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!

At the recent Memphis Makers Fair at Memphis City Hall, participating makers added their name and location to a city map to show the power of the local maker movement.

At the recent Memphis Makers Fair at Memphis City Hall, participating makers added their names and locations to a city map to show the power of the local maker movement. Image: Made By Project Facebook

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.

Samilia Collier is the founds of Texstyle.

Samilia Colar is the founder of Texstyle, a Memphis handbag business.

“I often look to create a juxtaposition between geometric & organic in my bags with my choice of print and shape of the leather, or overall silhouette of the bag” says Samilia. We love her Texstyle Crossbody Bag

“I often look to create a juxtaposition between geometric and organic in my bags with my choice of print and shape of the leather, or overall silhouette of the bag,” explains Samilia. We love her Texstyle Crossbody Bag, $46.

Samilia loves color “because it enhances your mood, and a lot of the patterns I’m drawn to are fun & add interest.”

Samilia loves color “because it enhances your mood and a lot of the patterns I’m drawn to are fun and add interest.” Her Teal Deco Adjustable Button Bag, $118, is an ideal “on the go” bag to hold all your necessities and then some. We love this color as it transitions perfectly from summer to fall.

 

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?’”

Elyse Wigan, founder of Prim Society

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:

Prim Society is available at Falling into Place, or you can shop online at primsociety.com.

Prim Society’s Primtone Baby Teether and Crinkle Toy is a one of kind gift sure to bring the “ooohs and ahhhs” at a baby shower.

Prim Society’s Primtone Baby Teether and Crinkle Toy, $40,  is a one-of-a-kind gift sure to bring the “ooohs” and “ahhhs” at a baby shower. Image: Prim Society

Prim Society’s Modern Mini Quilts allow you to be the designer of a one-of-a-kind baby gift. Mix and match from a variety of fun fabrics. Elyse pairs modern designs with the tactile qualities and textures that people love about traditional quilts and textiles.

Prim Society’s Modern Mini Quilts, $225 each, allow you to be the designer of a one-of-a-kind baby gift. Mix and match from a variety of fun fabrics. Elyse pairs modern designs with the tactile qualities and textures that people love about traditional quilts and textiles. Image: Prim Society

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.

Grace Shiela of Mbabazi House of Style

Grace Sheila of Mbabazi House of Style

We adore Mbabazi’s House of Style easy to wear shirt dresses in fun and unique prints.

We adore Mbabazi’s House of Style easy to wear shirt dresses, $65, in fun and unique prints.

Throw pillows are an easy way to perk up a room and Mbabzi has enough variety to please anyone’s taste and color scheme.

Throw pillows, $18 to $75, are an easy way to perk up a room and Mbabazi has enough variety to please anyone’s taste and color scheme.

 

Where to shop:

Mbabazi’s House of Style designs are available at Merchants on Broad, 2577 Broad Ave., Memphis, TN 38112.

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.

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