Five Loves Handmade – Where functional meets stylish

If you’re a fan of functional + stylish, then get ready for Five Loves Handmade to become your new favorite small business. Stacy began crafting her rope bags and baskets four years ago after the birth of her fifth child (hence, “Five Loves”), and she quickly discovered that she wasn’t the only one who valued the combo of practicality and style.

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Stacy’s big, roomy tote bags are perfect for holding ALL the goodies. Ideal for tucking away books, journals, tablets, etc. for a day at the coffee shop. PC: Five Loves Handmade

Stacy hand-dyes the colored ropes she uses, gravitating toward earthy color pallets that reflect the natural resources she uses in her products (cotton rope, leather, wood, etc.). The concepts behind the bags are simple, tasteful, and timeless—a product that can be used for any occasion or décor, and will remain stylish for years to come. And Stacy’s products are made to last—she uses durable materials, blending in that function element alongside the beauty.

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The darling AYLA bowls are Stacy’s most popular — they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. They make the perfect “catch-all” for keys, wallets, spare change… PC: Five Loves Handmade

Stacy’s favorite part about running a small business? The freedom and flexibility to work at her own pace. With (now six!) children in hand, Stacy loves that she has the freedom to either slow down and focus on family, or ramp up production for an extra income boost, which Stacy describes as “really empowering for me!”

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Sturdy yet elegant, Five Loves Handmade baskets make beautiful home accents. PC: Five Loves Handmade

You’ll find a variety of products at Five Loves Handmade, from rope baskets and bags to leather clutches and macrame artwork. Stacy intentionally designs each piece to complement the materials, which is apparent in the gorgeous textures and tasteful simplicity of each piece. Her baskets make the perfect, versatile home accent piece, and her totes and clutches are great to accessorize any outfit. If you gravitate toward her stylish HOPE bag, then you can feel extra good about your purchase: Stacy annually selects a ministry focusing on rescuing sex traffic victims to receive all proceeds from her HOPE bag sales.

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The oh-so-chic HOPE bag. It’s easy to see why this bag is popular. PC: Five Loves Handmade

Stacy is always designing new styles and experimenting with colors and details. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for sales announcements and shop updates, and also follow her on Facebook and shop on her website!

iVIVA Salt – Himalayan salt & more

It makes me really excited when I come across a business that is a little out of the ordinary. iVIVA is one of those businesses, as owner Katie White sells something you may not come across at every maker’s market: Himalayan salt and essential oils.

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A pound of iVIVA edible pink Himalayan salt is just $5, an AMAZING bargain, especially considering the product’s exceptional quality.

If you tune in to the health and foodie world at all, you’ve probably heard quite a bit about Himalayan pink salt, and for good reason. It’s more than just a trendy seasoning— it’s an incredibly rich source of minerals. For a quick comparison: sea salt (yes, the oh-so glorified garnish of gourmet caramels) has 10 minerals, whereas Himalayan pink salt has 84 minerals. Yes, you read that right! There are a ton of other health benefits behind Himalayan pink salt that make it superior, but Katie really explains it best herself in her blog. Read up on the numerous benefits here.

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I love the warm, cozy glow of Himalayan salt lamps. Katie offers lamps in various sizes.

Katie offers more than just edible pink salt. She transforms whole blocks of Himalayan salt into some incredible products, like salt lamps, salt massage balls, bath salts, and soaps.  I’m a particular fan of her salt lamps and bath salts, which I can personally vouch for. Salt lamps have many mysterious benefits, from purifying the air (a plus for folks with asthma/allergies) to improving anxiety. Do your own research— this is an article I’ve found that summarizes different benefits and theories— but regardless of whether you buy into the health benefits, salt lamps make a beautiful, calming home accent.

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You’ll find single essential oils as well as unique iVIVA oil blends on Katie’s website.

Beyond salt, you can also purchase high-quality essentials oils from iVIVA. Katie studies aromatherapy and is in the process of receiving her aromatherapy certificate, so you can feel good about incorporating iVIVA essential oils into your home and family. Again, Katie does a great job informing her customer base on the quality behind all her products, so read more on her blog.

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Katie incorporates essential oils AND Himalayan pink salt into her homemade soaps.

Katie has a real passion for holistic health, and one of the primary reasons she began iVIVA is because she felt astounded at how expensive high-quality Himalayan pink salt and essential oils were. After finding a fair trade-compliant salt mine, becoming a certified aromatherapist and SC Certified (all of Katie’s products are made right here in Greenville county!), Katie now has a wide variety of incredible, natural products that won’t break the bank. Be sure to check out her website and follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

Mona Does Concrete – Time to Rethink Concrete

When you think “concrete,” you probably think of sidewalks, industrial floors, etc.  When Mona Patel thinks concrete, she thinks kitchen ware, wall art, and even jewelry.  Prepare to see concrete transformed into elegant merchandise that beautifies and offers a refreshing aesthetic when you browse Mona Does Concrete.

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These petite geometric planters beg to be placed in a sunny window, or would be perfect to cheer up a desk.

When Mona met her husband Mike, a jack-of-all-trades, she was introduced to several skills from building to carpentry, but she took a special interest in his work with concrete.  Mike used concrete to make polished kitchen counter-tops, but Mona saw an opportunity to take this diverse material and make items that were smaller, more affordable, and useful in the home.

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Mona certainly thinks outside the box when it comes to concrete, and her products are unexpected, chic, and fun.

People are often surprised with the kind of items that can be made of concrete, and often mistake Mona’s products as stoneware.  This is because of Mona’s special process in forming and finishing her products, particularly her kitchenware, to make it both smooth and food-safe.  Mona uses a beeswax seal on her concrete wares that not only makes the items kitchen-friendly, but also gives them a smooth finish–very different from bumpy sidewalk!

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Mona stains her cheese boards with tumeric, giving the concrete that beautiful amber streak.

Mona loves the unique advantages of using concrete, one of them being the immense diversity of the material.  According to Mona, if you can make a mold, you can make almost anything with concrete.  The key, though, is making a mold that can be removed from the final product without shattering, thus allowing the mold to be reused. For her standard items, Mona likes using rubber molds, though she’s always willing to experiment for the sake of creating something unexpected.

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Ever considered concrete jewelry? Mona has lots of beautiful concrete necklaces, and says people are surprised to find that the pieces are no heavier than normal pendants.

For concrete kitchenware, you’ll want to hand wash in order to preserve the beeswax seal, but otherwise concrete products are very durable.  Mona likes to tell her customers to expect the concrete to change colors over time, much like leather taking on a patina.  Each product adopts an individual character over time and no two items are exactly the same. Check out Mona Does Concrete on Etsy or follow her Instagram!

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Stylish, whimsical pieces for the home or to wear–clearly concrete is a medium worth noticing!