'80s holiday gift idea: Behold the awesome Cassette Tape Mood Light
Looking for a holiday present for the ‘80s fan in your life but running out of ideas? How about a light that honors the mix tapes of our misspent youth?
Stacey Iden of Sarasota, Fla., has been making her “Cassette Tape Mood Light” and other retro-themed gifts since 2011. The 38-year-old operates the “Break the Record” shop on Etsy.com.
The mix tape light is 4 inches by 4 inches by 8.5 inches tall and is built from 12 repurposed blank cassette tapes. The light kicks into action with 16 color-changing LEDs shining up from the bottom and reflecting off of the CD on top. There are both battery-powered and plug-in varieties. Prices start at $29. (There's also a 25 percent off sale for Cyber Monday. Just use the code CYBERMONDAY25 at checkout.)
I caught up with Stacey to talk over the inspiration and reaction to her retro light.
Steve: This is so cool! Where did the idea of the Mixtape Light come from?
Stacey: It came after a terrible experience selling and shipping a clock. A woman ordered a record clock for her baby's retro-themed nursery. I had just started selling on Etsy so I was not very experienced with shipping, especially a clock with delicate parts. Needless to say, she received the clock in many pieces and was not happy. So I made her a new one and I also wanted to send her another item because I felt so bad. Since she said the baby's bedding set was a design of records and cassette tapes, I immediately knew I had to make something out of cassette tapes. And with two babies of my own, I knew right away that every baby's room needs a night light. So I rummaged through my closet for my old cassette tapes from the ‘90s.
Are you a "child of the '80s?"
I am definitely a child of the 80s. Music videos still mesmerize me. Not sure if it's my love of music, cinematography, or my ADD. A great tune, set to a mini-movie, and finished in around 3 minutes or less. There's just nothing better.
Did you make mix tapes back in the good ol' days?
Oh yes, I made mix tapes. Lots of mix tapes! And I passed them on to my sister who is 10 years younger, so her taste in music is stellar.
So considering cassettes are about as rare as dinosaurs today, where do you get your supply of tapes?
I found a few different media companies in the country that still sell cassette tapes. Any color, any number of minutes long, all different sound qualities, and even screwless for sending to prisons. I guess those little tiny screws could be used as a weapon inside a prison? I don’t know. The tapes I use are real ones, but I usually get the ones with ZERO minutes of tape loaded. Just saves time for my supplier. I do however sell some lights made with actual vintage tapes. Those all come from yard sales, Goodwill, and eBay when I can find them.
What other retro or nostalgia type items do you sell?
I also sell record clocks, record mail holders that mount on the wall, record bowls, guitar pick earrings, and a few other jewelry items. The best seller so far is the battery-operated multi-color mixtape light. It's definitely a huge hit for parties and events.