This week we are featuring Sara Sparks of Bear Co., a shop of cultural and bohemian wonders for all the free spirits out there! You will find products from bootcuffs and necklaces, to home decor and bags all in her shop. We love that Sara celebrates different cultures through her art! We think it is awesome when an artist can speak towards the environment they are most familiar with and at the same time expand their viewpoint to the beauty found in other’s perspectives. Many of the pieces found on Bear Co. are a thoughtful expression of the cultures that have directly inspired Sara through her travels or dream destinations, and each piece is always handmade. Something we think is pretty special in and of itself. Read on to learn more about Sara and her shop!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: Oh boy! Where to start! Well, I’m 25, engaged to my middle school sweetheart, and a registered Occupational Therapist (OT… that just so happens to love making jewelry and all other crafts that I seem to run into! I am a complete animal lover, outdoor adventurer, world traveler, and a total introverted extrovert. I am also biracial – Iranian American – and complete enjoy celebrating my Iranian culture. My heritage and fascination with all things culture have a huge influence on my Bear Co designs.
: How did your shop, Bear Co., get started?
: It all started while I was in Occupational Therapy (OT) school. I was living the broke grad student and needed a creative outlet to relieve some stress. My fiance actually brought up the idea that I start an Etsy shop, because he recognized my situation and stressors. At first I was super hesitant, due to all the responsibility that would come with starting a business venture, but now I am so glad that I did! Starting Bear Co. has definitely helped me with my initial motivators – stress and money – but it has also helped me meet new people, venture to new stores and locations, and even enabled me with a new sense of creativity!.
Today we’re excited to share the story of Abby Alley from Zuri Collection. Being a conscious consumer is so important, so we love what Abby has to say about her mission and the women behind her brand. We, ourselves, love to purchase fair trade items or buy from brands that give back to a cause or create job opportunities in the communities that need them. If you’re going to buy a product anyway, why not choose one that makes a positive impact? We love Abby’s heart for Tanzania and the women who create all of the gorgeous, handcrafted items for Zuri Collection. Read along to hear more about the impact her business is making and see some of the beautiful pieces the talented artisans of Tanzania make.
: Tell us about yourself!
: My name is Abby Alley, and I grew up outside Chicago, but have been living in the city for the past 10 years. I have two younger sisters who both live in Chicago, which is so much fun! A few fun facts about me: I’m a Cubs fan, the beach is my happy place, I suffer from a bad case of wanderlust ;), and my faith is really what drives what I do.
Happy Feature Friday! Today we’re featuring Kaia Bakken, the creator behind DustlingandHart. We were mesmerized when we first saw her leather and resin books! We love how she incorporates natural elements into all of her pieces and think her journals would be perfect for writing all your daily thoughts down! She’s self taught and has great advice for those looking to get started on their own creative endeavor. Keep reading to learn more about her and her creations!
: Hey Kaia! We’d love if you could tell us a little about yourself.
: I’m a 25 year-old mother and wife currently living in the magical state of Oregon. A Midwest native, I grew up in Minnesota and plan to move back there with our little family this year. Art is my life and passion, I read fantasy novels when I can, and I love taking photos of the day-to-day. Nature inspires me and I collect most of it for my work whenever we go on hiking adventures or walks about the neighborhood.
: You have such beautiful leather books, resin work and illustrations in your Etsy shop, DustlingandHart. Describe the creative journey you took to create your products and shop.
: I’ve always loved drawing and writing – I’ve been doing it since I could pick up a crayon – but I didn’t start working with leather until a few years ago. My husband and I had just gotten married and we’d discussed me quitting my part-time barista gig to dive full-on into my passion. That’s when I really started up my Etsy. There was so much freedom and joy there – the jobs I had been working were really weighing down on me, and I wanted to do more of what I was skilled in. I began illustrating my own coloring book and experimenting with different methods of art, including making hardcover books.
This week we are featuring Michelle Bolick! She is the maker behind all the amazing creations of PineNeedle Stitches. We love everything Michelle is doing in her shop from her wood slice paintings, hand stitched books to ornaments. When so many things are made in the masses and digitally viewed it’s nice to see natural medias and hand created notebooks still in use. She is also doing great things through the sale of her products through her initiative the, Love You More Project, benefiting Alzheimer research and awareness. As most of you guys know, we think it is so awesome and impactful when people use their talents to give back. To learn more about this project and Michelle’s journey behind PineNeedle Stitches, read on!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: My name is Michelle and I am a high school art teacher by day, artist and small business owner by night. Creating is my passion and my high school art teacher inspired me to be where I am today. When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my husband, family or my sweet basset hound, Winslow!
Today we’re bringing to you a fun interview with Katie Favors who makes an amazing assortment of handmade gifts! We love “just because” gifts and think her products would be the perfect thing to surprise your group of friends with! It’s so awesome that she creates everything herself and is also able to customize her favors to give them that personal touch! Katie is also an advocate for small businesses and has some great tips for those looking to get started on a creative endeavor of their own! Keep reading to hear what she has to say and if you’re looking for a party favor whether it be magnets, bottle openers, pocket mirrors and more – look no further than Katie Favors! Make sure to follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and check out her Etsy store while you’re at it!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: I live just outside DC with my headstrong puppy Bayleigh. I’m a planner, known for starting my Christmas shopping in February. If I’m not working on my small business, I’m exploring one of the many vineyards close by, planning weekenders with friends, or learning a new hobby. My passion aside from running my own small business has been helping empower other small businesses to tackle communication challenges. We’re all in this together and championing other creatives only strengthens our community!