OBX BUSINESS HIGHLIGHT – Naked Lady Mandalas

Naked Lady Mandalas
Connect with Melanie

(Instagram) | (Facebook) | (Website)

Naked Lady Mandalas is certainly a name that will make most anyone stand up and take notice. Melanie, who created 300 unique hand painted mandala minis for our Fall 2019 box, explains the name is derived from her “baring her soul” in her artwork. 

Melanie, who is originally from upstate New York, became a traveling nurse and spent time in both New York City and Seattle before receiving a travel contract on the Outer Banks in February, 2106.  But artist is just one of Melanie’s labels. She is a former bipolar turned spiritual “yoga lady.” She is also a musician, skateboarder, and surfer.

You may be wondering what the mandala has to do with the OBX… Mandalas began as a form of meditation in ancient Tibet.  The lines, symbols and patterns not only put the artist into a state of meditation during their creation, but also have a meditative affect for the observer.  The beach also puts us into a similar state, the calming sounds of the waves crashing along the shore are a reason why people flock to the shore for their annual vacation from real life.  These mandalas were created throughout the Outer Banks, absorbing the energy of this magical place in hopes to bring some of that calmness to your home, until you can get to the beach again… The Outer Banks Beach Box hope you enjoy your specially created mandala from Melanie, the force behind Naked Lady Mandalas! If you are interested in more of Melanie’s artwork and custom designs, be sure to check out her website, www.nakedladymandalas.com and give her a follow on IG @nakedladymandalas.

Written by: Greg Smrdel, Author
www.gregsmrdel.com | Facebook | Amazon

OBX BUSINESS HIGHLIGHT – Hattiebuilt

Hattie Built
Hattiebuilt Website

What started your passion for Hatteras

We have been coming to Hatteras/Ocracoke for 35 years.  It was love at first sight…… and the love affair is still going strong!

How long have you been creating?  How did you get into it? Do you work in any other mediums?

My husband and I started Hattiebuilt in 2014, after realizing that a lifestyle brand focused on life “South of the Bonner” was not being catered to.

Did you grow up on the OBX? What is your history with the Outer Banks?

We grew up in PA and relocated to Virginia Beach, where we spent our entire adult life, until last year. Proud to finally call Hatteras Island home.  😊

What’s your favorite thing about the OBX? 

The laid-back lifestyle, the salt air, the views and sunsets at “the ditch.”

Tell us about your background/day job

Sales and Design background.

Which of your items is your favorite and why?

All of our logo’d hattiebuilt branded items are my fav!  It sets apart the Hatteras Island homeowner/vacationer and lover of this barrier island. Not everyone is “built” for life on a sandbar.

Where in the OBX is your favorite place to go? 

Anyplace where the sun sets along the water’s edge.

Are you passionate about anything else that you’d like to help spread the message about?

Beach clean up, turtles, horses, kids, and helping the hungry! We love to make friends with our homeless feline friends, that roam the island. Although we do not own a cat of our own, many of them benefit from our weekly Food Lion shopping trips.

OBX Business Highlight – Burn Baby Burn

Outer Banks Business Spotlight - Burn Baby Burn

Burn Baby Burn Website

Meet Emily Caffrey of Burn Baby Burn, one of our favorite Outer Banks businesses! We’ve asked her a few questions about her business, her start and her passions and her life in the OBX.

Burn Baby Burn

What started your passion for wood burning?

Like many artists along the Outer Banks, the ocean has fueled my passion. I could say even further that scuba diving is the biggest inspiration that I have. Getting up close and personal with so many different fish inspires me to create a piece of artwork including them. Conservation is also a major drive for me–I like to learn fun facts about the animals that I create to share what’s so cool about them and why they are important to their ecosystem!

How long have you been creating?  How did you get into it? Do you work in any other mediums?

I have been creating wood burnings since college. I was shown a burning tool by a friend and thought it was so neat. I tried my luck with it and loved it. Then I started to make burnings of things that inspired me, like wildlife. My first burning was a simple map of the U.S. Virgin Islands and then a heron! I liked to create animals much more than objects–straight lines have never been my thing! Although wood burning is my niche, I also paint, sketch, and enjoy photography. I like anything artsy. I have seen other pyrographers burn on water color paper; I’d love to try that next!

Did you grow up on the OBX? What is your history with the Outer Banks?

I grew up in western Maryland, but vacationed every summer to the Outer Banks with my family. During college I worked in OBX as a kayak guide with Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School which immersed me in beautiful areas of the Outer Banks that many have not visited. My love for OBX just kept growing, so I looked for work here after schooling and I landed a job at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. I’ve been here full-time for about 2.5 years.

What’s your favorite thing about the OBX?

Besides the beach? Saltwater marshes. I could spend endless time exploring the marshes, there are so many and each one is different. They are beautiful at any time of the day. During light you can see lots of birds, fish, and plant life while at night you can see bio-luminescence.

Tell us about your background/day job?

I am a SCUBA Instructor! I earned my degree in Environmental Studies from Salisbury University and after college I went through Divemaster and Instructor training and always hoped to combine the two together. And I have; I work as a Dive Safety Technician at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. I am a part of all the dive operations that happen in the facility in some form or another. It is my job to clean habitats, maintain and service SCUBA equipment, make sure other divers are safe, lead guest divers, train divers, and participate in an offshore Lionfish mitigation project (which is my favorite part about the job)! I have learned so much about wildlife and diving while working there that it has further fueled my passion for wildlife conservation.

Which of your items is your favorite and why?

I like the Caribbean Octopus that I did. Octopuses are one of my favorite animals; they are so interesting to learn about and to see in person (especially on night dives)! The piece itself also includes blue and purple colors, which is a fun addition to the burnt wood. The octopus totally needed the extra wow factor being that they are so vibrantly colored!

Where in the OBX is your favorite place to go?

Pea Island! Because it doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic, it’s such a fun place to walk the beach, look for shells, watch the sunset in a kayak on the sound, and enjoy some solitude when I need it. It is such a great place to get a look at the Milky Way at night!

Are you passionate about anything else that you’d like to help spread the message about (Beach clean up, turtles, horses, kids, helping the hungry)?

Beach clean ups for sure, or any clean ups really. I believe that you should leave a place a little bit cleaner than how you found it–and that’s easy to do by picking up a few pieces of trash along the way. It not only helps the place look cleaner, but it prevents any garbage from getting into water systems and in the bellies of curious animals. It’s easy to make small adjustments in your lifestyle to help make the world a healthier place (a.k.a. use reusable water bottles, straws, and grocery bags). Being more conscious about how your actions affect the place surrounding you.

Outer Banks Box Has New Owners!

Hello OBX fans!

We have some great news to share.

After a wonderfully exciting year and a half of business, and learning the ropes and nuances of running a subscription box company, Outer Banks Box is officially under new ownership!

Over the past few months, Nina and I had been considering the effects of managing the business alongside our two full-time professions. We knew that the potential of Outer Banks Box is so very great, but were developing a sense that we could not give the business all the time and nurturing it deserved. We wanted to find others with the passion for the Outer Banks who could take what we started and run even further with it!

Over the course of the spring, we sought out and met with several local business owners who we felt qualified to manage what we started and interviewed them to ensure they’d treat our creation, customers, and local partners with the level of care and devotion we had committed to. We’re happy to announce we found what we feel is a perfect match, and as of August 4th, 2018 Outer Banks Box is officially owned by the fabulous people at Muse Originals OBX!

You may recognize them from their storefront on the beach road in Kitty Hawk, NC near Art’s Place, or perhaps some of their fantastic social media posts and OBX Made business spotlights.  They aren’t your average local art and gift store… they really are something special with a distinctly fantastic vibe! Ami Hill, owner, is joined here with her family, Jonathan, Haley, Cooper, Griffin, and Penelope as well as Karen Brown, President of the Chamber, Sara Keener, Chamber and Richelle Barrett, CresCom Bank.

Nina and I could not be more thrilled to have found such wonderful people with a clear dedication to sharing the best of the Outer Banks with the world. We know this transition will open the door for bigger and better things for the little business we started, and also allow us more precious time to spend with our families in the Pittsburgh, PA area.

(Left to right: Melissa and Joe Minkowski, Ami Hill and son Griffin, Bob and Nina Kissell)

Ami has partnered with her Creative Director, Melissa Minkowski, at Muse Originals OBX and her computer genius and longboard surfing lover husband Joe to bring the Outer Banks Box under the Muse Originals OBX umbrella. We snapped this fun photo the day we transferred ownership to them, an exciting day for all!

I want to personally thank each and every person who’s been a part of our Outer Banks Box journey. From the very first customers who waited online to sign up back on Thanksgiving morning in 2016, to Facebook fans and business partners giving us support every step of the way. Your photographs, feedback, and words of encouragement are something that we will never forget. It has been a pleasure sharing our little slice of heaven with you in that teal blue box… and we have faith you’ll be delighted for years to come.

 

Sincerely,

Bob and Nina Kissell

 

 

 

 

Business Spotlight – Stephanie Kiker Designs

Spring has sprung on the Outer Banks and hundreds of OBX fans have received our latest box and have been enjoying a sampling of items from the place they love. One of the most popular items from the shipment was a set of neoprene coasters featuring iconic imagery of the Outer Banks. Sometimes there’s nothing better to help cure the “missing the OBX blues” than having a keepsake in your home that has a beautiful representation of the scenery on the beach. The coasters did that and more, and we were exceptionally excited to share with our subscribers.

As you walk through gift shops, cafes, and art galleries on the Outer Banks, it’s hard not to take in all the beautiful crafts and works of art and start developing a sense for “who’s who” and signature styles of individual artists. One artist with an incredibly alluring and memorable style for their depictions of nature and bold colors is Stephanie Kiker.

A Hatteras Island local, Stephanie graduated from the School of Design at North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic Design. Having always enjoyed drawing and illustrating, she began pursuing a career as a working artist when she moved to Hatteras Island, NC. Since 1996 Stephanie has been selling her art to galleries and stores nationwide. She produces her art on a variety of products from prints and wall art to functional art such as cutting boards, Phone cases, coasters, ceramic tiles, coin purses, ornaments and more.

“I love living at the beach and on an island…Hatteras Island, North Carolina.” Stephanie’s art is inspired by her environment. Whether it’s on the beach, on the water, under the water, in the marshes, or in the sound she enjoys creating her own interpretations and expressions of the wildlife and their natural surroundings. Textures, colors, patterns, shapes, movement all play a part in Stephanie’s pieces. She moves from realism in the soft pastel works to bold graphic shapes, patterns, and colors in the colored pencil/ink or silk painting work.

“I feel lucky to be able to enjoy the natural beauty of this area and experience it much of the time through surfing and kiteboarding. Along with the exhilaration of the sports, they give me the chance to be surrounded by the smells, sounds, water, wind and wildlife that inspire me so much.

Stephanie’s designs are easy to fall in love with and even easier to make your own. By visiting her website, StephanieKiker.com, you’ll find her works on hundreds of items plus a schedule of her live appearances at art shows and festivals over the course of the year. Make sure to see if there’s an event during your next trip to the Outer Banks! You can also follow along on her Facebook page and Instagram profile.

Whether looking for a gift for a loved one or a work of art to fill your home with a little more Outer Banks happy thoughts, Stephanie’s works are sure to please. We can’t thank her enough for working with us on the 2018 Spring Box for our subscribers, and wish her years of continued success living out her passion for art and the Outer Banks!

SUBSCRIBE NOW TO THE OUTER BANKS BOX!

Business Spotlight – The Spice and Tea Exchange in Duck, NC

Have you heard the word? There’s an exciting new shop on the Outer Banks that you absolutely need to explore!

Nestled in the Scarborough Lane shops right in the heart of Duck is a brand new location of The Spice & Tea Exchange, owned by Terry Bell and her daughter Megan Scott.

The Spice & Tea Exchange operates under one mission, “Creating & sharing the experience of a more flavorful life,” and in doing so, they’ve brought a one-of-a-kind shopping experience and 18th Century Trading Post retail concept to life right here on the Outer Banks. And let me tell you, it is beautiful!

Like many of us, Terry did not always live on the Outer Banks. She was a special needs teacher in Northern Virginia for over twenty five years before moving to the Outer Banks to help get her husband’s construction business up and running. She then opened and operated Outer Banks Restaurant Tours for five years while Megan was an operations manager for a local property management company.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Terry for a while now, we first met about five years ago while I was documenting one of her restaurant tours in the town of Duck. Before our tour was done, it became very clear to me she had a passion for food as well as a desire to share it with others. It’s easy to see how these shared interests could turn, once again, into something special.

In December of 2015, Terry and her husband were spending a long weekend in Asheville, NC when they discovered The Spice and Tea Exchange.  “I was immediately drawn to the concept. The store was very appealing and the products were so varied and different from anything I had seen before.” Terry says. “I spent a good amount of money in that store (on gifts, of course).  After the holidays, the store still stuck in my mind.  I decided to look into it to see if was a franchise, which it is.  Megan and I share a love of cooking and an enjoyment of different foods and cuisines, so she was interested as well.”

After speaking with the franchise representatives and visiting their distribution center, they decided that they would pursue the opportunity of opening their own store.

“Thankfully, we have found that the business is a good fit for us.  We both enjoy talking to customers about the products and offering suggestions about how they can use them.  We offer special events every afternoon during the summer months.  We have Spice Trivia on Mondays at 4pm, a Tea Tasting on Tuesdays at 4pm and Thursdays at 10:30am, a cooking demo on Wednesdays at 5pm and Fridays at 4pm, and a Blind Tasting on Thursdays at 4pm.  It’s been fun to design these events and watch people enjoy them.  That being said, we also want to appeal to our local community, so we are planning events to offer during the off-season as well.  We are also looking forward to participating in some of the local food events in the coming fall and spring.”

They offer more than 140 spices, over 80 exclusive hand-mixed blends, 16 naturally-flavored sugars, an array of salts from around the world, and more than 30 exotic teas. They also focus on providing high quality products and accessories to home cooks, chefs, and tea lovers in an old-world spice traders’ atmosphere. And it’s really, really cool!

When visitors step into the store, they are immediately immersed in a sensory experience where they can explore, open the jars and smell, engage with all of their offerings, and speak with Terry and Megan who truly love what they do.

It really is the people and their passion that sets businesses apart these days… and it’s so easy to see the happiness and enthusiasm in Terry and Megan when you visit The Spice & Tea Exchange.

You can connect with them on Facebook, read about their product included in our Summer 2017 edition of the Outer Banks Box, and of course, make sure to stop during your next visit to or through Duck to experience this firsthand!

Tell them the Outer Banks Box crew sent you!

The owners of The Spice & Tea Exchange have also extended a special offer to our subscribers and readers. Get the “Outer Banks Box” 10% OFF discount when you browse online, then order via email at duck@spiceandtea.com!