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It's  2-0-1-6!

Welcome back to the real world folks! Now that all the holiday shindigs, family gatherings & Netflix binging is over,  I'm sure everyone has their list of goals, to-do's, and top priorities for the new year ready to roll, right? AND, i'm guessing you are already implementing those lists, eh? If so, HIGH FIVE! If not, LOW FIVE! Ha! just kidding, It's a lot of work to get those lists created and just the sheer fact of creating that list deserves a solid pat on the back. 

Back on our end, it's taken a week or two to regain our "back to reality" strength. But, we can excitedly say we are back on track and have a few goals set for ourselves. One of our personal goals for 2016 is to do the best job we can to share the love for our "Makers"! 

One of the most important reasons Nora Gray was established was to help spread the work of talented artists around the USA. Our team is truly passionate about "shopping small" &
"supporting local & handmade" and want to embody you with that passion as well. 

With that being said, we want to feature the cutest "Maker Pair", The Oyster's Pearl! Many of you may recognize them from a few of their stocked items in our shop. Does the "Totally obsessed with my Aunt Onesie", "Baby it's Cold Outside Tea Towel" or "Cross Roads of America Canvas Tote" sound familiar? If so, you'll enjoy reading a little more about Brooke's interview with "The Oyster's Pearl" below!

Emily & Brad are a hot commodity in Northeast Ohio. The husband & wife duo spend their days working together as "The Oyster's Pearl" with their 6-month-old son, Amos. 

"We feel so fortunate to get to work on our passions of illustration, typography, screen printing, and other creative ventures and then share them with people around the world. "

Q: How did you get started as a small makers?

Brad and I both have creative backgrounds, but our business started four years ago primarily as a stationery and paper shop, and grew over the years as we met customer demands and added products to the shop that fit our brand and that we enjoyed making. Now we're both full-time makers and are constantly brainstorming new products and designs that we think would be enjoyed and used by ourselves and our wonderful customers! 

Q: What attracted you to become a small maker?

I think we both always loved art and creativity as a hobby but never dreamed it could be our full-time job together. But from the beginning, we have always been attracted to the freedom of self-expression, the creative authority of running our own business, and the flexibility it provides our family to structure our work and schedule in a way that is best for us. And since we've launched the shop, we've been amazed at the wonderful clients, brands, and opportunities we've had a chance to work with in four short years!  

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment and why?

Our biggest accomplishment was this past holiday season for our business, when we hit record sales and were just blown away by the wonderful customer response to our new line of apparel that debuted this year.

"We didn't anticipate such a response for the holidays and it was a very special season for us with many new milestones hit!" 

Q: If you were chosen to be a new color in the crayon box, what color would you choose and why?

Ooh probably a forest green color! I love the color green, in my home and wardrobe and artwork, and how often it appears in nature in so many rich and varying shades. 

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or bible verse?

So many to choose from! Galatians 5:6 always comes to mind - "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." 

Q: What is something you can't live without?

My morning cup of coffee & cream!

Q:  Any advice you have for someone wanting to pursue the small maker lifestyle?

I would urge them to create from their heart - it sounds so cheesy, but don't be swayed by what the market looks like, and don't try to recreate what you see being successful online. There are too many repeats and copycats floating around, and it can be an intimidating time to try to jump in to the industry. But create items of quality that you would be proud to use, wear, or display yourself, put your unique mark on them, and then be as friendly and genuine as you can with all of your customers and partnerships. I think authenticity is something of utmost importance in this small maker community!

Q: Please feel free to add any additional comments/information!

Thanks so much for chatting with us - we love your shop and are so happy to be partnering with someone from my home Hoosier state! 

Best wishes for the upcoming year!

-The NG Squad

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