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Wish packing lunches could be easy, healthy AND something they’ll actually eat? Check out this new option now locally available.

Local hairstylist and fashion blogger, Kandace Walters, shares a candid of her kids enjoying Freeli

Cincy Chic: What is Freeli Foods?
Jennifer Eagen from Freeli Foods: Freeli Foods are healthy, convenient grab-and-go meals that kids love and mom can feel good about. Freeli Foods contain no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors, no added sugar, with less sodium and saturated fat than traditional pre-packaged lunches. They are nutritionist-optimized for sustained energy throughout the day.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the brand?
Eagen: Freeli foods are hunky goodness kids can sink their teeth into—real foods, not purées in four flavors kids love: Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Pasta & Meat Sauce, Noodles with Chicken & Veggies, and Fiesta Bowl… beef, rice, beans, and cheese.

Cincy Chic: What makes Freeli Foods unique?
Eagen: Freeli Foods are wholesome, yummy grab-and-go meals for lunch, after school, or anytime. They are ingeniously packaged in convenient grab-and-go pouches (the first ever!), ready to eat in 45 seconds with no cooking and no mess. No utensils needed and they are BPA Free and microwave safe.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers find Freeli Foods meals? Are they in stores near Cincinnati?
Eagen: Freeli Foods are available in Kroger stores in Cincinnati, Dayton, Lexington, Louisville and Nashville. Click here to use our store locator.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Eagen: Visit https://www.freelifoods.com. Freeli Foods is also on Facebook. Click here for a look at coupons and promotions. 

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    A local boutique just opened its second location just a year and a half after opening its first storefront. Read more about their Instagram-worthy aesthetic and affordable, trendy clothing.

    The Native One is a chic boutique located in the heart of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The Vine Street boutique offers affordably, trendy women’s fashion and accessories.

    Owner Anna Steffen opened the store at its current located in 2018 at 1421 Vine Street after previously doing pop-up stores and online sales and, more recently, opened a new store in Covington at 326 Scott Street. 

    “The Native One is a one-stop-shop for all things fashion and minimal home decor,” explains Steffen.

    The store offers a neutral aesthetic and all of the items from the store are hand-selected from wholesale vendors in the Los Angeles Fashion District. 

    The second location for The Native One opened last month and was something that Steffen says she knew she wanted to do eventually but didn’t know it would happen so quickly.

    “I didn’t think it was going to happen this soon,” she says. “It was more of a five-year goal but when the opportunity was there I jumped on it. Last year’s sales completely blew any goals that I had out of the water and this year, it’s only gotten busier.”

    Steffen says The Native One’s Covington location will offer a similar aesthetic as the OTR location. 

    “The Covington store has a similar appeal as our OTR location, stuffed with everything from rompers and oversized outerwear to affordable statement footwear and lacy underpinnings,” says Steffen. “You’ll also find accessories, apothecary, and home decor.”

    Steffen she will soon move the OTR location to a new building to better accommodate the new inventory and demand. As growth for The Native One speeds along, Steffen says it’s creativity that fuels her team. In fact, she says she’s currently working on revamping an old auto body shop in Dayton, Kentucky. “It’s going to be a private garage studio space, where the team can process inventory, photograph products, and host events,” she says. “It can be stressful to do everything in the shop because we don’t have a huge back room. So to have a separate space to just work out of and be creative will be really beneficial.”

    To learn more about The Native One, visit https://www.thenativeone.com. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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      An emerging fundraising-through-fashion event is now in three Ohio cities and looking at opportunities to expand. See how they’re encouraging independent designers to work together to support non-profit organizations and their missions.

      LUXE Gives Back wants to make a difference in its small part of the world through its new event LUXE, a marquee fashion fundraising event. 

      The events put on by LUXE Gives Back benefit non-profit organizations and each event features a theme with three key elements, according to Founders Lisa Robin Adkinson and Valerie Jones.

      Each event features a runway show with merchandise from a group of independent fashion and accessories designers. “We use volunteer models, often involved with our non-profit partner, that are diverse women representing the local community,” says Adkinson. 

      LUXE also features a pop-up marketplace that designers from the runway show set up to allow attendees to shop. “LUXE curates regional, indie designers to deliver truly unique merchandize,” she explains. What makes this pop-up experience unique, she adds, is that participation is by invitation only. 

      In addition to the pop-ups and runway shows, LUXE Magazine is a publication that goes out in conjunction with each event. “The magazine is designed with beautiful fashion spreads and feature articles about some of the amazing people supporting LUXE events alongside regular columns on style, beauty, business, arts, and inspiration,” says Adkinson.

      The inspiration for LUXE comes from the desire to help independent designers, especially in the Midwest, grow their customer base and expose them to unique designs and merchandise. 

      “There are plenty of marketplaces and vendor opportunities, but there isn’t one specifically focused on indie designers,” explains Adkinson. “Pop-up shops are extremely popular with shoppers and designers alike. Our inspiration was to bring designers together to work collaboratively to minimize marketing costs and build a viable fashion community. Plus, all of the designers involved also support our mission to give back.”

      There are still some remaining events for LUXE through the end of the year: 

      Saturday, September 14, 2019, LUXE Dayton + YWCA Dayton at the White House Event Center, downtown Dayton.

      Saturday, October 12, 2019, LUXE Cincy + COCA- Council on Child Abuse, an affiliate of Talbert House at Fueled Collective, Rookwood.

      Saturday, October 26, 2019, LUXE Columbus + National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) at Versa Grandview.

      Adkinson says that what makes these LUXE events unique is that they want to engage sponsors and attendees alike, while helping beneficiaries feel supported.

      Adkinson says that 16 months after launching LUXE is now in three cities. “LUXE has filled a niche in the market, and we have received several requests to bring the concept to additional cities,” she says. 

      Currently, LUXE is working on 2020 events now, with LUXE Cincy + YWCA Cincinnati scheduled for March 14, 2020 at Fueled Collective.

      To learn more about LUXE, visit www.luxegivesback.com. There you can sign up for a complimentary subscription to the LUXE Magazine. Adkinson says those interested in modeling, stylists or hair and makeup, can submit interest here. Volunteers can click here and information on in-kind and paid sponsors is available here.

      To follow along with upcoming events and news, follow LUXE on Facebook and Instagram

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      Cheers! A local lady recently turned her extensive hospitality expertise into a mobile bar concept that can bring libations to any special occasion.

      Taylor Beach saw a need for an on-the-go bar company that could cater to special events around the city, so she launched Queen City Mobile Bar, which provides a portable bar along with beverage catering and professional bartending services.

      “We offer multiple types of packages to cater to any style of event and budget,” she says. 

      When asked why she was inspired to launch a mobile bartending service, she says she saw a gap for something just like what she could offer through Queen City Mobile Bar.

      “I wanted to fulfill a need and the desire to provide a high level of service for anyone, anywhere,” she says. “We want to provide the same level of service that you get going to a fine dining establishment or a top-rated event venue at your in-home party, wedding venue, office party, etc.”

      Beach also wants to take the stress off of those who are given the task of providing alcoholic beverages for a group of people. “Some people wouldn’t know where to begin,” she says. “That is where we come in to play. We take the hassle off your hands and bring the party and professionalism to you.”

      Beach, who is the founder and owner of Queen City Mobile Bar, has been in the food and beverage industry for 9 years, and has given a hard focus on fine dining. She also has her Level 2 Wine Certification through the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

      “Through this level of experience, I started the mobile bar service in 2016, covering events such as the Western & Southern Open Release Party, the @580 Apartments Grand Opening, and mayoral campaign fundraisers,” she says. 

      There are a variety of events that Queen City Mobile Bar can help you out with. “We will provide services to any private function, whether that be a wedding, rehearsal dinner, company party, fundraiser/charity event, or an in-home party,” she says. 

      Aside from its unique on-the-go services, Queen City Mobile Bar was built by and made for bartenders. “Ultimately, the bar is efficient – with 2 ice bins, storage shelves, full speed rack, built-in cutting boards, and a fruit caddy,” says Beach. “The bar is made to handle a crowd along with having a professional appearance for any occasion.”

      If you want to check out Queen City Mobile Bar for yourself, you can find the bar and Beach at the Greater Cincinnati Bridal & Wedding Expo in November. “We will have a booth set up showcasing our services and offering a special one-time offer discount to attendees,” adds Beach.

      Queen City Mobile Bar mainly covers Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, but is willing to extend services to Dayton, Columbus, Lexington, and surrounding areas.

      To learn more about Queen City Mobile Bar and to stay in touch, “like” them on Facebook or visit their website at www.queencitymobilebar.com.

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      Learn about the Cincinnati-based sister duo behind a this unique mobile salon concept.

      One year ago, local sisters Meredith McCullough and Mallory Brackett decided to pursue their passion for hairstyling by creating their very own bridal hair business, M&M Hair Design. As you might have guessed, the “M&M” stands for “Mallory and Meredith”.

      “My sister and I are 15 months apart. We both graduated from Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School back in 2007 and 2008. After working in a few salons, I landed a corporate job and kept advancing and my sister got married and had three children. A decade later, we got creative and wanted to be happy and fulfill our passion [for] helping others feel good,” declares McCullough, co-owner and stylist. 

      Their vision led them to creating M&M Hair Design, an onsite wedding hair service boutique. Their services are mobile, meaning they will come to any venue or location in the Cincinnati, Dayton, or Columbus areas. 

      M&M Hair Design offers hairstyling for brides, bridesmaids, mothers/mothers-in-law, and flower girls for the big day. They also offer styling for bachelorette parties as well as “Pin and Primp Princess Parties” for young girls that include hairstyling, craft-making, and goodie bags. They do offer trial styling services for brides and wedding parties to ensure everything is perfect before walking down the aisle. 

      “[M&M Hair Design] is a company that my sister and I built together so every wedding we do, we have so much passion and fulfillment in making the bride and her wedding party happy and beautiful,” says McCullough. 

      McCullough is also a real estate agent, and after building strong relationships with her clients, is often asked to help newlyweds find their first home together. “It is the most rewarding and blessed feeling in the world to me,” she says. 

      McCullough and Brackett have managed to find their niche and work seamlessly together. Many might think that running a business with your sister would cause friction, but not for these two. According to McCullough, “our rapport is one of a kind. We listen to our clients and build more of a relationship [rather] than just a service. We are honest and do quality work. Plus, we are two of the coolest stylist sisters out there!”  

      To inquire about M&M Hair Design’s styling services or see examples of their work, check out their Facebook page.

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      We’re taking you outside city limits for a bite to eat in a small town restaurant that’s all about local food and features handcrafted cocktails and 48 taps of craft beer.

      Murphy’s Craftbar + Kitchen is located in Sidney, Ohio, just north of Dayton.

      Nestled just off Interstate 75 is the small town of Sidney, Ohio. In this emerging community embracing the #eatlocal trend is the newly opened restaurant Murphy’s Craftbar + Kitchen.

      Murphy’s is owned by 22-year-old restauranteur Rocco Catanzarite. Although young, he’s motivated to create something great in his hometown.

      “Being born and raised in Sidney I know there isn’t really much to do here,” he says. “I found that all age groups kind of twiddle their thumbs on Friday and Saturday nights.”

      He wanted to change that with the opening of Murphy’s. Thanks to his start at the family business called Karoc Marathon, a convenience store and gas station that has become known as one of the largest beer and wine boutiques in the state of Ohio, Catanzarite was able to spread his wings and his network.

      He worked off the theory of “it’s all about who you know” and began reaching out to as many people as he could. Over time he was able to establish relationships to breweries and get his hands on hot new releases coming to the state and limited release beers.

      After months of preparation, planning, and continuing to reach out to contacts, Catanzarite opened Murphy’s Craftbar + Kitchen in downtown Sidney, offering big city vibes to a town of 20,000 people.

      “We pride ourselves on being the first to the party and doing fun things like putting popsicles in our cocktails and infusing bacon into vodka,” he says. 

      The menu at Murphy’s features popular items like the Nashville Hot Chicken, Braised Short Rib Poutine, Murphy’s Wings, and the Hangover Burger, which use local ingredients in their recipes. The restaurant also features weekly appetizer and burger specials so that there’s always something new to taste.

      There are 48 taps at Murphy’s as well, featuring Cincinnati beers like Rhinegeist and MadTree. But what makes the taps at Murphy’s unique is that they rotate out the beers, so the beer menu is constantly changing and new options are always available for craft beer lovers to try out. The cocktails at the restaurant are handcrafted and include favorites like the Pineapple Habanero Margarita, the Brown Derby, a French 75, and more like the draft cocktail and crowd favorite the Dreamsicle.

      “My goal at Murphy’s is to create an experience, from the moment that customer pulls the handle on the front door I want them to feel as if they are a part of something, something that when they leave they can’t wait to go back,” he says. 

      The experience he and his team of millennials offer at Murphy’s is something he hopes to continue to expand upon with future endeavors.

      “For the future there are many plans, a couple we are actually working on currently and plan to open within the next year and a half,” he says. “The goal is to really round out all our brands into one hospitality brand; customers will eat at our restaurants, grab a bottle of wine and some gas at Karoc, shop in our retail store, and stay in our hotel.”

      You can learn more about Murphy’s on Facebook and Instagram.

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      A new Dayton-based company makes hand-made, organic body care products that are not only good for you, but also good for the environment.

      Baba Love Organics offers skin care products that are good for you and the environment.

      If you’ve ever looked at the back of the bottle of one of your favorite lotions or skincare products, you’ll probably find several unfamiliar, and difficult to pronounce chemical names. While those chemicals might perform a job well, they might be good for you or too harsh for sensitive skin.

      In February of 2018, Dayton native Vaniti Byrd launched her very own skin and body care line, Baba Love Organics, so that consumers could find natural products that perform well, but are free from any harsh unfamiliar chemicals. 

      The company’s official launch included only four products but now has a range of 27 different face and body care items.

      The mission of Baba Love Organics is to support total well-being, inside and out. “What we use on the largest organ of our body is ultimately going into our body,” Byrd says. “If we are placing toxins on our skin, we are placing toxins in our body.” 

      The entire idea behind the brand was to create skincare formulas that are free from toxins, made with organic and raw ingredients, cruelty-free, and ethically packaged. 

      One of the ways Baba Love Organics has made an effort to stay true to their vision of sustainability is by hosting “Bring Your Old Bottle” events where fans and customers can come by to give old packaging a new life by refilling them with organic body butters and oils. These events also bring the community together and provide a way for Byrd and her team to get feedback from the customers in real life. 

      Another popular event the company holds is their “Masks and MUMosas” beauty brunch. They feature a DIY mask bar, bottomless mimosas, vegan brunch foods, and one-on-one facial consultations with Byrd herself. 

      As an Etsy-based shop with no brick-and-mortar location, it’s extraordinary that loyal customers get to have experiences like this. “The experience keeps customers excited about using plant-based beauty care products,” says Byrd. 

      With products ranging from tooth polish to “bath tea”, Baba Love Organics offers a variety of products for those looking for a natural approach to self-care. 

      To visit the Baba Love Organics online shop, visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/babaloveorganics/. To follow along on the company’s Facebook page, click here.

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        The arrival of Memorial Day means that summer is almost here! We chat with the local woman who launched a luxury consignment resource about the latest trends heating up the new season ahead.

        The RealReal Cincinnati is a luxury consignment shop that handles shipping and selling your high-end clothes, shoes, and accessories.

         

        Consignment shopping is just one of the latest trends to hit the retail world and there’s one luxury consignment resource — the RealReal — that helps you sell women’s, men’s, kids, fine jewelry, watches, art, and more from the comfort of your own home. 

        “We ensure that every item on The RealReal is 100 percent the real thing, thanks to our dedicated team of authentication experts, horologists, and gemologists,” says Marisa Gouda, Luxury Manager of The RealReal Cincinnati.

        Thus far, The RealReal has sold more than 60 million items and more than 11 million customers across the globe.

        Recently, the Cincinnati market opened for complimentary white glove consignment pickups. “This means my Cincinnati clients no longer have to inventory or schlep items to UPS themselves,” says Gouda. “As Cincinnati’s Luxury Manager, I visit with my clients at their home, where I gather, inventory, and ship all items to our e-commerce for processing.”

        In addition to Cincinnati, Gouda also covers the Louisville and Dayton markets, which helps to make the consignment process more simple, convenient, and free.

        Marisa Gouda is the Luxury Manager for The RealReal Cincinnati.

        The inspiration behind The RealReal comes from sustainability. The luxury retail business is a $1.5 trillion industry and consignment allows items to follow the lifecycle of luxury.

        “We have a heavy focus on sustainability, even a partnership with Stella McCartney,” says Gouda. “And we know exactly how to tell real from counterfeit, from the quality of the leather to the zipper manufacturer.

        When you shop The RealReal you’ll find everything luxury. This includes handbags, clothing, shoes, and accessories for women, men, and kids, as well as fine jewelry, watches, and high-end home and art items.

        Prices from The RealReal are data-driven, based on the 60 million items that have been sold to date. “Pricing is never subjective,” says Gouda. “We price based on what we know the market can bear, and what we’ve sold in the past. I’ve seen prices as low at $13 and as high as $350,000.”

        While consignment is common, Gouda says there isn’t another online luxury platform that can match The RealReal’s authentication practices, pricing, and storage management.

        “We take care of everything – from shipping, photography, pricing, and copywriting – and we guarantee all items are 100 percent authentic,” she says.

        You can book an appointment with Gouda via email at marisa.gouda@therealreal.com or through her direct booking link. You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn or shop the site at www.therealreal.com.

        BONUS: Anyone that books a 10+ item consignment pickup with Marisa via this article will receive a $100 coupon to shop the site – mention this article when you reach out to Marisa!

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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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        This locally-based transportation company gives you a safer, more dependable, cost-effective option when going to and from the airport.

        Taxi Maxx offers transportation to and from CVG and Dayton airports.

        Max Osadchy wants to give his clients what they want when they want it. And that’s affordable and convenient transportation to and from the airport before and after their travels.

        That’s why he launched Taxi Maxx, a locally owned and operated airport transportation company based out of Mason, back in 2011.

        “The goal behind Taxi Maxx is  to provide both the community and businesses with gold standard professional service from a company that they can trust,” says Osadchy.

        Taxi Maxx offers affordable pricing to individuals, as well as term billing for corporate clients.

        Prices through Taxi Mass vary and are based on mileage, however, Osadchy says there is a flat rate from Mason to CVG of $70 and a flat rate of $90 to the Dayton airport.

        Osadchy prides himself on giving his customers high quality service. “We want our customers to feel comfortable and taken care of when choosing us,” he says. “The bulk of our business is corporate and families. We understand traveling can be a hassle, we want to be a positive experience in their journey. We are always available through reservation for those late night flights and conveniently meet our arriving customers inside CVG to help with luggage and eliminate the ‘search’ for their taxi/car.”

        Osadchy says that Taxi Mass continues to offer its clients a more dependable, seamless and safer choice in their airport travel.  

        To learn more about Taxi Maxx, click here. You can also “like” them on Facebook or call 513-280-2412.

        Taxi Maxx is also currently on the search for new employees. You can inquire by emailing or by calling 513-280-2412.

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