Join us at Barrel + Beam on Thursday, November 7 to hear from our artistic panel of local female entrepreneurs, who over their many years of experience have surmounted barriers regarding more than just creativity. The panelists will discuss the challenges they face by being a woman in entrepreneurship, ways they have overcome these challenges, and how they have paved the way for other women in the community.
Beth Millner: owner of beth millner jewelry
Beth Millner graduated from Northern Michigan University with a BFA in Metalsmithing in 2008 and launched her home-based jewelry business out of the corner of her kitchen. While in her last year of college, she started displaying at art fairs, opened an online Etsy shop and taught silversmithing classes in Marquette. In 2012, after years of establishing a local name for herself at shows and festivals, Beth was ready to transition her business to a brick-and-mortar location in downtown Marquette, where the jewelry is handmade in the studio above the retail shop. She currently has eight employees assisting in the shop and studio. Through active social media engagement, Beth Millner Jewelry has reached a world-wide audience and become a well-known trademark of the Marquette, Michigan area.
Beth knew that starting her own business would be the path to a rewarding, passionate career that allowed her to live in Marquette after graduation. The key to growing her business from home-based to a brick-and-mortar shop was reaching beyond the small footprint of Marquette county with an online presence, both through the selling on our e-commerce website and Etsy shop, as well being active on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. The ability to sell her work online opened up her audience to a national and international level and is the perfect compliment to our local customers and tourist season.
When visitors come to the UP they often look for a token to bring home as a reminder of their travels to our beautiful area. Beth’s designs are inspired directly from our forests, shorelines and Lake Superior and many pieces are made from Upper Peninsula copper (historically a very important material for our area), so they embody to many travelers the beautiful, secluded natural lifestyle so unique to our area. Many of the pendants and necklaces are inspired and named after popular hiking trails, rivers and waterfalls and appeal to both locals and tourists alike. Beth Millner designs jewelry with strong nature themes inspired by the scenic landscapes of the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior in eco-friendly recycled sterling silver, mixed metals, Michigan copper and Michigan gemstones.
Michele dupras: owner of revisions design studio
Michele Dupras received her BFA from Northern Michigan University’s School of Art and Design in the spring of 2006. After college, Michele spent time working in the field of Interior Design. Motivated by the urge to get back into working with clay, she setup a small ceramics studio. This decision would soon fuel her entrepreneurial journey.
Revisions Design Studio was founded by Dupras in the spring of 2008. What started as a small, home-based porcelain studio, has grown into an internationally recognized brand.
Revisions' handcrafted goods have been sold by large companies, such as West Elm, Urban Outfitters, and Target, as well as smaller shops and boutiques worldwide. They have had their products on display at the MoMA and Tiffany & Co., and their designs have been featured on the Property Brothers, The Today Show, in Martha Stewart magazine, Midwest Living, and Better Homes & Gardens, just to name a few. They have also had the pleasure of creating custom lighting and porcelain goods for many residential and commercial clients.
In 2015, Michele expanded Revisions to include a one-of-a kind lifestyle boutique in downtown Marquette. Here you will find not only Revisions’ original designs, but those of several other Designer/Maker Studios from across the United States.
When Michele isn’t wearing the hat of Revision’s Creative Director, she is filling the role of mother to 3 children, ages 5, 3, and 1. She also enjoys working on home renovation projects with her husband, or together hitting the bike trails around their home in Negaunee MI.
SARAH RUUSKA: OWNER OF LUTEY’S FLOWER SHOP
Sarah Ruuska grew up in Escanaba, Michigan and had her first job at Delta Floral. She moved to Marquette, Michigan to attend Northern Michigan University for fashion merchandising and business. While being in school, she worked for Lutey’s Flower Shop starting in September of 1987. With having experience at a flower shop already, it was easy for her to find her love for the business. In April of 1995, she married her husband, Jon Ruuska, who is a Marquette native. Shortly after they were married, the owner of Lutey’s, Kristi Flatt, approached them to see if they would be interested in purchasing Lutey’s. This was a big step for Sarah and Jon but they were willing to go for it. In January of 1996, they were officially the owners of Lutey’s Flower Shop. Since owning the business, Sarah has found her passion of making people happy. Her favorite part about her job is the creativity it allows her and being able to brighten people’s day. For the last two years, she has participated in Society of American Florists Petal it Forward campaign. Lutey’s Flower Shop has also received The Mining Journal’s Readers Choice Award for Best Flower Shop three years in a row as well as FTD top 1,000 flower shops. You can find Sarah on Instagram @luteysflowershop and visit www.luteysflowershop.com
CARRIE PEARSON: CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR AND CONSULTANT
Carrie Pearson believes her current work life as a solopreneur in two businesses (as a consultant and a children’s book author) represents the best merger of her education, occupations, and passion. She holds a BA in early childhood education from the University of Michigan, taught at the University’s preschool and then moved into the business world for 15+ years as a director of development in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. She is now a full-time children’s book author/presenter and owner of a consulting business in the children’s book industry focusing on preparing writers to connect with the right agent. She is the Vice President and Secretary of Norway Springs’ Board of Directors, and a Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), a non-profit with a global membership of 25,000 creators and industry leaders. She is the author of three traditionally published books for children found in our amazing indie bookstores, in libraries, and online with two additional books in the publishing pipeline. Research for her books has taken her many places from the ecosystem of the tallest tree in the world to an interview with the Princess of Tonga. Carrie would love to connect with you on Twitter @carrieapearson, on her personal and business accounts on Instagram, on Pinterest carrieapearson, and through her website www.carriepearsonbooks.com.