The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Fashion

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Learn about a Cincinnati-based creative who focuses on designing and hand-making elegant and creative jewelry.

Lauren Ashley knew she wanted to create, but she didn’t want to limit herself. As the founder of Meraki by Lauren Ashley, a boutique Etsy jewelry shop based in Cincinnati, she focuses on designing and hand-making elegant and creative jewelry.

Ashley says she didn’t want the name of her shop to stop her impulses in creating beautiful things, so she went with a modern Greek word: meraki.

“It means to do something with pleasure, creativity, and devotion,” she explains. “At the time I decided to pick meraki, I was not exactly sure in which direction I wanted to take my humble jewelry shop. However, I did know that whatever I created would come from a place of genuine love for the art I was making.”  

Currently Ashley is a one-woman show behind her shop, and she plans to keep it that way. “I like that Meraki is a creative space I can lead and take charge of depending on what inspiration strikes me in the moment,” she says. “It’s been rejuvenating to have an artistic outlet where there is no pressure to answer to anyone else’s creative expectations or moments.” 

In the Meraki by Lauren Ashley shop, you’ll find a variety of handmade and specially designed clay earrings, gemstone earrings, pearl earrings, and hand-stamped pendant necklaces. 

The clay earrings collection features simple yet elegant floral and plant imprinted pieces to clay earring scenes imitating the blue and white facades of Greece.

The gemstone-beaded earrings sold in the shop include pieces designed using sapphires, jade, mookatite jasper, agate, angelite, and other beautifully sourced semi-precious stones. 

“I often design pieces using more than one type of stone while sometimes incorporating freshwater pearls and seashells to add texture and dimension to the earring,” says Ashley. 

Something new that Ashley took on when she opened her shop was hand-stamped pendant necklaces. “I had not dabbled in metal-stamping before,” she says. “My pendant necklaces are definitely for those who appreciate minimalist everyday-wear jewelry.” 

Ashley says that what makes her shop unique is that she focuses on what she wants to create rather than responding to outside pressures of what other creators are doing.

“I don’t want to design jewelry that I feel like I have to create for one reason or another,” she says. “This shop is meant to reflect what I find beautiful and what I hope others will too. If I started to create things I thought other people wanted me to create, then my work wouldn’t be as genuine.” 

Ashley says that for the holidays, customers have been loving the white and blue clay earring collection. “The collection was inspired by my love for white and blue china and ceramic tiles,” she says. “I intend on expanding the collection soon, since I have more ideas I’d like to execute for it.”

Once the holidays are over, Ashley says she’s looking forward to the New Year and continuing to innovate, learn, and reach more of her potential as both a jewelry designer and a person in general.

“You never know what life has in store for you until you round the corner,” says Ashley. “Even though 2020 was chaotic, sometimes the most beautiful things are born from chaos. I’m hopeful that 2021 will be an illuminating and inspiring year for many.”

As we say goodbye to this year and hello to a new decade, Ashley says that she’s looking forward to what’s to come for her shop. 

“I am very stoked to be learning the technique of metalsmithing soon,” she says. “I have been doing endless research on the trade and looking to invest in quality tools to begin creating new jewelry. I love being extremely hands-on with my work, hence why metalsmithing appeals to me; I want to be able to make the actual ring band, shape it, create the bezel for the gemstone to sit in, file, and polish it, etc. With metalsmithing tools and techniques, I’ll be able to solder metal together to make my own earring studs, rings, and pendants.”

To learn more about Meraki by Lauren Ashley, visit her Etsy shop. You can also follow along on Instagram, where you can see her designs and inspiration behind her work. 

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A local mom, educator, and crafter is making handcrafted jewelry, paintings, and crochet items. Click here to learn more.

Motherhood, grief, and a global pandemic inspired Megan Minton to take her passion for creating and turn it into something much more. 

Today she is the founder of Beneath the LilyPad, an Etsy shop, which features a variety of handcrafted items from unique polymer clay jewelry to watercolor paintings and crocheted scarves and hats.

Minton says that about five years ago when she was pregnant with her daughter, Lily, she lost her mother. 

“Mom was a phenomenal artist who alway wanted to have her own shop but never really got the chance,” says Minton. “When the pandemic hit and life turned upside down for a few months, I decided it was time to put my passion into action and get serious about my little labor of love.”

The wife and mother to two girls is both an educator and a crafter, and aims to create products for her shop that everyone will love. 

When you shoop Beneath the LilyPad, you’ll find that the majority of items in the shop are polymer clay creations. 

“Many of these are earrings with unique, intricate designs that are made in small batches,” she explains. “Beyond this, customers will find hand-crocheted items in the cooler months, and these are almost always made from my own imagination, rather than a pattern. Lastly, there are always a variety of small watercolor paintings available – perfect for a desk frame or as part of that gallery wall in your living room!”

When Minton creates her items, she says that she remains focused on making art with a purpose and things that have purpose. 

“Customers, who often become friends, will always find something new here – there’s truly a little something for everyone,” she says. “I also accept custom orders and love helping customers bring special ideas to life.”

As you’re shopping for the holiday season, Minton says that Beneath the LilyPad is great for those on your list.

She says that new items are being added to the shop almost daily. “I always offer free shipping on any size order, and ship out quickly,” she says. “Most jewelry in the shop is $20 or less, and I’m always happy to package things up with a little extra pizzazz when customers mark their order as a gift at checkout!”

Minton says that she’s working on new items for her shop, and loves to incorporate real-life events int her work, testing our new techniques, and letting the change in season guide her through her designs. 

“I make pieces I love,” she says. “Specifically, I’m working on a polymer clay collection now called ‘Shattered Glass Ceiling,’ which will include hair clips, pendants, and earrings – an homage to the huge, glass ceiling shattered recently by Kamala Harris.”

To learn more about Beneath the LilyPad, click here. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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From fashion designer to vegan foodie, this local entrepreneur is adding a new feather to her cap with healthy (and yes tasty) versions of your favorite foods.

Danielle DeLaine has a passion for food but has always considered herself to be a picky eater. 

“I was picky about the texture of meat especially,” she says. “I always enjoyed veggies, toppings, and sauces more than anything.”

She says that growing up she would often take the pattie off her burger and eat the toppings and bread. Then, when she was pregnant more than 23 years ago, she gave up beef and pork.

“I just didn’t want it at all anymore,” says DeLaine. “A year passed and I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.”

She was diagnosed at a time when doctors knew very little about her condition and chalked it up to stress. But DeLaine knew stress wasn’t the issue. After doing more research of her own, looking into alternative options and spending years as a pescetarian, she decided three years ago that she wanted to get rid of meat all together. 

But as a passionate seafood lover, DeLaine wasn’t quite ready to rid herself completely of the taste of seafood. 

Danielle DeLaine

“I began to get creative in the search for plant-based alternatives and there were very few back then,” she says. “But that allowed me to create dishes that vegans and non-vegans alike could enjoy.”

To help others who may need to follow specific diet guidelines due to health or personal reasons, DeLaine decided to launch Herban Vegans. 

“Herban Vegans is an eatery that is one of only a couple in the United States that offers vegan cuisine inspired by the sea,” she says. “Our flagship products are vegan seafood.” 

DeLaine herself was no stranger to entrepreneurship when she decided to launch Herban Vegans. She is the founder of a fashionable hat boutique called Chapeau Couture. 

She says that taking a leap of faith on Herban Vegans has been a testament to her vegan lifestyle and how enjoyable it can be.

“There are many reasons why people are vegan, but you don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy vegan food,” she says. “I always encourage my friends and family to enjoy a meatless meal daily. You can never go wrong with protecting the Earth and God’s creatures while enhancing your wellbeing simultaneously.” 

The menu at Herban Vegans features pancultural seafood cuisine turned vegan. Non-seafood dishes are also available, giving an opportunity to provide more variety in the food and weekly meal prep options. 

DeLaine says that customer favorites include Fysh, Miracle Mac, Gumbo, Krab Cakes, Shrimp Po’Boy, Seafood Boil, and Etoufee. “We invite everyone to check us out for themselves,” she says. “All are welcome.”

DeLaine adds that she was operating Herban Vegans from Caffe Vivace jazz lounge offering brunch. However, in the midst of the pandemic and new surges, she is operating as a virtual eatery from Findlay Kitchen. 

“It is such a benefit to have Findlay Kitchen as a resource,” she says. “And we are currently looking forward to expansion to a grocery store near you.” 

Pickup and delivery options are available when placing an order. 

You can learn more about Herban Vegans and see the menu yourself at herbanvegans.com. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram

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Explore a unique, online accessory boutique offering bold styles for all.

Ever since Rew Coleman was a little girl, she has had an eye and niche for all things accessories. She has taken her passion for fashion and unique items and transformed it into Essential Things Co.

“For as long as I can remember, I have always gotten compliments on my accessories,” says Coleman. “Essential Co. is my brainchild, and I am so excited to watch it come to life.”

Essential Things Co. is an online accessory boutique, offering affordable luxury items. The products include handbags, satchels, earrings, bracelets, hats, home decor and more. For a complete list of products, visit https://www.essentialthingsco.com/.

Each item is specifically chosen with the customer in mind. “I do a lot of research on my customers through conversations and trends on social media,” says Coleman. “Through this, I am able to really see their lifestyles and how Essential Things Co. can complement that. I love accessories because they can take a basic, white tee and jeans and transform it into a unique, versatile outfit.”

Essential Things Co. has a strong mission statement of providing exceptional customer service while selling unique items. This has been the foundation that Coleman has used since the opening of Essential Things Co. in 2017 and plans to continue to use it for the future. 

Essential Things Co. proudly serves all customers, especially those wanting to bump up their wardrobe. “Watching Essential Things Co. come to life has been amazing. The amazing community both around the products and myself has truly made it all worthwhile,” says Coleman. Currently, Essential Things Co. is located online. They can be found in several pop-up shops around the Cincinnati area. Coleman hopes to open up a brick-and-mortar store in 2021. 

To stay connected with Essential Things Co., you can visit their Instagram and Facebook. You can also shop at https://www.essentialthingsco.com/

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A dynamic duo of husband-and-wife artists is bringing their impressive art pieces to life one outfit at a time.

For couple Evan Hildebrandt and Alison Shepard-Hildebrandt, it has always been a dream to share their artwork with the masses and bring more beauty into the world. Over the years, they’ve created artwork and installments that grace the walls and halls of many impressive homes, businesses, and establishments. Now, their awe-inspiring artwork is expanding into fashion with their new clothing line, Abstract Art Swag. 

Abstract Art Swag is made up of clothing pieces printed with the Hildenbrants’ artwork. Their products include dresses, wrap skirts, leggings, capris, scarves, pillowcases and several types of bags. You can view the products by visiting https://abstractartswag.com/. Currently, their target audience is female buyers. 

“We have really let art inform the clothing,” says Evan. “Each design is uniquely placed in the product. We really believe in the purity of art for design.” Combined, the two artists have almost 30 years of experience in the art industry. The price range of professional art can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. By placing it on versatile, everyday clothing, it is both affordable and enjoyed widespread. 

All of Abstract Art Swag’s products are made with dependable, high-end materials. “Each one of our products are made with quality materials. Our manufacturer is located in Canada so we can ensure the pieces will be made close to home and with quality in mind,” says Evan. “The prints on the pieces never fade, even after multiple washes. We are really excited that our art will be able to be preserved, even on clothing.”

The process from the sketching board to the product is a unique process. The Hildenbrants tap into their creativity and design their artwork. The couple compliments each other with their individual strengths. Evan tends to gear his work towards a natural and organic aesthetic. For Alison, her strengths lie in floral oil paintings. Once the design is finalized, a high-resolution image is sent to the manufacturer. A 3D render of the image is produced, the team ensures the design falls right on the product, and it is ready to be worn. 

“The process of launching this company and allowing our designs to speak for themselves has been amazing to watch,” says Evan. “Our hands are in every step of the process and it has been a great learning experience. We are so excited for our official launch coming soon and sharing our work with the world.”

To stay connected with Abstract Art Swag, you can visit their website at https://abstractartswag.com/. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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A good outfit makes for a good day. That’s the idea behind this local boutique dedicated to creating confidence through strong community and on-trend style.

Golden Grace Boutique is a unique shop full of on-trend clothing, accessories and a whole lot of love. 

The boutique was founded in 2017 by owner Kathleen Reinert. “The inspiration behind my boutique came from my grandmother, Goldie Grace. She was a strong-willed, caring, and beautiful woman who would give the shirt off of her back to any stranger,” Reinert recalls. “At Golden Grace Boutique, we strive to make sure our customers feel like family and confident in her own skin.”

Reinert founded the boutique after having her second child and realized that working as an LPN at Good Samaritan hospital was no longer her calling. She took after her grandma by putting her strong will, heart, and hard work to the test and the rest has been history. 

The boutique carries an assortment of products, each hand-picked with the customer in mind. The products include clothing, fashion jewelry, accessories, gift items and home décor. The products all hold an underlying quality of fresh and unique. “Once an item sells out, we rarely restock it – it makes it a one-of-a-kind,” says Reinert. 

When you step into or log onto Golden Grace Boutique, you instantly become family, she adds. “We strive in making your experience amazing,” says Reinert. “Whether you are coming in to browse or looking for a specific item, we will be there alongside you every step of the way. We want to make you feel beautiful in your own skin, no matter what tough patch you may be going through. I often get messages after customers have left over their appreciation for their time in the shop and how our staff made them feel.” 

Woman of all walks of life can strut alongside Golden Grace Boutique. Their target customer ranges from 13-65, with a recently launched Youth Line. The sizes range from XS to 3X. 

The boutique has two brick and mortar locations and an online presence. “Growing up on the East side, I wanted to establish the boutique in an area close to home, says Reinert. “The village of Batavia has a small town feel and while it might not always be extremely busy, our customers come from near and far to visit our small shop.” 

Their home location is located in Batavia, while their Amelia location will be open up for events and parties. Community is something that Golden Grace Boutique was founded upon and they always find a way to give back. 

The boutique ships to many different states and holds fundraisers for local non-profits as a way to give back. Reinert’s favorite part about watching the boutique come to life has been the intentional community that runs intertwines within the boutique. 

To shop Golden Grace Boutique, they are located at 210 East Main Street, Batavia OH 45103 or you can shop online at https://www.goldengraceboutique.com/. To stay connected, you can follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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Find out more about this sustainable company in pursuit of a world with less waste and more green.

Koko is a sustainable living shop and refillery with locations in Columbus, Denver, Lexington, Louisville, and coming soon, Cincinnati. 

The company was founded by Jamie Fairman and Adria Hall. The unique name originated from a Finnish word that translates as “full.” This translation serves as a nod to Fairman’s heritage and their strategy to create refilleries where customers can full and refill over and over. Hall and Fairman originally had the idea when they noticed a lack of convenient resources needed to live a sustainable lifestyle. 

“People are starting to consider the impacts of their purchases on the planet and the humans that live on it,” says Hall. “But there still isn’t enough access to sustainable products – especially locally – to enable consumers to make better choices. That’s the motivation behind Koko.” 

At the heart of Koko is the refillery – a bar of toiletries and cleaning supplies in bulk that you can “fill up” from over and over again, giving customers the opportunity to reduce their plastic waste. “In our shops, we will offer a bottle bar of glass and metal bottles and pumps and jars. Customers are also welcome to bring in their own containers to be filled,” says Fairman and Hall. 

In addition to the refillery aspect, Koko offers a wide selection of sustainable living goods. For a full display of Koko’s products, you can visit their website at https://kokotheshop.com/. Each product at Koko is unique in three unique ways: 

1. Koko products are sustainably sourced and made of natural ingredients and materials. These are good for both the planet and the people who use them. A decent amount of their products are vegan, Leaping Bunny Certified and cruelty-free. 
2. Koko products are also sustainably packaged. To avoid plastic, glass, reusable and compostable materials make up containers in Koko. 
3. All of Koko products are reusable. This initiative is set in place to help the community shift their mindsets away from single-use products and towards a mindset of reusing and reducing. 

Not only does Koko have three unique aspects to their products, they also have four foundational beliefs. “We believe that sustainability is for everyone, should not be boring, isn’t one-size-fits-all, and is approachable,” says Fairman and Hall. “Less waste is the goal, but the journey will look different for everyone. We welcome all people of Cincinnati and the surrounding areas to shop and learn with us along the way.” 

While Koko is well-known in the surrounding areas, so is their sister brand, Forage. “Forage is an interior plat shop and community for plant people,” says founders Hall and Fairman. “We want to create a space where plants and people can thrive. What started out as a house-turned-storefront has turned into storefronts all over our area. The idea for Koko originated from our desire to expand our products for Forage.”

At Koko, the products are clean, purpose is strong, and experience is fun. “We try to make it (the shopping experience) fun,” says Fairman and Hall. “Our Koko team members are extremely knowledgeable about the products and sustainability. They seem to always be answering questions, making product recommendations and helping customers fill up.”

To shop at Koko, you can visit their website at https://kokotheshop.com/ or visit on of their locations. Koko Cincinnati will be coming to 318 W. Fourth Street soon. You can also follow along on their Instagram

To shop Forage, you can visit their website at https://forageplants.com/ or visit one of their locations. You can also follow along on their Instagram.

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Explore how a hard-working mother turned her passion for fashion into an online boutique and community of empowering women.

Six years ago, Allie Meyer was an expectant mother with a passion for fashion. Today, she is a proud boutique owner, working mother, and working toward empowering women of all ages one fashionable find at a time. 

“I have always had a love for shopping and styling,” says Meyer. “I started in the blogging world about 12 years ago, sharing outfits I would create and my favorite shops. Once I became a new mom, I quickly realized how much I missed the connection with other women who shared my same love of fashion. TwoTwentyTwo Market was born.” 

TwoTwentyTwo Market is an online boutique bringing stylish clothes for women of all shapes, sizes and walks of life. Their main mission is to inspire confidence and provide empowerment. The trendy boutique offers unique clothing, jewelry and small ticket items such as coffee cups, koozies, wristlets and candles. 

The boutique’s unique name derived from Meyer’s desire to include her two kids. “It just so happened that my kids both have birthdays on the twenty-second and the name was born,” says Meyer. “They are the reason I strive to become the best.”

 

Since Meyer loves to engage with the customer, TwoTwentyTwo often engages on social media to gain insight into what the customer is currently loving to stock her store. The business is truly all about the customer, Meyer says. 

“Each piece is intentionally chosen and make great gifts for both yourself and loved ones.  We love to have our products shopped by working mothers or driven women who love to be on trend at affordable prices,” says Meyer. “She has places to go and wants to look great with trendy pieces without breaking the bank. I want to personally get to know each customer and personalize their shopping experience, down to the details of the packaging.”

TwoTwentyTwo Market is an online boutique, but can frequently be found at local events around the Cincinnati area. “I have loved sharing my vision and style with the world and I cannot wait to continue to continue in the future,” says Meyer. 

 To shop TwoTwentyTwoBoutique, visit https://twotwentytwomarket.com/. You can also stay connected via social media on Instagram and Facebook.

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With All Souls Day coming up Nov. 2, we wanted to share some fashionable ways to remember loved ones after they’ve passed.

Cremation Bracelets
Was your loved one cremated? Keep them close to your heart every day with cremation bracelets for ashes. You can also make a necklace with keepsake pendant for ashes. These come in a variety of styles and materials that allow you to include a small pinch of cremains, burial soil, or other memorial item inside the jewelry to keep with you always. Some designs and materials also allow for personalized engraving.

Memorial Flower Jewelry
Have fresh flowers from a recent service, or dried flowers stashed away from one long past? Several custom jewelry designers and vendors on Etsy will make memorial flower jewelry for you to treasure for years to come.

To make these, you typically need about 1/4 of a rose OR equivalent if you prefer to use other types of flowers or leaves, to make one bracelet or necklace. For a rosary, you’ll need one full rose or equivalent if you prefer to use other types of flowers or leaves. To create a ring, only about one petal – or a petal from each flower if there are multiple types that can be mixed together once dried and crushed. Two petals are needed for earrings.

Remembrance Accessories
Cincinnati-based jewelry designer FENNO FASHION makes memorial flower jewelry as well as several other types of accessories, like keychains. Does it matter if the flowers are fresh or dried? Typically, the drier the better, so if you have fresh flowers, ask first. Most designers will have techniques and equipment that can dry the petals while still maintaining the vibrancy no matter the type of flower.

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Learn more about this hand-crafted and Cincinnati-based accessory company inspired by both nature and fashion

For the past two years, Pistil Calyx has been bringing fun accessories to the Cincinnati area and beyond. The company specializes in small floral hand-crafted polymer clay hair and lapel pins. 

“When looking for a name for the business, I wanted a name that wasn’t made up of too obvious floral words,” says owner Jahmaiah Martin. “Pistils are part of the reproductive parts of the flower and calyxes hold the flower together. I loved the way the two looked together.” 

Pistil Calyx originally started out with knit brooches only and then switched focus to small sculptured clay goods. Each product is hand-made and has a very unique process when designing. 

“The first start of the process begins with inspiration,” says Martin. “I have been collecting pictures of flowers for years from gardens and parks all over Cincinnati. I look over these images to find inspiration for my realistic and imagined succulents and flowers.” 

Next step? Color. “Next, I think of my colors that I want to present and the scheme I want to create. These can derive from roses, season, mood, or imagined.” 

After the inspiration and color are solidified, it is time for Martin to get to the two-hour sculpting process. They are each pressed and carefully arranged into the flower she wants to represent. 

Each accessory is unique in their own way, seeing as they each go through this intricate process. Over the past two years, the creative process has remained Martin’s favorite part. 

“I enjoy the days where I get to work with clay and photograph my pieces – it really allows me to get creative.” 

To shop Pistil Calyx’s hair and lapel pins, you can visit their Etsy shop. To stay connected, you can follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

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