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Read about a college student who launched an Ohio-based business that’s helping to build a hospital in Haiti one beautiful bracelet at a time.

Mercy Bracelets help support the building of a hospital in Haiti.

Hannah Lamarco, a student at Cedarville University, launched Mercy Bracelets as a junior in college nearly a year ago. 

“Mercy Bracelets is an online shop that sells bracelets to raise awareness and money for a hospital that is being built in Les Cayes, Haiti,” says Lamarco. 

“I started the business a month after I came back from a mission trip I took with the university,” she explains. “Our project on this trip was to help build Mercy Hospital. I fell in love with the ministry and the people while I was there.”

Once she returned to the United States Lamarco says she felt obligated to connect more people with the ministry.”

That’s when she had the idea to sell bracelets and help others get connected with the same cause she was invested in. 

“The bracelets are prayer reminders for people to pray for the ministry while they wear the bracelet,” she says. “With every bracelet, customers also get a prayer card with the name of a Haitian child who is waiting for the hospital to be built. This give everyone specific names to be praying for.”

Proceeds from the bracelets as well as donations go to the hospital. Lamarco says that so far she has raised over $11,000 for the hospital just this year. 

For every bracelet purchased, $5 goes directly to help build the hospital. “This goes to buying bricks and other supplies that the hospital needs to be built,” says Lamarco. “This directly benefits the community of Les Cayes not only by providing jobs for builders, but it gives the community a cause that they are supporting that will benefit them in the end.”

Lamarco says that Mercy Bracelets doesn’t just sell bracelets. “Our cause is greater than ourselves, and we give our audience the opportunity to be a part of this cause, too,” she says. “We invite people to become a part of the Mercy Team not by just buying a bracelet, but by praying for these people in Haiti. And we give you specific people to be connected to through prayer.”

The mission behind Mercy Bracelets isn’t just about the beads themselves but the hearts of the people buying the bracelets and those who benefit from their sales. “This hospital has affected so many people’s lives already, and we can’t wait to see everything it is going to do when it is fully operating,” she adds.

You can purchase bracelets at or visit The Farm Table in Grove City. Lamarco says that anyone who owns a boutique and would like to sell Mercy Bracelets can reach out to do wholesale at To follow along with the mission behind Mercy Bracelets, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

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A successful locally-based online store opens a new storefront in Sharonville. Read on for all the fashionable details.

LeiMarie Limited, a former online-only boutique, recently opened a storefront in Sharonville.

LeiMarie Limited recently opened their first free-standing store in downtown Sharonville. 

What once started with a passion for fashion and an online store, Chrissy Gedeon owner of LeiMarie Limited, says having a goal to sell quality clothing and accessories for all ages and sizes is what made them a success from the starting block.

“Ranging in sizes small to 3XL, we’ve really got something for everyone,” she adds. “If casual tops and distressed denim is your thing, we’ve got you covered. If you’re a graphic tee and joggers type, we’ve got you covered. If you’re looking for a sundress for a baby or wedding shower, and also need a cute gift, we’ve got all of that! Stop in, and you’ll see why we were voted Online Boutique of the year. We’re so happy to have a home for our online tribe to gather and claim cuteness.”

The store, LeiMarie Limited, is named after Gedeon and her daughter Anisten’s middle names. Anisten’s is Lei and Gedeon’s is Marie. “We strive to incorporate family into everything,” she explains. “Anisten is five, and does live videos on our Facebook and Instagram announcing winners of giveaways and new style pieces hitting the floor, It’s very entertaining and viewers truly look forward to her magic tricks and unpredictable antics each week.”

Gedeon says a lot of time and thought goes into every piece selected for the store. “We’re unique in that the owner hand-chooses each style piece and gift brought into the store,” she adds. “If we wouldn’t wear it, we won’t bring it in store. If we wouldn’t give it as a gift, we won’t bring it in store.”

The new store is located at 11090 Reading Road in Sharonville. Gedeon says she selected downtown Sharonville because of its charm and because the surrounding businesses have been so welcoming. “Our neighbor, Game On Fitness, is such a complimentary clientele,” says Gedeon. “There is a focus to bring life to the downtown area, and we’re honored to join that effort.” 


Gedeon says she immediately knew when she walked into the space that is now the boutique. “When touring properties, we literally had the “this is home” feeling when stepping into the space.”

In addition to the new storefront, Gedeon says she also just brought on two Stylist Champions to help with the shopper experience. “We’ll strive to bring unique fashion, increase our fashion choices in plus size, and be a one stop shop for all your special events needs — babies, weddings, engagements, teachers,” says Gedeon.

LeiMarie Limited hosts monthly Featured Vendors, where they bring in new handmade items and other local business as spotlights. They also do a girls night out once a month, with a variety of amazing surprises themes, giveaways, and charity focuses. “New clothing and gift arrivals happen weekly, which makes it new each and every time you stop in!”

To learn more and follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and their website

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Learn about the locally-based non-profit that’s freeing and empowering women in South Asia through their athleisure lifestyle brand.

Aruna is an athleisure lifestyle brand creating functional luxury accessories for their customers and for their mission in empowering women and supporting them in their access to freedom, rights, and opportunity. Their focus is to create lifelong freedom for the sexually enslaved who they free, empower, and employ in South Asia. Aruna, the US non-profit, has developed a plan that addresses the issues these women face on a daily basis and creates a solution to free and employ to build opportunities.

“We have two goals for two groups of people,” says April Berg, Co-Founder of the Aruna Project. “Our goal for our customers is to offer them a sense of confidence both in how they look with functional luxury products made with eco-friendly fabrics and trims and also in how they feel, knowing that they are now linked to the freedom story of the Artisans who handcrafted their Aruna products. Our goal for the Artisans is to create lifelong freedom through empowerment and employment in a community of wholistic care creating a sisterhood of those who have overcome. We envision a day where each young woman is free to choose her own adventure.”

Aruna raises awareness and funds their mission of long term freedom through volunteers across the U.S and using income earned from the selling of their products and applying that to aid the women in South Asia.

“We combine the best of non-profit and for profit to create lifelong freedom. Through volunteer led Aruna Runs across the US, we mobilize thousands to raise awareness and funds to accelerate the freedom process,” says Berg. “Through our Freedom Business in South Asia, we create functional luxury products that generate earned income to ensure Artisans earn a living wage, retirement savings, health care, and ongoing counseling.”

The Aruna projects focuses on a model that allows them to reach as many women as they can and create a path for their success and guidance. Not only do they focus on generating a living wage for them, but they also give them valuable training and skills to help further them in their quest for lifelong freedom.

“Through our US non-profit we mobilize thousands across the US to Run for Her Freedom in Aruna Runs,” Berg explains. In running for a specific exploited woman by name, each Aruna Run participant raises awareness of her need and raises money to help bring and sustain her freedom.”

“Those funds are primarily utilized in our Training Center, in the heart of the brothel system in South Asia, to help free the women through daily visits in the brothels, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and financially incentivized Skill and Trade Development to accelerate the freedom process.”

“Through our Indian Private Limited Company (for profit business owned by the US non-profit) we employ those set free from the brothel system through our Training Center and bring them into an environment marked by holistic care,”says Berg. “Each Artisans earns a living wage, health care, retirement and on-going counseling. In purchasing from Aruna each customer receives an exceptional product and joins in the freedom story of the very Artisan who handcrafted it.”

Aruna creates and sells functional luxury accessories. “From the Kushi Duffel to the Sonu Backpack to the Bharti Backpack Tote, each product is designed for everyday all-day use. From the gym to the office to afterwork drinks, Aruna products have you covered. Each made with Blue Sign certified fabric and strength tested trims, our accessories provide confidence in how you look and the good you’ve done. We also have a collection of Headbands to keep those flyaways out of the way. With our super soft recycled polyester Reshma Headbands and a variety of color options, these no stick headbands will have you coming back for more. Next up? We’re exploring apparel options, but you’ll have to wait to see!”

The inspiration behind Aruna is, “We believe every woman and girl should be free to choose her own adventure.”

To learn more and follow along, visit You can also follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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The Cincinnati-based franchisee behind the local Clothes Mentor stores opens a new Beavercreek location. Read on for a peek inside!

Clothes Mentor will soon open a new location in Beavercreek, Ohio.

Hyde Park, West Chester, Fields Ertel, Anderson … and now, Beavercreek.

These are the area Clothes Mentor franchise locations owned by a locally-based family business, according to its Chief Operating Officer Kate (Finger) Paynter.

Paynter says Clothes Mentor takes pride in distinguishing themselves in the category of consignment. There, you can find name brand and designer clothes, shoes, and accessories up to 70% off of retail prices.

“We are a women’s resale store for all women, carrying sizes 0-26, petite, plus, and maternity,” says Paynter. “We buy and sell gently used, brand name and designer clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories in current style and great condition. We make selling what you are no longer wearing easy – we pay cash on-the-spot, 7 days a week, no appointment needed!”

What makes Clothes Mentor so unique is their evolving inventory and customer oriented decisions, Paynter says. “We get new inventory every day, so we are never the same store twice. You never know what you might find,” Paynter adds. “And unlike consignment stores, where you may wait weeks to receive payment, we pay you immediately for items that we would like to purchase.”

Their new Beavercreek location will help to expand the success they’ve seen in Cincinnati, Paynter says. “We have been hoping to expand to Dayton for about a year now, and we finally found the perfect location in Beavercreek next to our children’s and teen resale stores,” Paynter adds. “It’s a great location with the mall across the street and other new businesses in the area.”

According to Paynter, the new location also extends their company’s mission to make life easier and more convenient for women. “We want to give customers a convenient and easy way to sell what they are no longer wearing. We know women are busy! We can usually give you a quote in about 20 minutes while you shop around the store,” Paynter says. “And if you are planning on donating any items we can’t purchase, we will save you the extra trip and donate them for you. All donated items go to Matthews 25 Ministries.”

Paynter says this new store may be one of many more new locations to come in the future. “We would love to open one to two more locations, but we won’t think about until we have our new store up and running for at least a year.”

To follow along, stay updated, and learn about new arrivals and upcoming events, Paynter says the best way is to find them on Instagram. “We love Instagram! Once we open, Instagram followers can ‘comment to hold’ items we post on Instagram, it’s our version of online shopping,” Paynter explains. “We also post all upcoming events and sales on our Facebook and website.”

Get in touch via Instagram, Facebook, and their website!


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A local high-end jeweler is launching a retail concept to develop a new take on luxury and consignment shopping.

Stafford Jewelers is launching a new luxury consignment shop in Hyde Park this summer.

Consignment is the new chic, according to Stafford Jewelers.

This local destination for fine jewelry with more than 20 years of expertise in the diamond industry, owned by a family with more than 35 years of expertise, recently launched a new luxury retail concept: ShopJacobJames.

“ShopJacobJames reimagines luxury resale and consignment, putting quality products and customer service at the forefront of everything we do,” says Amy Stafford, Co-Owner of Stafford Jewelers. “When a shopper walks into ShopJacobJames we want them to have the same high-end experience they would have walking into any of our Stafford Jewelry stores.”  

The inspiration behind ShopJacobJames comes from their goal in developing a new concept to luxury consignment shopping. “We really champion the art of hospitality in all of our stores and wanted to bring a new vision to what luxury consignment shopping could be,” Stafford says. “Our question was: what can we bring to the table that no one else is? ShopJacobJames offers a tangible experience with hard-to-find luxury items, and one-on-one customer attention, including a private consultation area for those wishing to be discreet.”

This is a natural extension of the family business, Stafford explains. “We have specialized in fine jewelry in Cincinnati for over two decades, and ShopJacobJames — named after my sons Jacob and Jimmy — is another way that we can offer a unique, luxury experience for our shoppers.”

In order to create and establish ShopJacobJames, they are able to use Stafford purchasers and portions of consignment items submitted by customers.

“We specialize in new and pre-owned luxury items including jewelry, handbags, watches and other fashion accessories at an inviting price point,” Stafford says. “The product inventory is curated by Stafford purchasers from an extensive partner network with a portion also comprised of ‘consignment’ items submitted by customers — all of which is sold in-store and online.”

The unique nature of ShopJacobJames is centered around their lively location and the personalized experience, Stafford explains. “We are a lifestyle centric destination located directly on Hyde Park Square, so we want our guests to make the day of it and experience our product on their own terms.”

The Stafford family has big goals for ShopJacobJames. “We want to be the first store people think of when they think luxury restore, the card they keep in their back pocket or talk about at cocktail parties,” Stafford says. “When our shoppers get an email from us, before they open it we want them to be excited because they know that inside is the latest and best in luxury resale at their fingertips.”

To learn more, visit online at, where you can also join their email list for sneak peeks at new inventory and exclusive deals, and on Facebook and Instagram.

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See how this Cincinnati-based fashion designer is making her mark around the world one handmade piece of art at a time.

For a little over a decade, Tara L. Smith has been crafting unique jewelry creationsTara received her B.S. in Art Education with an academic minor in Art History from Miami University in 2009. While her full-time job is an art teacher at a local Cincinnati high school, her passion for fashion shines bright through her one-of-a-kind Etsy shop. 

“I love the fact I am able to still be an artist and make some extra income by selling my work while working full time as an art teacher also,” says Smith on her Etsy page.

The pieces initially started selling through various pop-up shops, and then launching an Etsy Shop was the next step to build the business Smith and her team quickly found that e-commerce dramatically increased exposure and clienteleTo date, Smith’s pieces have been shipped to more than seven countries, including Dubai, United Kingdom, Germany and even Japan. 

“All of the pieces have so many layers. They have a simplistic look, but each piece has personality and bursts with color and boldness. The pieces do not come from inventory, they come from the customer’s stories, Tara’s mood, and pure wonder. They are each handmade 100%, that is 70% creativity and 30% custom.” says Leah Michelle, fashion stylist and owner of FashionYellow LLC., “Her biggest inspiration comes from her grandmother, who originally inspired Tara to start making jewelry. She loves vintage jewelry and art, so she combines an ‘old soul’ feel in each of her modern and high-end creations.”

Since each creation is handmade, the materials are gathered from local boutiques, thrift stores, online ordering and through global personal connections. Depending on the type and specifics of the piece, customers spend between $75-$500 on an order. “Some pieces are on the lower scale and some are custom, handmade route. It is a great range for anyone to shop in,” says Michelle

To reach an even broader audience, Smith and her team have utilized both photoshoots and social media to their advantage. “We have a lot of free giveaways on the website and across our social media pages. Our followers tag their friends and have them follow our account for a chance to win. We have found an increase in traffic and customers lately,” says Michelle. 

To enhance the image of the brand, Smith and Michelle directed a photoshoot that incorporated all things athletic and chic, the theme for the new spring line of jewelry. “Each look was personally pulled together by me. I mixed Tara’s athletic pieces with womenswear and shoes to highlight her passion for fitness and fashion. We formed the looks around the necklaces to make the concept cohesive and creative. We wanted a mix of bold, bright necklaces and also soft pastels with deep undertones,” says Michelle. 

Both Smith and Michelle have been pursuing their passions in both the fashion and business industries for a combined total of 10+ years. 

To learn more or visit her Etsy shop at:

Photo credits:

Hair and Makeup: Katie Haggard, Wild Hare Salon.

Photographer: Christina Denise, 33 West Studios / Heyman Talent Agency.

Models: Kianna V. and Chloe H., both represented by Heyman Talent.

Coordinator / Director: Tara Lea Smith & Leah Michelle

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A local business wants to help moms remember how loved and supported they are. See how you can help spread the love one fashionable find at a time.

Brand New Day as expanded its wellness wear, which aims to show mothers how loved they are.

Brand New Day (BND) was created by two Cincinnati sisters as a collective commitment to eliminate the incidence of suicide and relieve the negative stigma associated with mental illness. Their products serve as a physical symbol, a promise to others, to ask for help and help those who ask, and their goal is to help everyone affected see that there’s always a brand new day just around the corner.

“Mom guilt is real and momma bear instincts are strong,” says Mandy Hauer, co-owner of Brand New Day. “Truth be told, being a parent only seems to get scarier as our kids get older. The fear of losing a loved one is, at times, suffocating.”

Mental illness and suicide is a real thing that affects real families, and Hauer says she’s see too many famillies have their lives shattered.

“If you stop and look at the statistics, it is alarming,” Hauer says. “So we started thinking: how can we equip others to navigate life’s highs and lows while making a promise to ourselves? Could we create something that would let people know that they are not alone in this world?”

When Hauer and her sister launched Brand New Day, the idea was to wear a simple bracelet as a reminder to everyone about how loved and cared for they are. But since then, the bracelet has evolved into a significant promise to wearers to ask for help and help those who ask.

“We hope that BND will serve as a physical reminder that everyone is loved, capable, brave, and worthy of life. After all, tomorrow is always a Brand New Day,” says Hauer.

BND offers handcrafted, adjustable macrame bracelets in eight colors, priced at $16 each. The bracelets are packaged on a card with an uplifting message and/or reminder that you are worthy of life.

BND also just recently expanded it wellness wear line. Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety. BND is excited to introduce their Wellness Wear line that encourages exercise while giving back to suicide prevention organizations and programs.

For more information on BND, follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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It’s that time of year again! The UC DAAP Fashion Show is back and better than ever! Keep reading for a preview!

Laurie Wilson is an adjunct instructor and associate director of non-academic programming at the University of Cincinnati. She’s also the fashion show director for the annual Fashion Show event put on by students in the university’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) program.

According to Wilson, the DAAP Show is the largest and most innovative fashion show in the region, and is the graduation event for the seniors in the Fashion Design program at the University of Cincinnati.

The University of Cincinnati has been hosting the DAAP Show since 1951, making this year’s event the 68th annual fashion show.

The inspiration behind the show is all about showcasing hundreds of original, one-of-a-kind designs created by the future of fashion.

“The show is designed to introduce the designers to industry professionals, community fashion influencers, and fans of fashion, and, of course, their friends and families,” says Wilson.

Each year the UC DAAP Fashion Show offers a unique experience for event attendees. This year there are 53 seniors graduating and no two collections are the same, giving way for plenty of diversity.

“There will be approximately 250 outfits shown on 30-plus models as they walk the 300-foot runway at Waypoint Aviation,” adds Wilson.

Wilson says that each of the collections produced by the students are thought out immensely, and the designs reflect that thought process.

“There is such diversity in style, execution, and purpose; from clothing designed for young people with Cerebral Palsy to swimwear to outerwear, and there are even bridal collections,” she says. “The models that walk in the show continuously call it their favorite and they clamor to be a part of it.

This year’s event is being held May 3, at Waypoint Aviation’s hangar in Lunken Airport, and Wilson says there is a ton of new things being added to the 2019 show.

“Virtually everything is new,” she says.

This includes the 53 new designers from graduating seniors, hundreds of new garments, and a new location. The location gives the edgy, industrial feel that students desire. This year’s runway will also be a floor level, within just a few rows of every audience member. The 300-foot runway will be set up like a large rectangle, a new format for the show.

“It is much more like a New York Fashion Week environment than the raised stage we have had for years,” she says. “Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret, along with Rhinegeist, Ultimate Air Shuttle, and Waypoint Aviation have supported the show and we are extremely grateful.”

A new designer collection book, produced by Tether, will be available at the show and given to all VIP guests or purchased the night of the show. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase a raffle ticket to win a roundtrip flyaway to New York City courtesy of Ultimate Air Shuttle.

VIP tickets for the show are $150 and include the Meet the Designers reception in advance of the show, along with exclusive seating. Friends of Fashion tickets provide a reserved seat for the show and sell for $50. You can purchase tickets here.

To follow along with the show and its designers, or to learn more about the DAAPworks events and exhibits, visit here or follow along on Instagram.

Wilson says tickets for the show are going fast and they may move to Standing Room tickets when it sells out. The show will also be available to watch here.

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See how a local suit shop is celebrating diversity both in-store and out with a campaign that’s getting national attention.

Since 2011, Pursuit has been using a combination of modern style, a simplified shopping experience with great service, prices that are affordable, and a strong media presence to stand for something that’s more than just clothing. That inspired its recent campaign that’s now garnering national attention.

“The ‘You Are Who We Are’ campaign is all about celebrating the diverse group of inspiring people who make Pursuit who we are. It was inspired by a deep sense of gratitude after the growth we’ve seen in the past year with recognition we’ve received and the new store and community in Cincinnati” says Nate DeMars, founder of Pursuit and also named Columbus’ Top Entrepreneur of 2018 by Metropreneur.

Since the campaign is centered around the people, their stories and backgrounds are prominent in the campaign as well, DeMars says, highlighting Pursuit‘s impact as a whole. “We shot a video featuring over 150 people from the Cincinnati and Columbus communities who have shaped Pursuit. We also created an interactive page on our website that allows you to learn about all 150 people in the video, their story, and their connection to Pursuit. From leaders, to athletes, artists, celebrities, to customers and Pursuit team members – it’s an impressed group of people, mostly from Ohio roots.” 

The video highlights individuals of all races and ages, copious Ohio scenery, wedding parties, live music, artwork, and much more – a perfect inside look into the thousands of stories that Pursuit has had a hand in writing.

The concept from this campaign was born out of a song from Big Red Machine, a band made up of Cincinnati’s Aaron Dessner of The National and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. “The song ‘Melt’ really helped solidify this feeling of gratitude for the diverse community that has rallied around pursuit,” says DeMars. On March 31, Justin Vernon and Bon Iver helped shoot a collaborative video while they got suits right before they played the Taft Theater. “(Their appearance) was a thriving addition to what was already a super meaningful campaign,” says DeMars. The song was also chosen to be the background music in the campaign video.

As far as next steps go for Pursuit, the sky is the limit. “In Cincinnati, we are only getting started, having just been open in Over The Rhine for just four months. We want to continue to build meaningful connections in the community so we feel as local here as we do in our first home of Columbus,” DeMars explains. “We believe Pursuit has the potential to be a national retail and suit brand and we are striving to build an innovate and impactful business model that helps us grow our reach.”

You can shop Pursuit in Over The Rhine, at 1433 Vine St, Wednesday through Sunday. They offer the Pursuit Tailored Collection of suit separates for $299 along with an in-house tailor, as well as a premium line of Pursuit Custom Suits and Shirts designed by the customer for the customer. Brands such as The Tie Bar, Mizzen + Main, French Connection, and other local brands as well.

To learn more, visit here.

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This Cincinnati-based fashion designer creates one-of-a-kind pieces using unconventional materials. Read on for all the fashionable details.

The idea of clothing and jewelry isn’t limited to just fabric, metals or gems for Da’Mon Butler. For the past 20 years, he has been designing clothing jewelry out of unconventional and repurposed materials through his brand, NOMAD3176. 

“I got started … for myself and my relatives quickly noticed and wanted me to design pieces for them as well,” Butler recalls. “I had no desire to start my business, but as my pieces were worn around, I received more requests for my icing and NOMAD3176 was born.”

Butler says NOMAD3176 is unique because each piece is unique — he has never designed an identical piece. “The [designs] I create is one-of-a-kind. When customers ask if I can make another piece like one I have made in the past, I tell them that I can make something similar, but not alike,” he explains. “I have grown collectors for my brand because although each piece is different, they all carry a piece of me and my love for the creating process.”

When it comes to sourcing materials, Butler finds inspiration everywhere. Friends and family often find random objects and challenge him to design a piece with it. 

I find my materials everywhere. If you set something down too long, I will find a way to create a piece of jewelry out of it. I let the pieces speak to me, it lets me know what it wants to become. Some pieces leave me speechless,” says Butler. “I repurpose a lot of items that would otherwise end up in the landfill, these are my favorite items. For example, when I first started repurposing bicycle inner tubes, a lot of people were apprehensive about wearing bicycle parts for accessories. As I wore my pieces around town, I loved the reaction I witnessed as they noticed what my icing was made out of. People are excited to find that my icing works for their life.” 

NOMAD3176 is based out of the Pendleton Art Center, Studio #107. You can find Butler working Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30am-2:30pm, or by appointment by calling 513-709-8803. NOMAD3176 also hosts a studio open house the last Friday of every month from 6-10pm. To learn more, visit here.