Makers of the Week


The American Made movement elevates the maker, celebrates the handmade, and supports the local. Our 2013 class of nominees is full of talented entrepreneurs who’ve turned their passion for making into businesses. Every Tuesday, we’ll be featuring a few nominees for this year’s award (click here to meet the 2012 Audience Choice Award winner, Brian Howell). Is there a maker you love? Leave us a note on the American Made Facebook and maybe you’ll see them here.

Design: Isabel Ibanez, 9th Letter Press

Isabel deserves a virtual high-five for being the very first nomination we received this year. Her letterpress greeting cards, notebooks, and more are all made in her studio in Winter Park, Florida on 119-year-old letterpress. She hopes to expand her line to include bags, sticky notes, and more.

Craft: Stacie Bloomfield, Gingiber

Stacie’s illustrated home goods, like this huggable sheep pillow, feature cute critter designs inspired by heirloom quilt patterns. She started her business in 2009 after struggling to find the right art for her daughter’s nursery. A doodler as a kid, Stacie has turned her passion for illustration into a full-time gig as a working artist.

Food: Tasia Malakasis, Belle Chevre

The cheesemongers at Belle Chevre are known for their award-winning, French-style goat’s milk cheeses. Their products are made in rural Alabama and their log cheeses are rolled by hand. Their cheeses are uniquely Alabaman since their goats roam freely over Southern soil. The business also includes a cheese tasting room at Belle Chevre’s flagship store in Elkmont, Alabama.


Garden: Shannon Lester, Steel Life

Shannon worked as a professional landscape designer for 18 years when she got the itch to expand her business. She and her husband, Andrew, created Steel Life last year as an outlet for their expanding ideas and inspiration. The colorful, mid-century-modern-inspired planters are manufactured in the Pacific Northwest and assembled in Central Oregon.

Technology: Joyce Hesselberth and David Plunkert, PrestoBingo

This husband and wife duo of designers and illustrators created PrestoBingo shapes, a colorfully illustrated app that helps children learn shapes. Children learn by finding all of the shapes in each illustration. The PrestoBingo team works out of a renovated factory building in Baltimore.

Style: Rachel and Michael Berick, Maptote

Emblazoned with illustrated maps of cities and states, Maptote’s signature product celebrates a love of all things local. That attitude extends to their processes too; all their totes are made with U.S. cotton and cut, sewn, and printed in Brooklyn, NY.

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