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Goldie Design Co.
“People really like the personalization. There is something to be said about having a real person on the other end.” – Clara Ogden
A flood of natural light fills Clara Ogden’s home studio through the large window adjacent to her desk. Hanging behind her is a giant white board covered in magazine tear outs, recent doodles, and random images she draws inspiration from. She loves the natural light and can’t work in closed-in spaces. Ogden spends her days drawing out maps and calligraphy before scanning her work into the computer. It’s not the career path she originally envisioned as a student at Texas A&M majoring in Architecture.
Ogden loved drawing as a child. Originally from Dallas, her grandmother took her on tours of the Dallas Art Museum and always bought her art supplies. In college, she interned at an architecture firm, but it was not the experience she imagined.
“I was designing parking lots or drawing parking spaces or designing public bathrooms. So I figured out about halfway through the internship that I didn’t want to do it,” says Ogden. With a husband in the Marines, she wanted the ability to work anywhere but still get involved with the community.
So she started Goldie Design Co., which began as a custom invitation business. In the beginning, she was all over the place with her new business. One day, Ogden found herself searching for classes in Dallas, where she lived at the time, to meet new people and learn new things. She decided to try out calligraphy in a small classroom environment. Immediately, she knew she wanted to teach it.
“A lot of people don’t think they are creative, but after taking the class, I thought to myself, I could teach anyone to do this,” says Ogden.
Odgen and her husband have been in Corpus Christi for over a year now. She likes the small town vibe of Corpus Christi compared to Dallas, and she starting to feel like a local.
“When I moved to Corpus Christi, there was no one teaching classes like this. In Dallas, it was hard to fill up my classes, because there were so many classes. It’s inspired me to go to places that might not have these opportunities,” says Ogden.
She loves connecting with people and the sense of community the classes create. Along with classes and custom invitations, Ogden sells an assortment of prints and stationeries on her website. Her goal is to offer illustrated maps of every city she moves to. It’s a new concept she is hoping will take off. She tries to include things that she loves on the map. It’s a creative way to remember where she has lived and all the good memories from that city.
For More Information: firstname.lastname@example.org, @GoldieDesignCo, goldiedesignco.com
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“I just think it’s neat that you can essentially make a piece of art with rocks and water.” – Alex Chapa
The spinning wheel rapidly turns the formless ball of clay in Alex Chapa’s hands. Using her thumbs and index fingers like tools of her trade, she squeezes, lifts, and shapes the simple mixture of water and stone into a work of art.
“Corpus needs more art and artists, especially in the pottery field. Pottery has been around since 1,500 B.C.,” says Chapa.
Growing up in South Texas, Chapa comes from a family of artists. After focusing on theater for most of her life, she realized acting wasn't her only passion. After a two-year break from school, she signed up for a ceramics class at Del Mar College. While taking the class, she spent hours on end in the studio. She continued educating herself on YouTube and kept practicing, even when her pieces didn’t turn out.
“I loved everything about pottery. The process behind the art itself, the ability to create beautiful pieces of art with just your hands and a natural rock, and of course being able to share your personal love for art with the community,” says Chapa.
Chapa recently opened her business, Moonstone’d Pottery, in May. Growing up, her family always referred to her as the moon and her brother as the sun. Chapa says her family always called her their “Little Luna,” because she was always the darker, more emotional one.
“It’s out of my comfort zone to be social, and a way I express myself is through my art. A lot of people keep their feelings locked up inside of , and art is a great way to express your feelings,” says Chapa.
She enjoys the artistry behind her craft and gains inspiration from other artistic outlets, such as photography and painting.
“There is definitely a process to it, and it takes a lot of time. That is why I tell people to give me about three or four weeks notice on projects. It takes about a month to make one piece,” she says.
Chapa’s goal is to educate people in Corpus Christi about pottery and the art form behind it. Her family owns a community theater in town where she plans to offer pottery workshops in the future.
Chapa just received a kiln from a mentor at the Art Center eager to equip and train the next generation of potters in Corpus Christi. She also has her own wheel and hopes to open up her own studio. She currently has a website in the works, but customers can find her on social media and purchase products on Etsy, such as mugs, vases and ashtrays.
For More Information: (361) 774-9268, @moonstonedpottery, etsy.com/shop/MoonstonedPottery
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Archer Soapworks & Apothecary
“If I am going to use something specific, I’m going to make it myself. That’s just how I’m wired.” - LaDonna Calhoun
The smell of maple and vanilla permeate the intimate kitchen as LaDonna Calhoun pours a concoction of oils into a glass bowl. The room could easily be mistaken for a chemistry lab, but Calhoun, owner of Archer Soapworks & Apothecary, would not have it any other way. She has always had a maker mentality, even crafting objects out of clay as a child. When she noticed her daughter was having skin issues, she decided to take matters into her own hands, and kitchen.
It started off very small. Making a batch of soap in a milk carton and passing it out to her friends who loved it. As much as she has always been a creator, she has been an entrepreneur as well. In 2015, during a lesson in archery, she landed a large bruise down her forearm.
“I had heard about the benefits of arnica for similar injuries, and I happened to have come by a stash. That evening, I made a beeswax and arnica salve, and a fledgling company was born,” says Calhoun.
Calhoun always knew she would end up working in medicine. She went to school to become a surgical assistant and still works in the world of traditional medicine by day. This allows her to have a balanced perspective on herbal medicine and oils.
“I don’t like alternative health or alternative medicine, because that makes you choose one or the other. You shouldn’t have to choose sides. It is complementary medicine,” says Calhoun.
Her biggest challenge has been perfecting the oil mixture. She uses six different oils in her soap mixture. It’s a delicate balance between hard and soft oils. If the balance is off, it will be too hard to use or so soft that it will wither away.
“It’s a balancing act. You are constantly watching the mathematics with your oils and your lye. That’s what starts the saponification process,” says Calhoun. “I’ll never forget running the freezer when I spilled lye into the ice maker. That was a mess to clean up.”
Her soap bars and the bath bombs are the most popular sellers. She sells her products online and in local shops like Eleanor’s Coffee Bar + Market and plans to distribute in more shops around the Coastal Bend in the near future.
She is constantly educating herself, but also invests a lot of time in educating her customers as well. “People are really surprised at how their skin feels. Most customers say they are never going back,” says Calhoun.
For More Information: (832) 474-0945, @ArcherSoapworksApothecary, archersoapworks.com
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Gerald & Elena Flores
Taco Gear & Sew Bonita
“We make a great team, and we work exceptionally well together.” - Elena Flores
Gerald and Elena Flores’ home doubles as a design studio for not one, but two of Corpus Christi’s fastest growing clothing and accessory brands. Each work fulltime outside the house, but once the clock hits five, Elena is busy inside Sew Bonita HQ, a renovated spare bedroom, while Gerald is designing on his Mac to the smooth rhythms of jazz. This power couple feeds off each others creativity; however, it’s a shared love for their culture that built their brands.
“My Mexican culture is everything to me. It defines me, my morals, my value, my life and my world,” says Elena. “Growing up on the border of Eagle Pass, Texas has shaped me to the woman I have become. I look back at my life there, and I know that my creativity and my vision for Sew Bonita is a result of it.”
Gerald’s love for tacos comes from everything great about his upbringing and culture as well. He ate tacos on many occasions growing up. While visiting family members, celebrating special occasions, or just enjoying good food with friends, tacos were always a part of his life.
“My brand is definitely bigger than tacos. Everything we design may be taco inspired, but what we're really representing is the strong, passionate culture behind tacos,” says Gerald. “Also, it doesn’t matter your skin color. Tacos bring people together, no matter your differences.”
As a Graphic Designer, Gerald finds inspiration from anything and everything. When he couldn’t find any t-shirts or hats about tacos he liked, he simply decided to design his own, and Taco Gear was born.
Elena’s late mother always wanted her to sew. As a creative person, she wanted to learn something new. She received her Singer sewing machine as a gift from Gerald and was hooked from the start. She likes to buy unique fabrics that correlate with Mexican culture; vibrant, chic patterns that are colorful and loud. When it comes to shirts, she discusses her ideas with Gerald and gives him complete freedom from there. The majority of the time, it's a home run.
“Gerald gets my vision and understands how much the culture means to me,” says Elena.
Sew Bonita’s most popular seller is the Lotería bag, which sells out every time. Playing Lotería (card game) brings back a lot of special memories from her childhood. From the t-shirt line, the Chingona shirt is the most popular by far.
“A Chingona is a woman that beats to her own drum. A woman that defies what society tells her to do. It means standing out and not conforming to expectations. I want for women to feel empowered. That being a Latina does not mean being of lesser value in any aspect of life,” says Elena.
As Sew Bonita continues to take off, Taco Gear is in full stride this year, with a string of publicity that launched the brand across the state and country.
“It all started with The Tacos of Texas book. The authors found me on Instagram,” says Gerald. “It seems that was the one thing that started it all. That led to custom collaborations with taco shops in Los Angeles, New York, Colorado, Austin and Dallas. The publicity continued with a spread in the Caller Times, which lead to The Houston Chronicle and FLAMA, a popular online network from Univision.”
Taco Gear’s original “TACOS” snapback and “Give Me Tacos or Give Me Death” t-shirt are continuous top sellers, but you never know what Gerald might come up with next while enjoying a taco from Southside Barbacoa, his favorite place in town.
For More Information: tacogear.com, @tacocreative, sewbonita.com, @sewbonitaCC
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Jo Anne Howell
Oh Goodie Designs + Events
“I have never stopped creating no matter where I live. If I am not creating, I am lost.” – Jo Anne Howell.
When Jo Anne Howell is not coordinating events or weddings, she is busy creating new products on the same old dining room table she painted and colored on as a child. With years of creativity in its bones, she is not ready to give up her original workspace quite yet.
Howell’s company, Oh Goodie Designs + Events, is known for its boutique style custom party products and celebrations. It all started with putting on large parties for her children. This was long before Pinterest existed, and there were few resources available at the time. While working as an Exhibit an Education Coordinator for a children's museum, she would constantly have to create something out of nothing.
“I would dream up my own details and make them come to life. I have always been very creative and hands on,” says Howell.
In the beginning, she was very active in the blogging community. Before social media took off, blogging was the best was to get your name and products out there. One by one, many popular bloggers started posting pictures of her products and asking for samples to use at their parties.
“I would get orders from all over the world, and today am still contacted for products that I don’t even make anymore. But they saw it on a blog and have to have it. I usually never say no,” says Howell.
Her work has been featured on countless blogs, websites and magazines. Howell is also a regular contributor to The Bend Magazine, where her work is showcased monthly. However, her coolest achievement was getting her products picked up by international retailers Anthropologie, BHLDN and Free People. Her metallic confetti wands were a part of a gift bag at the Oscars in 2014.
“It usually starts with a need. I will need a certain detail for a party, so I’ll dream it up. I loose a lot of hours of sleep thinking about how I can make this into that. I always say ‘it came to me in a dream,’ because it probably, really did,” says Howell.
Howells most popular products are her custom designed cups and napkins. Branding parties and events is what Howell and her designer do best.
“I'd be nothing without my amazing graphic artist, Harper Gray,” says Howell. Her designs are so on trend and usually beyond trend that we receive a lot of orders for event branding and matching cups. I have an Etsy shop online, but we have really narrowed it down this past year due to my event business being so busy.” Customers can now purchase products at the newly opened Studio 1718 on Alameda inside Goosefeathers.
Howell’s proudest moment has to be moving to the Coastal Bend and getting to make great products for all her clients and their events. She feels right at home here.
For More information: (214) 802-9923, @ohgoodiedesigns, ohgoodiedesigns.com
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“I realized I could make a cup of coffee that wasn't painful to drink.” – Spencer Weber
Spencer Weber didn’t start drinking coffee until he followed his older brother to the US Naval Academy. He found himself falling asleep in class, but he despised the ashy, bitter taste of super market coffee. Instead of switching to soda or a caffeine alternative, his inquisitive personality launched a mission to discover what gives coffee that taste he couldn’t get past. Was there anything he could do to fix it?
“I tried different brands of coffee and bought a new coffee pot,” said Weber. “Then I went out and bought a coffee grinder. That was my ‘ah-ha’ moment, when the light bulb came on. Almost any coffee ground fresh is better than coffee that's been sold already ground. I realized I could make a cup of coffee that wasn't painful to drink.”
He purchased coffee from a local roaster in Annapolis, Maryland, until the Navy brought him down to Pensacola, Florida. When he couldn’t find any local roasters in town, Weber realized how easy it was to roast your own coffee at home. Using a heat gun, a stainless steal bowl and a spoon, he roasted his first batch.
Like a scientist in his lab, he experimented for about eight years with coffees from regions all over the world. Some batches turned out great, while others fell flat. With each new batch came a new adventure.
“I knew I wanted to do something with coffee in my life, but I wasn’t sure if it was a coffee shop or a coffee roaster. After four or five years, about the time we moved to Corpus, I knew it was a roastery. We had no specialty coffee roasters in Corpus, and I really love how much control I have over the coffee. I get more control over bringing out different flavors.”
Late 2012, Weber started going to the Saturday Farmers’ Market. It helped him launch the business. He was able to test his coffees and see if there was a market for specialty coffee in Corpus Christi. The feedback was encouraging from his customers. It gave him the motivation to launch his wholesale business.
It's taken two years to do the planning and obtain the licensing to build the roastery, but the dedication and hard work has finally paid off. Weber still works part-time in the Navy as a reservist but just opened the doors to Roastorium in September. He will need to get a restaurant license if he wants to do public cuppings or tastings on location, but he doesn’t want to turn into a shop – coffee education is his goal.
Covered in coffee fruit and flowers, the bright new bags represent the beauty and craft behind everything the Roastorium brand stands for. The roastery is open on Wednesdays from 10 am to 4 pm, but coffee is for sale at several retailers around town. Wake up and smell the coffee.
For More information: roastorium.com,@roastorium, (361) 433-5068