Meet the Makers

Houston's creative collective of women is changing the game for our community.

Julie Friedman

Owner of Young Wild and Friedman 

When Julie Friedman's daughter struggled to speak and was not seeing any improvement with speech therapy, her doctor suggested incorporating sensory play into her daily routine. After researching sensory play, Friedman began creating themed sensory kits to take on the go. The kits included colorful, scented, homemade dough and textured items like cupcake liners, cookie cutters, and buttons. Her daughter had an immediate positive response to the kits. She began posting her kits on Instagram, and orders started coming in. When she launched her business in 2018, she sold 60 kits in under 30 minutes. In the next launch, the company sold 100 in one minute, and the trend has continued. "These sensory kits helped my daughter overcome many of her challenges, and now they are helping kids across the United States – to me, that is pretty special." @youngwildandfriedman  

Marcela Gaviria

Owner, Hopi Tepees

After years of throwing decadent parties for her daughters, Marcela Gaviria realized that she could make her love of planning and entertaining a viable business. She started Hopi Tepees in 2018 and hasn't slowed down since. Hopi Tepees provides the ultimate stress-free sleepover experience by providing everything the partygoers need for a memorable celebration. Gaviria and her team have several themes to choose from and personalize each party, so no two are the same. They set up the tepees and customized decor then take it down the next day. All they need from the host is space in their home. "No space is too small - we always make it happen. The process is straightforward, and clients love how we can transform a living room into an indoor glamping experience."  @hopitepees 

Taryn Proler

Owner & Designer of The Texas Poppy Co.

The pandemic affected everyone differently, and for Taryn Proler, beautiful fresh cut flowers are what made her feel more peaceful during the early days of COVID. Proler wanted to pass along the feeling that flowers gave her, and so The Texas Poppy Co. came to life. Her company is hyper-local and focuses on using a variety of different flowers with tried and true classics. She strays away from flower recipes and lets her design skills guide her without the constraints of a certain number of stems or exact structures. In addition to arrangements for birthdays, anniversaries, baptisms, and all major holidays, Proler offers a subscription service – you can choose weekly, bi-weekly or monthly flowers in various sizes. @thetexaspoppy

Courtney Coolidge

Owner & Designer, The Cheerful Thread 

Embroidery boutique, The Cheerful Thread began when owner Courtney Coolidge was going through cancer treatment. During her treatments, she used a stuffed toy from her childhood to bring her comfort and realized that others could also benefit from a plush toy during their medical journies. She began sewing and embroidering with other volunteers, and to date, over 7,500 handmade plushies have been passed out in the Texas Medical Center hospitals. Coolidge's work has flourished, and she now specializes in custom embroidery items for her clients. Using only the best materials, threads, and computer programs to generate designs, Coolidge creates heirlooms and fun projects for any occasion. Coolidge prides herself in offering excellent customer service and a boutique monogram experience., 832-723-4712 @thecheerfulthread

Jennifer McDonald

Co-Owner of Garden Girls

For Jennifer McDonald, co-owner of Garden Girls, gardening went from a hobby to a mental lifeline during the pandemic lockdown of 2020. Her family of five, like everyone else, was searching for an outlet to ease stress. While her kids were studying math and geography, she studied plant life cycles and learned everything she could about intensive planting methods. Her Piney Point gardens multiplied from one garden bed to fourteen. During that process, McDonald thought others could benefit from gardening  as well, and the idea for Garden Girls came about. "Garden Girls came about to fill a need for Houstonians who want to garden but don't know where or how to start," says McDonald. "We live and work in Houston and know what grows well and what doesn't. We design and install luxury turnkey gardens, setting our clients up for success with a healthy start." @gardengirlstx

Brenda Grands Jewelry 

Co-owner of Brenda Grands Jewelry

Brenda Grands' jewelry line began in 2014 when she and her sister Angie wanted to start a business together. Brenda is passionate about design and creativity, while Angie's strengths lie in marketing and social media. Brenda began creating jewelry to make women feel beautiful, brave, strong, and worthy. All of the brand's jewelry is handmade in Houston and is plated or filled with 18K or 24K gold, and each is carefully packaged with a Bible verse to remind the recipient of their identity. 

Brenda Grands Jewelry donates 10 percent of its profits to missions worldwide and can be found online or in boutiques across the country. @brendagrands 

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