By Sydney Fairbanks
As November comes to a close, many are holiday shopping for friends and family. Some may opt to shop at small businesses to find unique items and support local artists.
Students at Youngstown State University can support their peers by shopping from Alice’s Spell Shop and Sew What? Sew This!
Alice’s Spell Shop is owned by Emma Courtwright, a fifth year telecommunications major at YSU. Her shop sells a variety of handmade items from earrings, keychains, plushies, candles and dice.
With Courtwright’s ability to create a wide variety of products, she said if she has the materials, she can make anything a customer requests, especially with resin-based products.
“If you think it’s something cool that you would like made, I can probably make it as long as I have the silicone mold for it,” Courtwright said.
Courtwright’s business started after she decided to craft hand-made gifts to cheer her friends up. She said she began dabbling in Paganism and Wicca by creating spell jars and she really enjoyed the process.
“[It started] more like something for me or a close friend, but from there, I was like ‘Hmm, this is really fun,’” Courtwright said. “I can make money doing something I love to do and then it went from one hyper-fixation to another hyper-fixation.”
For Black Friday, Courtwright offered a buy one, get one sale for items of equal or lesser value. She is also selling Christmas themed items such as The Grinch keychains and ornaments, Christmas tree earrings, mittens, snowflakes, candy canes and more.
Courtwright is currently offering 10% off orders of $20 or more and 15% off orders of $30 or more until Dec. 11.
Senior marketing major Mya Snyder sells thrifted textiles reworked into wearable items such as small shoulder bags that she coined ‘bummin’ bags’ and vests. She began her business, Sew What? Sew This! after the pandemic when she bought a sewing machine to alter her own clothing.
“A really good friend of mine encouraged me to sell my pieces at a local vendor’s market,” Snyder said. “I’ve been an artist my entire life and being able to just channel my creativity in a way that not only utilizes my skill for sewing, but my love for fashion, it’s just like the perfect blend of everything I enjoy doing.”
Synder said most of her pieces are made from vintage thrifted clothes and each piece is unique. She takes inspiration from the ‘60s and ‘70s with her pieces and reworks clothes from those eras.
“A lot of the textiles I sew with are from the ‘60s, ‘70s, the ‘90s — which are considered vintage now,” Synder said. “They’re works of art. You see something you like, I highly encourage you [to] pick it up. You’re not going to find something like that any place else which makes it pretty cool.”
Snyder will have her first website launch early December before attending her next vendors market. She will be at the Flea on Phelps in downtown Youngstown on Dec. 3 along with other local vendors.