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East Walnut Hills

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    See how a transplant to Cincinnati fell in love with the city with a little help from her friends and neighbors. So much so, she just opened a shop called “Your Friends & Neighbors,” featuring local artists and designers. Keep reading for more.

    Maya Drozdz isn’t originally from Cincinnati, but now she not only lives here but launched a business to celebrate and support the Queen City’s gems.

    A native New Yorker and graphic designer by trade, Drozdz spent years behind the lectern as a college professor and working her way up the corporate America ladder. But life drew her to Cincinnati, where she recently launched a small business that sells creative home goods and celebrates local artists.

    “My previous business, VisuaLingual, took the hippie-dippie, DIY activist phenomenon of seed bombs and turned it into its own product category, landing on the shelves of national stores like Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware, and also in major publications including Vogue, House Beautiful, Harper’s Bazaar, and Martha Stewart Living,” she explains.

    Now, she’s the owner of Your Friends & Neighbors, a shop that is focused on contemporary, handmade home goods and gifts. Located inside the Leftcoast Modern Annex in East Walnut Hills, Your Friends & Neighbors features the work of Drozdz’s friends as well as local artists and designers, including classmates from art school, people she’s met through the maker scene, and friends she’s made while living in Cincinnati for the last decade.

    “I’ve finally created a single place to showcase the work of all the talented people I’ve had the honor of meeting over the course of my adult life, and then I round out that core inventory with handmade objects by designers and artisans from across the U.S.,” she says.

    At Your Friends & Neighbors, Drozdz has the opportunity to accessorize Leftcoast Modern’s furniture and use it to display her inventory, allowing for a mix of complementary aesthetics. Thanks to her ability to display her inventory with the store’s furniture, she can really show off all that Your Friends & Neighbors has to offer.

    “We sell everything from letterpress notecards to laser-cut wood clocks,” she says. “From dish towels to small-batch soap, from hand-thrown ceramics to hand-painted pillows, with an emphasis on surprising materials like cast concrete, gold-leaf papier-mache, and 3-D printed nylon. If it’s smaller than furniture, you can probably find it at Your Friends & Neighbors.”

    Products from Your Friends & Neighbors fit every budget – literally. You can pick up a mini Paper with a Past note card for $1 or spend a few thousand dollars for an original painting by Cedric Michael Cox.

    Drozdz says that what makes Your Friends & Neighbors unique is that is brings you goods you can’t find anywhere else, while also featuring an eclectic mix of products.

    “I spend a lot of my time finding makers and objects in all sorts of surprising places,” she says. “The mix with Leftcoast Modern’s vintage offerings give the space a really eclectic vibe. There is also Ledge Gallery on the back windowsill where I exhibit tiny work by contemporary artists, with opening receptions coinciding with Walk on Woodburn, the major neighborhood event in East Walnut Hills.”

    While she will continue to spend time filling her shop this year, Drozdz says she’s also looking forward to getting back into designing and producing original products just for the shop, as well as finding ways to make connections between the goods she carries and the goods she’s designed, which includes an upcoming debut of Your Friends & Neighbors exclusive pillows.

    Your Friends & Neighbors is located at 2803 Woodburn Avenue in East Walnut Hills. Drozdz says the best place to stay updated is by following their Instagram account, where new products are posted daily. You can also learn more at yourfriendsandneighbors.com or on Facebook.

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    A local lady is outfitting big dreams of creating fashions for little ones, and it all began just three years ago in her mom’s basement. Keep reading for all the fashionable details.

    Mary Helen Clothing is a newly launched clothing line launched by a DAAP graduate that offers clothes for little girls and accessories for women.
    Mary Helen Clothing is a newly launched clothing line by a DAAP graduate, offering clothes for little girls and accessories for women.

    Age eight and on can be a challenging time for self-confidence issues and negative influences on young girls. At Mary Helen Clothing, they want girls to know how beautiful they truly are and be able to express themselves through the clothes they wear.

    “My dream has always been to create clothing for little girls that make them feel beautiful,” says Helen. “Mary Helen Clothing does just that. It brings out a child’s spirit through bright colors, unique prints and details that make everyone smile.”

    Growing up, Helen was inspired by making things and playing dress up. “I loved designing anything and everything I could get my little hands on,” says Helen. “I had an imagination that was unmatchable. From age eight, I knew I was going to create something amazing and I was going to do it for girls like me.”

    Helen had just graduated from DAAP in fashion design when she knew that she wanted to start her own line.

    “My line is all about motivation and self-esteem in young girls,” says Helen. “I went from sewing all of the garments myself to now having everything produced locally in Cincinnati and selling to over 85 boutiques around the U.S.”

    Today, Mary Helen Clothing is the perfect outlet for girls with an imagination, who love to dress up and love to have fun. “I want young girls to know how beautiful they truly are, and be able to express themselves through the clothes they wear,” says Helen. “Always remember, no one can tell you your story – you have to write it yourself.”

    The storefront for Mary Helen Clothing.
    The storefront for Mary Helen Clothing.

    By feeling beautiful in what they wear and being encouraged to express themselves, Helen believes that girls will learn how to move forward in life with their heads held high and have a great collection of bright clothing to pass onto their little sisters.

    Mary Helen Clothing offers girls clothing for ages 2T-12 as well as accessories for women and baby. Their new store opened April 23 at 1981 Madison Road in Cincinnati. “We are a little over a week into being here,” says Helen. “I LOVE Cincinnati!”

    Helen is currently in the process of expanding their Fashion/Sewing Summer Camp program to other cities. “It is a fun week of fashion, design, trend and learning to be a designer and designing your own garment,” Helen exclaims. “We start with seven year olds and go up from there. With having the new store, we are also excited about offering Fashion/Sewing Birthday Parties – which we are really excited about!”

    When looking to the future, Helen hopes to build a foundation for girls to grow upon. “I feel that Mary Helen Clothing will lead girls into a life of high self-worth and beauty through fun-loving, age appropriate clothing that makes them feel beautiful, confident and proud,” says Helen.

    To learn more about Mary Helen Clothing, visit their website maryhelenclothing.com, give her a call at 513-802-5020, or email maryhelenclothing@gmail.com.

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