Tag Archives: virginia made

Virginia Made – Guy Piper

Meet Marion Hedgepeth

Written by Faith Jones of Hill City HandmadeEvery day our social media feeds and timelines are full of hilarious memes. Most of the time they’re attached to instant thoughts of “that’s so me!” or a flash of a friend’s face who fits the description to a tee. “The mind of a creative person is like a web browser that has 2,857 tabs open all the time.” One would be hard pressed to find a maker who would debate this popular quote to be untrue. Marion Hedgepeth is one who agrees wholeheartedly. 

Marion’s maker journey began at the age of ten years old when she learned to knit. During her senior year in college, she opened her first handmade shop on Etsy. As with all things after college, life happens. A full-time job and being a full-time wife and mother took priority until 2015. Things began to change as she and her husband moved to Richmond from Lynchburg and she became a stay-at-home mom. Marion knew that this was her chance to begin rebranding her knitting business into Guy Piper (Handmade + Vintage). 

Inspired by the middle names of her daughters, Rebecca and Olive, Guy Piper has taken off in the last three years. Marion’s one stop shop for clever mugs and handmade accessories (including tote bags), speak to customers through pop culture and current events. If you’re a fan of those quirky ladies of the Golden Girls, you’re sure to find that quote from Sophia, Rose or Blanche on a mug. Yes, the one you wouldn’t dare say aloud. The handsewn tote bags of Guy Piper provide inspirational quotes on the outside and bold patterns that reflect her love of fabrics on the inside. A recently renovated sunroom in the Hedgepeth home serves as her studio and workspace. Yet another creative DIY Marion took on herself. 

As if she doesn’t have enough on her plate with one successful business, this maker is also the co-owner of Merry Bee Photobooth Co. “I have always described myself as a ‘restless creator’—meaning I’m always moving from one project to the next. I’m not quite happy if I’m not working on something.” Though it’s often tough to juggle homeschooling, running a store, photo booths and being a mommy, the future looks bright. Marion envisions Guy Piper expanding beyond her online shop and local craft markets and into retail stores.

Aside from working creatively, Marion enjoys her garden and hanging with her peeps. That would be peeps as in the four chickens she calls her BFFs. The surprises from this maker don’t end there. One of her life goals is to have a pet dwarf caiman someday to feed her crocodile/alligator obsession. That someday depends on a change of heart from her husband, which does not look promising in the near future.

For now, Marion is content spending time with her family and snuggling with her peeps as often as possible. www.guypiper.etsy.com

 

Faith Jones is a local entrepreneur, creative, and believer.  Her businesses include Faith Inspired and The Hill City Handmade. Faith has a degree in Art and Photography and is a former high school art and culinary teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling. Faith’s motto is, “Paris is always a good idea.”  www.thehillcityhandmade.com

 

Virginia Made

Meet Lora Cartrett of Tater Tot Trends

Written by Faith Jones, Hill City Handmade

Tribe. Sisterhood. Movement. All things that today’s woman longs for and needs as she battles the day to day of balancing family, career, life, and self. Lora Cartrett, the founder of Tater Tots Trends, is no different. They are words that she never expected to use to describe the business. Yet, it has become everything the 35-year-old founder wanted her Concord, VA based trendy jewelry line to represent. 

Tater Tots Trends began as a creative outlet for Lora as she transitioned from working outside of the home as the director of a daycare to a stay at home mom. As her children were so young, she naturally began making a variety of unique and fun baby items. The brightlycolored and whimsical bows, headbands and bowties quickly took off. Between pop up shops in her mom’s home, craft markets and selling on social media, Lora found herself busier than she ever imagined. Then life threw more than a few major curve balls and Tater Tots Trends took a backseat to personal and family well-being. 

There is nothing quite like going through a storm that gives a whole new perspective on life. Lora’s journey took her down a path of insecurity, hopelessness, postpartum depression, devastation, and loss. In her survival, she discovered a new self-awareness that needed to be reflected in the business. As Tater Tots Trends began its return, the name remained the same, but the vibe was different. Jewelry was the focus and women were the priority. This revitalization was for Lora and every other woman who longed to feel accepted and beautiful wherever they are in the journey. 

Visiting Tater Tots’ social media pages, one can’t help but notice the diversity of women (and their daughters) posting daily photos wearing TTT. Women are complimenting, supporting and cheering each other on. They are proudly shouting that even though they may not be feeling their best or having the best day, one pair of earrings can evoke the TTT motto, Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful. It is a safe space to post filter free and feel a certain celebrity status throughout the day as likes and comments promote the “You go girl!” feeling. It is then that you realize, this is not just about accessories. 

“Tater Tots Trends is a movement. It has evolved into so much more than ladies’ jewelry. It has moved into a tribe full of women who empower and inspire one another!” 

Even as she sits on the first day of a beach vacation, Lora assures her customers turned sisters, that the TTT team will take good care of them in her absence. Her two daughters and son (whose nickname inspired the business name), plus her husband Joe (deemed her fourth child) will always take priority. The journey continues and storms may still arise but with a supportive family and thousands of “sisters” by her side, Lora is at peace in her newfound purpose. 

FindTaterTotTrends: 

www.tatertotstrends.store

Instagram: @tatertottrends 

Facebook: /tatertottrends 

BELLA MAGAZINE DEAL!

Use code BELLA for a FREE pair of earrings with purchase during August.

 

Faith Jones is a local entrepreneur, creative, and believer. Her businesses include Faith Inspired and The Hill City Handmade. Faith has a degree in Art and Photography and is a former high school art and culinary teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling. Faith’s motto is, “Paris is always a good idea.” www.thehillcityhandmade.com 

Virginia Made: TeTai

Meet Tabitha Venditti of TeTai

Summer vibes have finally arrived. Sunshine, warmth and vacations. Beaches are calling your name and cookouts on the weekends become norm. Fun in the sun is the theme for June as outdoor activities are planned for the entire family. Through all the chaos there’s one thing that sometimes takes the back burner. Skincare. That’s where Tabitha Venditti, founder of TeTai, a natural skincare line, comes in.

Tabitha grew up in Portland, Oregon and later moved to Pennsylvania. In 1993, she found herself in Lynchburg attending Liberty University. Twenty-five years, and a family later, Virginia is where they call home. Tabitha recently completed a degree in English from Lynchburg College. Raising a family, running a business and working for a local family as a personal chef while taking classes was not an easy task. Not a woman to back down from a challenge, Tabitha not only completed her degree but graduated with special recognition for her writing abilities.

TeTai began as a challenge as well. Named after her two daughters (Tegan and Taitum). It all started when Tabitha’s oldest daughter, Tegan’s, eczema became more and more problematic. An aunt in Hawaii sent the family a recipe for a scrub using oil and sea salt that helped but was too oily for the three-year-old. Tabitha took on the challenge of creating a product her daughter could use with success. The result was a unique scrub that combined seven unique oils, fine sea salt and essential oil of lavender. The natural product healed Tegan’s skin without all the harsh chemicals and created a demand among friends and families.

“Every product I make bears the names of my daughters and represent quality. I couldn’t sell it if I didn’t believe in its quality.” Each product created within the skincare line covers a variety of issues within the skin for both men and women. From extremely oily to dry, sensitive skin and acne, there’s a little something for everyone. Scrubs, bath bombs, toners, facial oils and essential oils are just a few naturally-based products offered. The newest additions of TeTai were motivated by Tabitha’s own need for a regime to combat large pores and sagging, aging skin. The TeTai Toner and facial oil combination of argan oil and organic lavender solved her problems better than any name brand skincare without costing hundreds of dollars.

Tabitha’s passion for her daughters and leading a natural lifestyle are what have built TeTai into a trusted brand amongst her clients. Her willingness to research, experiment, fall and get back up again are examples of the tenacity it takes to run a successful small business. As her friends were asked to describe Tabitha their words matched everything reflected in her business. Words like “passionate, young-at-heart, determined, quirky, vivacious and loving” were just a few mentioned. When she’s not experimenting for TeTai you can find Tabitha enjoying her college and high school-aged daughters, reading To Kill A Mockingbird, or watching Jumanji through tears. On Saturdays, catch TeTai at the Historic Roanoke City Market and various craft shows around Virginia.

Find TeTai:

www.etsy.com/shop/tetai   USE BELLA CODE: BELLA for 20% OFF

 

www.tetai365.com

Written by Faith Jones of Hill City Handmade

Faith Jones is a local entrepreneur, creative, and believer.  Her businesses include Faith Inspired and The Hill City Handmade. Faith has a degree in Art and Photography and is a former high school art and culinary teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling. Faith’s motto is, “Paris is always a good idea.” 

www.thehillcityhandmade.com

Local business: Hawk + Owl Weaving

Meet Jen Whitcomb of Hawk + Owl Weaving

Interview by Samantha Fantozzi

How did you get your start with Hawk and Owl?

So my business came about from the need to just be creative again. I studied art in college and a couple years ago I stumbled across Maryanne Moodie; an Australian, well-known female weaver. And within the weaving world, she’s super popular. She made me want to learn to weave. Her weavings were super colorful, and full of texture and I thought ‘I really have to try that’: so, I did. And people really wanted to by them, which was a surprise. I didn’t plan on that becoming an actual business. But when they started reaching out to me, I opened an Etsy shop and it took off from there.

How did you come up with the name?

It’s about my kids. I have twins; boy and girl. My daughter was a really bad sleeper, so she was the night owl. My son was the opposite. They used to share a room, so it was totally insane. One would be awake, and one would be sleeping. So, when it came time to come up with a fictitious name, I had a hard time deciding and I finally landed on something funny that reminded me of them. Plus, my husband is super into birds, he can do like 400 different bird calls so it’s kind of a thing within our family. Not too much to do with weaving, just more of a family connection.

What kind of weavings can customers expect to find in your shop?

My color selections change seasonally, as do the designs. I don’t really plan out my designs, they’re mostly geometric, free-form weaving. They come in a variety of sizes from extra-large to small, and I also take custom orders. I try to have between 10 and 15 things in my shop at a time. Closer to the holidays I offer more smaller pieces like tassels and pom-poms. But, on a regular basis, just a broad selection of random geometric and bright pieces.

How long have you been weaving?

Not long, I would say 3 ½ years. I picked it up pretty quickly. I made my first loom. I took a premade frame that had canvas on it that was meant for painting. I stripped the canvas off and used the frame and hammered in some nails. After that, I started ordering professional looms. Made my first loom and just went to town: didn’t take too long to get into it.

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve done?

I made a piece as a submission for a New England based magazine called Taproot Magazine. It was really big and had lots of heavy fringe. I photographed it on the Blue Ridge parkway and I still have it. It was fun to make, and it’s become one of my favorite pieces.

Find Jen on Facebook at Hawk + Owl Weaving; Instagram at hawk_and_owl_weaving; and hawkandowlweaving.com. Her website contains a small portfolio of her work. If you wish to make a purchase, you can either click her Etsy shop from her website or go to the shop directly at etsy.com/shop/hawkandowlweaving. She also posts about upcoming events, such as workshops and pop-up events, on her website. She does classes through Wool Workshop in Roanoke and will be having one this April.

 

Virginia Made: The Leather Lotus

Little green sprouts will soon begin to make their debut. The occasional hint of a warm day will bring smiles to faces and a little extra pep to everyone’s step. It may not feel like it quite yet but spring is on the horizon. With the start of each new season comes inspiration and new ideas. Her love of the outdoors is where Taylor Smith finds her own creative inspiration to create handmade jewelry. A reflection of leather and natural beauty, her business The Leather Lotus is taking everyday casual to the next level.

Inspired by the colors of the season, Taylor’s jewelry is designed around a carefully selected stone or piece of metal before various colored leather is chosen to complement the element. The textures and shapes used seem right at home in her favorite photo studio, the great outdoors, as she photographs each piece for her Etsy shop. Taylor still remembers fondly the day she heard “cha-ching!” the sound that has become music to an online seller’s ears. Having no idea what it meant, she looked at her phone and was ecstatic to find notification of her first sale, a leather wrap bracelet. To this day, the sound still evokes the same excitement as if it were the very first.  More than a few products later, the fringe earrings offered by The Leather Lotus are this maker’s must have wardrobe accessory. “Something about fringe just seems like so much fun to me. Pair them with a basic tee and jeans and suddenly I feel excited!”

The best of both worlds is how Taylor describes her life as a stay at home mom and entrepreneur. She takes pride in the two young boys, Grayson (4) and Finn (2) whom she and her husband are now raising in Roanoke. A native of the area and a Hokie for life, there’s no place Taylor would rather be than outside with her boys chasing chickens. Although, a vacation to the small island in Puerto Rico where she and her husband honeymooned or Spain would not be unwelcome. Nap times are for making jewelry and craft shows a welcome break in the routine of full-time wife and mother. It’s a way to connect with amazing customers as well as fellow makers who have become friends. Taylor’s advice to anyone contemplating starting a new business? “Go for it! I had so many hesitations when I started this. It has grown more than I ever thought it would and I love every minute of it.”

This month, we will hosting a giveaway on our Facebook page for The Leather Lotus! Taylor is giving away a $50 gift card to her Etsy page! Stay tuned!
Also, use the code BELLA during the month of March for 20% off in her shop!

Find The Leather Lotus:
theleatherlotus.etsy.com
FB: /theleatherlotus
IG: /theleatherlotus

 

Written by Faith Jones

Virginia Made: Shop Local!

Cozy. The word itself evokes images of crackling fires and hot chocolate with extra marshmallows. Cold days are here and snow is on the horizon. Extra blankets are thrown over beds, winter decorations adorn the walls and scarves are a must. The season for all things cozy and warm has arrived.

Simple and classic. That’s how Chandy Haskins of The Nifty Needles describes her knitting style. Taught at a young age by her oldest sister, the 24-year-old has turned a hobby into a business. Palettes of navy, gray, and cream come to life in her downtown historical Danville apartment. There Chandy creates puffy cloud-like blankets using super soft bulky yarn. “I am definitely the cat lady of the family, known for my love of naps and carrying my own blanket to the movie theatre.” When she’s not knitting Chandy is likely to be hiking, reading with her cat, or watching old movies. That is, if she’s not travelling the world.  (Find Chandy on Instagram @theniftyneedles. This month, she is giving away a 45×65 Bulky Knit Blanket to one lucky Bella reader! She has also provided a coupon code for free shipping:SHIPMEFREE12.)

Under over, under over, under over. As a working mom of two young children, Christine Dwyer is no stranger to stress. Looking for a creative outlet from her day to day job in public relations, Christine discovered the meditative process of fiber arts. Learning through books and tutorials, a class with Maryanne Moodie along with a nudge from friends and family, inspired her to start Copper and Fringe. The unique wall creations are made on a frame loom using cotton, wool and alpaca yarn for varying textures and are customized to order. “Advice starting a business? Don’t rush into it. Take it slow, hone your skill, and invest time. The rest will come.”
Christine enjoys weaving, teaching classes and spending time with family in the Virginia Beach area. Find her at West Elm and somewhere between avoiding seafood and grooving to Landslide by Stevie Nicks.  (Email Christine at copperandfringe@gmail.com, or find her on Instagram @copperandfringe! This month, she is giving away a free custom small weaving to one lucky Bella reader.)

The Minted Evergreen is more than just the name of a business. For Kasie Chapman it brings back memories of her childhood home in Michigan surrounded by blue spruce trees and camping amongst evergreens. Kasie is a self-taught maker of knits, crochet and macramé in Lynchburg. She enjoys working in earth tones and neutrals with a pop of color to create stylish knitwear and home décor. “I’m a wife, mama, believer, maker and wanna-be homesteader.
Making and Jesus are what help keep me sane. Well, those and date nights.” Kasie and her husband hope to own a farm one day. In the meantime, homeschooling her wildlings, gardening, and tacos will have to do. (Find Kasie on Instagram @themintedevergreen. This month, she’s giving away a $50 credit to her Etsy shop to one lucky Bella reader, and offering a coupon code: MEETMINTEDINBELLA for 15%off!)

 

Written by Faith Jones of The Hill City Handmade and Faith Inspired.