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Summer is the perfect season to accessorize so we are extra excited to introduce you to Leah Mead of Jane Elizabeth Jewelry. She is a wifey, momma of two boys, and resident of Gladwin, Michigan. Somewhere in between family life and her own hobbies including a basketball league and running road races, she manages to make time for her jewelry business. Leah started making jewelry when she was a child, she says “not good jewelry, though.” The more simple kind that kids make stringing pony beads onto a piece of elastic kind of jewelry :) As you will see at the bottom of this post and visiting her site, her skills have come a long way, but she says her reason remains the same, “I just love creating things!”

Her business is named after her mom, Jane Elizabeth, who Leah says she inherited her creativity from. Her mom was always working on a project and Leah seems to embody that same characteristic in her life. Leah also loves spending outdoors and draws a lot of her inspiration for her pieces from the beautiful colors and textures of nature. Her favorite part of the process is when someone buys a pieces of jewelry she’s made, “I am still humbled every time someone loves something that I created.” Right now she’s really loving working with leather in her jewelry.

You can shop her amazing handmade accessories by stopping in to see us, clicking the link below or following her on social media to see when her next shows will be.

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We are excited to introduce you to a very close-to-home-maker this month: Jen Faber of ScrapFaery! Jen was born and raised in Midland and still resides there to this day. She also got some higher education at a couple places locals might recognize - Delta College, and Saginaw Valley State University! Jen says she grew up around makers (granny dabbled in a bit of everything and mom and sister knit and quilt) so making has always come naturally to her.

Her first run-in with the business side of things with regard to making was in the jewelry department. She made necklaces and posted them on Etsy as well as created custom pieces for co-workers around the office. Soon after she was able to sell her jewelry in a storefront and once that realm of the business was established she moved on to making with paper. Jen explains, “I have more paper than is necessary for a single human being. I have crates of notebook paper, scrapbook paper, graph paper, dot paper, etc. I was already making my own travel journals and day planners -- making junk journals seemed like a natural progression.” The name of her business was another natural progression being that she working with scraps of paper, fabric, and miscellaneous jewelry pieces.

Right now ScrapFaery is a fun side gig for Jen but she would love for it to be full time once day. Her favorite part of the process (like several of our makers) is the creation process. She loves going through her stash and selecting the perfect papers, envelopes, and other pieces necessary for her scrap journals. You can find Jen’s unique items in our store or by visiting her Etsy shop below. BONUS FOR YOU THIS MONTH ONLY, she’s giving you 20% off your purchase in her online shop, just use the code HALFMILE20 at checkout!

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This month we are pleased to introduce you to Ashley Buckner from Ash & Ivy out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her Instagram bio reads, “maker of modern goods for newborn - toddlerhood + custom orders.” Ashley is a lifelong west-sider with a serious adoration for the lake shore. She and her hubby love the Grand Rapids area and have no intentions of leaving anytime soon. She started crafting all the way back in high school making bows for cheerleading teams. When she went off to college she discovered that not everyone was into bows, and asked her grandma to help her take up sewing. She took a 20 year old machine back to the dorms with her and the rest as they say is history.

Ashley can’t can’t pinpoint a specific day when this adventure became an official small business but explains, “one day I just woke up and was like, man I really want to own my own shop and work for myself.” She originally started out with a different business name but changed all of that up last March bringing a cohesive brand and business name to the table: Ash & Ivy. Ash is short for her name and Ivy represents her business a whole, the way that ivy has a tendency to encompass all.

Right now Ash & Ivy is a side hustle when she’s not working at the hospital, but one day Ashley hopes to make it a full-time endeavor. Her favorite part in the process is shopping for supplies (and who wouldn’t, right?!). Make sure you check out her one-for-one elephants and their story, as well as her Lifestyle/DIY/Business blog here. You can shop a handful of her handmade items in our store or by clicking the link below!

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This months maker feature is Jessica VanderVere from Bee Joyful Shop, who’s business focuses on alternatives to single use plastics. Jessica is a Michigan girl - born and raised in Allegan, Michigan and still living here with her five children today! Growing up, she and her family lived completely off the grid (AKA no electricity and no running water) which ultimately helped her learn to be incredibly resourceful. This quality spirit still shines through in her life and business to this day.

Long before plastic wrap was created, Jessica recalls her grandmother using beeswax wraps to seal food. What is now Bee Joyful Shop started as a simple idea Jessica explains, “creating and using sustainable, earth-friendly materials to store food, instead of harmful plastic wraps” was the end goal. She initially started making the wraps with her family and neighbors in mind and put some up for sale on Etsy not knowing if anyone else would even be interested in something like this. The name for her business comes from a Bible verse that has resonated with her throughout her life. Romans 12:12: be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Jessica says, “to me, that verse encourages us to always be joyful, no matter your situation. Bee Joyful isn’t just a company name, it’s a mindset, a way of thinking, and a way of living at peace.”

Two years later, Bee Joyful Shop is proud to be plastic free and helping others’ to achieve the same. Her most popular item is the three-pack of bee patterned material. Jessica joined us when we opened our City Market location and has been an amazing addition to all the unique handmade products we carry in store! You can find her items at the shop, or by clicking the link below.

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Coincidence that February furry friends is an alliteration? We think not! This month we are thrilled to introduce you to Dawn Farrell of ToasteePups where you can find all things for your furry best friend! Dawn is a proud Michigander growing up in the Flint area and attending school in Bay City, Mt. Pleasant, Kalamazoo, and Ypsilanti earning all kinds of degrees and accreditations along the way. She initially worked in interior design and eventually ended up teaching a variety of high school classes for 21 years.

The first dog related item that Dawn ever created was fleece coats for her own dogs in 2015. Her popular ‘slip-through-the-collar-bandanas’ started shortly after that. Since those beginnings she’s added even more dog accessories to her product line including crate beds, snuffle mats, and most recently ToasteePouches (a fleece and Sherpa bag for pets). Dawn explains, “the name ToasteePups came from when my children would wrap up our first Dachshund up like a burrito and call her a ToasteePup.” We think that’s an awesome origin story!

Dawn loves every part of her process from picking out unique fabrics, creation, mailing finished products to cute pets, and all of the adorable fan photos that follow. Right now Dawn does ToasteePups on a part time basis since she is still teaching. However, she has plans to retire this year which will give her more time to devote to her handmade business. You can stop in and shop ToasteePups products with us in store or visit her website below.

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We are excited to be back at maker features after our half-a-month-long giveaway marathon in December (congratulations to all of our winners)! Today we have the pleasure of introducing you to Sarah Piazza, the maker at Angeline Kay Designs. She is a Michigan girl through and through, growing up here, still living here and centering a lot of her works around celebrating our great state. She has been in to creating for her entire life taking art classes throughout her childhood and keeping that same creative spirit today in her career as a high school art teacher as well as in her business.

Initially, things started in 2008 creating wedding invitations, but over time morphed into the business it is today. Sarah still incorporates paper into many of her products, but she now offers a large variety of handmade items in her Etsy shop. She said things really took off for her in 2015 when she joined Instagram. Sarah created the name of her business from her grandmothers’ first names. Plus, her parents have a home on 26 wooded acres in Vassar and she works with her dad to create some of her wood slice art - a family affair through and through! She says she’ll “never have a shortage of materials.”

Creating is Sarah’s favorite part of her process she says, “I love the artistic process and creating works that are all original and unique.” Angeline Kay Designs is a part-time side hustle at the moment, but Sarah says it’s really starting to take more of her time these days (a good thing). She sells online, at six different retailers, occasional craft shows, and would like to dive deeper into the world of wholesaling soon. She has been part of our shop since the beginning often selling out of her popular copper embossed Michigan signs the she says are a customer favorite! You can shop her handcrafted items in our store or by clicking the link below!

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This month we get to introduce you to Andrea Archambault who is the owner and graphic designer behind Arch. Andrea is a Michigan-west-coaster; growing up in the Muskegon area, attending college at Ferris State University, and now residing in Holland/Zeeland area. She took her first graphic design class in high school, fell in love, and has been working in the field personally and professionally ever since.

Initially, friends and family suggested that she sell her art and services online, but Andrea didn’t actually take the plunge until she created a Pregnancy Countdown Chain to announce her own pregnancy to her parents. It was a hit and it led her to opening her very own shop on Etsy! The name of her business has been a work in progress throughout the years. Her online presence was initially in blog form, and over the years she’s changed the name a few times, ultimately resulting in the short and sweet “Arch” that we know today (based on her own last name).

Andrea is a full-time graphic designer by day, but says, “my shop gives me the kind of freedom I don’t necessarily have in the corporate world or even when working with many of my freelance clients.” She absolutely loves her side-job! One of her favorite scenarios is when she gets a custom request and the client gives her total freedom to create something unique for them. You can find Arch in our store, or online by clicking the link below. BONUS: Andrea is offering you a discount this month only when you order from her website. Enter the code HALFMILE25 for 25% off your order!

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It feels SO GOOD to be picking back up with our meet the maker series this fall! First up on our schedule is Mindy Galluch from Kenzie’s Boutique based out of Lewis Center, Ohio! Mindy is the owner and designer at her chunky beaded jewelry business. Her daughter, Makenzie was the inspiration for starting this business. Initially Mindy was making headbands for her, and slowly started selling them, after about nine months, she transitioned to making necklaces and says she’s, “never looked back!”

At first, business was a little slow but over the years Mindy has gained a huge following on social media and now even hosts parties where she’ll bring the supplies and attendees can create their very own necklaces! She has two favorite parts of her business, 1) organizing - Mindy has thousands of beads and pendants ready to go at any given moment so keeping that all in check is key! 2) Seeing the final product on her customers is also a big highlight for her. She credits them for being “super awesome and loyal” and “keeping her on her toes for the next fads.”

Mindy works full time in addition to running her handmade business and says keeping up with life, her daughter, and work is sometimes hard but she wouldn’t trade it for a thing! We have had Kenzie’s Boutique products in our store since the beginning and love the insane variety of themes she is able to make/provide us with! You can stop in and shop her products in our store, or join her ready-to-ship group by clicking the “shop now” button below.

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