This holiday season, we celebrate our local makers — the craftsmen; the designers who are bringing amazing local products to our markets. The four individuals we are featuring create quality products, all made in Oklahoma. They each bring something different to the table and each has a story to tell. You’ll learn about a woodworker turned YouTube star, hair products with a cult following, beautiful hand-crafted hats that can double as art on your wall and a visual artist with paintings so vibrant even Starbucks wanted a piece of the action.
By Lavinia Creswa | Photos by Shea Alan & Taylor Illgen
Visual Artist – Natalie Miller Arts
Six months after artist Natalie Miller graduated from Oklahoma Christian University with a BFA in graphic design and illustration, she secured a dream job with Hobby Lobby. Over the next 11 years, she worked her way up from a graphic designer to an arts manager. After the birth of her second child, combined with her husband being a firefighter working 24-hour shifts, Miller realized she needed to make a change. Although she had been painting during her free time since college, Miller decided to pursue her art full-time. Read More >>
Hatmaker – Memphis + Louie
Imagine walking into a hat shop and walking out with not only a new hat, but a new passion. This is exactly what happened when Tyler Grimmett visited a high-end hat shop in Aspen, Colorado, in 2019.
“I stopped in to buy a hat and had such a great experience,” he remembered. “That shop is a big operation — they have 100 hats on the wall, which are all premade. You have drinks as you try on the hats and you’re able to customize it to a certain extent, whether that is trimming the brim or adding embellishments. I thought to myself that there really isn’t anything like this in Oklahoma.” Read More >>
Founder – Vida Bars
If you had told Ana Nuñez that she would not only wear her hair curly, but own a beauty brand aimed at curly hair products, she would have laughed in your face. For 20 years she had straightened her hair for the smooth, silky look that society had deemed the beauty standard. But when her 14-year-old daughter wanted to start straightening her hair, Nuñez had a visceral reaction.
“She had this gorgeous, curly hair,” Nuñez said. “My first thought was that she was going to ruin it.” If she was going to encourage her daughter to embrace her natural locks, Nuñez needed to learn the ins and outs of curly hair care — and apply it to herself. Read More >>
Woodworker – Jonny Builds
Jonny Lambert — or, as his 615,000 followers on YouTube might know him, Jonny Builds — is a true Oklahoma maker. Six years ago, while working as a detective for the Oklahoma City Police Department, Lambert decided to dabble in furniture making. “I didn’t even think to look on YouTube,” Lambert said. “I bought a book called HomeMade Modern and just started reading.”
Lambert was so new to woodworking that he had to run to Home Depot to purchase a set of basic tools and materials, then got to work building in his garage. His first completed piece, a media console, was admittedly not the best … but sparked something inside him. Read More >>