Meet the Maker: Artisan Food Pantry

Food + Drink + Small Business = three of my favorite topics which is why I decided to add a food pantry to the CP Studio Shop. All the great additions to the CP Gifting line-up are made in the southern USA (almost all in NC) and make unique and welcomed gifts.

There is so much heart behind these businesses and love included in each jar, bag, bottle, box and can that I thought it was about time I share a little bit about the people that make the pantry goods I stock in the studio and online shop. Not only will you be inspired by their stories, I'm sure you'll fall in love with their product too.

Interested in trying a sample of what we offer in our Artisan-made Food Pantry? Grab our sample box HERE!

Hudson & Lee - NC: Hudson & Lee Honey Simple Syrup is the brainchild of Greta McCoy - she worked on her recipe for over two years and after working with food scientists at UNC, she found a way to keep it preservative-free, allowing the honey simple syrup to sit safely for up to two years. Hudson & Lee, named from her sons’ middle names, officially launched in May 2016. This natural, shelf-stable substitute for sugar, honey, or regular simple syrup works wonders in iced tea and lemonade. And for cocktail lovers, impress your guests with one (or several) of Greta and her husband’s recipes, available on Hudson & Lee’s website - personally I think all margaritas should be made with Hudson & Lee!

Slingshot Coffee - NC: Slingshot Coffee Co. was founded by Jenny + Jonathan Bonchak - a husband-wife team of national award-winning baristas with nearly 15 years of coffee-brewing experience - dedicated to building on a foundation of quality, knowledge and innovation. Slingshot Coffee starts with only organic, in-season beans that have been meticulously sourced and roasted and produces the most delicious cold brew coffee we've ever tasted. They also make Cascara 'Tea' which is what we are stocking in the studio and adding to gift boxes. What's Cascara you ask? Cascara is a tea-like drink with a fine, fruity flavor and plenty of caffeine.  Made from the often discarded skin and flesh of the coffee fruit, it’s a tropical, berry fruit that just happens to be coffee. It's not tea — it's 100 percent coffee. But it smells like herbal tea. It's a great cold drink, because it's refreshing, and it's caffeinated. It's kind of like nature's Red Bull. Read more about Cascara HERE


Cloister Honey - NC: Cloister Honey started when founder,  Joanne gave her husband, Randall, a hive for a gift. What started as a hobby has turned into a wonderful small business offering some amazing honey creations from Charlotte, NC. We are particularly fond of the Cinnamon Whipped Honey in our house - and customers feel the same because it sold out very fast. I also love the whipped cocoa, bourbon infused and salted varieties!

Merry Cheese Crisps - AL: Merry Cheese Crisps are made in the small company's own facility in Birmingham, AL.   Meredith, the founder of 'Merry', is committed to producing locally, and inclined to believe no one can make them the "Merry Way". A cheese crisp is like a cheese straw, but round and the formula used is based on a family recipe that has been fine tuned for over a decade.  The cheese crisps are light, full of sharp cheddar flavor, and just a slight spicy kick in the finish. I promise it will please even the most ardent 'cheese straw snob'. These are the best I've ever tried and you'll have to try hard not to eat the entire bag in one sitting. 

Sunshine Beverage Co - NC: Sunshine Beverages was founded by Keith Vest and Joe Parrish and operates out of The Variable, an ad agency in Winston-Salem (also founded by the pair).  They say they have created a beverage that is different from its “eXreme” energy drink brethren - some energy drinks have more than 150 mg of caffeine, but Sunshine has just 50 mg, typically less than the caffeine contained in a small cup of coffee. Sunshine's first flavor is was Ginger Berry and its key ingredients are 50 mg of caffeine, electrolytes, Vitamin B-12, ginger-root extract, Stevia for a sweetener and a touch of blackberry for flavor. They've since added Clementine Twist and Blueberry Lemonade flavors to the mix. We love a cold Sunshine on its own but happen to think they make a wonderful cocktail mixer too. 

Videri Chocolate Factory - NC: Videri Chocolate Factory began as the shared dream of three chocolate lovers: Sam, Starr, and Chris. From the moment Sam first sunk his hands into a bag of cocoa beans, he knew he had a love for making delicious gourmet chocolate, and the talent to match. His mission was to turn his passion for handcrafted bean-to-bar chocolate into his profession. Sam’s wife, Starr, and his longtime friend, Chris, came on board to head up the business side of the company, and the three have been having a blast ever since. Now a few years on, the chocolate factory is even more beautiful and delectable than they had dreamt it would be. I love the Videri story and wish everyone could visit their slice of heaven in downtown Raleigh but if you can't, we have you covered by offering a selection of their chocolate bars in CP Gift Boxes and the studio shop. My personal favorite is their dark chocolate bar with sea salt. 

Meet the Maker: Jordan Grace Owens

Oh hey, major fan girl over here. Meet artist & illustrator, Jordan...everything she creates is perfectly simple while still being a statement maker. Jordan's work includes ink drawings of women and limbs - when I came across her leggy tote, I knew it needed to be paired with one my necklaces - such a fun gift. And do yourself a favor and check out her custom paper dolls. Jordan was very kind to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions so you can get to know her business a little better. 

E: In what city/town do you create your products? 
J: I work out of my home in Durham, North Carolina. 

E: How does your location inspire your work?
J: Durham is a growing city in a growing region, so it feels like there are always new creative people moving to town and bringing new creative energy to the community. It’s inspiring to be a part of that upswell. And we're only about a thirty minute drive to Raleigh or Chapel Hill, so there’s always something exciting to eat, see, or do nearby. 

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?
J: Six years ago I was working as a graphic designer and making art in my spare time, when I started offering custom paper dolls through my Etsy shop. Those became a big hit and before long, I was burning the candle at both ends. That’s when I decided to let my day job go to focus on illustrations full-time. 

E: What is your favorite thing about owning your own business?
J: There’s nothing better than managing the direction of your work — which projects you want to take, which goals you want to accomplish — it’s really creatively fulfilling. And you can’t beat the flexibility of making your own hours. 

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
J: As a one-woman operation, I’m in charge of everything. A lot of my work days are spent on things like managing schedules or organizing financials — not the most inspiring tasks. When you work from home (like I do), I can be a challenge to turn the work day off at the end of the day.   

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade/artisan shops?
J: We have some wonderful handmade/artisan shops worth checking out here in the Triangle. I’m a fan of Indio and Everyday Magic in Durham, and Gather and Ramble Supply Co. in Raleigh. I have some lovely stockists further out in NC that I can recommend, including Kleur Shop in Winston-Salem and Horse & Hero in Asheville.

Thanks, Jordan!  I am very excited to be stocking a small selection of Jordan's work including the leggy tote and girl art prints - both can be found in several gift boxes

Meet the Maker: Paper Sushi

I have this thing with stamps. I guess you could call me a collector. And hand-lettering...I am a sucker for it too. Jen, the fun creative behind Paper Sushi, combines two of my favorite things to create the most perfect desk accessories. I love that this Mama does it all herself - Jen is the sole designer for Paper Sushi and she + her hubs cut and engrave everything in house. It was so nice of Jen to take time out of her busy schedule so we can all get to know Paper Sushi a little better.  

E: In what city/town do you create your products? 
J: Lovely Portland, Oregon!

E: How does your location inspire your work and why do you love living & working there?
J: Portland has such a wonderful community of makers that inspiration is everywhere!  We love our small businesses here, too, and that means I can always find somebody local to collaborate with.  I print everything at a local, super green print house and get to treat myself to the delicious banh mi next door whenever I pick up a job.  (Amazing food is another one of my favorite things about Portland!) 

E: Why did you initially start your own business?
J: We were living in Germany and my German was terrible!  That meant I had to develop my own business opportunities and I found the perfect home for my ideas on Etsy.  I have been thrilled every step of the way as this business has grown and changed and become such a part of who I am.

E: What is the best thing about owning your own business?
J: I absolutely love being the captain of my own destiny.  I love that if I am bursting with ideas and working my hardest, I get to channel that in whatever way I see fit, and I get to reap the benefits of all of it!

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
J: Sometimes adulting is hard.  And, owning your own business can feel like next level adulting.  You have to make all the decisions and sometimes they’re not the right ones.  But, every stumble is another opportunity to grow!

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops? 
J: Beetle Ink Co is one of my favorite local makers!  I run her stamps and acrylic pins, and every new illustration she brings is a joy to see!  Little Canoe brings my favorite outdoor scenes to life on fun paper goods.  And, Quill & Fox and Worthwhile Paper are more of my favorite paper ladies!

Thanks so much, Jen! We are so excited to stock a selection of Jen's work in our online shop - the very perfect addition to our curated gift boxes!

Meet the Maker: Grey Moggie

I was first introduced to Grey Moggie letterpress cards a few years ago when I attended my very favorite art show, Crafty Bastards, in DC. Melanie, the witty and oh-so-talented creative behind the brand, writes the most clever and spot-on messages and the look & feel of her letterpress work is super special. As luck would have it, I got to meet Melanie this past year when I, too, was a vendor at CB. I paired a few of her cards with our clipboard frames in my booth and knew I wanted to carry her work as soon a possible in the CP e-shop. Melanie was very kind to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions so you can get to know Grey Moggie a little better. 

E: In what city/town do you create your products? 
M: We print all of our letterpress greeting cards, coasters, and small prints at our Northeast DC warehouse studio. The warehouse is filled with other local artists and makers and has the best creative energy. There's a coffee roaster and two floral design studios so it always smells amazing. And it's just a few minutes from home for me. 

E: How does living in Washington DC inspire your work?
M: I love the sense of possibility that comes from living in a city even though it feels as friendly as a small town most of the time. My urban environment really inspires my work. The sense of community you feel when you run into friends and neighbors at a coffee shop, farmers market, craft fair, playground, or new restaurant, that's the feeling I hope to convey in my work. And of course we love DC! We have a whole line of cards, coasters, and prints called "Local Love" featuring our love for DC neighborhoods and quirks. It even has funny cards about DC bus lines. 

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?
M: It was sort of by accident. I started letterpress printing as a hobby when I needed a creative outlet during law school. When my daughter was born a few years later, I quit my 9-5 job to be at home with her. I slowly got back into letterpress printing, teaching at a local art center on the weekends and printing in the evenings after my daughter was asleep. Then I started selling my cards at Eastern Market on the weekends. I'd post new cards on Instagram from the market and a few shops got in touch about carrying my cards. I gave myself a crash course in selling wholesale to fill those first few orders. I remember asking myself "what the heck is a line sheet???" and then the next day creating a line sheet. I signed up for Trade Show Bootcamp and did my first trade show, The National Stationery Show, in 2013. 

E: What is the best thing about owning your own business?
M: I love making the rules for my business, particularly in balancing work and family life. When my daughter was really young, I was able to spend weekdays with her and grow my business at night and on the weekends. Now that she's in school, we have a much more traditional schedule, but it's one that we've chosen and that can be very empowering. I also love that I get to wear a million different hats. I never get bored because I'm doing something different - from designing new product to printing it, shooting and editing photos, interacting with customers and clients, sourcing new supplies and vendors - every day. 

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
M: Ha! The work life balance is also the worst thing about owing my own business. The lines between work and home can become really blurred and it's important to set boundaries all around. That has been really hard for me, but I'm learning and improving all the time. And wearing different hats can be good and bad, too! Some days I really want to print or design, but what I really need to do is send invoices and order paper.  

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops? 
M: Just a few?? I love everything Katie at Stitch & Rivet is doing. Priya Means Love in Baltimore makes the best natural beauty products. I've been eyeing Mallory Shelter's jewelry since we were booth neighbors at the DC MEET Market a few years ago. I share my workspace with another printer, Sarah Hanks from Fancy Seeing You Here, and I love her screenprinted Gee Whiskers cards featuring her outlaw cat, Jesse James. And fellow DC mama, Emily Biskey from Penny & Paul, makes the warmest, coziest, most stylish knit caps.

Thanks, Melanie!  I am SO excited to now carry a small selection of Grey Moggie cards to include with gift boxes and pair with clipboard frames. And I know you are going to love giving her fun cards as much as I do. 

Meet the Maker: Moonrise Rebel

Let me tell you a little story about two girls that have been friends since grade school. They have shared so many experiences, created so many memories, and have grown even closer as adults. They both started their own businesses last year and recently collaborated to create a beautifully unique gift.

By now you have probably figured out that I am talking about myself and dear friend, Amy, who is the creative behind Moonrise Rebel. The beauty Amy captures with her camera is always stunning and I am so happy to be stocking her gorgeous floral art cards in our shop. She was so kind to size her first print release to perfectly fit the CP clipboard frame and answer our 'getting to know you' questions...

E: In what city/town do you create your products? 
A: I've lived all over the United States, but have to laugh that I ended up launching my business from my hometown of Hershey, PA.  How could I resist a town built on chocolate?!  It's no wonder I have a crazy sweet tooth :-).

E: How does your location inspire your work? 
A: I adore Hershey for many reasons, but most importantly because it will always feel like home.  Starting a business has been the most challenging and amazing experience of my life, and being surrounded by a support system of family and friends that I've known forever has made a world of difference.  

E: When and why did you initially start your own business? 
A: I've dreamed of starting a business for as long as I can remember, but like many, got stuck in the corporate grind with no idea how to escape.  One day I hit my breaking point- a week later I quit my seemingly-stable, soul-sucking job and jumped into entrepreneurship with absolutely no plan.  I know, totally crazy!!  Thankfully things fell into place and I launched a portrait photography business in late 2013.  Moonrise Rebel Print Shop is brand spanking new, and I'm absolutely loving the diversity of photographing both kiddos and flowers.  I have a deep passion for beautiful paper goods, so using my photographs to create art prints has been a dream come true.  

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business? 
A: Freedom.  Freedom to dream, to create, to fail, to succeed.  I'd gladly work 24 hours a day in order to be free to do the work I'm passionate about.  

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business? 
A: Focus!  I have more ideas than I know what to do with, and I often find myself going in waaaaaaaaaaay too many directions at once.  I'm working hard at fully developing one or two areas of my business prior to moving on to the next brilliant idea in my head.  But it's hard.  Oh, so hard...

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops?
A: Oh dear, this is the hardest question you asked!  There are so many talented artists in this world- here are some of my fav shops (besides Conflicted Pixie, of course):
Manayunk Calligraphy 
Fort Orange General Store 
Ferme a Papier 
Kelli Murray 
…just to name a few :-)  

Thanks so much, Amy! I loved working with you and look forward to more collaborations. You can find Amy's beautiful Ranunculus Art Cards in our shop and combined with some of our other small goods in a curated gift box

Meet the Maker: Freedom Soap Company

I am not sure what I love more the Freedom Soap Co. story or their products. Chasity, the Mama behind the inspiring business, creates the best smelling bath and body products but her focus on sustainability and quality is what I am most drawn to. Chasity was very kind to answer my questions about her thriving handmade business so you are able to get to know Freedom Soap Co. 

E: In what city/town do you create your products and how does your location inspire your work?
C: Birmingham, AL - Birmingham is such a rich and vibrant city. I love living in the south, and being a part of an emerging handmade movement.

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?  
C: I started Freedom Soap Co. in my kitchen when I was teaching third grade. I've always tried to eat really well and live a relatively healthy and natural lifestyle.  I began making products for myself and my husband because we wanted a skin-care routine that matched our diet. Simple, wholesome ingredients were a priority of mine, so I started formulating my own recipes.  Then, one Christmas, I made a batch of soaps and sugar scrubs for friends and family.  I had extras, so I started selling them in the teacher's lounge.  I began filling orders for more, and it just never stopped.  I kept getting busier and busier.  A year later, I had to make the difficult decision to leave my career and pursue my business full-time.  It was a huge risk, but one I am so glad I took!

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business?
C: My favorite thing is that I have the freedom to work doing what I love while being able to stay home and raise my daughter. Although it sometimes seems impossible to get things done, I have to remind myself of how awesome it is that I get to spend my days with her.

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
C: For me, it’s finding balance between being a wife and mom...and then being a business owner. I currently work from home, so it can get pretty chaotic around here. I’m also a one-woman-show, so wearing multiple hats can be a bit overwhelming.

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops? 
C: I recently discovered a new couple that makes some really cool wood products here in AL. They are Flannel & Floral (@flannelandfloral). I also really love Folk Fiber’s IG feed. Their quilts are amazing! (@folkfibers)

Thanks, Chasity! Many of our gift boxes include Freedom Soap Co. Orange + Rosemary lip balm and our shop will soon stock bars of the Sage + Lemon soap. Trust me when I tell you that you can't live without either one!

Meet the Maker: Detroit Card Co.

My love for stationary runs deep and after discovering Detroit Card Co., I knew their greeting cards were the perfect accessory for our clipboard frames and gift boxes. Genna, the creative designer behind the cards, does an awesome job combining the clever with the heartfelt to offer the perfect greeting card sentiments. It was so nice of Genna to take time out of her busy schedule so we can all get to know Detroit Card Co. a little better.  

E: In what city/town do you create your products? How does your location inspire your work? 
G: Our products are created in Ferndale, MI, which is just outside of Detroit. We hope to have a space in Detroit someday. I love Detroit because it's bursting with creative people. And right now is a great time to be in Detroit because new businesses and opportunities are popping up everywhere. It's really amazing to see the wonderful changes that are happening so quickly.

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?
G: I've always known I wanted to have my own business. Even as a little kid, I was very entrepreneurial. I've been a freelance designer for the past 10 years and so I've had my own business in that regard, but starting The Detroit Card Co. was something special. Around December of 2013, I was on the verge of starting a card company when my dear friend and talented author and improvisor, Cara Trautman, mentioned how fun it would be to write funny cards. We immediately hit the ground running and within a few months, we had a card line.

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business?
G: My favorite thing is knowing that every minute I put into the business is directly impacting something that I built, and that I am passionate about. And that makes me want to put a ton of time and love into it. It's very rewarding when someone purchases a product, or when a card makes someone laugh or smile.

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
G: Knowing when to stop working! I love owning my own business and working doesn't even feel like work, so sometimes it's hard for me to step away — especially since I make my own hours. I think it's good to have a balance of work and play, even if working feels like play. It's good to step away and recharge.

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops?
G: I have a ton of favorites, but the first ones to come to mind are Mannymade, Alisa Bobzien, Worthwhile Paper, Arthur's Plaid Pants, and Snow & Ivy. They are very talented friends of mine that make great work.

Thanks so much, Genna! Our shop is stocked with a selection of Detroit Card Co. greeting cards that can be added to any order - we will even include a handwritten message and send it directly to someone special. 

Meet the Maker: Open Eyes Press

I was first introduced to Open Eyes Press in 2013 at Crafty Bastards and have been somewhat obsessed ever since. When I was dreaming up our gift boxes, they were one of the first shops I contacted. Luckily Rachael, the talented creative behind the awesome products, is so kind and easy to work with. I am big fan of her tomato print - it graces the wall of our kitchen - but her tea towels are really a gift givers dream come true. Rachael was so sweet to answer my inquiring questions so you can get to know her and Open Eyes Press better.

E: In what city/town do you create your products? How does your location inspire your work? 
R: Baltimore, MD - Baltimore is a great place to be an artist!  It's diverse, supportive of the arts, and has a down-to-earth vibe.  

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?
R: I've been an entrepreneur since I was a kid- I started a neighborhood dog washing business when I was 10 (used my mom's fax machine to make flyers!), and then had a handmade jewelry business through high school.  After graduating from college with a degree in Fine Art, I went looking for a job that would support me and allow me to use my creative talents.  I spent several years working in all kinds of art-related fields, but nothing I did gave me the sense of fulfillment or creative freedom I wanted.  Around 2009, I was exhausted and ready for a change- my family encouraged me to start a business doing what I loved, and the rest is history!

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business?
R: The total creative freedom that comes with it!  By working with subject matter and materials that I naturally gravitate toward, I've been able to create products that truly reflect who I am.  The added bonus is when someone takes the time to tell me how much they love my work or enjoy using something I made- it propels me forward to keep doing what I do.  I would also say having the freedom to make my own schedule.  I choose when I work, so if it's a nice day, I can spend time outside and then get back to my work projects later in the evening.  I also have more time to spend with family and friends, which is important to me.  It's all about keeping things balanced.

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
R: Keeping my life in balance (weren't we just talking about that??)!  As owner/designer/maker/seller, work can pretty much consume my life if I'm not careful.  I work from home, so it's very easy to keep going on to the next project, because there's always something more to get done.  Setting reasonable limits for myself, eating well, and spending time outside and with friends helps me stay focused.  Sometimes you just have to take a break and let your mind relax.  

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops? 
R: Absolutely!  Trohv (Hampden and Takoma Park) and Salt & Sundry (DC) are two of my faves- whether it's exotic flavored bitters, a deliciously scented candle, or the perfect birthday/wedding/thank you card, I can always find a special gift at both places.  Twisted Sisters in West Annapolis is a cool spot, too.  They have funky, beachy finds (locally made, of course), and the owner builds and sells furniture made from reclaimed wood- super cool!

Thanks, Rachael! Many of our curated gift boxes will contain Open Eyes Press' printed tea towels - kitchen linens are definitely one of my weaknesses! 

Meet the Maker: Scout + Lilly

I started writing a little style blog two years ago and never would have predicted what Conflicted Pixie would become. I pursued different paths as I tried to turn what began as a hobby into a legitimate small business. I love designing and making small goods and am very proud of our play tentsnecklaces, and clipboards but I also was itching to grow CP into something more than just MY handmade business. 

I am constantly inspired by the maker movement and find myself shopping small more and more. I've talked about my daydream before - to open a brick and mortar shop on Main Street in Small Town USA - and have realized that the daydream could one day be a reality. So CP is taking another baby step toward that reality. 

I am very excited to tell you that CP is growing and I will be stocking small goods from some of my favorite American-made businesses. Launching in our online shop in the next few days, these goods will be combined with CP products to create curated gift boxes!

Even more awesome than the products are the makers themselves and I look forward to sharing their creativity and inspiring stories here.

I am super excited to introduce you to the creative force behind one of our very favorite handmade brands, Scout + Lilly. Kathleen does an amazing job of creating the most unique leather and silk screened goods while highlighting the very best of simple, modern design. Kathleen kindly answered my questions and I know you will enjoy getting to know Scout + Lilly.

E: In what city/town do you create your products and how does your location inspire your work?
K: Dallas, Texas - Texas in general inspires me! I grew up in San Antonio, where the city is so vibrant and colorful. The landscape, too, is incredible and unique. Dallas is no exception. 

E: When and why did you initially start your own business?
K: I started SCOUT + LILLY in 2012 when my husband and I moved to Dallas. I had the opportunity to pursue my own whims, and after much research, many trials, and (to be honest) many errors, SCOUT + LILLY is the result. I always enjoyed working immensely, but never found any joy in it until I began working for myself. It's incredibly difficult at times, but is so, so worth it.

E: What is your most favorite thing about owning your own business?
K: The freedom to do whatever I like. I can print, dabble in sewing, work with leather... whatever I wish! 

E: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
K: Honestly, the freedom! While I can do whatever I like, there is a great risk in it. I never know what will do well and what I enjoy making until the products have been around a month or two. And each decision can either skyrocket my business or tank it. It can be really stressful! And additionally, time management is a big challenge, but that's a challenge with any job!

E: We love growing our creative network! Can you share a few of your favorite handmade shops? 
K: Of course! There are so many amazing makers out there, and being a part of that community is really rewarding! Some of my favorite shops and/or makers are: Betsy Ann Paper, Fieldguided, Lisa Congdon, Cotton & Flax, Ariele Alasko, Amelie Mancini, Satchel & Sage, Lilco Press, and Monorail Press.

Thanks, Kathleen! Many of our curated gift boxes will contain items from Scout + Lilly including those awesome banners and card holder shown above. I am going to try my best not to keep everything for myself!