Is Cincinnati Smarter Than a Goldfish?

Is Cincinnati Smarter Than a Goldfish?

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080111CAREER.jpgAlisha Budkie’s business is based on the premise that we, as humans, are smarter than goldfish. "A goldfish only has a memory of three seconds, so they can’t really be accountable for their actions or how they impact the world, but we are smarter than that," Budkie says. In other words, humans can and should be conscious of their environmental footprints.


This is why she’s opening Smartfish Studio & Sustainable Supply in Over-the-Rhine. As a graduate from the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP, Budkie remembers the hassle of finding her own supplies for projects. But in a city like Cincinnati, with a handful of renowned art programs, this is a problem that must be addressed for art students in the area, she says.


Beyond her time as an art student, Budkie has realized the need for such a store through her experiences as maker and owner of Smartfish Footwear. She maintains an online storefront for her footwear enterprise that focuses on sustainable and local materials. But as she found during her time as a student, these supplies are not always easy to find, she says.


The mission of her store, then, according to her website, is "to provide sustainable materials and tools as preferred alternatives to traditional supplies" and also inspire "community and creativity." This entails using the studio space for workshops and classes to foster a learning environment in addition to the storefront. To do so, Budkie will focus on selling the work of companies already at work in the U.S., she says. "There are already these great companies that make things like sketchbooks from completely recycled materials, made by windpower. I’m about linking students with the companies that make this stuff," Budkie says.


To accomplish this mission, Budkie is using crowdfunding – soliciting donations from supporters at the website through a PayPal account – to compile the necessary resources for a store. "I’m just trying to bridge my funding gap," Budkie says. "Ten dollars gets your name on the wall. It’s been cool to see how many people want to contribute." As of August 1, $3,260 had been donated out of the $10,000 goal for the project.


With the donations of her supporters, Budkie plans to hold a grand opening of the studio on August 26 – the last Friday of the month. For more information on Smartfish, visit the website. 080111CAREER2.jpg