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Cincinnati, OH, 45227

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

Ohio Made

luvkt

Kate Bresnan Messa

A Cincinnati-based company, luvkt creates sweetly made crocheted animals and ceramics. We interviewed owner Katie Swartz to learn more about her local business and cheerful creations.

Meet lukt at our Summer Maker Mart on June 2nd in Columbus!

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Tell us about your business.

My business is luvkt. Many people ask how it’s pronounced. I explain that it’s my name plus my effort. I work in clay and fiber. At times it’s one more than the other, but I adore both equally.

I grew up in Columbus and moved to Cincinnati for school. I liked it, had family there and stayed. Ohio is my home and I am proud of it.

When younger, I wanted to save the world and of course make it a better place. Cliché, but it still rings true. I want to make people happy, make them feel alive and elevate the moments we share. If my pots and animals can lift someone’s spirits, and bring cheer, then I am succeeding.

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What drew you to your craft?

The moment I touched clay, I fell in love. There were times that I did not have access to working in clay so I delved into my fiber habits. The two bodies of work were separate paths, but I knew I always wanted them to merge. A few years ago I made myself a yarn bowl and decided to put a face on it similar to my crocheted work. Then and there, I felt I took a step in uniting my methods.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

There have been a few pieces that put a smile on my face over the years. I’ve since parted with all of them, but their memory lingers. There was a super soft cashmere blend white rabbit with an extra large head and floppy ears. Its proportions were just right to make it as adorable as could be.

The latest batch of ceramics I painted, I was particularly fond of. I was trying to channel the subtle colors of winter and was using some peach and blue combos. I was pleased as punch when I pulled them out of the glaze kiln.

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I love to make old new again. The crocheted animals are made with recycled yarns as much as possible. I love to find an old gem of a sweater, one that’s an absurd style or past its fashionable prime. Once, I found a knee-length sweater coat, wildly fuzzy that was the color of Elmo. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It gave me a tough time unraveling it, but it made some fantastic foxes.   

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What did you want to be when you grew up?


An artist and a teacher. I also wanted to travel the world.

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What is your creative process?


Make, make, make. One thing leads to the next.

If I feel uninspired, I take a break and do something else. Bake something, delve into a book with interesting images, or better-get out and experience nature, art, or an exhibit. I try to keep a sketchbook or journal with me all the time so I can make lists or sketches of ideas when they pop up. I enjoy making lists because it helps me feel organized. It’s satisfying to cross items off the list.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Take more pictures!! Document what I was making and what I was doing. I was fortunate to travel a lot 10 years ago, and almost every time arriving at the airport, I’d realize that I’d forgotten my camera. Those trips were a wealth of inspiration for the things I make now. I rely on memories and feelings those experiences gave me.

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?


There are so many reasons to support local artists and makers. It not only helps the local economy, but it elevates the community. Artists make a community sparkle in what they do and who they are as they exist in it.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

I love creating, and building with my hands. I love that my work has the potential to bring people happiness, whether it’s with their morning coffee or a kid cuddled up with one of my animals. I am so lucky to be able to make art and make objects that people enjoy.

As a teacher, I love introducing people of all ages to clay. Giving students the tools to express themselves and guiding them to manipulate the materials to bring their ideas to life.

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



Do what you enjoy doing. Your love will shine through in what you create. Don’t try to do it all because your time is too precious. Ask for help, or hire others to help when needed.

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

I have only participated in one Ohio Explored event so far, and whew! I felt so honored to be a part of it. It was in a gorgeous space with so many talented and polished people. The collection of vendors was supreme and their wares amazing. I could have spent all my money.

Ohio is so lucky to have such creative minds making and working here, and calling it home.

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William & James Leather Co.

Kate Bresnan Messa

William & James Leather Co. is a Cleveland based, small-batch leather goods company focused on timeless, durable and functional design. We interviewed owners Billie (William) and Jimmy (James) DiLella, to learn more about their local business.

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Tell us about your business.

We are Billie (William) and Jimmy (James) DiLella, owners of William & James Leather Co., a small-batch leather goods company based out of Cleveland, OH.  W&J was founded right around the time that we were expecting our first baby. We saw this business as a perfect opportunity to start something of our own, while giving me the ability to stay home with our son.  As many of you know, as first-time parents, we didn’t exactly have all the time we thought we would. Fast-forward a couple of years, another son later, and we finally feel like we have caught our breath. Over the past year, we have focused our time and energy into building William & James into a company that we are proud of.

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What drew you to your craft?

Jimmy's family has been in the leather business for over 40 years, which is where he spent the last 10 years of his career.  He has always had a passion for bags and accessories, and was inspired by his father's leather carry all that he carried everyday for the majority of his career.  We truly appreciate the natural characteristics of leather, how it ages and patinas over time, and we focus on making durable products that will be passed on and cherished for years to come.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

We can’t say that we have one favorite, but a large part of our business is now focused on corporate gifting. We have enjoyed creating relationships with businesses and helping them show appreciation by delivering a leather gift that signifies a certain value in their relationship. The same type of value, that we hope each one of our customers feels when they purchase one of our leather goods.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

Jimmy a MLB General Manager; Billie, a lawyer. While neither of those careers are where we find ourselves today, we feel like we have found an even better fit! While some days are beyond challenging, we love having the opportunity to work with each other.

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What is your creative process?

Our creative process can sometimes be chaotic and most days never the same. During the day, Jimmy works in business development, and I am home with our two boys, so finding time together to go over projects or product designs can sometimes be difficult. We do have very similar design ideas and we pull our inspiration from classic styles. Each new design always involves a lot of trial and error, from initial design, prototyping and then onto production.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Jimmy has always been the adventurous one, me the practical one. So, together our advice would have been that things never go exactly as planned. But that’s okay. Sometimes the best things in life come as a result of the things we didn’t plan and as Jimmy always says, “Never sweat the small stuff!”

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Ohio has such an abundance of truly talented artists’ and makers. When you shop local and support a small business, you are taking an active roll in supporting your local community. You are buying more than just a brand; you have the opportunity to get to know the real person behind that brand.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

We love working with a natural product that has so much character and can be used in various applications. Which is why you will see such variety in the types of leather goods that we make.

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

There will never be the perfect time or an exact moment when you can say for sure you are making the right decision. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and make the jump!

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

We love everything Ohio has to offer. With two small boys, always looking for an adventure, we appreciate the amazing park system and the close proximity to the lake!

Ink+Craft

Kate Bresnan Messa

Ink+Craft creates colorful, contemporary linocut prints and illustrations inspired by folk art, nature, and the landscapes of the Midwest. We interviewed owners Matthew and Ariana Broerman to learn more about their local business in Loveland, Ohio.

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Tell us about your business.

We are Ink+Craft, artists Matthew and Ariana Broerman, creating modern art and illustrations inspired by nature and the Midwest. Matt grew up on a farm in northern Ohio with his parents and three siblings; Ariana is the daughter of immigrant parents and grew up near Dayton with her parents and brother.

We met in college as students of the University of Cincinnati's design program (DAAP). After graduating in 2003, we worked as designers in and around Cincinnati until we started Ink+Craft in 2017. We now live in Loveland with our two daughters, but we really consider ourselves from Ohio more than any one town.

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What drew you to your craft?

A desire to create. Art, printmaking, gardening, sewing -- it is so satisfying to make something from nothing and work to nurture it until it becomes great. Printmaking specifically lets us create designs in the bold, graphic style we like. There are lots of ways to manipulate the outcome of a design: how we carve a block, how the colors overlap, or what type of paper we use can all affect how a print turns out. There’s a human touch that’s apparent in each print, and no two are the same.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

We’re pretty hard critics of our own work, so our favorite things are always the most recent. When we look back at old work, we think about all the new skills and techniques that we’ve learned that would make the art so much better. We guess that means we’re improving.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Matt: I grew up on a farm and I was always out in nature playing with my siblings. When I couldn’t play outside, I’d spend my time inside drawing. My grandmother would give me long reams of connected dot-matrix paper that she got from work, and I would draw these never-ending landscapes of dinosaurs, volcanoes, and jungles, creating my own little world. I didn’t specifically set out to become an artist until recently, but the seeds were there from early on.

Ariana: As a kid, I loved making art and jewelry. I would dream up a necklace design and spend all my allowance on beads, thread, and books that showed different beading and knotting techniques. I remember riding home on the school bus, eager to get home to keep working on my new project. I loved the process of making something as much as the end result.

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What is your creative process?

First we need to get inspired, and that usually comes from nature. We live in an area where woodpeckers, foxes, hawks, and deer are right outside our windows. We’re fascinated by the forms and fluidity of nature. How an animal can choose to be strong and bold, or how they can disappear into the background. Nature is a system where everything works together in harmony. We try and capture that in our work, taking inspiration from what we see. We do a lot of sketches, most of which are terrible. But then we hit on an idea, or a way of capturing a scene that is powerful, elegant, and full of personality. That’s what we’re chasing, and it’s pretty elusive. By they time we’re ready to print, we have a good idea of what the final will look like. We’re self-taught printmakers, and we’re still learning the nuances of the linocut printing process. Where do you add texture? How do colors interact? Every print is different, which is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. Printmaking will definitely test your nerves.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Take the opportunities that come your way. If you don’t know how to do something, learn. If you fail, try again. Don’t worry so much about the path you’re supposed to take. Oh, and wear sunscreen.

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Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Support the things you love. When you buy from an independent maker, your money gives them the opportunity to continue creating the things you love. Artists put a lot of effort into all the details of their work, and it feels great when that’s appreciated.

Why do you love doing what you do?

Freedom. We’re grateful to work together and live this lifestyle. Being artists and running our own business takes a lot of time, but we’ve always felt that you have to put in the time to get a good result in anything you do. We’re showing our daughters that you can build the life you want through hard work and creativity. It’s not just “talent” that makes you successful. Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration… right?

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

Just start! Even if it’s only in the evenings or on weekends, take steps forward every day. Look at what else is out there, and work to distinguish yourself and your craft. Also, it’s not all sunshine and roses. It’s hard work, and it requires sacrifice, but we think it’s worth it.

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

Ohio is our home, and we’re both lifelong residents. We’ve lived on rural farmland, in big cities, and now in suburban Loveland, a great town with small independent shops, restaurants, and parks. We love the variety that Ohio has, and the intimate communities nestled all over. One thing we’ve consistently heard from people who have moved to Ohio is how genuine and kind people here are. It’s a wonderful place to raise kids and start your own new (ad)venture.

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Papillon Handcrafted

Kate Bresnan Messa

Inspired by travel and conservation, Papillon Handcrafted Jewelry Co. creates beautiful metal pieces as part of small collections. We interviewed owner Jessica Donnelly to learn more about her local business in Cleveland, OH.

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Tell us about your business.

Hello! I'm Jessica Donnelly, the owner of Papillon Handcrafted Jewelry Co. I created Papillon Handcrafted in November of 2018 and run the business from my home studio in Cleveland, Ohio. I'm just a one-woman show, trying my best to spread awareness through my love of creating jewelry.

There are quite a few things that motivate and inspire my jewelry designs. For starters, I have always been a traveler. While I was young, my family was always on the move. I have lived in 4 different states and have traveled to all of them except Alaska and Hawaii. In my adult years, I have done long term road trips all over the USA and Canada, and with that, I have found my true inspiration for my art.

I release small collections (5-10 one of a kind pieces) every few weeks. Each collection focuses on either a destination, an insect, or an environmental movement that I support. Conservation is very important to me. My jewelry studio is eco-friendly, all of my packaging comes from recycled product and quarterly I donate a portion of my profits to an environmental organization that promotes collective impact.

I'm hoping to create change in our world. I want my jewelry to inspire you to get outside or travel somewhere new, and of course to protect the earth and to wear something meaningful.

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What drew you to your craft?

I have always been a maker, but this all started while I was studying glassmaking at Kent State University. I attended an introduction to jewelry/metals course and fell in love with manipulating metal. For me, jewelry-making is very meditative, but I also loved the teamwork and community that is needed for glass blowing. After graduating in 2010, the glass world consumed my creative side for quite a few years. But eventually, I realized that my passion wasn't fulfilled and I decided to make a change.

In 2015, I became a jewelry assistant for a maker in Cleveland, Ohio. After that, I worked as a bench jeweler for Signet Jewelers but knew I needed to be making jewelry on my own. After coming up with a plan and building my home studio, I quit my full-time job to pursue my dream.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

This is a tough question because I truly love just about everything I have made so far. But if I have to choose one piece, I think it would be the hairpin from the Insecta Collection: Beetles. The hairpin features sterling silver, copper and brass, which are the three metals I mainly work with. Quite a few processes were involved in making the pin. First, I drew all of the beetles by hand and then scanned them into Adobe to make a vector image. Next, I printed the images on a resisting paper to be transferred onto the metal. After the positives and negatives were transferred, I used a high-frequency saltwater bath to etch the images into the metals. Each etched beetle was then hand-pierced (sawed), filed and then soldered onto a backing. I also set a large piece of Mookaite, which is a healing stone found in Australia. It is known to empower one to connect with the electromagnetic energy currents of the Earth.

I had a lot of trouble making the hairpin. The original design required every part to be soldered onto one piece of sterling silver, but after two fails, I chose to separate the set stone from the etched beetles. I think the end result allows the hairpin to sit beautifully and it is not as weighted as it would have been in one large piece.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid, I loved using my hands, while excavating in my backyard to try and find bugs or fossils, or while I was painting, drawing or gluing some kind of craft. I played quite a few instruments too. I remember wanting to be a bunch of things, an archeologist, a surgeon, a hairdresser, an art teacher. I guess it makes sense because each profession uses their hands.

What is your creative process?

I am constantly thinking about what I can create. Most of my ideas come to me after I have been out in nature or after reflecting on a place I have traveled to. Currently, I am working on a collection inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains. As I have been designing this collection, I look back at pictures from a solo road trip that took me all along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I try to remember the smells and the sounds, and my emotions. As I am creating the actual metal pieces, I try to place the fears, the excitement and the beauty from that area all into each piece.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Never stop believing in yourself! It took me a while to fully commit to my jewelry business and that was because I was afraid to fail. But now I’m finally doing it and I am truly living my happiest life.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

Supporting anything local helps create a strong economy. When you shop local, you have a lower impact on the environment, you keep the money in your city and you're connected to the person behind it all. You become a part of that creator's story, as they do to yours. The quality is almost always a sure bet as well!

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Why do you love doing what you do?

I enjoy running my jewelery business because it provides me a space to do all of the things I love to do. I love to use my hands, I love to travel, I really enjoy writing and taking photos, and I have a passion for conservation and raising awareness on the topic.

Making jewelry helps me meditate, reflect and feel grateful for the experiences and relationships I have been so lucky to come across.

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

Just go for it and be yourself. Don’t compare your ideas to the successes, or even failures, of another business. Develop your plan, your support system and go for it!

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

Everything! Honestly! Ohio has so much life to it and many people have no idea it is there. Lake Erie, Hocking Hills, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are just to name a few. I grew up next to the national park and have always loved exploring the rock formations and hiking to all of the waterfalls, I even got married there! The fact that we live in all four seasons is so important to me as well. The weather can be unpredictable and I love it! I enjoy snowboarding, paddleboarding, skateboarding, hiking, climbing, biking, running, lounging in my hammock and watching the beautiful sunsets over Lake Erie.

Ohio really does have it all, except mountains :)

Hewn Pottery

Kate Bresnan Messa

Hewn pottery creates human-made pottery for curious collectors, where imperfections are celebrated and each piece is unique and purposeful. We interviewed owner Jordan Haughn to learn more about her local business in Westerville, OH.

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Tell us about your business.

Hewn pottery is small-batch ceramic studio with a focus on crafting humble silhouettes with rich color, made to be modern and cheerful. Hewn’s work is rooted in the belief that creating something by hand allows for appreciation for the unique, rather than perfection. Each piece is imperfect and celebrates hand-made.

I first started working with clay in a local studio as a way to thoughtfully disconnect from my everyday stresses. In 2018 I officially opened Hewn Pottery in my home studio in the heart of Westerville Ohio. I spend countless hours in the studio exploring new techniques and allowing myself to make mistakes.

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What drew you to your craft?

I love solving a good puzzle and ceramics is the perfect storm of creative problem solving and classic aesthetic. For a creator that means crafting a balance between form and function, and ceramics allows me to do that - it has a way of challenging my strategic ambitions while fueling my creative outlets.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

I would have to say that my most favorite piece to date is anything from my figurine collection. What I love about them is how they have a way of pulling people in and being something you want to pick up and explore further. I create them by using a clay extruder and forming them into abstract shapes, that are geometric and organic. They started as a fun way to test the new colors in my studio, so they are much more chromatic than my other work, and have a cheerful nature. So much of what I create is based on function, and it’s really fun to create something that’s sole purpose is to be enjoyed.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

Anything fine arts. Seriously, it would change day-to-day when I was younger, for a while I was really into fashion, then I would focus on sketching and painting, or creating figurines out of wood - anything to keep my creative mind busy. I was always dreaming up my next big thing, creating prototypes and just exploring. I think I always new I wanted to start my own business, but I never really knew what, just that it had to be in the creative field.

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What is your creative process?

Since I prefer a simple silhouette as my base my design aesthetic is driven by color.  When I see a color I like it becomes the cornerstone of my my whole collection and l build off that to create the rest of palette. After that I start sketching the silhouettes that will work well with those colors.

Since I only fire my pieces three times a year, the firing process takes about a month. During that month I will only work on concepting my next collection and will leave plenty of time to experiment with new techniques and colors.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was just graduating high school and focusing on my career path. I had to find a balance between dreaming big and being practical, and I did - I eventually got a degree in graphic design, which allowed me have a creative outlet while nourishing my career ambitions.

I was happy in my career, but over time I let my artistic side slip. When I looked around at my graphic design peers and they were so into to design that I felt I had to be too - that if I wanted to be part of that world I would have to be all in. Eventually that wasn’t enough, I found myself getting frustrated at work and missing creating something with my hands, so I started setting aside time for the other things I love like painting, sketching and making. Now I work as a graphic design and a potter, and I could not be happier.

So if there was anything I could tell my younger self, I would tell her that she doesn’t need to to choose who she wants to be, she just has to be who she is. You can love and enjoy more than one thing. You can and be a part of more than one world, chase the things that make you happy, because your work will be better because of it.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

There are two stories tied to anything an artist/maker creates, the first being the markers story and their journey, and the second being your story with that object. When you buy from a local maker you are essentially buying part of you community’s greater story. That story is preserved in that object and connects you deeper into your community because you are now part of the makers’ story and the maker is part of yours.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

Creating something with your hands helps you stay in the moment and connects you to the here and now. Pottery is more tangible outlet to create pieces others will enjoy.

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

Having talent or a great idea is a good start but knowing how you will use that talent is so important. Give yourself time to succeed. Take the time to define your business goals and what your product or service will be.

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

I love that you are never too far away from nature. I was raised in a small town where you were always close to open fields and quite retreats, and now living in a metro area there are still peaceful moments not too far away in the form of a metro park or hiking path. Ohio is a special place where it seems like the pace of life doesn’t overpower the importance of family and human connection.

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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!

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

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!

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

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.

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

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!

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

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!

Dippity and Snark Ohio Maker Mart

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.

Shore Society Ohio Maker Mart

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