Hi My name is Courtney, I’m 24 and my shop is Hemp Hugs which I started as an Etsy shop in October 2010.
I consider my boyfriend Rich a member of Hemp Hugs too – we’ve been together a little
over 8 years & he’s been a huge part of making our business happen!
I mostly make hemp jewelry and Rich did wire wraps for about 2 years
and just recently started blowing glass.
I remember being young and inspired by my aunt had always been into arts & crafts. For as long as I remember, she was
always making things for my cousins and I. She would use fabric paint on shoes,
dresses, hats, shirts,etc for us and I LOVED them. I used to go over her house all the
time & make stuff with her. My favorite thing to do was make beaded jewelry with
pony beads & elastic cord.
In high school I bought my first hemp necklace. It was so plain & basic & I
remember thinking to myself “I can do this, but make it look way cooler!”
I discovered etsy.com and found people making a living from making hemp jewelry. One shop
in mind sticks out, Psysub Hemp on Etsy, I was SO inspired by their beautiful
jewelry it made me want to learn how to make my own style. I went
to the craft store & bought a macrame book, some basic natural hemp, and called
the only friend I knew that actually knew anything about macrame and showed me
the basic flat knot and that was it.. from there I pretty much taught myself. I discovered colored
hemp and went nuts from there.
” I fell in love with macrame. ”
My love for macrame started a new life for me. From my first job working restaurants at
age 16 to the time I quit my last job at age 20, I worked at 7 different places (6 of
them were restaurants). I had decided I no longer wanted to work for a corporate
business or really anyone but myself so Rich and I took a week
off work & went to a music festival where we talked to a couple food vendors who
said they hadn’t worked a ‘real job’ in 12 years. They seemed so happy. They got
to do what they wanted whenever they wanted AND got paid for it! That was it for
me. Over the next year, Rich & I saved our money to start our own small business.
In May of 2010, I was working 3 jobs, while Rich was a kitchen manager at a local
chain restaurant. Neither of us were happy with what we were doing. He went into
work one morning in a Grateful Dead t-shirt, turned his keys into the general
manager & basically said “i quit”. I quit my job at 2 of the restaurants I was working
at, and a month later walked out of my job at a movie theater. Best decision we
both ever made.
Things changed for me after I went to my first music festival.
From that moment I was hooked. I loved
EVERYTHING about them..the music, the vibe, the art, the feeling of being
whoever you want & not being judged.
Music is definitely one of my main inspirations. I am a huge fan of the Grateful Dead & have lots of GD
inspired charms & pendants. I’m also inspired by the other talented macrame artists out
there. There’s a group on Facebook just for macrame artists to share tips, get
advice, trade supplies, and just encourage each other and it’s been a big
inspiration for me.
One of my greatest memories is of our very first time vending. It was Classic Fest 2010 at Nelson Ledges
Quarry Park. We had an EZup and 2 tables.
One table had all of my jewelry.
I was even making hemp jewelry which I had scattered all over the table. No displays of any kind, just a
mess of jewelry and
some camping necessities like TP, flashlights, rain ponchos, etc. We also had
boxes of movie posters..from working at a movie theater, I got the advantage of taking
all the posters they got, otherwise they would just throw them away. Most of them
were awful movies that mostly never even made it to theaters lol. We barely made
enough money that weekend to cover our tickets to the event + vending fee. We
almost gave up on vending altogether after that.
So glad we didn’t!
We now have a 20×30 setup right next to the stage at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, with at
least 6 tables FULL of merchandise, 6+ handmade necklace boards full of my
hemp jewelry, clothes racks, grid walls, display cases.. it’s truly amazing to see
how far we’ve come in a few years.
Hemp Hugs expanded from being just
an online Etsy shop to a vending business, setting up at various music
festivals at our local venue, Nelson Ledges Quarry Park and recently we’ve also started
setting up at different concerts for a local Youngstown band, Jones for
As a hemp artist, I try to use the best quality of products available. I use 100%
natural hemp twine in a wide variety of colors. I have about 7 cases full of a variety
of beads (wood, glass, gemstone, ceramic, etc), pendants, charms, cabochons,
and other supplies. Trying to decide what to make is sometimes more of a
challenge than actually making something – lol. I spend most of my time creating in my living room, either
listening to some music or watching shows & documentaries on Netflix.
With the more intricate designs, I almost never plan it
out first. I usually just pick out some colors & just go with the flow of what I feel fits
that piece just right.
I have a small macrame board that I use to hold my piece in place while I create so Once I decide on a pendant or bead
I want to use, I match up the colors of hemp that I think would accent the piece(s)
well and then from there, I decide if I want to spend hours creating an intricate, one of a
kind piece or keep it simple.
We met our business partners, Gary & Lourie (local glassblowers
who have their own small business, Glass and Stuff) in 2012 and have been
vending music festivals with them ever since.
This past November we all got together with two other friends, Zak & Whitney (they have a small business as
well called Estimated Prospect where they sell stones, crystals & minerals) and
we opened up a store here in Ohio called Higher Minds. We all travel & vend
together at NLQP -Nelson Ledges Quary Park – every spring/summer. Our goal is to support as many local
artists & small businesses as possible. Our store Higher Minds is full of local
hand blown glass, my handmade hemp jewelry, handmade clothing, tie dyes,
tapestries, all natural beauty products (made here in Ohio), and so much
more and are mostly all from friends & local artists. If it wasn’t for Rich & I starting up
Hemp Hugs & traveling to shows, Higher Minds would potentially not exist.
It’s basically 3 small businesses joined together as one.
My favorite piece of art I’ve ever made is one I just recently made; a bracelet cuff that honestly blew my mind when I was
finished. I had a labradorite cab & some matching beads set aside for months. I
knew I wanted to make something spectacular with them, but didn’t know what
until I recently learned a new macrame technique for wrapping stones. MANY
knots later, I was so impressed with what I had created, I got a little emotional
when I was done.
My boyfriend, definitely helps keep me going when things get tough.
There have been countless times when I get myself down because maybe my Etsy sales have dropped a little from last month or for some
reason I don’t feel I’m doing my best….and he’s right there telling me otherwise,
assuring me that everything is ok. Also my friends & family’s undying support of
what I do definitely keeps me going.
I’ve also found nature & being outdoors to be very inspiring.
In my down time, when I’m not crafting, traveling, or working at the store I enjoy
just hanging out at home with my boyfriend & our animals (1 dog & 2 kitties) or
having a couple good beers with some friends (preferably around a campfire!)
Nice to meet you!
I have a lot of them!!!!
“if you get confused, listen to the music play”
“a box of rain will ease the pain & love will see you through”
“once in awhile you get shone the light in the strangest of places if you look at it
“i’m gonna love the life I live & i’m gonna live the life I love”
oh boy lol.. so many stories come to mind, I would be typing for hours haha.
When asked… Is there something about you as an artist that you would like the world to
know? she said this
“I’m a self taught macrame artist with big dreams. I never give up on something I’m
passionate about and I absolutely love what I do & will continue to push myself Furthur”
I’m beyond grateful with how much our small business has grown. I only see it
getting bigger from here & hope to one day have Higher Minds stores across the
country and possibly even the world. But for now, I couldn’t be happier with where
we are at 🙂
Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garrettsville,Ohio (every music festival from April-
Clay’s Park in Canton, Ohio for the Ville Music Festival
I also have a lot of my hemp jewelry available at our store Higher Minds in
Artist Contact info:
Social Media Links:
Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team