Maya Drozdz isn’t originally from Cincinnati, but now she not only lives here but launched a business to celebrate and support the Queen City’s gems.
A native New Yorker and graphic designer by trade, Drozdz spent years behind the lectern as a college professor and working her way up the corporate America ladder. But life drew her to Cincinnati, where she recently launched a small business that sells creative home goods and celebrates local artists.
“My previous business, VisuaLingual, took the hippie-dippie, DIY activist phenomenon of seed bombs and turned it into its own product category, landing on the shelves of national stores like Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware, and also in major publications including Vogue, House Beautiful, Harper’s Bazaar, and Martha Stewart Living,” she explains.
Now, she’s the owner of Your Friends & Neighbors, a shop that is focused on contemporary, handmade home goods and gifts. Located inside the Leftcoast Modern Annex in East Walnut Hills, Your Friends & Neighbors features the work of Drozdz’s friends as well as local artists and designers, including classmates from art school, people she’s met through the maker scene, and friends she’s made while living in Cincinnati for the last decade.
“I’ve finally created a single place to showcase the work of all the talented people I’ve had the honor of meeting over the course of my adult life, and then I round out that core inventory with handmade objects by designers and artisans from across the U.S.,” she says.
At Your Friends & Neighbors, Drozdz has the opportunity to accessorize Leftcoast Modern’s furniture and use it to display her inventory, allowing for a mix of complementary aesthetics. Thanks to her ability to display her inventory with the store’s furniture, she can really show off all that Your Friends & Neighbors has to offer.
“We sell everything from letterpress notecards to laser-cut wood clocks,” she says. “From dish towels to small-batch soap, from hand-thrown ceramics to hand-painted pillows, with an emphasis on surprising materials like cast concrete, gold-leaf papier-mache, and 3-D printed nylon. If it’s smaller than furniture, you can probably find it at Your Friends & Neighbors.”
Products from Your Friends & Neighbors fit every budget – literally. You can pick up a mini Paper with a Past note card for $1 or spend a few thousand dollars for an original painting by Cedric Michael Cox.
Drozdz says that what makes Your Friends & Neighbors unique is that is brings you goods you can’t find anywhere else, while also featuring an eclectic mix of products.
“I spend a lot of my time finding makers and objects in all sorts of surprising places,” she says. “The mix with Leftcoast Modern’s vintage offerings give the space a really eclectic vibe. There is also Ledge Gallery on the back windowsill where I exhibit tiny work by contemporary artists, with opening receptions coinciding with Walk on Woodburn, the major neighborhood event in East Walnut Hills.”
While she will continue to spend time filling her shop this year, Drozdz says she’s also looking forward to getting back into designing and producing original products just for the shop, as well as finding ways to make connections between the goods she carries and the goods she’s designed, which includes an upcoming debut of Your Friends & Neighbors exclusive pillows.
Your Friends & Neighbors is located at 2803 Woodburn Avenue in East Walnut Hills. Drozdz says the best place to stay updated is by following their Instagram account, where new products are posted daily. You can also learn more at yourfriendsandneighbors.com or on Facebook.