Memphis is full of talented makers and artisans creating wonderful things, locally. From Brit McDaniel’s charming pottery business, Paper and Clay, to Katie Kalsi’s vast collection of handbags and leather goods, you can find almost anything you want made right here in the Bluff City.
The Made By Project is working to build a vibrant community of artisans, makers and micro-manufacturers in Memphis and Shelby County. Launched in 2016, the project is exploring ways to assist local creators in starting, operating and growing their enterprises. An endeavor of the EPIcenter and Little Bird Innovation, the Made By Project aims to grow the creative class and inspire a greater appreciation for artisanship in our city. Advisory board members include Pat Brown of T Clifton Gallery and Lisa Toro of City and State, as well as Abby Phillips of Memphis Fashion Week.
We at StyleBlueprint are all about buying locally, and we’re psyched to introduce you to three talented ladies who are making incredible one-of-a-kind goods right here in Memphis!
3 Memphis Makers to Watch
MAKER: Samilia Colar
Samilia Colar has been sewing for 14 years and launched her own handbag business, Texstyle, in 2008. Texstyle’s bags are made for men, women and children using leather and ethnic fabrics. “I’m deeply inspired by my Nigerian background, and the vibrant colors and patterns from those fabrics,” says Samilia. In August, she will take her craft to Belize to teach girls to sew at a school and orphanage called Hopewell, which houses neglected and abused youth.
Where to shop:
Locally, you can find Texstyles at K’Presha Boutique, located at 323 South Main St., Memphis, TN 38103, or order direct from Samilia’s website.
MAKER: Elyse Wigen
Elyse Wigen’s Prim Society makes modern baby goods and children’s décor and is most notably known for her clever Primtone teether toys, which look like Pantone color swatches. Elyse came up with the idea for the color swatch baby toys when a friend from her design school was pregnant. “I wanted to give her something unique and personal, and so I thought, ‘What if I made a baby version of the color swatches she uses every day at her design job?’”
Following her passion and making handmade things has led Elyse to be creative in other aspects. “Owning my own small business has taught me so many different things and ways of thinking. I’ve learned that most of the people who purchase my products are giving them as gifts, not buying for themselves. So I started including gift packaging as part of my finished product — added items to my shop that are geared toward gift-ability, and (I), basically, just keep presentation in the back of my mind at every step of my process. How will this look to someone seeing only a photo of it? How would I present it differently to someone who can touch and feel it? What do I want the recipient to experience when they open the box? Asking these kinds of questions has pushed my creativity to ideas I might not have gotten to otherwise,” shares Elyse.
Where to shop:
MAKER: Grace Sheila
Inspired by her mother and daughter, Uganda native Grace Sheila makes clothing and home décor using African Kitenge fabric right here in Memphis. Grace founded Mbabazi House of Style (named after her mother) in 2007. “Seeing my mother struggle all my life and raising four kids all by herself is what inspires me and pushes me to work hard. What makes my creations unique is the fact that they are simple and modern styles, things that can be worn by the young and old,” explains Grace.
Where to shop:
Are you a maker? Get involved with the Made By Project by completing their first survey here. Upon completion, you’ll receive offers from the Made By Project’s advisory board, including Phillip Ashley Chocolates and City and State. Plus, you’ll help the Made By Project learn how they can best support our community of makers.
Keep up with even more amazing aspects of Memphis — follow us on Instagram, where we post our favorite things about this city!