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Fashion

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A local jeweler‘s Black Friday Sale features big discounts (hello, 75% off!) with portion of all sales going to charity. Read on for more.

Koop Diamond Cutters is hosting its annual Black Friday Sale November 29-30. 

This year is set to be better than ever before with items in-store up to 75% off, and an even bigger mission behind the door busting sales: supporting Fighting All Monsters.

“Every year my company donates 5% of all Black Friday weekend sales to a children’s charity,” explains Owner Justin Koop. 

Fighting All Monsters is a locally-based non-profit organization that brings support to families with children who are facing life threatening challenges. 

“We are here to ease the multifaceted and unique burdens of families facing monsters,” the organization’s website says. “A range off family services have been curated to enable us to stand by families physically, financially, and emotionally. We want to offer dream fulfillment for children in treatment, bill assistance, gift giving, community building, and bereavement support for families striving to elicit some happiness and relief in the midst of dark times.”

The Black Friday Sale at Koop Diamond Cutters runs from Friday, November 29, through Saturday, November 30. 

“As always, we will be offering complimentary jewelry inspections and cleanings,” says Koop.

Koop Diamond Cutters is located at 214 E 8th Street in Cincinnati. 

To learn more, visit https://koopdiamondcutters.com or https://www.joinourfam.org

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Two creative best friends have gone from online boutique to storefront owners. Learn more about their custom, handmade products and women’s fashions.

If there’s a project they can do on their own, you better believe Haley Kemp and Julie Crowthers are here for it. The duo has a passion for creating – whether it’s building custom furniture, decorating, redesigning, or using their imagination. 

Combining their love for creating and working together, they launched Jackson | Whitacre, a women’s boutique specializing in the latest fashion and home decor trends.

When talking about the initial launch of Jackson | Whitacre, which started as an online boutique before moving to a storefront, Kemp says they joked around about initially opening their own boutique. 

“We didn’t know exactly what it entailed, but no matter where we were or what we were doing, the subject always came up,” she says. 

The store officially launched in 2016 and offers a variety of women’s clothing and accessories as well as custom-made furniture, trendy home decor pieces, and a wide range of products made by local artisans ranging from hand painted signs to handmade jewelry. 

“We also make our own all natural, hand poured soy candles and wax melts, BubbaRub, natural bath and body products, and handmade jewelry,” adds Kemp.

Jackson | Whitacre has a lot to offer customers, but wants to keep evolving and expanding. “We are in the early stages of expanding our candle line, in hopes of branching out and becoming a vendor to other small businesses,” she says.

Jackson | Whitacre is located in the heart of Old Milford at 223 Main Street. 

To learn more, visit www.jacksonwhitacre.com. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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Look fab and support a great cause with this buy-one-give-one apparel company that supports homeless shelters and their needs across the country.

It’s the time of year to reflect and be grateful for what you have, and lift up those less fortunate. Here to help with the latter is Sky Outfitters. 

“Sky Outfitters is a mission-based apparel company that is headquartered out of Indianapolis,” says Brand Manager Keeton Yescott Hendricks. “We operate with a buy-one-give-one model, partnering with different homeless shelters every single month. Every item purchased throughout each month is matched with that same item donated to our partnered homeless shelter. Everything we do is driven by trying to make a difference in the homeless community in the United States.”

The company, founded by Keaton Hendricks, was inspired by the issues of homelessness facing the country today. 

“Keaton Hendricks grew up volunteering at homeless shelters in his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana,” says Yescott Hendricks. “That was where his eyes were opened to the issues of homelessness, and his heart started to beat for them.”

Once Hendricks arrived at college in 2014, he noticed that a growing trend among his peers were socks. It just so happens that socks are also a highly requested item from homeless shelters, so he decided to launch a company that would keep consumers on-trend while providing for those who need it most. 

Hendricks runs Sky Outfitters alongside his wife and brand manager, Yescott Hendricks. They also have a part-time employee named Steve Mozingo who has a variety of responsibilities for the business.

What started as a small sock company has grown to offer different types of socks as well as other apparel items. “We offer a wide range of socks – dress socks, casual socks, athletic socks, comfort socks, etc.,” says Yescott Hendricks. “We now also sell winter beanies and scarves with the same one-for-one model. So every sock purchased is matched with a sock donated to our homeless shelter of the month, every hat is matched with a hat, and every scarf is matched with a scarf.”

This unique business model, being a buy-one-give-one company, that supports homeless shelters was birthed in a college dorm room. Hendricks started Sky Outfitters and ran it out of his dorm room for two years until he graduated from college in 2018 and moved to Indianapolis.

With a giving heart, Hendricks, his wife, and his business are hoping to one day be able to offer all of the apparel items that homeless shelters need while continuing to offer the one-for-one model. 

“To be able to provide each homeless shelter with the apparel needs that they have for a full year after partnering with us would be a dream,” she says. “Homeless shelters have a length list, so we’re currently figuring out what we will go into next.”

To learn more about Sky Outfitters, visit skyoutfitters.com. You can also follow along on Instagram and Facebook

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A local mom and entrepreneur is helping trans teens and kids find a wardrobe that’s a perfect fit their identity and shed what’s not.

Nancy Dawson is the mother of a trans teen, and knows first-hand how expensive it can be to buy a child a new wardrobe. She also knows the time it takes for kids to find their style. 

So, to help trans kids and teens find a wardrobe that corresponds with their identity – she founded Transform, a free boutique for trans kids and teens to trade in the clothes of their old life and find a new wardrobe that’s a better fit. 

Dawson founded Transform alongside Tristan Vaught, of Living with Change; Marissa Fine; and Ella Dastillung, Dawson’s daughter. “We are run entirely by donations and have teen volunteers as the stylists,” says Dawson. “We are currently accepting gently used shoes, kid clothes size 5T and up, contemporary teen clothes, jackets and coats, jewelry, and purses.”

Transform is much more than just a thrift store, however. Dawson says that clients come in the store and fill out a detailed form. This not only allows the stylists to get to know more about their clients, but they can also give a high-end personal shopper experience. 

And if the shopper pulls something that doesn’t quite go along with a client’s style? Dawson says they can even go back to the store and tweak the wardrobe they’ve taken home. 

Currently, Transform is located in the back of Dawson’s bridal makeup business brideface (located at 2009 Elm Street), but the store has really taken off in the community and she hopes to have a Transform storefront soon. 

For now, clients can be seen by appointment only. 

To learn more about Transform, check out the Facebook page. There you can find donation updates, donation drop-off information, volunteer forms, and client registration forms.

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Read about a local handbag designer that’s relaunching her brand with a line of super chic, high-end handbags you’ll love for years to come.

Missy DeGroot has been designing for years. But before recently relaunching her brand, she decided to take a bit of a break from the industry to zone in on her product aesthetic, design philosophy, and ultimately, her customer.

Along with that reflection came the relaunch of DeGroot Handbags, which recently launched a new website at www.shopdegroot.com. On the website you’ll find the current collection of handbags from DeGroot Handbags as well as more information on the brand’s philosophy. 

“I’ve launched with two silhouettes, yet they come in over 20 leathers and colors,” explains DeGroot. “I was so excited to get the two new styles out there that I didn’t want to wait until I had the other designs completed from the factory. In the near future there will be more styles – including a great tote and a couple of stunning bags that are more suited for an ‘everyday bag.’”

When she redesigned her bags, DeGroot wanted to offer something that she knew her customers would like. That’s why during her relaunch she took into consideration the “why” behind the purchases of her customers. 

“It was so interesting to hear the same stories from my customers who would tell me that they were still wearing the same bag, nearly 10 years later, and were receiving compliments and getting noticed,” she says. “They wanted a ‘statement piece’ – something chic, sophisticated, and timeless. So, keeping that in the forefront of my mind, I designed a cohesive collection of styles that I believe will be as relevant in 10 years as they are today. I believe that great design doesn’t have an expiration date.” 

Not only are the pieces offered by DeGroot Handbags classic and timeless, they also feature leathers and fabrication coupled with a design aesthetic that gives the brand a unique look. “Many types of leathers used in the collection possess unique, one-of-a-kind patterns within the natural colorations – so no two bags will look exactly the same,” she adds.

Prices for bags from DeGroot Handbags range from $125 to $260. And customers can get 15% off any website purchase when they shop online. 

To learn more about DeGroot Handbags or to shop online, visit www.shopdegroot.com

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A lifelong Westside native launched her own small handmade soft goods company. Click here to read more about her journey as an entrepreneur! 

The story of Atomic Lane & Co goes back to owner Sarah Hauck’s inheritance from her grandmother and great-grandmother. 

“The inspiration behind the company comes from my love and appreciate for the vintage aprons and cookware inherited from my grandmothers,” she says. 

Today she is the owner of Atomic Lane & Co, a small, local, handmade soft goods company that specializes in sewn kitchen essentials.

“This collection and the experiences I had in the kitchen with them sparked the enjoyment I get out of cooking and baking,” she explains.

Hauck is also a trained seamstress, so she was able to find inspiration in the vintage aprons that are now hers and mixing it with a Mid-century style that boasts whimsical patterns and kitschy prints to create a signature style.

The line from Atomic Lane & Co includes full aprons, vintage-styled hostess aprons, teen aprons, and aprons for children. “We also offer oven mitts and pot holders, insulated soft-sided lunch boxes, and reusable grocery totes,” she adds.

Although there is no brick-and-mortar location for Atomic Lane & Co, you can find Hauck and her merchandise at pop-up markets throughout the year and city, which you can find a list of on their Facebook page.

What makes Atomic Lane & Co unique, Hauck says, is its offering of a high quality, local, handmade product. “All of the products are made of high-quality and typically limited-run fabrics in small batches,” Hauck adds. “My goal is to provide a product that you will not see everywhere and that sparks joy when one sees it. I also aim for my customers to love every moment they use it and have fun in the kitchen.”

Hauck says she will be launching a Christmas collection of aprons that will be arriving soon. The company’s website and blog is also currently under construction and will launch this winter. 

To learn more, visit Atomic Lane & Co’s Etsy page or follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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Locally-based Parental Hope has teamed up with a clothing designer to help raise funds for those battling infertility.

“Parental Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the infertility community through emotional and financial support,” Jennifer Bross, Founder of Parental Hope, says. “The burdens imposed on a couple battling infertility are enormous. Because infertility is a little known and often a misunderstood disease, those diagnosed with infertility can feel isolated and alone.” 

There are many ways in which Parental Hope is helping to support the infertility community: 

The Parental Hope Family Grant alleviates the financial burden of infertility through grants that cover the full cost of IVF and other infertility treatments.

“We also advocate for those struggling with infertility by raising awareness and providing infertility education,” says Bross. “We also have peer-led support groups by bringing those battling infertility together for support.”

To help raise awareness about the issue, and to raise money for those seeking infertility treatments, Parental Hope has teamed up with clothing designer J. Elizabeth. 

The designer has created a line of infertility-related apparel, where a portion of each sale is donated to Parental Hope. Designs include adult t-shirts and baby onesies with phrases like “Worth the Wait” and “Made with Love and Science.”

“There is also a Round-Up Program where buyers are given the opportunity to donate to Parental Hope by rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar,” adds Bross. 

Additionally, all of the money donated to the J. Elizabeth Foundation goes to Parental Hope to help support their cause in serving the infertility community.

For more about Parental Hope and the Journey to Parenthood event, follow Parental Hope on their websiteFacebook and Instagram

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From beauty queen to accountant, learn more about this fashionista who‘s changing the world one step at a time (in fabulous footwear of course).

From the Deep South to the Midwest, Lexie Iles wants to make her mark on the world. And she’s doing that through her fashion, lifestyle, beauty, and travel blog Lexie Smiles. 

The 23-year-old grew up in Madison, Mississippi, before settling down in the Tri-State area. Now, a resident of Louisville, an hour-and-a-half drive from the Queen City, Iles is a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s in accounting and a double minor in business administration and mathematics.

While her full-time job is at Beam Suntory, most known for Jim Beam Bourbon, she’s also a pageant queen and fashionista. 

Although the blog, Lexie Smiles, is still new to the digital world, Iles has quickly amassed nearly 11,000 followers on Instagram, where she shares photos of her outfits as well as details on where she purchased them. Also, her Instagram features photos of her travels, including a trip to Greece she took last April.

Iles says that she sees her blog becoming a creative outlet that allows her to remain passionate about fashion, travel, beauty, and so much more.

In addition to her blog, Iles also launched a program that was created to provide youth with the tools they need to grow into young adults called Coffee Break with Lexie.

“Coffee Break with Lexie offers advice on professionalism, finances, college life, and general inspiration to encourage high schoolers and college students to become the best adult version of themselves,” says Iles.

To follow along with Lexie Smiles, visit her blog or check out her Instagram page.

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See how this new fashion boutique and flower bar will help your personal style blossom on a budget. 

Kate Stefani was born and raised in Cincinnati. She jumped on the Etsy bandwagon and began selling customizable bridesmaids gifts. But that passion for entrepreneurship blossomed into the desire to own a boutique. 

Stefani has always been interested in owning her own business. In fact, she even wrote an essay on owning a store when she was 13 years old. “The only differences now are that my boutique finally has a name, my store is pink and gold, and I don’t have a pink private jet …yet,” she laughs. “Who knew that 8th grade me could predict the future.”

Today Stefani is the owner of Blush and Bubbly, a fashion boutique and flower bar in Oakley. The boutique sells clothing, accessories, shoes, outerwear, and swim wear. The store also carries home decor, hosts events, and features a flower bar where you can build your own bouquet. 

Prices for apparel at Blush and Bubbly range from $20-$60 while gifts are priced between $40 and $45. There are currently a few home decor items available, including a cute mug, that is priced at $16. 

Stefani says that because she started out as a small business on Etsy, it’s important to her that she supports other small businesses. That’s why she wants the owners of other small businesses to contact her if they’re interested in working together. 

Blush & Bubbly is located at 3184 Madison Road in Cincinnati. To learn more, visit https://www.blushbubbly.com/ or follow along on Facebook<https://www.facebook.com/Blush-Bubbly-1655282917914331/> and Instagram<https://www.instagram.com/blush.and.bubbly/>.  

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This local pet bakery offers fresh treats and even a little fashion for Fido. Read on for all the tasty details.

If you like to think outside the store-bought box, check out MaiRo & Co. This locally-based dog treat bakery offers unusual treats and gifts for your furry friends. 

Stephen Drace, the Founder of MaiRo & Co says that the inspiration behind the business came from his first three dogs: Maisie, Rosie, and Coco. “Maisie, she would beg for food from the table, especially peanut butter toast, or anything with cheese,” says Drace. “Looking for store-bought treats to give her, we couldn’t find anything that wasn’t over-processed or full of chemicals, so we created our own recipes.”

The first treated offered by MaiRo & Co was peanut butter, and it’s still a customer favorite today. After the treats were made, Drace found that friends were wanting treats for their dogs, so the batches got bigger and bigger. 

Then, when Drace moved to the Queen City in 2008, he saw that there wasn’t a business out there like his. So he opened the doors to MaiRo & Co. 

Drace, in collaboration with his co-founder husband, run the business along with their trusty test team of Coco, a Shepherd mix rescue, and their Otterhound boys Huck and Oscar. 

MaiRo & Co offers traditional hard treats for pets in lots of flavors and even includes a grain-free line, but the store is mostly known for its baked goods and pastries. 

“We offer doggie donuts, including our famous Flying Pig, as well as woofie sticks, cookies, celebration cakes, and more,” explains Drace. “For special events, we have made everything from doggie goetta sliders to Pride puppy pops, and this being Cincinnati, doggie pretzels for Oktoberfest, of course. And we love working with people to create custom cakes and other treats for their dogs.”

Additionally, MaiRo & Co sells handmade ties to fancy up your furry friends. “When our Huckleberry was going to be a year old, his breeder wanted a ‘big boy’ picture of him,” explains Drace. “I grabbed a tie from my closet and repurposed it for Huck, thinking it would be funny, but he looked quite dapper. We introduced a few at our next event, and I soon ran out of ties. Now we upcycle them, so each one is handmade and unique. We offer long and short ties, and we’ve added bow ties as well to give your dog that smarter look. The best part is, no tying required.”

Drace says that there are two things that make MaiRo & Co unique. The first is the creativity offered at the store. “Our donut designs and other specialty items can’t be found anywhere else, and our custom work means every dog owner can get exactly what they want,” he says. 

Second, he says, everything at MaiRo & Co is baked fresh and small batch, with all-natural ingredients and no additives or preservatives. “I make the peanut butter,” says Drace. “We locally source, and, in fact, the eggs come from our own hens. If I can’t spell it, why would I want to give it to my dog?”

MaiRo & Co will be bringing back Santa Paws for this year. That means the bakery will introduce new surprises and bring back favorites including the edible Snowflake Tree Ornament, as well as gift ideas for humans including treat jars and more. “Want want to be your one-stop treat shop for you and your pets,” says Drace.

To learn more about MaiRo & Co, visit mairoandco.com. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.