Trendsetters |

Christine and Justin Gignac

Christine and Justin Gignac are New York City-based artists. In July 2007, they started, a site where they sell paintings of things they want at the cost of the actual item. When a painting is sold, the couple takes the money and buys that item. So far they have fulfilled over 60 wants, from “A Slice of Pepperoni Pizza” for $3 to “A Gold Watch” for $287.19. They even painted and sold an entire Vegas Vacation, including flights, hotel room, gamblin’ money and all-you-can-eat buffets. In November 2007, Christine and Justin took the concept one step further and launched The site follows the same structure as Wants but all the proceeds go to charity. Through the sale of paintings and limited edition prints, Needs For Sale has raised over $7000 for various causes. This season, the pair have teamed up with Threadless, UNICEF and BBH New York to produce Good Shirts, a line of t-shirts sold on here. 100 percent of proceeds will be donated to the US Fund for UNICEF to support relief efforts in the  famine and drought stricken region of the Horn of Africa.

What’s hot right now?
Now is the time for makers—whether that’s in products, art or the digital space. Hand-crafted objects and one-of-a-kind pieces are at such a premium. We want to have a connection to the objects we buy and when they’re hand-crafted you have an appreciation for the item but also feel a connection to the person that made it. The internet has made it easier than ever for people who make beautiful objects to get exposure and recognition for their talents, which is a great thing.

What are the most interesting things in the digital space at the moment?
One of the biggest things that’s lacking in the digital space is warmth and human connection. In the past couple weeks, a site came out that blew us away. It’s aptly titled Sometimes you just need a hug and this site gives it to you in a very simple and powerfully emotional way. The site pieces together videos of people around the world hugging the camera with a beautiful soundtrack. Strangely you actually feel the endorphin rush of a real hug. We’ve never experienced anything like it online. Also, sites like have had such an enormous affect on the maker movement. They help connect makers with an audience that is hungry for their creativity.

Why do you think socially conscious businesses are flourishing?
More and more people feel a responsibility to do the right thing as we’ve become educated on how our actions effect the planet and each other. On the other hand, they don’t want to give up being consumers. So if people can continue to get the things they want but do it in a smarter, more socially conscious way it’s an easy buying decision.

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