Meet Local Maker OK Collective

 Jessi and Kelli Newsome at a recent makers fair. Photo by Ronnie Harris

Jessi and Kelli Newsome at a recent makers fair. Photo by Ronnie Harris

We met Kelli Newsome in Oklahoma City during an Indie Wholesale Market event. She and her wife Jessi are the two person show that is OK Collective featuring handmade candles, pillows and jewelry. With one waft of their candles, we were sold. We burn these awesome, chemical-free candles in our own homes and have heard rave reviews from many of our customers. We've been wanting to carry candles for a while and are so happy we found these gals and their great products. Please enjoy reading about what inspires and motivates them to be makers. And come get a candle for yourself! With every purchase of a candle at our shop you get a vintage matchbook set!

Where are you from? Jessi grew up as a military brat and has lived in Oklahoma for the past 13 years, considering herself a proud Oklahoman. Kelli moved around growing up but has spent the majority of her life in Oklahoma.

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How long have you been making candles? What is your history with these skills? Jessi has always loved candles and became curious earlier this year about making her own. We both have allergies related to commercial candles and were excited to add handmade candles to our mix of products that are better for our own health and better for the environment.

Why is this your medium? Jessi focuses primarily on candle making and I sew pillows and make jewelry. Our company initially started in July of 2015 with handmade cotton baby shoes and refinished and repurposed furniture. People were consistently buying our furniture for nurseries so we thought the baby shoes would complement that. We started experimenting with different products and really fell in love with the mix we have now. Jessi puts her everything into each candle, and I love handling the business side of things from building relationships with wholesale accounts to coming up with new accessories and home decor pieces. We make everything that we sell by hand and want to keep it that way for as long as we can.

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What inspires you? I feel like our events inspire us. We have craft and maker events scheduled almost every weekend, sometimes two a day, which inspires us to come up with new things to keep our assortment interesting. We want repeat customers to find something new every time they stop by.

What do you enjoy about collaborating with our shop? We absolutely love the style of your shop! We also adore Mid-Century furniture and finding ways to repurpose pieces that have had past lives and stories to tell. I remember when I first met the Ashleys, and they told me that they only like doing business with nice people. I knew right then that they were going to be awesome to work with.

Why are handmade items important in a home? We think it's important to incorporate items into your home that are not only functional but also hold value. Knowing that your coffee table was made with someone's bare hands from reclaimed wood that would have otherwise gone to waste or the candle you bought from us helped us start a family, is huge. It holds meaning and substance. It has purpose. 

Oklahoma made candles

Why do you love Oklahoma right now? Because it's our home and we feel supported here. We are in a maker community that encourages each other and shares trade secrets to help the whole community succeed. It's not everyone for themselves, and we think that's really helped us grow in our business so quickly. Oklahoma has the nicest people, and it's the only place that feels like home.

What is your favorite decorative item in your home right now? Our favorite decorative items in our home are our framed cards. We have a collection of cards that we've given each other since we first started dating with beautiful lettering and illustrations that we've purchased from our favorite local shops. We even have two of some of them because we love them so much that we forget that we already have them. We've run out of places to hang them, but we won't stop buying them. It's kind of our thing.

We love what you're doing Jessi and Kelli and are so proud to be carrying your candles! Thank you for working with us!

 

Make 2017 the year you live life on a beautiful background.