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Jessica Kopena

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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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It’s an eye-catching ring, created by a local designer, with an inspiring and innovative secret. Keep reading for all the details.

CONQUERing is an eye-catching ring with an inspiring secret. 

“When worn on one’s finger, it features an intriguing pattern of lines and curves with its meaning known only to the person wearing it,” says Tammy Nelson, Founder and CEO of Cincinnati-based CONQUERing. “However, when the ring is removed and the disc is spun, an empowering message is revealed to remind the wearer of what they wanted to focus on that day.” 

The inspiration behind Nelson starting the business was her passion to empower others. “I believe a big part of feeling empowered is to have a positive mindset, clear goals and to live with intention,” she says. “Too often people float through life as if they were at the mercy of the tide, not realizing that the power to chart their own course is right there within them.”

The purpose of CONQUERing is to be aware of their day ahead and what they need to do to conquer the day. “They can select that inspiring word to pop into their CONQUERing to keep their intention for the day close at hand…literally!” Nelson says. “And, each time they feel a need for a little extra focus, they can take the ring off and give it a spin to see their word come into focus as a positive reminder of what they wanted to focus on that day.”

CONQUERing just launched at the beginning of 2020. “It’s the latest brand from Hoi Polloi Trends, LL, which has been in business since 2011,” she says. The business is currently operated out of Anderson and Mason, Ohio.

The CONQUERing ring is offered in three sizes and 13 discs with encouraging words in them. “We will be launching additional sizes and many more discs in the next few months,” she says. “We also have specially curated collections, perfect for supporting a friend facing a challenging time or celebrating someone embarking on a new adventure,” Nelson says. 

The business empowers the community not only by their ring, but they also provide to the community. “We are proud to donate 10 percent of our profits to organizations that share our passion for empowering others,” she says. They spread happiness through their ‘CONQUERing Community’. Their community of community of people share an interest of self-improvement, positivity and kindness, and these people also have a passion for empowering and encouraging others. “Those who follow us on social media will enjoy our frequent posts filled with inspiration, empowerment and positivity,” Nelson says. 

CONQUERing is important for the community because it helps people to have control in the midst of their chaotic lives. “Empowering people to understand that they don’t have to be swept up in the chaos but, instead, have what it takes to live the life of their dreams is pretty powerful,” she says. “We are a business focused on lifting people up with positivity and empowerment.”

The business is unique because it is a patent-pending product. “There are other jewelry products that aim to inspire and keep a word of intention top of mind, but there aren’t any rings like ours,” Nelson says. “The most unique features of our rings are the ability to swap the discs in and out to match a persons’ needs for the day and, of course, the way the words are hidden when worn and revealed when spun.”

Other than empowering others, Nelson’s favorite part of her job is working on the product with her son, Jake. “Jake is a student at Miami University and was heavily involved in the product’s design. It was very challenging at times (we created nearly 50 prototypes to get to the winning design), but it was fun and rewarding to take the journey together,” she says. “Interesting Fact: Our first prototype was made from paper and our second was 3D-printed in plastic at the Cincinnati Public Library Maker Space for 20 cents.”

If you want to follow what the CONQUERing Community is doing, you can sign receive email updates at: https://myconquering.com/pages/the-conquering-community, as well as following them on Facebook and Instagram

Check out the video below to see how the CONQUERing works:

 

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A long-time Hyde Park boutique is about to open a new chapter (and location!), but not without a big moving sale first. Read on for all the details!

 

Alison Head, owner of Three French Hens

Three French Hens has been in business for more than 20 years, 13 of which in their cozy current location on Michigan Ave. in Hyde Park. 

The boutique is now looking for a new home, though, says owner Alison Head. “The lease was not able to be renewed,” she shares. “We are still in negotiations for a new lease and will keep everybody updated as we land into our new home.”

Until then, Head says, everything in the boutique 50 percent off or more until January 30 when they have to be out of the store. 

Head says she looks forward to continued growth after the move. “As we move into this new decade, we plan on having new lines that have the ease and comfort of a woman on the go. I’m looking for reusable and recyclable items,” she adds. “Our new location will embrace all that goes into feeling beautiful, healthy, happy and ready to take on our busy lives.”

According to Head, that’s what makes Three French Hens unique: being passionate about how helping their customers feel comfortable with themselves. “We have a wonderful time helping women look great and feel comfortable while still feeling very unique,” she explains. “We pride ourselves with fashions that are unusual and that can help us look and feel our best as we all move forward.” 

The boutique offers a variety of items including: clothing, jewelry, handbags and gifts. Three French Hens is currently located at 3444 Michigan Avenue in Hyde Park. To stay updated, follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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See how a local woman started a new career as a seamstress and shop owner after 35 years playing for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Carolyn Mason has always made a living with her hands. For 35 years, Those hands played viola for the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra. Today, they sew bags and other handcrafted items for her OTR-based shop, The Beautiful Bags Lady. 

”[I make] 100 percent cotton shopping bags, wine bags, aprons, bio-totes, children’s aprons and walker bags,” she explains.

Sewing is something she took up in retirement and it quickly turned into something more. “My actual career was a classical musician with a degree from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music as a Viola Performance Major,” she explains. “I had a successful career playing principal viola with the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra for over 35 years; performing with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Pops and Opera; performing with the Broadway show series at Music Hall, Taft, Aronoff Music Centers; Managing and playing with the Cincinnati String Quartet for over 30 years; Music Librarian, with Cincinnati Ballet;  Music Librarian with thr Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC for 14 years.”

For Mason, selling her bags started nine years ago. “I started selling my bags at craft shows in 2011 and sold at Findlay Market on the weekend, starting 2012 thru July 2017,” she says. “Moved into my own shop August 2017. I also do some creating at the shop while I sell.”

The inspiration behind starting the business dates all the way back to 2006. “This career as a seamstress is my retirement and doing something to help the environment,” she explains. “I started making the bags in 2006 for my family as shopping bags to replace plastic bags. This is totally an environmental endeavor as I feel that people are more likely to use a cloth bag that they like or that shows their personality. Plastic, reused plastic, polyester, nylon bags will all end up in the landfill eventually. 100 percent cotton is environmentally responsible and is totally biodegrade.” 

There are a variety of different bags that she sells in her shop and the include: 

▪ 100 Percent Cotton Shopping Bags: These bags are “designed to hold up to 45 lbs., reversible, easily carried over the shoulder and will hook onto grocery store bag stands to local groceries,” she says. “Many fabrics to choose from are: Charley Harper Designs, Flying Pug, Fiona, Doctor Who, floral, military, Harry Potter, etc. “Theway to wash these bags are machine wash and tumble dry.
▪ Wine Bags: “Same as the cotton shopping bags, but have six pockets sewn into the sides of the bag to carry up to six wine bottles. When pockets are not used, they can be shoved to the sides of the bag and used as the regular tote,” Mason says. “Many wine-themed fabrics to choose from. Any other fabric can be used to make a wine bag for an additional fee.” These bags are cleaned by machine wash and tumble dry. 
▪ Bio-Tote: “Shopping bag that has a pocket in the front. Folds up and has a button closure to fit within a purse, pocket, briefcase, etc,” she says. These bags are also 100 percent biodegradable: cotton fabric, wood button and cotton thread.
▪ 100 percent Cotton Adult and Children’s Aprons: The different fabrics featured are: Charley Harper prints, FlyingPig, Fiona, Doctor Who, dogs, cats and whatever strikes my fancy while shopping for fabrics. 
▪ Walker Bags: Made to order. “You pick the fabric,” Mason says. 

The Beautiful Bags Lady is so important for the community of Over-The-Rhine, as well as the Cincinnati area. “I am serving both the long-time residents of OTR and the new residents in the area of Downtown Cincinnati,” Mason says. 

Her favorite part of the job is going out and buying fabrics. “Sometimes it is just for simple requests from customers. Other times I have to do extensive research online to find the perfect fabric for a customer or business,” Mason says. “This is not so different as doing music research online that I had to do for Suzanne in my years of working on all her music.”

The Beautiful Bags Lady defines success through seeing customers get use out of their bags. She wants to see “repeated customers and customers carrying bags into my shop that I sold six or seven years ago tell me I’m doing something right,” she says. “When men buy the bags for themselves and actually carry them for groceries is a huge ego boost for me. Some men don’t even come into the shop because they seem to think fabric bags are not manly.”

Mason’s vision for the store involves her family. “The vision for my business is to use all the fabric that I’ve accumulated over the years and let my daughters start to sell in their free time,” she says. 

The Beautiful Bag Lady is located at 124 West Elder Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202, across from Findlay Market.  To learn more, visit her website or follow along on Facebook.

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