Maker & Sage is a bohemian shop with vintage roots. Owner of Maker & Sage, Stephanie Ress says the core of her business is vintage clothing and home décor, inspired and intrigued by a bohemian life style.
While it’s mainly a one-woman-shop, she does get by with a little help from her friends. “When I sell at local markets like, The OFF Market and City Flea, my wonderful boyfriend, Zach Madden, helps with the heavy lifting and he is a fantastic sales man! He’s been my partner in the success of the shop,” she says. “We hit up the flea markets on the weekends and he loves to go treasure hunting with me. He’s also fantastic at finding some of our best and weirdest t-shirts. Anything with a wolf or a band shirt, he’s behind it.”
Ress says one of her best friends inspired the idea to start the business. “Maker & Sage came from the idea of building this brand with my best friend Meagan Martin. She is an amazing artist and a muse of mine. She started her company, Meagan Martin Maker, and sells her own designed ceramics. We met in art school, at DAAP, and instantly became best friends,” Ress explains, adding that she always dreamed about having our own studio someday. “We always called it, M&S Studios. We planned to build the brand together but unfortunately she and her fiancé moved to South Carolina so she hasn’t been able to be apart of the shop like we planned. But I still feel like she is a part of my shop and that’s why I decided to keep her a part of the name.”
That’s why she called the business Maker & Sage, M for Meagan and S for Stephanie. Plus, Ress says, she likes the meaning behind each word. The maker’s craftsmanship of vintage pieces, and sage meaning, having, showing, or indicating profound wisdom. “The pieces I collect inspire the fashion trends of today,” she says. “I love following trends in fashion and home decor, but they are always inspired by the original trends from 20+ years ago.”
Ress was able to go her own way and build this brand based on what she loves: thrift store shopping and trash picking. “It’s so much fun to me! It’s a thrill to jump into a mess and come out finding gold. When City Flea started I went to every market, and I always shopped from the vintage vendors. They always have the best finds, but I am DIY kind of girl, I like to figure things out and create my own. My shop is a creative outlet for me that gets me away from my computer,” she says. “As a graphic designer by day, I live behind a computer screen, I love being a designer, but I felt I needed something else that was all mine. No one can request edits or tell me I am doing it wrong. Its my shop and I can let my creativity run free with it.”
That creativity lets Ress continue to be inspired by fashion and home decor trends. She finds those trends walking around Cincinnati and going to concerts, bars, etc. just to people watch; it lets her see what people are wearing and play fashion police in a sense. She’s noticed a few things along the way.
“The 90s fashion is in, I’ve been rocking my own cut up denim shorts made out of 90s Lee or Levi mom jeans for 5 or more years now. And only in the past year have I seen large retailers sell 90s inspired high waist jeans/shorts,” Ress explains. “I like to find out what trends are going on and get on them before they are big.”