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Small businesses keep locals on trend

Shopping local doesn’t have to mean giving up what’s in style or breaking the bank


Amy Guerrero poses for a photo with her handmade woven home decor as part of her business, Moss Points North.

For college students looking for something one-of-a-kind, the journey may be difficult at a shopping mall or chain store.

Students looking for something unique can find style solace in local brands.

The location of ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus gives students easy access to merchants that feature a selection of goods from local brands.

Here are four small businesses selling trendy handmade products that are local to the Phoenix community. Customers can find their goods at a variety of local events or on their websites.

Read more: Other small businesses in Arizona.

SaltRose Jewelry

The statement necklaces, loud baubles and chunky jewelry of yesteryear are gone as dainty jewelry has taken center stage in the accessory world. 

Megan Olson, owner of SaltRose, said her inspiration for SaltRose Jewelry came from her own accessory experience.

“I had a hard time finding good quality jewelry that was affordable and that was dainty and that didn’t weigh me down,” Olson said. “All that big stuff was overwhelming.”

Olson said she aims to handmake jewelry that becomes a part of a customer’s daily look.

“I use really high quality products that are sensitive to people with allergies,” she said.

Olson said she enjoys meeting customers at local events, such as First Fridays at Desoto Central Market.

“When customers find out that you live in Phoenix and you’re hand making the items, they can ask you questions about what all the materials are,” Olson said.

Animal-lovers rejoice: Olson donates a portion of all proceeds quarterly to animal rescue.

“I love being able to support that,” she said. “The more successful I am, the more I can do a little part in helping.”

Groomed and Grizzly Beard Co.

The idea for Groomed and Grizzly started with a college project by project owner Lawrence Freitas and ended with his desire to create natural and beneficial products for facial hair.

“It’s amazing when you make the switch to all natural organic as opposed to commercial stuff that’s drying out your skin,” Freitas said about common skin products.

Groomed and Grizzly includes beard balms, beard oils and other organic and vegan skin care products and accessories. The products even made their way into one couple’s special day.

“I recently had a couple that are getting married this June in Las Vegas,” Freitas said. “They came to the event and saw my stuff, they ordered hundreds of stuff for their groomsmen.”

Freitas said he tries to attend an event every weekend, usually multiple, to really get his products out into the community.

“I like people to know, hey this is what my product is, these are the benefits that are gonna help you.”

Bearded ASU Tempe students can also get their hands on Groomed and Grizzly products. Freitas said he will soon have his products in Vintage Suds, a skincare co-op located in Tempe.

Burn Candle Company

Candle-making started out as a hobby for owner Staci Martin, and turned into Burn Candle Company.

Martin said the majority of ingredients are local, and the candles are made with 100 percent soy wax and a cotton wick that will curl off on its own and doesn’t need to be trimmed.

“We very much don’t want to sell anything we wouldn’t buy ourselves,” Martin said.

Burn Candle products won’t break the bank — their smallest candle comes in at only $8.

Martin said she enjoys bringing the wares of the company, which she runs with business partner Colin, to local events, such as First Fridays at Desoto Central Market.

“I enjoy going and meeting new people, especially when people come up and say they love the candles,” she said. “It’s a very fulfilling feeling to know people love something you’re making.”

Students who live in a dorm or apartment where candles aren’t permitted can check out the company’s new reed diffusers for a flame-free scent.

Moss Points North

Posters and bulletin boards are typical wall decor, but the resurgence of fiber arts may give college students a new and unique way to decorate their dorms and apartments.

Amy Guerrero, owner, sells custom woven accessories and home decor that make up Moss Points North.

“I would say my company is two-fold,” Guerrero said. “I try to explore fiber arts as a creative outlet … The other side is the retail side where I turn those creative ideas into accessible home decor and accessory items for people to enjoy.”

Guerrero said Bunky Boutique was the first to start selling her creations.

Guerrero also teaches classes on macrame wall hangings to bring creativity to the customer.

“I love setting up at local markets,” Guerrero said. “It allows people to find that those items that they may have seen on Pinterest or Instagram or even in Target are also available locally. I like to think that people seeing the person behind the product and talking to who is making each and every one of them can add to their experience of purchasing that item.”

Guerrero, who recently custom-made a keychain for a dollhouse, said she loves customizing products for someone’s particular space or color interest.

Reach the reporter at or follow @LibbyAllnattASU on Twitter.

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