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Cincinnati, OH, 45227

Ohio Explored's mission is simply to awaken people to the beauty of Ohio.

Ohio Made

Jaci Riley Jewelry

Kate Bresnan Messa

Jaci Riley Jewelry offers a wide array of hand crafted jewelry, from playful pieces to more subtle and simple styles. We interviewed owner Jaci Riley about her local business in Toledo, Ohio.

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Tell us about your business.

Hi, I’m Jaci! I am the owner/designer/maker/head boss lady of Jaci Riley Jewelry. JRJ is based just outside of Toledo Ohio, and was founded in 2007 while I was in college studying interior design. I graduated shortly after the economy collapsed, and I ended up losing my job. My career path took an unexpected turn and I decided to pursue my interest in jewelry. I am so glad that I did!  

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What drew you to your craft?

I started making jewelry for fun, and mostly because I couldn’t find pieces that I really wanted to wear on a daily basis.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

I don’t know if I can narrow it down to just one thing, but some of my favorite pieces to make are those that are repurposed from bullet casings used in a 21 gun salute. These pieces are so meaningful and give loved ones a simple way to celebrate the lives of those who have passed. I am always honored to create such a special piece.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was little, I had dreams of being a marine biologist or an artist.  I have always been drawn to water, wildlife and conservation. Actually, I’d still love to be a marine biologist!

What is your creative process?

I love to sketch out design ideas, but sometimes it’s easier for me to just dive right in and start making. I find that it’s really helpful fine tune my designs after I see how they feel on, or how they wear.

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Trust and believe in yourself, and don’t let the haters get you down.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Supporting local artists and makers is such a huge part of contributing to our local economy. It also just feels so good! Buying a piece from the person who made it is a really unique opportunity.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

I love making jewelry because I am able to be creative in my profession, but I also really love that I can make things that make people happy. I love that I can create a bold statement necklace that in some way makes the person wearing it feel empowered and beautiful. It’s like I’m giving them super powers!

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

Do it! …but be prepared to work harder than you ever have. Don’t get too held up on comparing yourself or your business to others, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t crush it right out of the gate. Good things take time.

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

My favorite thing about exploring Ohio is how diverse the terrain and wildlife is, but I will always have a soft spot for spending time on Lake Erie.

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Sweet Bean

Kate Bresnan Messa

Sweet Bean is a Cleveland-based chocolate company known for their small-batch, handmade confections, focusing on handmade filled chocolates and bean to bar. We interviewed owners Kristin and Bob Barnes to learn more about their incredible local business.

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Tell us about your business.

Sweet Bean is a small batch chocolate company owned and operated by Kristin + Bob Barnes. Currently based on Cleveland’s east side, we make sweets that we love to eat – and we hope you’ll love them too!

We launched Sweet Bean in 2013 at the Cleveland Flea with our first, and signature product line: hand-painted, -filled and –moulded chocolates. Often referred to as tiny works of art – we use colored cocoa butter and a handful of painting techniques to give our bon bons their signature bright + shiny look, while scratch-made fillings created from fresh, seasonal and local ingredients (when available) make them irresistible.

In 2015, we introduced our second product line – bean to bar chocolate. The first bean to bar operation in NE Ohio, we make chocolate starting from the raw cacao bean. We roast, crack and winnow the beans, then grind them (which can take multiple days) to create single origin chocolate bars.

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What drew you to your craft?

I've (Kristin) always enjoyed baking and eating sweets, and I've always enjoyed art. I studied fine arts in college, dabbling in sculpture, ceramics and painting… marrying the two together was literally the sweet spot. I enjoy the creative outlet that painting and molding the chocolates provides, creating something from scratch - and there's satisfaction when someone sees and tastes our creation as well.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

I think some of my favorite things to make are our seasonal offerings. Oversized painted eggs at Easter, hollow decorated chocolate Christmas trees filled with nuts + dried fruit. I love when people are almost confused that our creations are edible! We find ourselves saying “it’s chocolate” to amazed reactions a lot.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

So many things… a ballerina, a veterinarian, a teacher, an artist… but I don’t think anyone who knows me would be surprised that I’m making candy. For as long as I can remember candy has been dubbed my “middle name”. Over my lifetime I’ve been passionate about many things – but its the one that’s stuck with me. Chocolate is emotional – you eat it when you’re happy, you eat it when you’re sad – its therapy, its medicine… we all have a personal reference to chocolate, and I hope thru Sweet Bean I can share my passion for the ingredient.

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What is your creative process?

Hand-crafted chocolate molding is equal parts art and science. It’s a multi-step process, with many variables. We usually begin by determining the flavors we’ll be making, and then assigning each flavor a color palette. Everything is hand-painted, this results in each piece being truly unique. I use colored cocoa butter ‘paints’ to create the different textures you see on our chocolates. Using polycarbonate molds, I begin by painting the desired design in each cavity. I use a few different techniques, from spattering the paint, to swiping my finger across the candy molds, to layering colors using brushes (this is our signature style). Chocolate needs to be tempered, a series of heating and cooling steps while melting the chocolate to achieve the shiny, and stable consistency required to hold its shape without melting in your fingers. We temper by hand, and once the perfect temperature is reached – we keep the chocolate in temper while working quickly to mold and fill the candies.

Chocolate making is just as disciplined. Starting with raw cacao, beans are selected, sorted then roasted, similar to coffee - paying careful attention to time and temperature to achieve the desired results and flavors. Once cooled, beans are cracked and winnowed to remove the shells – leaving behind the cocoa nibs. Nibs are then ground in a melanger (stone grinder) with cocoa butter and sugar. This process can take from 24 – 72 hours! Finally the chocolate is tempered and molded into bars, similar to the bon-bon process.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Do what you love. Don’t be afraid to take a chance!

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Supporting local artists and makers is supporting your community. Not only are you supporting the individual/business in making a living or doing what they love, you’re fostering an environment for art and culture, for both the makers and the community at large. You’re not just making a purchase, you’re supporting dreams, and sharing someone’s passion.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

Making chocolates is therapeutic for me. I work full-time in a corporate setting, so I’m often making chocolates after an 8-hour day spent sitting in front of a computer. Making chocolates is my chance to daydream, and be creative… I’m always excited to see the final product once the candies are released from the molds – which end to end is a pretty quick process when it comes to art projects, so there’s instant gratification -- and it’s thrilling when I get to share our creations as well.

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What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

It’s never too late…

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

I had to leave Ohio to really appreciate Ohio… coming back after almost a decade away from Cleveland, I had a chance to rediscover how wonderful Ohio really is. The authenticity, and resilience of the people here. The green spaces/Metroparks. The small business and creative community. The opportunities available. I love that we can travel a short distance to a nearby city/neighborhood and explore different parks w/our dogs, discover unique small businesses, and chef-owned/run restaurants. Each community truly has its own flavor.

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Venus In Aquarius Apothica

Kate Bresnan Messa

Based out of Cleveland, Ohio, Venus In Aquarius Apothica specializes in Astrological Aromatherapy, and a variety of plant based products for the mind, body, and spirit. We interviewed owner Samantha Phillips to learn more about her local business.

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Tell us about your business.

My name is Samantha Phillips and I run Venus In Aquarius Apothica, which is located in Cleveland Ohio. The business specializes in Astrological Aromatherapy, and a variety of plant based products for mind, body, and spirit. The mission behind my business and what inspired me to launch was an internal pull to our natural world and inspiration by something much larger than us. My intention is to create products that encourage and inspire you along your own journey of self love and self discovery, while developing a deeper connection with the earth and its plant allies.

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What drew you to your craft?

My craft was originally a down time hobby that I had for years. The original inspiration behind my business was an emphasis on astrological themed products. Following this path opened my eyes to herbal medicine and herbalism; which is something that is deeply embedded in all of us.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

 Hands down my favorite thing is my Astrological Aromatherapy Blends. They are the backbone and main inspiration behind my business and what I do. Creating the blends for these was a sacred time for me.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a Dietitian. I remember being hyper vigilant about healthy foods/unhealthy foods growing up. When I went to college, I realized that the degree itself wasn’t as aligned with my core values as I was expecting. I graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelors of Science in Public Health. Though I believe the universe had me go down a different route; and I feel like I’m really living my truth as a student of herbal medicine.

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What is your creative process?

My creative process varies with the seasons. I like to make things during certain astrological phenomenons or moon phases. Most of my products consist of triple strained herbal infusions; which are dried herbs/flowers submerged in a carrier oil for 5-6 weeks. That way the herbs infuse and release their medicinal properties over time. My Body Oils, Facial Elixir, Cramp Elixir, Hair + Scalp Elixir, and Healing salves all consist of six week herbal infusions. All of my products are small or even micro batched.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

If I could tell my nineteen year old self anything; it would be to follow your bliss and not what society expects. To not take anything and everything too seriously, and that it definitely gets better over time.  

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Supporting local artists and makers is so important because you’re supporting your community. You’re supporting someones life purpose and divine assignment, and you can personally say that you know who made the piece of art on your wall, the pair of earrings you’re wearing, your favorite mug, etc. There is a soul and story behind the work. It’s a connection that buying at a big box store or amazon doesn’t have.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

I love what I do because it sparks joy within my soul. I’m constantly learning so much about myself and am still a forever student in my craft. Its like i'm growing personally with my business. I also love the connections and friends I have made by being in this creative community.

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What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

My advice would be to not wait until everything is “perfect”. Start now, and learn as you go. Also to start with an open mind and open heart.

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

There is always something new to see and do in Ohio. I have lived here all of my life, and there are still places I haven’t explored or have discovered yet. Especially when it comes to the outdoors.

Ice and Dust

Kate Bresnan Messa

Ice + Dust Pottery is a collection of small batch, functional pottery, specializing in vessels with handles and stamped designs.  We interviewed owner Halley Immelt to learn more about her local business in Columbus, OH.

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Tell us about your business.

My name is Halley Immelt and I am the owner and maker behind Ice + Dust Pottery, based out of Columbus, Ohio. I make brightly colored speckled pottery that is both decorative and functional. I started my business in 2018 in order to find a way to de-stress from my busy life as a working mother, and I make all of my work in my basement while my son is in bed. I also work full time as a graphic designer, so Ice + Dust has been an exercise in committing to self care while maintaining work-life balance.  

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What drew you to your craft?

I took a ceramics class when I was in high school because I thought it would be a fun and easy class — I didn't expect to get hooked like I did! I wanted to pursue it as a career, and I studied fine arts for my first three semesters in college before I quit because I thought that I needed a career with more financial stability. I always told myself that I would return to ceramics as a hobby when I retired, but I missed it like crazy, and I knew that there is never a guarantee when it comes to planning for retirement.

What drew me back to ceramics after my 13-year hiatus was seeing other potters on social media turning their passion for clay into businesses — something that used to seem unattainable to me in the days before Instagram and Square readers. Pottery is an expensive hobby, but I realized that my background in marketing gave me a lot of what I needed to make a business of my hobby, which would in turn allow me to get my hands back into clay long before retirement. I needed a good stress reliever in my life after starting a family, and pottery has absolutely filled that void.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

My son — but maybe that answer doesn't count since I had help making him.

I just started making some fluted vases that are about the size of a wine bottle. I haven't even fired them yet but I can tell that I'll be making a lot more in the future, and probably keeping a few for myself.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A music journalist for Rolling Stone. A good portion of my brain is filled with useless facts I learned from watching too much Pop-Up Video on VH1 when I was a kid.

What is your creative process?

Honest answer: Trying and failing repeatedly, and being ok with that. For example, it took six kiln loads of work for me to settle on the pink glaze I use now. Growth comes through experimentation, and there's a lot of failure involved in that. Clay can be kind of a diva — so much can go wrong throughout the process, and there's a level of resilience required for you to want to get back to the wheel after having a beloved piece crack in the kiln, for example. Getting discouraged inhibits growth, so it helps to accept that a lot of pieces could at some point could be introduced to Mr. Hammer, and to just keep making stuff anyway.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

I used to stress and overthink a lot about having a personal style. If I could go back, I would remind myself that while some people can dive right in and have a distinct aesthetic, it doesn't happen that way for everyone. Sometimes it comes as a result from making a lot of work just to see what feels right.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

I suspect that everyone who supports local artists and makers has their own unique set of reasons. For me, I find that I enjoy the things in my life that were handmade in favor of their mass produced counterparts because I have insight into the person who made it and the decisions they made in created it. Knowing that someone crafted it lovingly and carefully makes that object resonate with me, and it's worth the extra cost to have that experience.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

I really enjoy getting to know the people who buy things that I made. When I first started my business, I thought I would just throw my work online and ship it off into the void to some unknown person when it sells. But once I started getting a following and doing craft shows, I realized that I was able to talk with the people who were buying my work and meet other makers, which led to so many new friendships that have made me a happier person. The act of making things enhances my life, but the icing on the cake is that I have the chance to use my business to connect with other people who I might otherwise never meet.

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

Share your plan and absorb everything. Talk to the people in your life and listen to what they tell you. Encourage them to be honest and watch their body language when you're sharing your work or plans. It's easy to get filled with doubt if you're groping in the dark to figure out how people might react to a certain product or service, and as difficult as it might be to share an idea that isn't fully flushed out, it can save you a lot of headaches and anxiety in the long run.

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

With as busy as I am, I don't get to travel much, so I'd say my favorite way to explore Ohio is through research. I am addicted to genealogy and I love discovering how my ancestors came to Ohio. Some were original settlers of the state, while others came as immigrants as recently as within the last century. When I learn their stories, I get a glimpse into the story of the state as a whole, and I've learned so many cool things about how Ohio and the people who live here as a result of learning more about my own family's history. I even discovered two other potters in my family lineage!

little red bird

Kate Bresnan Messa

little red bird is a Cleveland-based company that creates incredible small batch, customized funfetti cookies. We interviewed business owner Sarah Kijinski to learn more about her delectable treats.

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Tell us about your business.

little red bird is my custom cookie business. I have a "licensed home bakery" in University Heights (on the East side of Cleveland). I sell custom cookies, participate in local markets, teach classes, and give free help and support to other cookiers (and other women small business owners, and other human beings...) whenever I can! FREEBIRD by little red bird is an offshoot of LRB that caters to my fellow humans with dietary restrictions. Because of some food allergies, food intolerances, and an autoimmune disease, I don't eat gluten or dairy - so I wanted to make junk food for people like me! FREEBIRD has various options for people who are gluten free, vegan, paleo, and dairy free.

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What drew you to your craft?

I've always been a creative person and a maker, and I took art classes from elementary school through college. I bake to unwind and to express love! Last fall (i.e., fall 2017) I started watching Food Network's Christmas Cookie Challenge and got deep into some online tutorials and got reaaaaaally into the idea of teaching myself how to decorate cookies professionally. I think I'm drawn to it because it combines making and baking :) And so then I started LRB!

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

It's so hard to choose! I really enjoy designing cookies for other local makers and businesses, though. I made some Emily Roggenburk shirts for her store opening that still have quite a bit of real estate in my heart! Also, I did actually cry with joy over something I made once - which sounds very narcissistic, I know - I was working on a gluten free and vegan sandwich cookie recipe and I teared up when I figured out the creme filling because I hadn't eaten a real Oreo in 6 or 7 years, ha!

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

To be clear, I'm still growing up! When I was little, I wanted to be an artist. I've wanted to be a lot of other things since then! I'm sort of an artist now, right?!

What is your creative process?

I have a whiteboard in my dining room (which is my main workspace, as our kitchen is pretty small) and I write on it all the time. Words, little sketches, random ideas, etc. I yell "Hey Siri," and have my phone write down my ideas for me when I have my hands full (which is really often, considering I have a toddler). Or I ask Amazon Alexa to remind about a thought later. I take (phone) photos of what inspires me when I'm out in Cleveland. And I follow a lot of makers and foodies, especially local ones, on Instagram. I love finding other cookiers on social media and there are so many talented people to connect with and get inspired by - the internet can be the worst sometimes, I know, but I really love the community I'm finding.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

My advice to myself 10 years ago is more personal than business-related (but then again I think for a lot of us who see ourselves as creatives or who start our own businesses it's inherently personal, for better or for worse). I'd tell 22 year old Sarah to just give in and be herself, to not take it all so seriously, to stop trying to figure it all out immediately, and to recognize that she is enough and she is worthy of love. Also would have been nice if I had gotten diagnosed with ADHD earlier than age 25, so...I'd advise myself to address that too? Ha.

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Because human connection is magical! I mean that, as sappy as it sounds. And when you support local and small, you're showing love to your community. You're directly impacting a life of another person and that person is so grateful for you (even when we appear to simply be a frazzled and exhausted person behind a market booth!). In a more practical sense, you're putting money right back into your local economy and that benefits you, too. All that being said, having a household budget or extra cash that allows you to support local artists and makers is a privilege that not everyone has, and I fully respect that.

Why do you love doing what you do?

I love working with my hands, I love food, I love making friends, and I love being my own boss.

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What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

On the business side: make it legit (licensing, LLCs, etc.) as early as you can, and familiarize yourself with the boring stuff like taxes. Otherwise it's all going to sneak up on you at some terribly inconvenient time, so take care of it before you get too busy.

On the personal side: don't forget you're a human being and not a human doing. You are not defined by your productivity or your to-do list! Prioritize and triage so that you can still practice what makes you happy while owning your own business.

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

The people exploring with me, the new friends we meet, and the snacks we eat along the way!

Pop Culture CLE

Kate Bresnan Messa

Pop Culture CLE produces gourmet artisan handcrafted ice pops. We interviewed owner Nicole Dauria to learn more about her delicious business in Chagrin Falls, OH.

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Tell us about your business.

Pop Culture CLE brings together my passion for food and art and created an opportunity to teach my children work ethic, responsibility and team work. The name Pop Culture CLE came about by playing on the name “popsicle.” Since “popsicle” is a trade name, we had to call our product an ice pop. When I heard the phrase, “ice pop” I instantly started thinking about a logo and the word “pop” stuck in my head. I kept visualizing a piece of art work by Roy Litchenstein with the word “pop.” I then began telling my 10-year old daughter she should become the art director for our family business. She is an incredible artist with a bright future! We talked about the Pop Art Era and I had one of those mommy teaching moments that didn’t come across as a text book teaching moment, rather can you make “radiant popsicle” because my favorite pop artist is Keith Haring and my favorite piece of work is “radiant baby.” Thus, the birth of our logo!

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What drew you to your craft?

I never thought I would have quit corporate America at the age of 50 to make ice pops, but the nostalgic treat brings back great childhood memories and had always put a smile on my face, so why not have a mission to put a smile on the face of everyone that tastes our food art.

All my friends and family know how much I love to entertain. One June Sunday 2018 I was hosting a brunch at our home and I wanted to think of something fun to serve. I made “poptails” we had strawberry basil prosecco frozen on a stick and then put that in a glass of prosecco. It was a hit! My daughter thought it was fun and asked if I could make her one without alcohol. I started using up all the leftover fruit from the brunch and came up with some incredible tasting frozen treats. I had that “ah ha” moment and said, “I bet I could sell these!”

After doing some research at the grocery store, I came to find out there are some tasty treats, but they truly are not artisanal as they are now produced in high volume for retailers. My go to market strategy as a local artisan is to bring a gourmet product with high quality ingredients that is dairy free and supports local producers as much as possible.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

My favorite thing I ever made was my children! They are the center of my world and they have defined my purpose in life!

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

I grew up in Solon playing every sport I could fit in my schedule. I was All-State Ohio in basketball and played at the University of Central Florida (All 5’3” of me) When I graduated from college, I wanted to be a sports agent, but had this entrepreneurial bug and started my first business right out of school. Express Request was a corporate concierge service that catered to busy professionals.

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What is your creative process?

My creative process stems from having a vision and then carefully planning how to bring it to fruition.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

I have always had this inner drive to make things happen. I have always lived my life by the mantra, dream big and obsess about your dream until it comes true!

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

I am a big believer in supporting local artists and producers as we give character to our community, we bring our community together as we are individuals that make the decisions not governed by a board that sits in meetings all day, and we are able to contribute to helping our neighbors realize their dreams.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

I love doing what I do because I make a difference in my family’s life and the lives of the people in my community.

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

If you are thinking about starting your own business, dream big…have clearly defined goals, otherwise you don’t know where you are going, and never stop reinventing yourself as you can only get better each day!

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

Growing up in Ohio makes me proud to show off the vast culture and diversity of the region. I love to sail on the lake, hike in the parks, drink the wine from our vineyards, eat the foods grown by our farmers, shop at the festivals and local events that support our local artists, and attend the museums, concert venues and galleries that showcase history, musicians and artists of Ohio.

I am proud to be a Buckeye!

Everhard Designs LLC

Kate Bresnan Messa

Mostly inspired by nature, Everhard Designs LLC produces fine art prints, handmade journals, screen prints, and more. We interviewed owner Kim Everhard to learn more about her local business in Wadsworth, OH.

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Tell us about your business.

My name is Kimberlee Everhard, I am an artist working out of my home studio in Wadsworth, Ohio. I studied art in college and then went on to work a corporate job full time for a while. I slowly started to grow my hobby of selling my art and other handmade products at weekend markets into a business. In 2018 I officially began Everhard Designs LLC and I moved into a part time job so that I could spend more time on this creative endeavor. I am so glad that I took that big scary step to make Everhard Designs official and to focus on it as more than just a hobby.

I have loved art ever since I was a kid, I used to fill up these huge sketchbooks with my random drawings of people and trees - those were my favorite subjects. I also have a big passion for nature which has grown over the past few years since I’ve picked up hiking and backpacking. These two big passions of mine come together to create Everhard Designs. With my art I seek to inspire others to get out there and enjoy the awesome and beautiful land that we have available to us in this country. Nature is so enriching to our lives: it's exciting, it's fun, it's breathtaking and it's peaceful. Through my watercolor paintings of trees and mountains I show people the little parts of the world that I've been able to see, to bring beauty and joy to their homes and to encourage a spirit of adventure in their souls. I also enjoy making fun little things like stickers that people can put on their car or phone to show their love for nature, and hand-bound sketchbooks and notebooks to fill with creative thoughts or sketches.

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What drew you to your craft?

I’ve been in love with art ever since I can remember, I just love to create things with my hands and create images of the world through the filter of my imagination and creative style.

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

So far my favorite piece is one titled “Cascade Meadow” It’s a mixed media piece, made through a process of silkscreen printing and watercolor painting. It means a lot to me because it was the piece that started a new direction for my artwork. It was an experiment that turned out really well and my current style has grown out of that piece.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

I think that I wanted to be an artist but thought that it wasn’t a legitimate career. I went to art school because I didn't’ think I was good at anything else. I certainly never thought I would be an entrepreneur as I would consider myself now.

What is your creative process?

I have a lot of different processes because I do different things like artwork, t-shirt design and sticker design. But my basic process is the same most of the time. I get my inspiration from hiking, backpacking or just noticing things around me in my day to day life. When I go backpacking I take little sketches and I take pictures to draw inspiration from when I get home. Getting down to the technical side: I start out with a pencil or pen sketch. Oftentimes I’ll take it to my light table and trace it onto a nicer paper before I go on to use ink pen or watercolor paint. I’ll scan the artwork and edit to make sure the light and color match the original. I print and cut my own art prints and t-shirts so once I have the digital image of my art I’ll either print it onto high quality paper or onto transparency to transfer to a silkscreen-which is a whole other process in itself.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

RELAX. Don’t freak out about mistakes, you’ll learn from them each time. Life is about growing and learning as you go, so don't be afraid to try new and scary things.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Small businesses are great for the local economy because they can bring in economic growth and sometimes employment opportunities to small communities where big corporations would not be present. Small businesses care about their products a whole lot, because they make them or because they are heavily invested in the product or the service. Small businesses are run by families, and when you buy from a small business, you are supporting a family. I think that small businesses are what make communities unique.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

At the heart of it, I love to create. I love to make art that brings joy to someone’s home or sparks a seed of adventure in their soul. I also really enjoy interacting with my customers and my supporters online and at markets. I love the challenge of it all and I like that I have different things to do each day, I don't have to do exactly the same thing for 8 hours a day.

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What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

It’s not easy. It’s a lot of work and it’s oftentimes frustrating. But, if you are passionate about what you are doing it is highly rewarding, it’s exciting and it’s fun! Enjoy the ride! Do your research but also don’t be afraid to just jump in and get started. Surround yourself with other, more experienced entrepreneurs and ask lots of questions.

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

My favorite thing is all of the great hiking trails and parks that we have so close at hand! I live in Wadsworth and I am 15 minutes from at least 5 parks with trails and lakes and within an hours drive of several big metroparks and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park! I love hiking and it is so great to have such awesome public hiking trails so close. I also love the landscape, the plants and animals where I live. We have rolling hills and pine trees, as well as gorgeous fields and wildflowers. Overall, it's a great place to live and I'm so happy to call Ohio home!

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Emily June Handmade

Kate Bresnan Messa

Emily June Handmade is a collection of modern embroidery hoops, banners, kits, and patterns. We interviewed owner, Emily June Williams, to learn more about her unique business in Columbus, OH.

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Tell us about your business.

My business name is actually my name - Emily June (which is my first and middle name)! On Etsy you can find me under Emily June Handmade. I am based out of Columbus, Ohio.

My handmade embroidery business is born from a background in Graphic Design. I worked as a Designer and Illustrator in the Marketing field for several years. I spent hours a day in front of my computer, and needed a creative outlet that had nothing to do with screens. I quickly fell in love with embroidery, and soon after that launched my shop in 2016. My mission with my brand is to bless others through thoughtfully created, one-of-a-kind pieces, and to foster authenticity in community.

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What drew you to your craft?

I struggle with anxiety, and found embroidery to be a repetitive, methodical craft that forces you to slow down in a society that is always in a rush. I often recommend it to people seeking a fun self-care activity!

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

I have a few that are special to me, but my “Kill Them With Kindness” piece seems to resonate with a lot of people, and is one of my favorite designs so far!

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist, or a veterinarian. My childhood was spent filling countless art books with paintings and drawings, as well as caring for my many pets. Not much has changed - I still love animals, and pursue my passion for art!

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What is your creative process?

I’m pretty old school. I always begin with pencil and paper. I thumbnail ideas, and then flesh them out in sketches and drawings, before digitizing them and transferring them to fabric to be embroidered. It’s a time-intensive process, but a lot of intentionality goes into each piece.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Outside validation will never satisfy you. When I was younger, I spent so much time trying to create things I thought were “trendy” and would get good feedback. It wasn’t until my art began to pour out of my own personality and experiences (and was something that I enjoyed making whether or not anyone else liked it) that I began to create pieces that connected with others, ironically!

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

They are doing what they do because they love it, and because they believe it adds meaning not only to their own life, but to those supporting them as well. Everything is carefully crafted, every purchase appreciated, and these businesses are born from a desire to make life a more beautiful place from their little corner of the world.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

I love being a part of peoples’ stories! When I create custom pieces, or when customers buy my art as gifts, or hang up a piece in their new baby’s nursery... I feel like a piece of me has been included their special life story.

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What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

Don’t try too many things at once. You will end up scrambling, and unsure of what is truly worth the investment. Start with one or two products you do well and enjoy, and give yourself some time and grace to work out the business kinks!

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

So many unexpected gems! My husband and I actually only moved to Ohio from Atlanta less than a year ago, and weren't sure what to expect. We have found it to be a hub of great local businesses, pretty hiking destinations, an active arts community, and genuinely kind people! We are excited to put down permanent roots in Columbus.

Emily exploring East Fork State Park

Emily exploring East Fork State Park

Fiber and Gloss

Kate Bresnan Messa

Fiber and Gloss is a collection of original works, prints, and printed goods based in Cleveland, OH. We interviewed owner Katie Ford to learn more about her local business.

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Tell us about your business.

My name is Katie Ford, and I'm the artist and owner behind all things Fiber and Gloss. I start this little business of mine after just wanting to earn a little extra income on the side. I'm the type of person that just isn't happy creating only one thing or even within one style sometimes, so I knew I wanted a name that would be all encompassing of any direction I might choose. So, I made a list of words related to my two favorite ways to work - painting and fibers and crochet. Thus, Fiber and Gloss was born! Since then, I've evolved my brand into what it is today - a collection of original works, prints, and locally printed products such as magnets, greeting cards, buttons, mugs, tote bags, and more! My goal is to bring some color, quirkiness, and hometown pride to my customers' worlds while creating affordable and accessible art that people from all walks of life can appreciate.

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What drew you to your craft?

I don't know that I could really give you any specific thing(s) that drew me to what I do. Honestly, I've just always been making and creating for as long as I can remember. I don't handle just sitting still for long periods of time, so I would always fill down time of any kind, even just watching a movie, with creating! It's just such an integral part of my soul that I simply have to be making or working on something almost all the time!

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

Ooh gosh. You mean I really have to choose just one thing? That's so mean! Well, I guess if I was forced to choose something, I would have to say my favorite thing I've ever made is the backdrop I made for our wedding, which is the biggest labor of love I've worked on thus far in my life. It was made of nearly 4,000 pom poms I made by hand myself, and it took way too many hours I couldn't possibly count! But let me tell you, it was worth every damn second!

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

From the time I was very little, I always said I wanted to be an art teacher. And that's what I am! I'm a full time high school art teacher during the day, and then I spend every minute I can spare building this business of mine! My whole world revolves all around art, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

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What is your creative process?

I'm pretty equally right and left brained, so while I obviously love to be creative, the left brained part of me requires a bit of order and logic to everything I do. I like to work on multiple projects at once so I can switch between pieces depending on my mood, where I'm working, or how much time I have. But, I almost always have a priority list and a timeline for when everything should be done. I create weekly to do lists and then daily to do lists with every last little thing I have to do down all the quick emails I have to send or reply to.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Ten years ago, I was a junior in high school, and I could not even fathom that someday someone would want to spend any amount of money on something I made. I thought I would just be an art teacher for the rest of forever and that was perfectly fine. I would tell myself to stay open and not close myself off to new possibilities. I think I had the opposite problem of everyone else that wasn't too sure about their next steps - I knew exactly what I would do and never stopped to think about what else I could do. I LOVE that I get to walk this walk for my students and hopefully show them that you can go for it, whatever that "it" might be, anytime!

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

In today's world, we, at least the people in my generation, care more about supporting each other and knowing our money is going to someone who needs it and will put it to good use in chasing their dreams rather than lining the pockets of more millionaires. I want to know (when possible, of course) that my dollars are being spent wisely and are somehow putting money back in to the local, small businesses and makers. Additionally, I also like knowing that what I'm buying is unique and different from the more generic things one might find in all of the larger stores.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

Art and being able to create are both central and of the utmost importance to who I am as a person. I am my happiest when I make time to draw or paint as frequently as possible. Without it, I'm not sure I even know who I would be or what I would be doing!

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

My biggest piece of advice is to just START! I had no idea what I was doing when I started. And yes, of course, I made mistakes along the way as I tried to figure out what the heck I was doing. But I think I learned so much more along the way be just doing it and learning what worked for ME. It's so easy to get sucked in to reading every person's advice about starting a handmade or creative business, and don't get me wrong, that definitely serves a purpose and is an awesome resource. But if you spend too much time doing that, you might talk yourself out of it by over analyzing every little thing and you may never start. Also, at the end of the day, every person's advice is just going to be worked for THEM, not YOU! Sure it's a great starting point, but the only way you figure out what works for you is to just jump in and do it. So if it's what you want, just go for it!

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

At the end of college, I was so ready to get out of Ohio. I wanted to escape to the Big Apple after living in the city the summer before for an internship and get back to that big city life. I won't lie - I'd still LOVE to do that someday in many ways. But I ended up falling in love with my now husband who just oozed this incredible love for Cleveland and Ohio. I had to experience The Land and this amazing state through his eyes and his perspective before I really, truly, "got it". Now, I have such an appreciation for how wonderful this state truly is and how it shaped me in ways you just don't understand as a kid. Cleveland and Ohio are home in every sense of the word!

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The Baker's Rack

Kate Bresnan Messa

Based in Columbus, The Baker’s Rack creates incredible small batch cupcakes, cookies and brownies. We interviewed owner Carol Ross to learn more about her delicious local business. Meet The Baker’s Rack at our Spring Maker Mart on April 7 in Cleveland!

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Tell us about your business.
My names Carol Ross and I’m The Baker’s Rack. Originally from Bridgeport, CT we’ve been out here for about 5 years now, living in and around German Village in Columbus.

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What drew you to your craft?  
I’m a stay at home mom with a 7 year old girl. I’d been out of work for a while and she was in school all day so I needed to find something to do. I’ve always baked, my dad was a restaurant baker when I was a kid and I was his sous, so I went back to what I knew.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?  
Last Christmas my daughters school wanted to put together a cookie box to raise money for their preschool program. The idea was to make traditional German cookies and I had no ideas so I googled, tried, failed, tried again. Eventually I lucked into the most tender vanilla shortbread cookie and I make it for every holiday now.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?  
I never had a clear path as a child, I still don’t, but I’m pretty happy doing what I’m doing now and I plan on sticking with it as long as I can.

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What is your creative process?  
I have a lot of go to things that I make. Sometimes I tweak the recipes to the season. Playing with flavors is always fun, especially in cupcakes and donuts. I take inspiration from other things I’ve eaten and cocktails I’ve enjoyed.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?  
I’m not sure I’d give any advice to 29 year old Carol. She wouldn’t have listened anyway! I’d tell 34 year old me that I could have a career and take time for me and be busy while still being a good, dutiful mom. And not to worry so much.

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?  
I come from the east coast where people aren’t always as... supportive... as they could be. Coming out here and meeting other bakers, makers, crafters, bloggers, prodducers, who all root for each other? It’s amazing. It’s like having a family out here.

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Why do you love doing what you do?  
I love how happy my food makes people. I love that I can do it out of my house and around my schedule. I love meeting and making new friends and traveling all around the state.  

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What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?  
I say go for it! There’s not a lot to lose and plenty to gain. Even if it doesn’t work out it’s an experience. It’s the beat thing I ever did for myself.

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
I adore Ohio. Maybe because I’m not from here, I can appreciate the pace and people more, but I’m super happy that we landed here and I hope to stay for a long long time.

Dippity and Snark

Rikki Teeters

Dippity and Snark is a stationary design studio from Akron, Ohio! We interviewed owner, Danielle Capotosto, to learn more about her local business. Meet Dippity and Snark at our Spring Maker Mart on April 7 in Cleveland!

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

Tell us about your business.

Dippity and Snark (formerly five blessings) is an independent design studio offering handmade cards, stationery, stickers and illustrated gifts. All designs are hand drawn by me, Danielle, a graphic designer and illustrator who started Dippity & Snark as a way to share my cheeky, funny and snarky creations with the world! In addition to pop-up markets and my website, I also have a small retail location in the Northside Marketplace in Akron, OH. My products are equal parts cute, punny and have lots of swear words, so I needed a name that would work with that. Dippity is a made up word derived from serendipity, which basically means “happy accident.” Snark is pretty self explanatory. Putting them together seems to perfectly describe both my sweet and sassy products!

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

What drew you to your craft?

I have always loved to make things. As a child I would always rather color than play outside. When it came time to go to college, I decided graphic design seemed like a natural fit. While studying design, I was introduced to illustration and basically fell in love! After some full time design gigs, I started a freelance design business. I wasn’t getting the opportunity to do much illustration work with my clients and I was really missing the opportunity to draw and make things. At a lunch in February of 2017, I was expressing these frustrations to my husband. He basically said, "so do it!” And I did. There’s been a lot of learning along the way, and it’s still a work in progress, but I’m happy with the growth I’ve managed so far.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

My favorite thing I have ever made are my stickers. I don’t have one in particular, but I have always adored stickers! I still have boxes full of them, some from childhood! My 10 year old self would geek out if she knew someday I would be designing and making my own!

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

As you may have guessed by now, I’ve always wanted to be some sort of artist. I wasn’t always sure how that was going to happen, but I knew it was the only path for me. I though about being an art teacher before choosing design, but am really happy I went with design instead. As fate would have it, I ended up pursuing my Master of Arts in design and now teach part time at Kent State University anyway!

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What is your creative process?

I don’t know that I really have one particular process. I basically start with an idea, usually as a response to something that has happened or something I think is funny. Then I get to drawing. I work both traditionally and digitally, using pencil, pen, watercolor, Illustrator, Photoshop, and/or Procreate. Once I’m happy with the illustration part of things, I work to put it on all the things… cards, stickers, wherever it fits the best.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Just start, and f*ck fear! Don’t wait for the right/best time… it will never come. Don’t be afraid of what other people think of your work. I waited almost 10 years to start this business, knowing the whole time it was something I wanted. Life and other opportunities and responsibilities kept me from it, but it was always in the back of my mind. Who knows where I’d be if I had started 5 years earlier, but I’m happy to have gotten things off the ground. There’s no point in looking back, we’re not going that way. Amazingly enough to me, when I make work that makes me happy, other people love it to! Shocks me everyday, but so thankful!!!

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Why is it not?! In all seriousness, supporting local artist/makers or any local small business does more than people realize. It allows that person to fulfill their dreams, support themselves and their families, and continue to grow. It also helps create jobs and support local economy. It really is a great way to support the local community and allow small businesses like mine to flourish.

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

Why do you love doing what you do?

I think there just really isn’t any other option for me. It might sound a little cheesy, but creating really is a part of my soul. Without the ability to make and create, I wouldn’t be me. It also brings me immense joy to see others laughing and enjoying my products. To share that creative happiness with others is pretty exciting!

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What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

There’s no better time than today. Give up on waiting, start however you can, today! Even if it’s a little step forward. Small amounts of growth is still growth!

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

Ohio has so much more to offer than people realize! We have amazing metro parks, art museums, music, and so much more! If you can’t find something great to do, you aren’t looking hard enough!

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

Shore Society

Rikki Teeters

Shore Society is an apparel company inspired by Cleveland’s coast! Their products reflect the midwestern nautical lifestyle of the Great Lakes. We interviewed owner, Rachael Koenig, to learn more about her awesome local business. Meet Shore Society at our Spring Maker Mart on April 7 in Cleveland!

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Tell us about Shore Society.

I started Shore Society in 2012 as a creative outlet, and a way to express my love for the lake and all things coastal here in Ohio. There wasn't much on the market here that focused on Lake Erie, or the Great Lakes in general, and I wanted to capture the unique coastal feel that we have here in Cleveland. I design all of the products myself and have them made locally whenever possible. I work and manage the business out of a home studio in Lakewood, and while I sell mostly online, I wholesale to a few boutiques in the area as well!

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What drew you to your craft?

I'm a graphic designer, and have always created my own personal work in addition to my full-time job and freelance — so I had created a few prints for fun and started selling them online. This was back at the time when Etsy was exploding, and it kind of snowballed for me from there. I never imagined I'd be making products or running a business like this, but I totally fell in love with the process of selling products and with building a brand. I love being able to think conceptually — to have a lofty idea or a piece of inspiration — and execute on it, make something tangible with it.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

That's tough! If I had to say, I've loved creating the local city map totes along with my friend Blair Ritchey, who is a handbag designer. I pour a lot of time and effort into designing and illustrating the maps, and when we decide what landmarks or businesses will appear on them. It's a fun, collaborative process and I love the excitement we feel from customers each time we launch a new one. Otherwise, I love the Salty tee, and it's a fan fave!

Shore Society Ohio Maker Mart

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist! I didn't know what type, at the time, but I have always wanted to be involved in the art and design world. I've gone from dreaming about interior design to fashion design and back again. I just wanted to make things. I try to remind myself that my 10 year old self would be really pleased to see this in my present.

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What is your creative process?

I don't really start off with the intention of designing a product, things become too narrow too quickly and I think you lose the creativity in it. I like to gather inspiration for the look and feel of what I'm trying to capture, and sketch some lettering, icons, or a full design from there. I'm always thinking about color and how other elements, like textiles or fabric, come into play — then the design sort of tells me where it wants to live. My business mind is then of course thinking about what my customers would like to see, and how they'll want to wear or use the product — I keep them top of mind while I'm creating, too.

Shore Society Ohio Maker Mart

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Don't quit your daydream. Walk through the doors that open for you, even if you're unsure. And hire an accountant — girl, you can't do math.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

We are all making/creating because we love it so much, and when you shop with us, you're buying a little piece of our heart and soul. It's such a fulfilling feeling and it's a huge part of what keeps me going, and we need people to keep going. Keep creating, keep enriching the community around us. I also love that you're getting something so unique, and almost collectible. I love filling my home and life with meaning and you're getting that when you shop handmade.

Shore Society Ohio Maker Mart

Why do you love doing what you do?

It's a form of expression for me, and also a form of pride — I love to draw attention to the beautiful lake and coastal landscape we have here. I love sharing photos I've snapped at the lake and having people from all over the country see and acknowledge its beauty, I want to shine a light on that. When they say, "oh my gosh, that's Lake Erie?!" I feel like I've done my job! Along those lines, I also love connecting with other people and my customers at shows, online, or at events. I've met so many incredible people who have been integral to my business journey and my life!

Shore Society Ohio Maker Mart

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

Start before you're ready. Things will never be perfect, and you can't avoid the process of learning along the way, which is inevitable. You have to allow that to take place in real time, so put your project out there without fussing too much and let it evolve. If you wait until it's perfect, you'll be waiting forever.

Shore Society Ohio Maker Mart

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

That it's always surprising me! On the lake, you'll never see the same sunset twice. The leaves in the fall won't look the same from one place to the next. There's so much to discover and I love the change of seasons — I've learned to embrace winter and I have the beautiful frozen lake sunsets to thank for that!

Shore Society Ohio Maker Mart

OY-L

Rikki Teeters

OY-L is an all natural skincare line based in Akron, Ohio. We love this brand’s commitment to creating sustainable products and never testing on animals. We interviewed owner Andrea Pierce-Naymon to learn more about her amazing local business! Meet OY-L at our Spring Maker Mart on April 7 at Red Space in Cleveland!

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Tell us about OY-L.

I am the CEO and Founder of a natural skin care line called OY-L and my mission is Beauty Without Secrets. I have been a med tech, in pharmaceautical and medical equipment sales, mother of two amazing daughters and a buyer/owner of a clothing boutique in Cleveland.

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OY-L Ohio Maker Mart

What drew you to your craft?

When my youngest daughter got sick as a junior in high school, no one was able to diagnose her for two years. She was even misdiagnosed! I became so frustrated I started reading the labels on everything in our house, thinking it was something she was exposed to. I was horrified when I started googling all the chemical ingredients. Most were toxic and carcinogenic. I got a app called Think Dirty and started scanning products. That's when I said to myself, there has to bee a better way. All the skin care products I was buying in the department stores were toxic. I didn't want to use them anymore and certainly didn't want my kids using them. So I turned the kids old play room into a lab and OY-L was born.

OY-L Ohio Maker Mart

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

That's a hard one! I'd have to say my body butter. It was my first product, it took me a long time to perfect and now I can't live without it. It was the product that got me an investor from Cincinnati and enabled me to grow my business and move into a real lab at Bounce, a business Accelerator, in the old B.F. Goodrich plant in downtown Akron.

OY-L Ohio Maker Mart

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an ER doctor.

What is your creative process?

I listen to my customers and read everything about the skincare market and determine what I can do to make a cleaner product that is also effective. There is a lot of chemistry involved and a lot of trial and error to make sure the products I bring to market are safe and effective.

OY-L Ohio Maker Mart

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Prioritize your life. Decide what is important and what you have passion for. Even though you have to pay bills, make sure you have a least a hobby you enjoy.

OY-L Ohio Maker Mart

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

It is important to support local artists and makers because we are the ones that can grow, hire, expand and support our community. Indie brands in Ohio put a lot of heart and soul into their craft and supporting them supports Ohio. I can't tell you how exciting it was to go to a national beauty expo and show the country what was happening in Akron, Ohio. By doing that I was asked to bring my line to New York and show the Saks Fifth Ave buyers my products. Six months later, I was on their website and selling my products locally and nationally. Kudos to Saks for wanting to showcase and sell products made in Akron that will help our local community.

OY-L Ohio Maker Mart

Why do you love doing what you do?

I love coming up with products that are helping people live a less toxic life. I love when I read the reviews of my products and see how much they are helping. There is a "clean and green" revolution going on now in this country. Europe is way ahead of us in the market. People don't want toxins in there products anymore. And I love teaching people what all those chemicals are and why you don't need them in our products.

OY-L Ohio Maker Mart

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

Just do it! It's a rollercoater ride, but if you are passionate about what you are doing , it is worth it. There is so much to learn and you need a good support system.

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

I grew up in Cincinnati and have lived in northern Ohio my whole adult life. I love seeing how the different cities are different or even the same. I loved the hills of Cincy and the lake in Cleveland. The park system in northern Ohio is beautiful. I went to BGSU where is was flat and we rode our bikes everywhere. It's a great place to grow up.

OY-L Ohio Maker Mart

Cultivated Candle Co.

Rikki Teeters

We’re Colleen and Jeremy, the Midwest couple behind Cultivated Candle Co. Cultivated Candle Co. is a small business based in Columbus, Ohio, with our studio nuzzled in the art-centric Franklinton area in 400 W Rich. We create vintage-inspired soy candles with a punch of regal style and farmhouse freshness. We've always done things a little different than the rest; It was only natural that this carried through to candle-making! As history lovers and antique connoisseurs, one of our most popular candle collections is our antique candle collection. We take vintage pieces that have a story behind them and turn them into one-of-a-kind candles. We also have a variety of candles outside of our antiques - such as frosted glass and farmhouse mason jar candles. We believe in having your home be as enriching and healthy as possible, because of this we only use all natural soy wax and also refill our antique candles once they have burned out to continue to reuse and recycle the antiques.

What drew you to your craft?

Honestly, a love for history, science and home decor is how Cultivated Candle Co. was born. Candle-making is really a science and we first started as a small hobby. Then came in our passion for history and home decor. There are so many cute antique tins and glass candy dishes that simply don’t have much use. We saw this as an opportunity to bring a little charm from the past into modern home decor with our hobby; candle making.

Photo by Jessica Jelly of @the_rusticpallet

Photo by Jessica Jelly of @the_rusticpallet

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

This is such a hard question! We recently celebrated our one year business anniversary and tried to answer this very question. We sometimes work with over 100 one-of-a-kind antique pieces on a monthly basis, but our Vintage Coffee Tin candles are consistently one of our favorites to make. It’s so fun seeing people react to different coffee brands that they haven’t seen for decades or that their parents and grandparents would have in the house as kids. We had one customer who commissioned us to find an IGA tin because her grandfather owned an IGA! Plus, making candles within antique tins never gets old and really fits into our love for history.

Cultivated Candle Co.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I (Colleen) wanted to be news anchor. I love public speaking and originally went to college for this. This changed to public relations and then post-grad entrepreneurship. The funny thing is, I was totally born to be an entrepreneur. I just didn’t see it until later and a big part of that realization was pushed by Jeremy; and I’m super thankful for that! It was just a matter of actually getting there, and I’m also thankful for my communications background that has really helped with our marketing.

Cultivated Candle Co.

What is your creative process?

Our creative process is really a cycle that goes from scent creation to finding the perfect container or antique and then finally to feeding off of the reactions and thoughts of our customer. Being connected with our customer then feeds right back into scent and candle creation. Luckily for us, during this whole process we are working in a 100-year-old factory (400 W Rich), learning about history and melting wax which all fuels our creativity and pushes us forward. A lot of our products have such a rich history and nostalgia, which allow us to get an inspiring peek into the daily life of the ‘20s through the ‘70s.

Cultivated Candle Co.

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Simple - Start saving money! Too much money was spent on useless things, which could have been saved for starting a business. Simple, but the biggest thing I would change.

Cultivated Candle Co.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Local makers, artists and businesses are such a large part of making a community and a city vibrant, unique and desirable. The more that Columbus supports Columbus, or Ohio supports Ohio, the deeper and richer our city culture becomes.

Cultivated Candle Co.

Why do you love doing what you do?

Scent creation, candle-making and antiquing make our daily work feel surreal, but the customers are our favorite part about owning Cultivated Candle Co. Through daily messages, emails and more, we love interacting with our customers! We’ve felt overwhelming support for our simple little idea in the past year and we’re just so thankful for our fans. Like I mentioned, the whole business revolves around them! The process of candle-making and scent creation comes full circle when we see and hear how our customers and community react to our candles. We put so much thought into making our unique scent creations, our candle making process and what container those candles live in that finally getting them to our customer and hearing how much they enjoyed having their home filled is so fulfilling.

Cultivated Candle Co.

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

Don’t wait for the right moment. Try to get started as soon as you can, even if it’s small! There’s never the “right moment” to get started on a business. If you wait, it’ll get harder and harder to start. If you have an idea, you are capable of starting now! And don’t be afraid to fail; remember you have to be a fool before you can be a master. Ohio is a great place to start a business.

Cultivated Candle Co.

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

We are diehard Ohioans, which makes this question so hard! One of the best parts about Ohio is the diverse landscape. We live in downtown Columbus, in charming German Village. Our hearts are in the city, but we also love nature. Columbus is the type of city where you can go to a show at the beautiful and historic Ohio Theatre and in 20 minutes be surrounded by nature off the beaten path. Plus, Ohio parks are great! We can’t imagine living and running our business out of anywhere else.

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Felix Coffee Co.

Rikki Teeters

Felix Coffee Co. is a small coffee line based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They create delicious home-roasted coffees packaged in beautiful locally designed containers. We first tried a cup of coffee from Felix Coffee Co. at our Holiday Maker Mart last year and we have been hooked ever since! Meet Felix Coffee Co. at our 2018 Holiday Maker Mart next weekend at Urban Artifact!

Felix Coffee Co

Tell us about your business.

We have no previous experience or background in small businesses or coffee so this is a first for us! Our mission is to simply create an environment where people feel comfortable ordering a cup of coffee from us for the first time. We want to perfect a cup of black coffee, so that people are tasting the coffee in its most natural state. We believe we have done that so far

What drew you to your craft? 

The community, the creative freedom, and the complexity. 

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

Definitely our cold brew, it is always a summer favorite.

Felix Coffe Co

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A musician of some sort or an actor.

What is your creative process?

A lot of trial and error. Just keep trying things different ways until I get it just right... A lot of thinking

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

To not be so focused on what I want to do, and kind of just let God do what he wants to do in my life. I'd live less selfishly.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

It's peoples’ passion. A lot of people leave the corporate world to pursue what they are actually passionate about, even when they know they wont make a lot of money so its very personal to people and we should always remember how hard someone works on something like that. To support it means the world to people and you're helping give them a chance at what they love doing.

Felix Coffee Co

Why do you love doing what you do?

I love what I'm doing because I can do whatever I want, no one can tell me no and I thrive in that environment. I love having full creative control over something and then seeing people react to it in a positive way. I love being able to make others happy, through something I've done or created 

Felix Coffee Co

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

Just do it. As simple as that sounds, you really just have to go for it. Don't let life, or even just yourself hold you back. We have one life to live and it should be lived doing whatever it is we love doing and are most passionate about.

Felix Coffee Co

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

The diversity, and the endless amounts of opportunity. Growing up you never really appreciate how much Ohio has to offer, until you get out of high school and really experience the world for what it truly is. There's so much out there for us to explore and to experience, especially in Ohio.

Felix Coffee Co

Meli

Rikki Teeters

Meli was born out of my love for my Greek heritage and food. My favorite thing about Meli is that I can share my culture through my baked goods. Growing up as a first-generation Greek, I have visited different regions of Greece and can now share those cuisines with others through food. My baked goods are authentic to the islands my parents are from in Greece and these recipes have been passed down to me from my parents and grandparents. Sharing Meli's products with others is a way to share my culture. In addition, I wanted to share the language, which is why I named my business Meli. When you say "Meli," you are saying "honey" in Greek. There you go - now you're bilingual!

Meli

What drew you to your craft?

I always enjoyed baking and started making cupcakes and cookies for family parties. I then realized that my true passion for baking was in traditional Greek desserts. I missed those delicious treats that I would eat in the summers in Greece so much that I decided I should start making them in Cincinnati. I also love feeding others (typical Greek), so I figured I could start selling product to fuse my two passions!

Meli

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

That's a tough question! My favorite thing I make is baklava. As a completely biased answer, I believe mine is the best because I pay special attention to the ratio of all the ingredients. I've also received very positive feedback from people about my baklava which makes me want to share it with the world!

Meli Baklava

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always thought I wanted to be a teacher, but as I have grown up, I realize that I just want to be in a space that allows me to connect with others. Sharing my culture and experiences through my food has allowed me to connect with so many amazing people and I am so thankful for this opportunity.

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What is your creative process?

Before I start baking, I think back to how my parents and grandparents taught me the recipe. I also think of how it was presented in Greece and incorporate that experience into my baking techniques. Also, I put as much love into a recipe as possible, because that's the most important ingredient ☺

Meli

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Advice I would give myself 10 years ago is to be okay with not knowing how life would turn out. I wasted a lot of time worrying about what I would do, who I would become, etc. that I missed out on what was going on around me. The practice of mindfulness has become a priority for me in order to maintain a balanced life.

Meli

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

It is important to support local artists and makers because of the effect on your community. We are all in this together and there is room for everyone; therefore, support your local makers because we have taken the leap to share our craft with our community and we need your support! We do this for you- we want to share our passions with you - so take advantage!

Meli

Why do you love doing what you do?

I love baking for Meli because I am able to share my Greek heritage with my community. I have always been a "proud Greek" growing up here in Cincinnati. Now that I am older, I've created a space where I can share my heritage through food and pay tribute to the experiences I had in Greece. I make products that are traditional to the islands that my parents are from; therefore, you are getting the authentic experience when you eat a Meli product.

Meli

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

The advice I have for other people who want to start their own business is to just start. There is no book on how to do it. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do and ask for their help and suggestions. Avcept that there will be a long trial and error period, but that's the greatest teacher! There have been plenty of times that I have felt lost or discouraged, but I remember my reason for creating Meli and it encourages me to keep going.

Meli

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

My favorite thing about exploring Ohio is the opportunity to connect with others. Being able to hear others' stories and experiences motivates me to continue my craft!

Meli Bread

SKT Ceramics

Rikki Teeters

SKT Ceramics is a well known and highly respected pottery studio based in Cincinnati. Owner, Susannah Tisue, and her team of talented artists create naturally inspired pieces. We interviewed Susannah to learn more about her thriving Ohio-made business. Our team is thrilled that SKT Ceramics is joining us for our 2018 Autumn Maker Mart at 21c Cincinnati!

SKT Ceramics

Tell us about your local business.

SKT Ceramics is a porcelain pottery and illustration studio. Our Cincinnati studio creates handcrafted, high-fired tableware and gifts. Each piece is adorned with one my 87 original illustrations and detailed with hand painted glaze. Our pieces are fired in an atmospheric gas kiln using 1,000 year old celadon glaze formulas, which gives character to our sturdy, luminous pieces. I created the line in 2008 while living in New York as moments of calm in the chaos of the city, with quiet glaze colors and detailed nature illustrations.

SKT Ceramics

What drew you to your craft?

I studied fine arts at New York University, with a focus on painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture. A series of cake sculptures led me to ceramics, with the need for a ceramic cake stand. The meditative practice of throwing pottery on the wheel and quiet simplicity of functional pieces drew me to the art form. I love that our pottery pieces are simple, humble works of art that become part of everyday routines. Within the format of my functional pieces, I employ the techniques and materials that I focused on while at NYU.

After college, I completed a 3 year artist residency at Greenwich House Pottery in Manhattan’s West Village. The pottery is part of a settlement house, founded in 1909 to teach immigrants marketable skills, Since its founding, it has played a pivotal role in the lives of many ceramicists. It was at Greenwich House that I first discovered porcelain as a material, as well our iron based celadon glaze recipes. Their 3 story ceramic school surrounded a tiny courtyard. In that courtyard, I realized how critical calming moments with nature and landscape are, and those quiet moments are something I hope to capture in my pieces.

SKT Ceramics

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

In my early ceramic career, I made a hand painted penguin cup for a lifelong friend who loves penguins. It is hard to remember at this point, but I think it was the first piece that utilized the unglazed porcelain “ground” on the base that all of our land animals stand on. I intended for it to be a one of a kind cup, but fell in love with the combination of image, glaze and clay body in that piece. In a lot of ways, it strongly influences all of the pieces that we make today. The penguin has long been one of our best sellers, and I think of my friend every time I hand one to a customer!

SKT Ceramics

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’ve always wanted to be an artist and since preschool have been busy building worlds around concepts. I was really able to hone in on my concepts while at NYU, so I credit a lot of inspiration to that period of time, and functional pottery happened to be a perfect medium to translate those ideas into life.

SKT Ceramics

What is your creative process?

My creative process is multi faceted. All of the illustrations begin as pen and ink drawings in my sketchbook. I typically draw at home where it’s quiet and I can have a nice mug of coffee on hand! For new illustrations, I add illustrations that would be in conversation with existing drawings in the SKT line, and I always take into account customer feedback and requests. Currently the llama and hummingbird are front runners!

SKT Ceramics

All of the pieces are made from scratch in my studio by myself and a team of skilled artists. We use hand building, wheel throwing and ram pressing to make our forms, and screen print them with my drawings. They’re fired in an electric kiln for the first firing. The images are hand painted first with glaze, then wax resist before we dip them in our high fire celadon glazes.

Our pieces are fired in a gas kiln to 2,350 degrees and the composition of our particular glaze makes them dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe! Sales feed into my creative process. I launched into making and selling work full time in 2010 while at the Brooklyn Flea on both Saturdays and Sundays. Weekly customer feedback helped refine and expand my illustration and form offerings. I now have a year round booth in Cincinnati's Findlay Market and I love that the same thing is happening there. Whether it’s a reaction to the shape of the handle or the response to new illustrations, I gain so much valuable feedback from our community on a weekly basis.

SKT Ceramics

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Business ownership is not for the faint of heart. It’s a long, hard, road, but worth every minute!

SKT Ceramics

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

We have a year round space at Findlay Market, a local food and farmers market, so I see first hand the benefits of “shopping local” every weekend. Each purchase from a local artist/maker/farmer directly goes back into our community and provides jobs for our neighbors. These in-person exchanges build relationships within the community and as a general rule, I find that the quality of pieces made and purchased locally is so much higher.

SKT Ceramics

Why do you love doing what you do?

I love that our pieces mean something to our customers. When they use our pieces, they’re reminded of a particular place, event, or the person that gifted them the piece. Through my illustrations, our pottery provides moments of connection.

SKT Ceramics

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

Build your line from within. When you’re pulling from your own unique experience, people will respond to your story. You will never have to wonder where to go next and inspiration will come readily.

SKT Ceramics

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

My pieces channel quiet moments with nature out of necessity. I’m a city dweller at heart and love the walkability and unlimited potential of exploring Ohio’s downtowns. I love the shops, cafes and restaurants, from old school spots to energized newcomers. On every street and every corner there is someone who is pursuing their passion.

SKT Ceramics

Andra Bogdan Art

Rikki Teeters

Andra Bogdan is a talented artist from Columbus, Ohio. She brings nature into her work to connect humans to the outdoors. We love her naturally inspired pieces. Meet Andra Bogdan Art at our 2018 Autumn Maker Mart at 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 7, 2018!

Andra Bogdan Art

Tell us about your local business.

Andra Bogdan Art is an ongoing collection of fun and captivating botanical & wildlife artwork created with love in Columbus, Ohio. I’d like for people to view my illustrations and paintings as gentle reminders that nature deserves to be observed and appreciated for what it is, the most powerful source of positive energy available on our planet. Nature is infinitely beautiful in its entirety, but even more awe-inspiring are the minuscule details and patterns that exist within. As often as we disassociate from the wonders of the outdoors by locking into our daily technologically driven routines, it is crucial to re-connect with the flora and fauna that sustain us. My artwork is a simple nod of gratitude towards nature and perhaps a small window of environmental delight on a kind stranger’s living room wall.

Andra Bogdan Art

What drew you to your craft?

I’ve drawn and painted an array of subject matters over the years, but nothing has inspired me more than the anatomy of leaves. From there, I branched out (☺) to illustrating more diverse plants and animals, often depicting them in a bold stylized manner as if to say “hey, we are important!”. We are stuck in an ongoing battle with climate change and large-scale disasters that have permanently scarred our Earth, so what better time than now to raise awareness and help protect our communal home?

Andra Bogdan Art

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

I think that my craft naturally becomes better with time and practice, so every new project seems to be a favorite. So far, I most enjoyed working on a commissioned triptych of lush Mostera Deliciosa leaves and palm fronds for two clients who had recently purchased a condo. The process of creating a tropical oasis in their brand new living room was particularly enjoyable and refreshing.

Andra Bogdan Art

What did you want to be when you grew up?

For a very short while during my childhood I was stuck between wanting to be an astronaut and a fashion designer (space haute couture, anyone?). I chose the latter and eventually strutted through the fashion design program at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, graduating with a Bachelor Degree. My day job consists of overseeing the technical production of garments for a major clothing retailer, so I think that I’ve achieved a version of the goal that my 3-year old heart set out to accomplish. However, I choose to continue pursuing fine art for being such a therapeutic and steadfast medium of conveying a story.

Andra Bogdan Art
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What is your creative process?

My process begins with a clutter of ideas and often ends with a clutter of unfinished pieces. I think where the process gets exciting is when I stick to a subject and relentlessly see it through its completion stage. It might look something like this: find a pretty leaf, study its colors and patterns, try to replicate its beauty, then fail. So I start again and instead of mimicking exactly what nature has to offer, render my own version that includes wacky hypnotic line-work that is color blocked with super pigmented watercolors. We’ve got something going here. I may choose to build a scene by adding other features, or I may allow my subject to take center stage on a blank background. Art school teaches you to never leave a subject floating in space, but a focal point is a focal point. This process could take days, weeks, or even months depending on my level of motivation, which is why I have to have multiple projects going at once to keep me inspired.

Andra Bogdan Art

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Build demand before building inventory; don’t be hasty when it comes to reproducing artwork for the sake of having large quantities on hand. Figuring out just exactly how much product to have ready for shows has been a tricky balancing act, but I’m realizing that people are less likely to purchase art on the spot and more likely to order later or request custom pieces. Just because I’m proud of a piece that I created and think that it’s the most wonderful thing in the world, doesn’t mean that it is automatically suited for somebody else’s personal space. At the end of the day, if you’re going to turn your passion into a business, you need to give the people what they want.

Andra Bogdan Art

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

For one thing, it builds a strong sense of community and helps people connect on so many creative levels. It’s nice to get to know people who can paint, make, sew, or build you something from scratch within your home city or state. On the other hand, if people didn’t support local artists and makers, then we wouldn’t have such a consistent roster of craft fairs and shows. These events are entertaining at the least and educational at most. I think that it is very important to emphasize creativity within a community as much as we emphasize academics and sports. Art can play a major role in stimulating our minds and helping us view the world with eyes wide open. Art has the power to teach about history, cultures, religion, people, nature, geography, and human emotion to name just a few.

Andra Bogdan Art

Why do you love doing what you do?

I love seeing people’s reactions to my work. It brings me joy to see someone smile or think about a story that I’ve created. Art helps me start conversations and find something in common with people that I do not know. Furthermore, drawing and painting has always been sort of an inexpensive form of therapy for me. The soothing process of creating pulls me from my everyday busy routine into a world where anything is possible.

Andra Bogdan Art

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

First and foremost, I would remind people to be flexible and resilient. Owning a business can be overwhelming and stressful at times, but it is also incredibly empowering, thrilling, and rewarding at the end of the day. Then, proceed to accept all the help that you can get- as much as you might want to convince yourself that you’re good at everything, there are infinite opportunities to learn. Use your resources, network, gather feedback and opinions, and keep an open mind. A business should be fluid and ever changing, because people and their demands are also constantly changing.

Andra Bogdan Art

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

Aside from having such varied geography, Ohio is host to exquisite biodiversity. The best part is all of it being extremely accessible; I can quite literally explore any part of Ohio on any given day with a few hours to spare. It is also home to so many positive and forward-thinking people that have collectively made Ohio one of the most progressive, creative, and welcoming states that I have personally experienced.

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Prospect Jam Co.

Rikki Teeters

Prospect Jam Co. is a small business based in Cincinnati. Owner, Emily Hutton, makes small-batch preserves with natural ingredients. We interviewed this new business owner about her delicious jams! Meet Prospect Jam Co. on June 3 at our Summer Maker Mart at Strongwater Columbus!

Prospect Jam Co

Tell us about your business (name, location, background, mission, etc.).

Prospect Jam Co. is an artisan preserve company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. We make Copper Crafted, Small-Batch Preserves. PJco specializes in a variety of jams and marmalades with a focus on seasonal and intentionally unique flavors.

We take pride in our process. Our preserves are cooked in copper pots and produced in small batches. By crafting in the traditional French method, we are able to extract only the natural pectin within the fruit itself, without the addition of preservatives. We focus on the details, from the ingredients we use, to our packaging, to how we prepare each fruit before preservation. We believe in sourcing organic and local ingredients when we can.

We’re brand new (!) and we’re super excited to be a part of the Ohio maker community. You can currently find selections of our preserves at the following retailers in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio: Pistacia Vera (Columbus), The Rhined, Rooted Juicery, Deerhaus Decor and Mainwood Pastry. Keep a look out for us at local fleas and markets too!

Prospect Jam Co.

What drew you to your craft?

It has been such an amazing journey and a fairly organic one. Honestly, I needed every stepping stone to get where I am today, and look forward to many more. It started baking beside my grandmother. I always loved being her helper when she let me. I loved everything about the art of baking and its process. The more we spent time in the kitchen together the more I wanted to help out. When it came to settling on a program in college; it was the same commitment to process that came with making, that drew me to visual art. It became clear that working with my hands was how I liked to work, interacting with and touching the materials themselves. I became fond of organic materials specifically, from there, it only made sense that I explore working in clay. I graduated with a BFA in ceramics from The Ohio State University. There, I had been making things out of clay that looked liked edible pastries. I knew it was time to start working in the food industry, in whatever capacity I could get.

I am very fortunate to have connected with two amazing, hard-working, family owned businesses in the years following. Both, The Northstar Cafe and Pistacia Vera, in Columbus provided me with experience in the food world. While balancing teaching ceramics at a small studio and learning the workings of the restaurant, I fell in love with the environment and the hospitality industry. At that point, the opportunity to work full time in the pastry kitchen presented itself, of course I said yes. There I learned everything I could and continued to pursue my interests in food in whatever spare time I had. Eventually, I was given the opportunity to lead a team of people doing the thing I was most passionate about, making things like cake, cookies, dough and jam, as well as creating experiences for our guests.

My husband and I had the opportunity to move to Cincinnati in 2015 and I couldn’t say no. The culinary scene here is thriving with independent business and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The preserve business was a natural transition from the pastry gig, where I had done development for a line of jam and marmalades. The experience I had working with materials and ingredients in the past and the relationship between them, played a role in deciding to pursue my interest in preservation. It’s almost as if every batch has its own identity, just as a single platter or mug can have its own. For me, the joy is in nurturing every batch to create something lovely.

Prospect Jam Co.

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

I’ve made a lot of things, in lots of mediums at this point. Many of them on a crazy, conceptual idea. ( i.e. a chocolate molded Barbie filled with rendered bacon fat - not intended for consumption, to be clear, but now that I think about it…) My favorite is a simple brioche dough. I still enjoy baking it and eating it, topped with a little salt and sugar with a PJco seasonal jam. Though, the marmalades tend to be my favorite. In a way, it becomes a variation on the Orange Rolls I used to make with my Grandmother every holiday.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was younger, I had a decent rock collection so naturally I wanted to be a geologist. I spent a lot of time looking at sand underneath microscopes and recording what part of the world it came from and the minerals it was composed of. Looking back, my experiences in some way have shaped who I am and what I do today. I was able to apply my interest in materials to ceramics previously. Now I get to apply the science to ingredients and fruit through cooking and pastry.

Prospect Jam Co.

What is your creative process?

I’m a Virgo so, lots of list making. Brainstorming combined with shopping at farmers markets and liquor stores for inspiration. I always tell people I build the jam flavors like I would build a cocktail, so that's where the liquor piece come in. It also comes with a fair amount of testing, adding layers of flavors or ingredients and finding the most dynamic, unique and satisfying one. I find a lot of inspiration through travel and the eating experiences I have had and the cocktails I’ve imbibed.

Prospect Jam Co.

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Of course, people say this all the time but truly, you will learn invaluable lessons from making mistakes and experiencing failure. Take those, apply what you have learned and move forward.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

My father is an artist, so I grew up around art. Throughout my life, I’ve continued to surround myself with people that make art in some way, shape, or form. Not only do I appreciate art, but I feel it is important to support artists because those are the people that fuel my own creativity and the communities around them. The makers, whether that be a ceramicist, a chef, a painter or an artisan bread baker, these are the people that help shape the culture within our state and beyond.

Prospect Jam Co.

Why do you love doing what you do?

I am continuously grateful for the opportunity to get to do what I do. To be a maker. The support I have received from my husband, small business owners, professors and family where they have provided mentorship, education and encouragement is incredible. I love the process, the continuous learning and the explorative nature of being a business owner and jam maker. The cooking part, especially pastry and sweet things, requires intuition and patience. I get to learn and practice both of those too. I get the opportunity to teach and learn about flavors and ingredients simultaneously. I get to continue exploring. I get to share it with others, in hopes of inspiring someone else or simply creating a moment of enjoyment. To be able to share and create an experience through a tiny detail that might be tucked on a cheese board or hidden in a layer of cake. Or maybe the preserve is the star of the show on morning toast. These are the things that make it rewarding.

Prospect Jam Co.

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

I don’t know how qualified I am to be giving advice, I am a brand new business owner! The one thing I will say is when you know you are passionate about something, when something feels just right when you’re participating in it, pursue that. Pursue the things that your intuition, mind and body are telling you to do and commit to it.

Prospect Jam Co.

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

I have lived in Ohio my whole life. I’ve gotten to witness its growth as a state. I am proud to see national recognition for the artisans and businesses that have created something noteworthy. I also love seeing connections that business owners and organizations, such as Ohio Explored, are providing to link more of our Ohio cities together. Moving from Columbus to Cincinnati, I had hoped to see more of a connection between the two cities and it is happening. I can’t wait to see how strong our mighty Ohio community can grow.

Prospect Jam Co.

Lucca Workshop

Rikki Teeters

Lucca Workshop is a small business in Cincinnati. Owner, Lindsey Estes, creates laser cut products in her beautiful Over-the-Rhine studio. She designs high quality unique goods that you cannot find anywhere else. Lucca is often celebrated as one of Etsy's best Makers! We interviewed this awesome local maker to learn more about her journey and her craft. Meet Lucca on June 3 at our Summer Maker Mart

Lucca

Tell us about your local business.

My name is Lindsey, and I am the owner, designer and machinist behind Lucca Workshop! Lucca is a retail shop and laser studio that specializes in wood and paper gifts, home decor and custom design. Our mission is to create natural, functional and affordable products; mixing the importance of using natural eco-conscious products and mixing beauty with function!

Lucca

What drew you to your craft?

I was raised in my father's machine shop - I learned the trade of laser design and the perseverance of entrepreneurship from him. Being trained on creating highly detailed, industrial parts, I always knew the details of the machines were very similar to the detail of my drawing techniques. After my first year of University at CCAD, I quickly realized school was not the route for me. So with my love for linear design and symmetrical detail, I took my knowledge for machining and my love for functional, natural design and I started my own business!

Lucca

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

My favorite product to create is my greeting cards. We don't create just any normal greeting card here at Lucca. We have an array of laser cut wood, paper and floral cards! Creating cards is my stress reliever. They can be as goofy, creative and weird as I want them to be! Creating an item I have never seen before is my goal :)

Lucca
Lucca

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a little girl my mom gave me a journal. Each day the journal prompted questions and you filled them out accordingly. I remember one of the questions at the intro of the journal was, "What do you want to do when you're older?" I wrote, "I want to be a mom, an artist and own a store." Here I am, 28, a mother to a little boy, a designer, and I have a small retail store in the heart of Cincinnati :)

Lucca

What is your creative process?

The creative process here at Lucca consists of A LOT of design work. Many hours are spent every day designing, setting up our machines, testing designs and editing. All of our designs are created or sourced by Lucca. Even when we purchase artwork from other artists, there is an extensive process the design has to endure before it is ready to be created into a product. When people think laser machine they believe it's as simple as hitting 'print' on a printer - our process is MUCH more extensive than that. Aside from the countless hours designing, most of our time is spent prepping wood, sanding, staining, sealing, packaging, etc.. On top of our product line, we also create all of our packaging here at Lucca!

Lucca
Lucca

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

If I could give myself any advice, past and present me, DO WHAT YOU WANT! If you want to do something, create something, start a business, just DO IT. Stop waiting around for the right moment or to get people's opinions. The best time to start is NOW. And if you have an idea just run with it! The best way to test opinion is just to create the product and put it out there. It might not catch right away, it might not be perfect, but there is no better time to try than right now, and no one is going to see it unless you confidently put it out into the world. Do it. Do it NOW!

Lucca

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

It is important to support small and local because that is the way a city murmurs. Your money spent is a small investment in how you want the future to be. Supporting "small" is allowing all of us to have more availability to new jobs, creativity, new products and a thriving city! You are supporting a small business venture and allowing a product to be in this world that might not exist in a big box store.

Lucca

Why do you love doing what you do?

I love doing what I do because I am able to freely create whatever I want. The moment I create a new product, I can stick it directly into my retail store and test the market. Although I regiment my schedule, design process and the way we run Lucca's retail store, I have a lot of flexibility in the fact that I can do whatever I want with my business! I am my own boss, and there is no one to direct me. If I believe something will work, all I have to do is try! :)

Lucca

What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own businesses?

Advice I would lend to other business owners... If you want to create work for someone or a custom brand, just create it for them! Work for the companies you want to work for by presenting your work in front of them. Other companies are constantly in search of new products, designs and merchandising - the best way to get in front of them is to present yourself to them.

Lucca

What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

My favorite thing about Ohio is the community within the cities! Everyone is so willing to work within Ohio, support local, search local, shop local. It is really a unique location because there is SO MUCH to explore, shop and see. And everyone in Ohio seems to want to pay it forward within Ohio. Sometimes people think Ohio is just a barren farmland, but it is quite the opposite!

Lucca