Tell us a bit about yourself.
When our first child came along, my husband and I decided I would stay home to raise our family. This is where I thrived – I always had a project going and was constantly designing, decorating, or creating something new for our home. The Belle and the Beau was initially inspired by my children. At the time, it was difficult to find stylish, dapper accessories for the boys – my husband came up with the idea for neckties and bow ties. They were a hit, and we have been running ever since! My husband Daniel and I run this business together. He cuts and helps ship all our orders. My mom (a.k.a. head seamstress) quit her day job two years ago to come sew for me full-time. A lovely mother and daughter from our church, Kerri and Carolyn, also sew for us, especially through our busy wedding season. We also just brought on Marj, my mom’s best friend. All of these ladies are amazing, and I’m so thankful for each one!
I have always had a love for art and design, and feel so blessed that I can do this from home and help support my family. Growing up, I was constantly on the move and my parents gave me the opportunity to try many things. I played all kinds of sports, danced, did gymnastics, and my mom signed me up for watercolor classes and piano, too. She couldn’t get me to sit sill to practice the piano, but art and creating was another story. My love for sewing really developed when I became a mom. My mother taught me how to read patterns and how to really use my sewing machine. I started sewing for my girls and fell in love with fabric!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Since I am a busy mom to my three kiddos, if I’m not working and creating in the shop, you will find me with my family. I love sports – I am an athletic trainer (sports medicine) by trade, and played basketball through college. I always say I’m a strange mix of built-up creative energy with a huge drive for athletic competition. I take time during the workday to kick and throw the ball and chase my 4-year-old son around my the house. I also love to read when time allows.
What’s the most important question a couple should ask their wedding vendor?
I always tell my clients “ask away – no question is a silly question!” It is important to have open lines of communication throughout the entire process. I try to make sure clients have a clear understanding of how we can create the perfect order to fit their style, how long it will take to complete their order and when they should expect to receive it. I tell them to feel free to check in any time during the process. It is important to me that they feel I am always available. Their love story is important to me and I want them to feel that!
What’s the most memorable custom item you’ve created for a wedding?
For one recent wedding order, we did all the ties as well as 108″ long table runners for their reception. It was all done in grey and yellow, and I can’t wait to see the pictures from their special day!
What would be the title of your memoir?
My Cup is Half Full. This view seeps into every area of my life. I always look for the positives and try and see the good in everything. God has blessed me with so much and I want that joy to overflow into all that I do.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I am a girl who loves color and fabric. I am also drawn to photography. I purchased my first Canon Rebel a few years ago for business, enrolled in a few photography classes and fell in love. I am a total amateur, but many of my customers are photographers, and I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing ones. Each and every one inspires me. Apart from these, I would say that my true source of inspiration is my wonderful customers. My business has grown and evolved because of them, and I create new products and styles thanks to their requests.
What does handmade mean to you?
For me, handmade means love. In the description of all my items in my shop, it says “100% handmade with love in the USA.” My definition of love means personal (not mass produced), unique for you, made with attention to detail from my hands to yours. My work tables have glass tops with the word “love” etched in the glass in multiple languages – I am reminded of this every day!
Who has been most influential in your craft?
My family. I could not do it without them. They encourage, inspire, motivate, and love me through it all. We live this business daily and it seeps into so many areas of our lives. My husband is amazing and a true artist himself. He is so influential in everything I do, and things don’t go without him.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
As long as I can remember. I think I really evolved into a true maker when I became a wife and mother.
How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process starts with an inspiration in my head. Then I spread out all kinds of materials and start to form. As my husband would tell you, I am intensely focused and I don’t stop until it is done and just right. He always teases me when I am in this mode because he can try and carry on a full conversation with me and I won’t hear a word he says (I do this when I’m watching basketball, too).
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
My favorite fabric designer is Joel Dewberry. His fabrics are the perfect mix of modern and vintage. They really marry my tag line “classic charm, modern style.” I would love to see inside his studio and his creative process to see how he brings his designs to life on fabric.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Several of my most cherished handmade items are by my grandmother and my mom. Some of my fondest childhood memories are going to my grandmother’s house and crafting with her. She would sew my little dolls clothes. Not only was she an amazing seamstress, but she loved ceramics and was a beautiful painter. I have a pretty ceramic dish I use for some of my jewelry that she made, and my girls play with the doll clothes she made for me when I was little. My mom has been sewing since she was a young girl and she has made several dresses and jackets for my girls. I have several stored away as keepsakes.
My most treasured handmade items were made by my husband. When he proposed, he made me a small hope chest that he put my ring in. Now I store memories of our wedding day in it. The second item is our beautiful wood bed – my wedding gift – which he made.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I try something new. I get excited for new challenges and I’m always pushing myself to try a new project or work with a new medium.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I absolutely love what I do. I would like to still be creating with my husband and family. It is my hope that my children, especially my girls, will be creating and working with me. I also dream of owning a store front someday!