This is the third installment of a three-part series that explores the nature of successful businessmen and women in Birmingham.
“Pray about [starting a business]. Pray for God’s guidance and diligence.”
Heidi Elnora came to be one of Birmingham’s most well- known bridal gown designers by accident.
Soon after she was eliminated from Lifetime’s Project Runway series, Elnora was in a car accident. She was living in Atlanta at the time and moved to Alabama to recover and be close to her mother. While she was here, she met the man who would become her husband.
The couple settled down in Birmingham and a new realm of work opportunity opened up for her. “How can I take what I love to do and make it special for someone else? And what’s more special than a wedding dress?” she said.
Design has always been a passion for the Morris Ave. business owner. As her bridal store, hiedi elnora Atelier, continues to grow, she is driven every day to give the boutique a welcoming atmosphere. “The best part about the job is the brides.” Elnora said. “It’s about how good they feel in their dress, and I want them to feel con dent in what they are wearing.”
While business plans and loans can be intimidating, look for organizations that can assist you in making these rst crucial steps. Elnora used a local business-training organization that helped her get her feet on the ground. “They helped me write my business plan, and I was also able to get my very rst loan at 25,” she said.
Eagerness to engage with customers and diligence to create the best product can evolve into incomparable opportunities. With Elnora’s success in the Magic City, she has been involved in numerous projects including starring in her own television show on TLC, Bride by Design. “I loved doing it because I really got to showcase my work,” she said.
Passion can be contagious, especially when you have a celebrated product. In Elnora’s case, her craft’s in uence is not con ned to the borders of the United States. “I’ve had people as far as Dubai y in,” she said.
While business owners are always looking for ways to expand and grow, milestones are convenient points when you can regroup and look ahead to the future. Elnora continues to look to the future, as this year marks the boutique’s 10th anniversary. “We are moving to e-commerce and have just opened up our new 8,000 square-foot shop,” she said. But this expansion will not push away her end goal. “I want to live a happy life. No amount of fame or notoriety will fulfill me.”
Over the past few months Birmingham has seen several new businesses open their doors all over the downtown area. A handful of those are eateries, but a few of them are one-of-a-kind retailers offering only the finest of goods, services, and clothing. The Local got the chance to sit down with a few of the owners and hear a little about the driving force behind these new ventures.
The first is Small Box Co. started by local entrepreneur and architect, Eric Tasker. Located at Railroad Park, the space is unique in its very nature. Eric created a retail space out of a shipping container in an effort to house local startups. The idea is for Small Box to act as a springboard for retail startups in the Birmingham area, allowing new entrepreneurs to test out markets, locations and products before moving into a brick and mortar location. First to fill the box is Rainy Day Studios, a retail collective of southern artists.
Eric was kind enough to answer a few of our questions over some Red Cat coffee.
Q: Describe your business in a single mantra:
A: Small boxes for big ideas.
Q: Why this current venture?
A:I wanted to create a space to help people achieve their vision. Small Box works as a building block for new retailers to gain customers, build their lines, and work towards acquiring a brick and mortar location in the future. Downtown is growing and as it is growing more retailers need to be brought downtown, Small Box helps these retailers gain the necessary sales and market leads in order to gain enough financing to eventually move into a brick and mortar.
Q: Any more boxes in the future?
A: I have the one for now; I’m hoping to open a few more located all over town, in effort to allow tenants to test their markets in different districts and neighborhoods.
Q: Favorite downtown activity?
A: I have two kids and my wife and I love to take them biking on the Rotary Trail.
Follow Small Box Co. on Instagram: @smallboxco, as well as current tennat: @rainydaybham.
Opened in September 2016, Winslet and Rhys located in Avondale is a one-of-a-kind mercantile shop that was created out of two women’s dreams to provide Birmingham with a store of high quality, handmade goods. Both women spent much of their lives traveling around the world where they grew to appreciate the beauty in simplicity. That lifestyle resonates throughout Winslet and Rhys. The store has an exquisite line of household goods, women and children’s clothing and an array of locally hand crafted letterpress prints.
Between checking out customers and stamping letters, Brittany Baker the “Winslet” of the duo answered a few questions for us.
Q: What is the story behind the store name?
A: General Stores back in the day were generally names after the owner’s surname, and if it was a woman, her maiden name. We loved the idea of using our maiden names as the store name. ‘Winslet’ is me and ‘Rhys’ comes from Mallory’s maiden name Rice.
Q: Inspiration for the store?
A: Both Mallory and I moved to Birmingham and saw a need for a store curated for woman, so we designed a store we would want to walk into and shop!
Q: Favorite items in the store right now?
A: Yield Design Co.’s French Press, Hackwith Sweater in Peach and the House Candle.
Q: Most amazing place you have traveled?
A: Fez, Morocco. It’s Morocco’s hidden secret.
Q: Best part about being located in Avondale?
A: The neighbors (MAKEbhms.) It’s like having a little family all for each other!
Follow Winslet & Rhys on Instagram: @winsletandrhys. Visit their website: http://www.winsletandrhys.com/
Artefact Supply was created out of one man’s void to find a local brick and mortar store where he could buy well crafted men’s apparel. Brandon Hays, a lawyer at Second Row Law, has a passion for any and all well crafted products. He made it his “passion project” to create the essential men’s apparel shop in downtown Birmingham. Artefact Supply is committed to supplying men with quality timeless apparel and goods, such as denims, chinos, sweaters and button downs.
While opening the store, Brandon Hays took sometime to answer a few of our questions.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in Birmingham. I graduated from Vestavia High School and attended the University of Alabama for my undergraduate. Later I graduated from Cumberland School of Law and opened up Second Row Law firm with a few of my colleagues.
Q: Where did you draw inspiration from for your store?
A: On a trip to Austin, TX where I stumbled across a men’s store names STAG. Artefact Supply is really a passion project of mine, I’ve always been passionate about well crafted store’s and there wasn’t one available on this side of the mountain, so I opened one.
Q: How did you choose the brands you would include?
A: I searched for brands who were unique and cultured, but also had a good price point. Just to name a few: Life After Denim, 3Sixteen, Billykirk and Red Wing Heritage.
Q: Why 2nd Avenue?
A: 2nd Avenue is the heartbeat of downtown right now. Dining, bars, and retail are filling the area. A great place to gain foot traffic.
Q: Favorite place to be in Downtown Birmingham?
A: At Urban Standard drinking coffee and eating cupcakes or catching a concert at Iron City or WorkPlay.
Follow Artefact Supply on Instagram: @artefactsupply. Visit their website: http://www.artefactsupply.com/
As fall approaches, it is always so exciting to embrace all things orange and cinnamon. Today we have compiled a few different resources to get you ready to take on fall in full swing! We have included a few Do-it-Yourself projects to decorate for fall as well as some free fall prints that you can hang up!
G O L D S P R A Y P A I N T…. is your best friend!
Gold spray paint can make anything look cute! It also can live on into the Christmas and New Year’s seasons! Find a few things that you can add a touch of gold spray paint to. Our favorites were edging a few pumpkins, pine cones, and leaves! You can purchase pumpkins or you can just go for a walk and collect leaves and pine cones and minimize your cost to just the spray paint!
After collecting what you desire to spray paint, head outside with a few paper towels and tape them to the areas that you do not want spray-painted and have a few cute pieces for decor!
P I N E C O N E G A R L A N D ….scented!
Step 1. Gather about 12 pinecones
Step 2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
Step 3. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place the pinecones on top.
Step 4. Place in the oven for about an hour and then let them cool.
Step 5. Hot glue the ends of the pinecones to a blank inch piece of burlap- then hang!
T W I G H A N G I N G
Step 1. Find a twig outside and cut the branches to a size that fits the items you want to hang.
Step 2. Tie a string to both ends and hang with a thumbtack or nail. Place items on the branches!
BIRMINGHAM ART CRAWL FIRST THURSDAY OF EVERY MONTH
ARTISTS INVOLVED AND FEATURED ABOVE:
SARAH WOODALL ART RAINY DAY STUDIO – ILLUSTRATIONS + HANDMADE JEWELRY BUTCH OGLESBY FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE BONOFIGLIO ART
ALLEAN DOODLES – ARTWORK BY ALLAN WOOLDALL, A DUDE WHO LOVES DOODLING
EXPLORATIONS AND EXPOSURES
Last Wednesday, September 23, Urban Standard coffee shop had a “First Day of Autumn Pop-Up Shop” hosted by The Orchard Creative Community. Urban Standard opened in November of 2007, with the idea of creating workshop/gallery, where the public could see the work of local artists. The pop-up shop that was hosted at Urban Standard did exactly what its founder wanted.
The Orchard is an intentional group of creative ladies that have been planted here in Birmingham together to create, encourage, lift-up and overcome.
Local Birmingham artists were featured in this shop from Carrie Rollwagen, the author of The Localist,to the MOM-UP movement. Beautiful calligraphy, letterpress goodies, photography services and unique design pieces.
All of the artists that were at the pop-up show are listed below with website links. We recommend doing some holiday shopping online with these Birmingham locals.
Jessica of Empress Stationery was selling calendars and prints, find more at her website.
Emily of Emily Wells Designs was selling Birmingham prints, game day designs, and cell phone cases. Shop for yourself or a friend at her website or Etsy shop.
Carrie Rollwagen was promoting her book and selling prints. Find out more at her website.
The Bluff Park Art Show started in 1963 when a group of parents from Bluff Park Elementary School sponsored a “Come As Your Favorite Book” dance. The response and support of the Birmingham community was overwhelming.
Since then the Bluff Park Art Show has been an eagerly awaited annual event. The show now attracts over 30,000 people, and artists from all parts of the country are invited to exhibit. The show is held each year on the first Saturday of October.
The show has grown from 65 artists to more than 150, and attracts over 40,000 people each year. The shows proceeds go towards improving the arts in the greater Birmingham area.
Artists displayed their work from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. in the front of the Bluff Park Community Center. In addition to art, there were several food vendors and high school jazz bands.
As Oct. 27 approached, faithful T-Swift fans anxiously awaited the songstress’ new album. Fans and non-fans alike anticipated a new bundle of heartbreak, revenge, and cryptic lyrics delivered Taylor Swift style. We heard a small taste of “1989” with two pre-released tracks, “Out of the Woods” and “Shake It Off.” But on Oct. 27 we got the whole album and it was a delightful surprise.
As usual, “1989” is a glimpse into Swift’s diary and failed relationships. After the opening song, “Welcome To New York,” an ode to Swift’s new home and her love affair with the Big Apple, the album takes listeners on a journey through the past two years of the seven-time Grammy winner’s life. Sure, “Shake It Off” is a fun, get-up-and-dance song but Swift truly shines in heartfelt songs like “Style,” “Wildest Dreams,” and “Clean.” “Clean” is the perfect end note to an album about past mistakes and relationships. In “Clean,” Swift admits that heartbreak hurts but she has moved on. It provides closure for the failed relationships mentioned in the tracks earlier in the album.
Swift’s new tracks demonstrate her ability to call out what many people have criticized her for: her varied dating past. It’s as if she decided to admit the truth and expose her past mistakes rather than the mistakes of those she dated. In “Blank Space” she sings “Got a long list of ex-lovers/They’ll tell you I’m insane/’Cause you know I love the players/And you love the game,” and “I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”
Although “1989” includes several songs about her exes, as should be expected from Swift, they are not blatantly negative about her former flames. The songs also come in a refreshing sound that is distinctly pop. Previously, Swift still considered herself as part of the country genre. But we all know she left her country sound behind with the teardrops on her guitar. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Swift admits that her last album, “Red,” “straddled the line between country and pop.” For “1989” Swift made a deliberate decision to make an album that would be strictly categorized as pop.
“I always knew I wanted to work in fashion. I was known throughout college and high school as the fashion girl,” Birmingham stylist Megan LaRussa Chenoweth said.
Owner of Southern Femme, Chenoweth is a stylist who works on a personal level with her clients. She styles and writes the fashion section of the Birmingham Magazine and has a recurring fashion segment on Fox 6 every month.
“I love meeting new people, I love helping women feel their best and I love fashion. It’s combining all these things I love,” Chenoweth said.
From a young age, Chenoweth loved fashion. Shopping trips to Atlanta with her mom, working in retail at Saks Fifth Avenue and a summer spent studying fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City only made Chenoweth’s love of fashion grow stronger.
However, it was a family wedding, in which Chenoweth was asked to style the women in her family, that led her to where she is now.
“I took all of them shopping and everybody looked fabulous and I thought, ‘This is really fun,’” Chenoweth said. “It just kind of fell into my lap and I thought, ‘OK, this is my passion.’”
Being a stylist, Chenoweth is around fashion all day long. Over the years, she has found designers whose work she loves and whose collections draw her in. Chenoweth counts Marc Jacobs, Lela Rose, Rebecca Taylor and Céline among some of her favorite designers.
“I’ve always loved that Marc Jacobs was always about being unique and different,” said Chenoweth.
For day-to-day pieces, she loves Lela Rose and Rebecca Taylor for their feminine, yet edgy looks.
However, being a stylist, Chenoweth has also seen many fashion trends come and go. As for the one trend she has never liked? Culottes.
“I hated them the first time when I was in college, they were the gaucho culottes that everybody wore and they were like sweatpants and they’re just unflattering on everybody,” Chenoweth said.
So ladies, when choosing new pieces for the fall, Chenoweth’s advice would be to avoid the culottes and go for a great pair of dark wash jeans or cords.
Be sure to check out Megan’s website at www.southernfemme.com. You can also see her work in the current issue of Birmingham Magazine.
Megan’s top pieces for every woman’s wardrobe:
· Dark Wash Jeans: Find a style or fit that you love. Jeans are so easy to dress up or down. “Every woman needs a great pair of pure indigo dark wash jeans that flatters her silhouette,” Chenoweth said.
· Blazer or Cardigan: Whether you prefer a blazer or cardigan, either piece can easily pull an outfit together. “Whatever your style may be, just make sure they’re tailored to you.”
· Silk Blouse: Chenoweth suggests C. Wonder and Equipment for fun and polished pieces. “It’s something you could wear out, dress it up with heels, tucked into a pencil skirt with a cardigan. It’s something you can wear a million ways,” Chenoweth said.
· Nude Pumps: Nude pumps help elongate your legs. “Go for a color that matches your skin tone to give the illusion of longer legs,” Chenoweth said.
· Chic Flats or Sandals: For spring and summer choose a polished sandal or a polished, cute ballet flat or loafer for fall and winter. “I see so many women wearing a clog or a flip flop and it just ruins the whole outfit; it’s not polished at all,” Chenoweth said.
Do you ever find yourself in the middle of summer staring at your scarves and boots shoved in the back of your closet, longing to be able to adorn them again? Well the wait is over! Here are hottest fashions that women and men can be found wearing this season.
Two words: military and denim. That’s right, the military look is really in right now as well as denim (and I’m not just talking pants).
The military look can be fashioned by wearing a simple military style jacket. Also, if you don’t have a pair of combat boots, you might want to think about getting yourself a pair! These boots started strutting onto the scene last year and are still hot, hot, hot! Also, if it is still a bit warm outside during the fall, a new trend is wearing your combat boots with a pair of shorts.
Denim is also making a huge comeback.
Denim was really popular in the 90s, and the trend seemed to die down in the early 2000s. Of course people have continued to wear denim jeans, but now we are starting to see denim vests make it back onto the scene, as have denim tops.
Denim tops are most commonly seen in a button up, long sleeve shirt fashion. Chambray is also a common alternative for the “denim” look.
Besides the military and denim look, sweaters are still a must-have for your fall and winter closet. However, super size it!
Oversized cable-knit sweaters have been in for a couple years now and don’t seem to be exiting the fashion world any time soon. So if you’re a small, go for a medium! If you’re a medium, grab a large. If you want your sweaters to be even looser, you can even go up two sizes. Baggier sweaters even allow for you to be able to layer more underneath on days when the temperature really takes a plunge.
Scarves are always a fun way to accessorize your fall and winter outfits. Infinity scarves are the most popular right now, but in my opinion, triangle scarves are a really fun alternative as well.
If you want to add some prints to your clothing to spice things up a bit, Aztec print is totally in right now. It looks really cool on cardigans and could be the perfect addition to a solid colored top to add some zest.
Finally, an outfit is no outfit without the perfect pair of bottoms to complete the look. Jeans are always a classic, skinny or bootleg jeans make for a neater look. However, if you want to add some color to the bottom half of an outfit wine and olive jeans are a fantastic option. This look often looks best if it’s paired with a more neutral top.
Ladies, if you find that you have some of these items listed hanging up in your closet then chances are you are a fall and winter fashionista!
Guys, you can be fashionable too. In fact, girls like it when guys are dressed in style. Just as it was for the ladies, denim is a hot commodity for a guy’s closet as well.
Denim or chambray button-up shirts are a simple but useful addition to a wardrobe. Believe it or not, denim or chambray shirts are commonly paired with, wait for it, jeans! As long as the denim is two different shades then you are more- than-likely looking good. Who would have thought that denim on denim would become popular again?
Plaid flannel or button-up shirts are a manly staple. It is almost impossible to find a guy who looks bad wearing plaid (but only in tops; bottoms are an absolute no-no).
Guys, tuck in those shirttails. Trust me, it’s what’s in right now, and it makes you look really nice.
Don’t fear the cardigan!
Yes, I know some of you guys are reading this and thinking, “there is no way I would ever be caught wearing a cardigan.” Well, the cardigan is actually making its way into the masculine world. Proper fitting cardigans could be the perfect addition to a fall or winter outfit.
Also, tighter pants equals better look.
I’m not saying skin-tight skinny jeans are the way to go (not sure if that looks flattering on anyone!), but baggy jeans make you look really sloppy and like you don’t really care much for your appearance. Tighter jeans with a cuff at the end give the appearance that you care, and trust me everyone will notice.
Brown shoes are almost always a great way to go! I’m not talking just any brown shoe though. Clarks are really popular right now; they give a rugged yet dapper look. Of course, brown Sperry’s are also a preppy alternative, but Clarks are going to be able to keep your feet warmer if it gets really chilly outside.
Dudes, if you keep it rugged but neat, you are nailing the whole fall and winter look!
Check out this easy step-by-step process to make your own envelope clutch. If you have a tight budget but are in need of a new accessory, this is the project for you!
Items you will need:
-clear contact paper
-needle and thread
-optional: adhesive velcro
Cut out a section of wrapping paper. The larger the section, the bigger your clutch, so cut according to your preference of size.
Cut your section of wrapping paper into a perfect square. This will help ensure the clutch is even when you fold it in later steps.
Lay your square of paper on your flat surface. Precut a section of contact paper about an inch bigger than your wrapping paper piece. Begin to overlay the contact paper onto the wrapping paper (be mindful of the air bubbles that can pop-up during this step- keep a credit card handy to help smooth out any bubbles that do arise). Smooth out the paper as you continue to place the contact paper completely overtop the wrapping paper.
Flip the entire project over and place another layer of contact paper on top of existing sheets- keep smoothing out the bubbles.
Trim the excess contact paper on the edges of the wrapping paper, making sure to leave about a centimeter of contact paper on each side.
Fold three corners of the project together to begin to form the envelope. Use small pieces of contact paper to help secure the folds.
Fold the top corner down to create a flap for your clutch. You may need to trim the top part of the pocket of your envelope to make a more well-defined fold.
Now it’s time to get creative! Add some embellishment with a bright button on the top flap. Sew the button with multiple cross stitches through the paper. Here’s where you can choose to attach velcro to the underside of your flap to help keep the envelope closed.
Time to show off your creation. This clutch is perfect for holding makeup, mints and money! The smooth surface of the contact paper prevents stains on the inside of your clutch. Smaller versions could be perfect for the inside of larger bags or preventing messes in bags during travel.