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Jessica Kopena

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    When a car accident almost took everything away for one local woman, she worked to take it all back and then some (including time on a reality TV show). Read on to see how she’s using her inspiring story to help others who need it most.

    Brooke Van Paris’ trialed testimony is now a guiding light for people in the fitness industry and beyond. 

    Paris, a Cincinnati native, began this storied journey on October 29, 2009. “I was attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. I had just finished a midterm and was heading home from class. I passed through an intersection and in a split second, my life changed for the rest of my life. I was hit head on. My SUV did two 360s, all four tires blew, my windshield shattered, my engine broke off its hinges and came into the car on my lap, but that wasn’t all,” Paris says. “Once I got out of my car and got help, my adrenaline calmed down just enough for me to notice that the airbag had completely shattered both of my hands.”

    After this accident, she started a long two-year journey of healing. “Over the course of two years, I had surgery to re-break my hands four times. I couldn’t feed myself, bathe myself, do any of life’s simplest tasks alone. I went from a fully independent athletic all-star in high school to a 19-year-old fully dependent college kid. Want to know what it was like? Tie your hands behind your back and proceed to live your life. Tough, right?,” Paris says. “Because I am stubborn-and I needed something constant to focus on, I decided to stay in school as a full-time student. I used Mac Speech and Dictate software to talk to my computer and have it type my papers for me and lots of assistance from my father, as well as my professors. After two years in fingertip to elbow casts, I was finally done…or so I thought. My muscles had atrophied completely away and the person I saw in the mirror looked nothing like the Brooke I knew.”

    She was struggling with doing anything by healthy because she couldn’t do regular life tasks without help. Paris was at an all-time low, when it came to her health, being about 175 lbs. and over 50 percent body fat. Paris took about a year to try her best to lose weight. 

    “They never taught me in school how to workout as an adult, so it was all very intimidating to me. I would go to the gym and I was embarrassed and self-conscious. I wasn’t confident with what I was doing, so to save myself the anguish- I would only do cardio. No one will know if I just do the treadmill every day, right?,” she says. 

    Even though Paris was doing cardio, she was not happy with her results. “If I lost weight, I would gain it back twice as bad. I was discouraged and unhappy. My confidence was gone. I tried diet pills, fad diets, everything. Nothing worked,” she says. 

    Her fitness journey changed when she had a coworker at work invite her to do an obstacle course race with her. “It was a local three-mile race called Morgan’s Mud Gauntlet in Brookeville, Indiana and it was amazing. I loved it. I huffed and puffed my way through the entire thing, but it was so rewarding,” Paris says. “I probably failed about 75 percent of the obstacles, but that didn’t matter because people of all shapes and sizes, all at different levels of their own fitness journey-were helping me-and once we reached the finish line, we all had the same medals. How cool. I was hooked.”

    After that race, she started to sign up for races and ended up completing 48 obstacle course races, lost a total of 30 lbs. and got to represent the United States at the World Championships. She was even on two TV reality shows, Broken Skull Challenge on CMT and American Grit on FOX. American Grit was “A military-inspired competition reality show. They chose 16 professional athletes and put us through military-inspired training drills to test the human will of never giving up,” Paris explains. 

    She first heard about the opportunity through a casting company on Facebook. “After the first Obstacle Course Racing World Championship, I saw a quote on Facebook that said, ‘Your testimony could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison.’ And with that-I decided to share the story of my accident in hopes that I could help someone else stuck in the same dark space I was previously in,” Paris says. “About two days after that, I was reached out to in my Facebook DM’s and the message started with, ‘We are looking for America’s fittest men and women.’”

    Paris was completely shocked to see receive this message because of everything she had gone through for two years, so she ignored the message and deleted it, thinking it was a scam. However, one day she decided to take their phone call, “and the rest is history,” she says.

    Her run on the show was for only two episodes, but she was proud of her performance because she gave everything she had. “The challenge that forced me to leave was called ‘Ice Cubed.’ It was an event where three women (including myself) had to submerge in an ice bath, get out and do 10 burpees and continue incessantly repeating until one of the three of us gave up. Well-now that you know my background story… never giving up is kind of my mantra and I have absolutely no quit in me, so this showdown was about to get interesting,” Paris says. “After nine rounds-nine submersions and 90 burpees-I collapsed to the ground and my body went into Stage Three Hypothermia. Basically, my body said STOP and shut down all systems that were not vital to survival. I was conscious the whole time, but couldn’t move or speak or anything. I could hear people talking to me and touching me, but I couldn’t respond. That lasted for about an hour and I finally came to the hospital.” 

    She recovered fully from that and she now works at Lifetime Fitness in Mason, Ohio. She is an Assistant Personal Training Manager and a Master Trainer. “I live the fitness life all day every day and I could not love it more. I love being able to connect and help people daily and I have never had a more rewarding career to do that with,” she says. “Outside of my job, I do a lot with Fox 19. I showcase workout tips once a month there! It is so much fun and really informative! I also have my own YouTube channel that I post a lot of At Home Workouts on. I live the fitness life myself! Daily workouts, meal prep, etc. I love to live a healthy life.”

    Paris’ success with fitness is defined by the number of people she can help. “I truly believe my purpose in life and the reason for my accident, is being able to help people with my journey and my talents. I find it incredibly rewarding to help be the person to light the fire of hope for someone who has been struggling,” Paris says. “To give out my and tell someone, I can help you, and then watch their journey to success. There is nothing more rewarding than to see the happiness on someone’s face when they win their life back.”

    Being healthy to Paris isn’t just about being healthy physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. “Basically, making sure you don’t get too stressed, that you work out daily, but also take days for recovery, make sure you get enough water, enough sleep and enough of the right nutrition to fuel your body-including your vitamins and minerals!”

    If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Brooke Van Paris, follow her on FacebookYouTube and Instagram.

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    A local fitness studio launched a new way to maintain health and wellness during quarantine. Read on for more!

    Despite not having live classes due to the Coronavirus, a Ft. Thomas-based fitness studio is launching new fit kits. 

    “Fit Philosophie is a boutique fitness studio that offers a wide range of private and group fitness classes,” says Jennifer Lynn, Owner and Master Instructor of Fit Philosophie.

    There are a wide variety of services offered during quarantine. “For our existing members, I put together ‘fit kits’ to send home so every member has some basic tools for our workouts. We are offering live streaming classes seven days a week. We are offering private sessions streaming seven days a week,” Lynn says. “We are also going to be releasing on-demand videos for members (filming this week). We have a current promo for Cincy Chic and anyone who is new to Fit Philosophie. They can join our streaming classes for $9.99/month.”

    Lynn is grateful that she has clients that are faithful to the business. “I am very, very thankful to my clients because they have just shifted gears and jumped right on board with our ‘new virtual world,’” she says.

    Fit Philosophie is located in Fort Thomas, Kentucky and has been around for seven and a half years. When Lynn opened the business, she wanted to build a community of people who stay healthy and have a good time together. “True wellness is comprehensive. It’s a ‘philosophie’ of life to be healthy and not just ‘fit’. I want our studio to offer the feeling of comprehensive wellness versus vanity wellness,” Lynn says. “We don’t just ‘do it for the gram.’”

    Fit Philosophie defines success by “The constant pursuit to always be better, do better and offer my very best to the world through my business with all my heart,” Lynn says. 

    The business is a unique part of the Fort Thomas community. “We offer custom options to anyone who wants to be a part of this community. We create custom packages that range in price and option,” she says. “We are constantly planning a new workout for every class and we offer Sound Off technology (when we are not quarantined) for some amazing ‘silent classes’ (See www.soundoffcincinnati.com).”

    Lynn’s favorite part of her job is the people she interacts with on a regular basis. “They are the heartbeat of this studio,” she says. “Lynn loves “the daily challenge to keep it fresh and fun for the clients and the challenge to my mind,” she says. 

    If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Fit Philosophie, follow them on FacebookInstagram and their website

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    Learn about a local nutrition club that helps improve your nutrition, fitness and immunity.

    A health club in the Crescent Springs area wants to help improve the well being of their clients from the inside out.

    Embodiment Wellness and Nutrition is “A nutrition club which is a social gathering place where people focus on good nutrition and regular exercise in order to achieve optimum health,” Angela Butcher, Sole Proprietor of Embodiment Wellness and Nutrition, says. “We promote a healthy, active lifestyle.”

    Located at 2511 Anderson Road, Crescent Springs, KY 41017, the business has been around for nine years this year. 

    The inspiration behind starting Embodiment came from the lifestyle that Butcher was living. “I had a horrible diet and some digestive issues because of it. I started to learn better eating habits and incorporated some of the products we sell,” she says. “I feel better and wanted to share the benefits with others.” The name of the business came because “I wanted a place where we talk, offer services and try to promote the idea of wellness as a whole through nutrition and other facets,” Butcher says. “There are a wide variety of products offered through Embodiment. “People can come in a get a meal replacement or a snack. Our combos come with a meal replacement, protein-based shake, a metabolism-boosting green tea and a shot of aloe, which soothes the digestive tract,” she says. “We also have electrolyte drinks, immune boosters and many other options.”

    The success of Embodiment Wellness and Nutrition is defined by whether or not their clients are happy. She loves “seeing people come in with smiles, others coming in without smiles, but leaving us with a smile,” Butcher says. She also loves to see “people running into old friends and others making new friends,” Butcher says. They love “building a community around health,” she says. 

    The mission of the business is to help their clients feel their best. Butcher’s goal is to assist people in making choices that improve their lives in a healthy way. “We motivate and encourage others to help them stick to their goals,” Butcher says. 

    Embodiment Wellness and Nutrition is unique because they are a true community. “It’s a place where people build friendships, they can unload problems, vent, get advice from others, tealk, listen and network – all around a healthy meal,” she says. 

    If you want to keep up with what Embodiment Wellness and Nutrition is doing, follow them on Facebook.

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    Read about a local organization that's improving lives through body, mind, spirit and yummy food.

    Your body is your temple. That’s the inspiration behind Greater Tomorrow Wellness, a local faith-based business that wants to help individuals get in shape and be healthy. 

    “Greater Tomorrow Wellness was founded on the principle pf helping others succeed in life. We firmly believe in our faith-based concept of building into and mentoring others and we want to share that concept with our community. We offer a first-class virtual program to walk you through your transformation journey that provides results with no shortcuts,” says Gabe Thomas, Founder and President of Greater Tomorrow Wellness. “Become a part of this online family to have customized exercise and nutrition plans, grocery lists with recipes, eating out and meal prep guides and unlimited accountability coaching from a caring team of professionals at your fingertips anywhere in the world you go. We focus a lot on women’s health and specifically talk about how exercise and healthy nutrition can help reduce risk for heart disease, which is the number one killer of women in the United States.”

    With more than 20 years of experience in the health and wellness industry, Thomas started Greater Tomorrow Wellness in 2017, and now has six employees — four trainers and two support staff. 

    The inspiration behind starting the business was hope. “We wanted to give people hope in their lives. Learning to live a healthy lifestyle just makes people feel good and allows them to look forward to a greater tomorrow,” Thomas says. “In a society where everyone and everything is so criticized, we want to be a company that builds into people and positively affects the Tri-state communities with a faith-based approach.”

    The name of the company came from the impact they want to make in the Mason community. “Greater Tomorrow was the perfect fit to be a ray of hope to our community,” he says. “Who does not want to look forward to a greater tomorrow, right?”

    Greater Tomorrow Wellness offers a wide range of services and they include: Done For You Meals, Six-Week Fitness Challenge Program, Year Of Change Program, Wedding Party Challenge and Adult Life Skills Small Groups.

    The business defines success through seeing a change in their clients. “Success to us is seeing clients start to gain confidence and believe in themselves again. A lot of our clients have been feeling down about their weight or eating habits and we just want to put a smile back on their face, show them we care, teach them how to use sustainable lifestyle changes to improve their health and have a greater tomorrow to look forward to,” Thomas says. “We do this because we believe everyone can change withjust a little motivation.”

    The business is so unique because you can take it anywhere in the world and you don’t need equipment, just space and time. “We offer all three pillars to become healthy, which is fitness, nutrition and accountability. Programs fail because they usually only offer one or two of these services, instead of three,” he says. “Also, we are only a fraction of the price for what you would pay at a gym. Yes, we even are less expensive than that purple place that claims to only charge 20 cents to sign up and $10 per month. When you experience all of the services and convenience that you get with our professional team of caring coaches, you will never go back to a regular gym.”

    The mission of Greater Tomorrow Wellness is to empower their community. “Our mission is to inspire the tri-state to take control of their health, get fit and improve their overall wellness by providing a supportive network of professional coaches that guide them through their journey,” Thomas says.

    To learn more about Greater Tomorrow Wellness, follow them on FacebookInstagram and their website.

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    Learn about a new fitness facility that focuses on a workout that’s 50 minutes of low-impact, high-intensity strength training.

    A new kind of workout is coming to town and it’s called Solidcore.

    “Think Pilates- intensified! Our signature full body workout is 50 minutes of low-impact, high-intensity strength training: the lights are low and the music is loud. You have a coach in the room who will guide you through a series of slow and controlled movement that are sequenced to work your muscles to failure. Our signature class is accessible for all fitness levels and can be amplified or modified to accommodate your individual goals,” says Laura Mishne Heller, Studio Manager at Solidcore Mason. “We offer more advanced classes, too! We have two specialty classes: Arms and Abs (focused on upper body, core, abs and obliques), and Buns and Guns (focused on upper and lower body).”

    Solidcore is different because “we are a 50-minute workout made up of slow and controlled resistance training to break down your slow twitch muscle fibers. We do this because science shows that this is the most effective way to create long lean muscle tone,” Heller says. “We utilize a rotating monthly muscle focus to prevent plateau and deliver a balanced workout (and body!). The rotating muscle focus will also help build long, lean muscles that will frame your physique and increase metabolism. We are a perfect pair for individuals who participate in HIIT workouts and runners!”

    Heller’s favorite part of the job is getting to educate and encourage her clients. “We are all about strength and empowerment and that is what I love about working for Solidcore. I love being able to watch our clients become the strongest version of themselves,” she says. “It is also fun to watch the personal growth of clients (specifically, seeing them tone up and become stronger over time). I was also a client long before I was a coach, so I know how impactful this workout is. It helped me shave off one minute off of my run time.”

    If you want to keep up with what’s going on with what [Solidcore] is doing, follow them on Facebook. You can also go visit them by Whole Foods in the Deerfield Towne Center in Mason at: 5685 Deerfield Boulevard, Mason, Ohio 45040.

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    Read on to learn about a business that’s bringing a taste of southern style cooking to the Over-The-Rhine area.

    There is a catering company in Findlay Market that brings a taste of Southern cooking to the Tri-State. “Southern Grace Cincy is a southern homestyle catering company, specializing in bringing childhood memories back to life,” Nicole Stevenson, Owner of Southern Grace Cincy, says. 

    The name of the business came from how Stevenson was raised. “Southern came from me being from the south,” she says. “Grace is something that was instilled in me growing up before eating and meaning ‘having good manners.’” 

    There are a range of different foods that Southern Grace Cincy serves. “We offer a wide range of southern made for scratch apps, such as our ‘Grippo-inspired chicken wings,’ and entrees: smothered chicken in our house made sauce, homemade chicken pot pie, and country meat loaf,” she says. “Their sides include: creamy homemade mac and cheese, blackeye peas, collard greens slow cooked with smoked turkey,” Stevenson says. Finally, are their delicious desserts and they include: homemade banana pudding, mini cake bites and southern strawberry shortcake,” she says. “We offer catering services, cooking classes and meal prep by request.”

    The vision of Southern Grace Cincy is to provide an atmosphere for people to come together and eat delicious food. “We believe that what we do can create everlasting relationships with a great dining experience, improve the lives of our guests, serve our local community and create employment for inspiring cooks.”

    The business’s mission is to be a positive impact in the community. “We want to be a warm, comforting presence in the community we serve,” Stevenson says. “We understand that our guests have a choice and we never want anyone to feel less than special and to serve every person with southern hospitality.”

    Southern Grace Cincy is different than other catering companies because they take care of the dietary needs of their customers. “We believe in supporting local farmers and suppliers who deliever field fresh products, accommodate food allergies and dietary restrictions,” she says. 

    The workers of Southern Grace Cincy are advocates for helping out their community in OTR. “Giving back to the community is something dear to our heart,” Stevenson says. “Southern Grace is currently working with a local non-profit providing meals for our local intercity kids after school program.”

    She loves coming back to work every day because she likes “Knowing I’m doing what I was created to do with my life,” Stevenson says. “

    If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Southern Grace Cincy, follow them on Facebook and their website.

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    A new boutique yoga studio offers a variety of classes to inspire improvements inside and out. Click for all the details.

    A new fitness studio in the Mason, Ohio area that wants to help people experience the benefits of yoga. “Hi Fi Yoga is a boutique yoga studio offering a variety of styles and levels,” Tommy Moorman, Co-owner of Hi Fi Yoga, says. “Our overall focus is on heated yoga classes (such as Hot Power and Warm Flow), but we also offer non-heated classes and aerial yoga.” 

    The start of the business came from her experience with Lori Allen. “I was a student of Lori Allen’s for many years and we eventually started doing private lessons together to develop and grow my personal practice. During those sessions we’d often talk about different studios, the different elements we liked most or least about the different studios we visited, and eventually those conversations evolved to starting our own studio,” he says. “We came to the conclusion that there was a need for us to create a space that yogis like ourselves would want to practice. From there, we started to develop the idea for the brand and the space, about six months later, Hi Fi Yoga was born.”

    There are a wide variety of classes offered through Hi Fi Yoga and they include: Beginner Yoga, Warm Vinyasa Flow, Hot Power Yoga, Hi Fi Yin, Hi Fi Aerial Yoga and Buti Yoga. “If you are newer to yoga or even newer to heated yoga, I’d recommend starting with a Beginner Yoga class or a Warm Vinyasa Flow- both of these classes spend more time explaining and breaking down poses,” Moorman says. “If you have already been practicing heated yoga, you can jump right in to a hot power class right away.”

    Hi Fi Yoga is different from other practices because they push people to realize their true power. “I see the main difference as pushing people to challenge themselves and discover their true power. Most yoga studios teach at an introductory level and will not encourage students to try inversions or arm balances, for fear of scaring people away,” he says. “We don’t want our students to feel intimidated, but rather to feel inspired by what they see other yogis doing in class and be willing to give it a try.” 

    To Moorman, Hi Fi Yoga is High Fidelity Yoga. “Music is key in motivating our students all while keeping the class fun and light-hearted,” he says.

    Moorman loves his job because he gets to see lives being changed. “I love when my students reach new milestones, like hitting a new pose for the first time,” he says. “It’s incredibly rewarding and inspiring to see others pushing out of their comfort zone and try new things.”

    What gets Moorman to come back to work is the belief that yoga is for everyone. “I believe that everyone can benefit from yoga, either to clear their mind, build strength or gain flexibility,” he says. “Knowing that I’m helping other people reach their goals, both physically and mentally is what drives me each day.”

    If you want to keep up with what Hi Fi Yoga is doing, follow them on FacebookInstagram , their website and you can download the Hi Fi Yoga app.

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    Quick, healthy and tasty meals are hard to come by, let alone make every day. One local business aims to change that.

    A local business makes it easy for parents to put healthy meals that kids love on the table. 

    “First Bites is dedicated to helping parents feed their kids in a way that works for them,” Grace Shea, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, says. “I help moms of kids with all ages find solutions to nourish their families and provide healthy recipes the whole family will love.”

    The inspiration behind First Bites Nutrition came from her son, Hudson. “Even though I’ve been an RDN working in the pediatric field since 2012, educating families on the topics you’ll see in my blog, I had a distinct “a-ha” moment when it came time to start feeding solid foods with Hudson,” she says. “I became overwhelmed and faced the exact same questions all parents do- What do I feed him? When? How? etc. I wanted to take the nutrition knowledge I have and personal experience and share it with other parents.”

    The name “First Bites” came from the desire to have a business that’s all about kids. “I’d mix and match these words, some seeming too similar to other business out there, but ultimately landed on First Bites. First Bites can mean from the very first bite a child takes or even a first bite of a new food,” Shea says. 

    Based in Cincinnati, First Bites Nutrition has been around for four months now. The business provides different service andproducts that parents will need to make food for their children:

    ▪ Shea’s Blog: “Offers recipes and articles dedicated to kids’ nutrition,” she says. “Each recipe is family-friendly and spans all age groups. I offer ways to modify the same meal to make it age appropriate- one meal for the whole family.”
    ▪ Meal Plan Bundle: “The free bundle contains everything you need to get inspired, organized and plan meals with ease,” Shea says. “Plus, you’ll get six weeks’ worth of meal plans to get you going. You can grab it on the website- www.firstbitesnutrition.com.”
    ▪ “I do one-on-one coaching with moms and kids and collaborate with companies in multiple different ways,” she says. “As the company grows, I have big goals of education programs and membership opportunities.”

    This company is different from other nutrition companies because of the community. “Although it’s only been four months, it’s amazing how many moms have reached out to me. I rely on the interaction with the community to serve their needs. My experience as a pediatric dietitian, personal experience in feeding a child and, the experiences of my community help provide tons of perspectives that ultimately help other moms,” she says. 

    Also, the articles she posts on her blog are evidence-based. “I chose this as a basis of my content because nutrition at its core, is science-based,” Shea says. “Scientific research is always emerging and, I feel; it’s my job to educate moms so they can make the most informed decision that best fits their family.”

    Shea defines success through moms feeling confident. “If I can help at least one person feel confident in feeding their kids and understand how nutrition plays a role in their kids’ lives, that truly is a success for me,” she says.

    The mission of First Bites is to be a guide to parents. “My mission is to guide parents in nourishing their children with whole foods, flexibility and fun by learning the science of nutrition and honoring healthy habits from the very first bite.”

    Shea’s favorite part of her job is “hearing from other moms and creating what they need to support their lives,” she says.

    To learn more about First Bites, follow them on Instagram, their website and through Shea’s blog.

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    A local boutique is focused on curating looks you’ll want to keep wearing (and wearing and wearing). Read on for more.

    Ever have a favorite outfit you wish you could wear every day? Those are the types of pieces Courtney O’Bryan aims to curate for her boutique Repeat Styles.

    “Repeat is essentially a shop, as well as a lifestyle brand. For now, we currently sell our items online and at pop up events,” says O’Bryan, founder of Cincinnati-based Repeat Styles. “I don’t like to have a clear definition on what Repeat is because I like for the brand to adapt with us and those who love it as we continuously grow together. We like to offer style inspiration to others because they enjoy it as do we.”

    The inspiration behind starting the business came from her love of visuals. “I’ve always had a natural draw to anything visually appealing to me, which has led me to become an avid shopper collecting clothing and accessories that I felt expressed myself. As I see big retailers crumble and expensive designer labels defining whether someone has good style or not, I felt that I would be able to help people attain style and confidence in a fun, affordable way. I’m very serious about making my items affordable to just about anyone,” O’Bryan says. “I have a nice range of pricing on amazing items that I have hand selected that can satisfy any shopper. I want people to know they can rely on Repeat to be their go to destination to find unique staple pieces that reflect their own style and know that they didn’t waste their time or money on a hyped-up item they will forget about in a week.”

    Repeat Styles will be a vendor at the upcoming O.F.F. Market’s monthly marketplace that takes place at Madtree Brewery. “This is my first time participating in the O.F.F. Market, so that alone is special,” she says. 

    There are a variety of items sold through Repeat Styles, and they include: vintage tops, bottoms, outerwear, shoes, accessories and housewares. These items are available online and through pop up events. “Since Repeat is only available online at the moment, whenever customers can physically shop our items, I like to call it a pop up to let them know we will be at a certain location for them to shop,” O’Bryan says. It is not just O’Bryan working on this event, she has a team. “There are a lot of local vendors that will also be in attendance. As for my space, I will have my boyfriend help me set up and my older sister, Alex, will be the only one working the actual event with me,” O’Bryan says. “We have invited a lot of our friends and family to check us out, as well as the other vendors for a fun day of local shopping.”

    With the event, she defines success by whether or not customers are impacted. “Whether that’s selling them an item they love, meeting a new friend or helping someone develop their own sense of style,” O’Bryan says. 

    As with this event, or any event she has a pop-up shop at, O’Bryan’s goal is to make the space inviting. “I always have a pretty clear indication on what I like my events to look like. I’m very serious about making my space visually appealing and easy to shop for customers,” she says. “I want them to feel invited and inclined to check things out and to create conversation.”

    O’Bryan enjoys interacting with and getting feedback from customers at pop-up shops, as she doesn’t have the opportunity for those experiences with online shopping. “I have a serious passion for shopping, as you might be able to tell. Since Repeat is only available online at the moment, I love to have the opportunity for customers to be able to physically shop our products and interact with us as well,” she says. “It truly makes me happy to see others happy.”

    Repeat Styles loves to work with other members of the Cincinnati community, as well. “I have heard of the O.F.F. Market for some time now and I’ve only heard great things. They pick amazing local vendors from the community, while hosting the event at a local Cincinnati landmark,” O’Bryan says. “Whether you’re a beer drinker or not, you’ve heard of Madtree and it’s just really amazing that we can all come together and support each other.”

    Her favorite part of working the event is the rush she gets from preparing for the event. “I really love everything about working these types of events. I love the rush of the set up, I love having customers check out the items and most importantly, I love getting to know customers,” O’Bryan says. “It’s so cool to positively impact people. Being able to connect with people through my items is so special to me.”

    To keep up with Repeat Styles, follow them on Facebook and also Instagram, which is “thebirthplace of Repeat Styles,” she says. “We will be posting stories, maybe a live story as well, and of course, pictures documenting the event. Our upcoming events will always be on Instagram, as well as our Facebook.”

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    A new Westside boutique carries unique, handmade gifts with a personalized touch. Read on for more!

    Love giving special gifts, shopping local and supporting independent artisans? That’s what you’ll find at JC Boutique, a new boutique on the Westside of Cincinnati.

    “JC Boutique is a new and unique shopping destination on the Westside of Cincinnati that offers a wide variety of handmade gifts, décor and apparel, most of which can be personalized and custom made,” says Jessica Castellini, Owner of JC Boutique. “We showcase over 15 local artisans and brands to give our customers a great selection of gifts for any occasion.”

    The path that Castellini had for herself did not start off as a starving artist. “I went to college and earned my BA in Graphic Design. Fast forward close to 20 years, I have worn many hats and worked with some amazing clients and brands,” she says. 

    Castellini got to experience working on the digital and print side of graphic design, while creating gifts on nights and weekends was her true passion. “From sewing a pillow from a lost loved one’s clothes, to designing and printing a personalized blanket for a newborn baby, I get to be part of my clients’ most treasured moments and there just aren’t many local options for folks wanting that extra special gift or item. So we decided to create a space to fill that void,” she says. “Your own personal Etsy, right next door! I handpicked each and every artisan in the shop to give customers a wide variety of items outside what I make myself and together we are a creative powerhouse able to give customers a level of service you just won’t see anywhere else.”

    JC Boutique opened at the beginning of 2020. “We opened on January 4 of this year, but have been selling online and at various shows for about eight years prior to opening a storefront,” Castellini says. 

    Castellini uses her passion of handcrafting to create one-of-a-kind gifts for her customers. “We offer a wide variety of handmade gifts, décor and apparel, many of which can be personalized and most custom made. We also offer custom apparel and promotional item options for businesses, teams and organizations,” she says. “Some of the many specialties we offer are embroidery, custom cut vinyl decals and signage, screen printing, woodworking, just to name a few.”

    The vision for JC Boutique is to be the place people go to for the perfect gift. “When they want something special that you will not find at a box store, something they know was made with love and care right here in our hometown, I want JC Boutique to be where they come,” Castelli says. 

    The boutique is unique because they personalize their items for the customers. “I think our ability to provide personalized and custom-made items for our customers, based on their specific needs and wants vs. just wholesale/retail lines you find in many boutiques is really what sets us apart,” she says. “We also offer gift wrapping and handmade cards so we hope to be a one-stop shop for all of our customers gift giving needs.”

    JC Boutique is a community of people. “When you shop at our boutique, you are not just supporting our business, but also all the other local artisans here with us, over 15 right now and that is huge! When you purchase at locally -owned businesses, rather than nationally owned, more money is kept in our community,” Castelli says. “It helps grow other businesses, as well as our local tax base. And truthfully, our area doesn’t have many options like what we are offering and we want to fill that missing piece on the website.” 

    JC Boutique Is located at 5104 Crookshank Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45238 (between F & N Goode Chicken and Lutz Flowers). To learn more, follow along on FacebookInstagram and their website.

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