July 2009 Issue
Ohioan - Meredith Whitaker
Jewelery designer, entrepeneur
PERSONAL: Lives in Powell with her parents, Steve and Amy Whitaker.
THE BUSINESS: Meredith designs jewelry and handbags for Freckles Buttons and Beads, the accessories company she started two years ago with help from her parents. Her designs are now carried in more than 50 stores in 11 states.
INSPIRATION: When Meredith couldn’t find well-made, reasonably priced gifts for friends, she started making bracelets out of colorful beads and buttons. Her designs caught the eye of a local boutique owner, and Meredith had her first official client. Now Meredith and her mom, with some help from friends and family, regularly fill orders for handmade bracelets, rings, headbands and hair clips, all of which retail for under $10, and Pursenality handbags that cost about $19.
GOOD TASTE: “I’m not a total fashionista or whatever,” says Meredith, “but I gauge the designs to what I like.” She also relies on friends for feedback about her products, which are geared toward girls ages 4–12.
REWARDING WORK: While large portions of her earnings go back into the business and into savings, a part also goes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As for the rest? “It’s nice to have some extra spending money,” Meredith says.