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Huntsville Makers

From handbags to jewelry to hats, these local designers are creating beautiful goods

In a day and age where products are mass-produced and art seems to be a factory setting, finding high quality fashion is a true treasure. There's a certain added value and respect for fashion that's been handcrafted with a story behind it. A custom-made gown will be more precious to its owner versus a factory-made dress that a thousand other women are wearing, just as a necklace crafted from the materials of one's ancestral homeland becomes an heirloom, not just another piece for the jewelry box. There are designers all over the world that dedicate their lives to creating clothing, jewelry, and even home decor that's one of a kind. Many learned the craft from the generation before them, who learned from those before them, and so on. Supporting these designers is not only demonstrating admiration for their artistic creations, but appreciation for their time and effort as well. Moreover, shopping and buying local supports our community and our regional economy.

Local designers Nadia Kidd, Lauren Peterson, and Suzana Richardson are three of Huntsville’s talented artisans who handcraft their creations and operate their own small businesses. These women not only excel in their respective arts, but strive to learn all facets of what it takes to market and sell their goods. Each piece from The Grey Button, Travel Patterns and Yala Avenue tells a story. From the colorful, hand-painted leather bags Nadia creates to Lauren's customized brimmed hats to Suzana's designs that use materials from her homeland, each designer is a testament that sustainable fashion can exist and thrive locally.

1. Nadia Kidd, Handbag Designer, The Grey Button

Growing up around women who were incredibly talented seamstresses, Nadia has always carried that same beautiful talent within her, but had not cultivated it until over a decade ago. Without looking back, Nadia launched her business called The Grey Button, where she designs her own handbags that are unlike anything else on the market. Each bag is handmade, hand-painted, and cut from the highest quality fabrics shipped from LA, Atlanta, and New York. Nadia is so passionate about her designs that her creation process can be found on her Instagram (@thegreybutton) where she shares every intricate step of making her beautiful purses. Her passion and zest for fashion and life in general is so contagious that one cannot help but admire her beautiful spirit and gifted hands.

2. Lauren Peterson, Hat Designer, Travel Patterns 

Inside Lauren’s local shop, Travel Patterns, is a custom hat-making station called The Brim Bar, where every customer gets to create an extension of themselves, but in hat form. Lauren fills the bar with accessories like vintage merchandise, one of a kind trinkets, and special thrifting finds that all contain a story. She likes to imagine these hat accessories telling tall tales to those who walk past them. In fact, Lauren has encountered many clients who found extreme sentimental value in hats they create. While the hats are available to be made at her store, The Brim Bar can be mobile and brought to parties and gatherings of all sorts. As of recently, Lauren has made an addition to The Brim Bar, where hats for children 5-12 years old can also be created and styled.

3. Suzana Richardson, Jewelry Designer, Yala Avenue

Suzana Richardson, a local Huntsville resident, was born and raised in Yala, Nepal, where her family are artisans by trade. Their family jewelry business, Yala Avenue, is richly rooted in cultural history and generational talent. Suzana brought the family business to America in order to share and expand their stunning jewelry designs. Yala Avenue features unique jewelry designs that are a beautiful mix of contemporary and traditional themes. Suzana believes a woman is not fully dressed until she adorns herself in jewelry that accentuates her beauty and natural features. At Yala Avenue, all customers can find a range of high quality and handmade jewelry from earrings to bangles.

  • photo by Ray Howard
  • Photo credit: Paige McDonnell, @paige_starmapstudio