of attention,” says Cellura. Because the materials they rescue are all different qualities and styles, they have to be manipulated individually to get the right end product—whether that be a messenger bag, briefcase, clutch, or keychain.
“We like the challenge,” explains Sullivan. “By working with these materials we have to be patient, but the end result isn’t like anything else.”
Sydney Bell is a Rochester-based freelance writer.