The People Behind the Products – Pt. 5

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Hello, hello!  I hope you had a lovely Labor Day weekend, and a lovely August.  For part 5 of the “People Behind the Products” we are focusing on a fun and sassy collection of local Wisconsin talent, Melissa Muller Designs, Scott James Studio & Milwaukee Candle & Apothecary.

Mellisa Muller is a graphic designer, photographer, ceramics artist and more, with unique ceramic tablets on display at the store.  I got to know Melissa well at Quorum Architects, Inc. where she did much of the company’s graphic design work. She laughs at some of my jokes (not all, no one does), which means she pretty much gets me. She received her BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and worked at and owned art galleries in Chicago and Milwaukee before joining the the Quorum team.


Melissa with her husband and adorable & hilarious daughter

Her creativity does not stop in the office, she creates and teaches ceramics at Tree of Life studio.  Her work has evolved into a unique collection of modern organic patterns in various forms, including the tablets we have for sale in store.  Ceramics is for her, a culmination of graphic design and fine art in a three dimensional format.  And her creations are super rad!


Ceramic tablet, in process

*teaser* We will soon be carrying more of her ceramic art in a new style.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so stay tuned!

Next, let’s talk about my fab friends at Scott James Studio, who create beautiful pillows using vintage and designer textiles that they search the country to collect, often finding on their travels.  Scott Gehrig and James Steiner of Columbus, WI are the terrific twosome creators of the beautiful pillows in what they call a “cottage industry.”


James Steiner and Scott Gehrig, smiling and happy

They use environmentally and allergy friendly inserts and fabrics that each have a story to tell.  I also met James when he was the landscape architect for Quorum Architects, Inc. He is a part time senior lecturer at UW-Madison and is a project manager at Red Bud Homes in Columbus, WI.  Scott works as a physical therapist, specializing in senior care and those with disabilities.  James works mostly on the fabric selection and procurement, and what scale pillow the materials would look best on as well as the preliminary cutting.  Scott does the sewing, piecing and construction. Together they create soft and fabulous pillow magic!  


A pile of fabric and pillows, where the magic happens

*teaser* We will be getting new rectangular pillows into the store soon – we can’t wait!

Finally, let us tell you a little bit about Abbey Manelli, the driving force behind Milwaukee Candle & Apothecary.  We have been selling her amazing soy candles with essential oils like hot cakes!  And let me just stop right here and mention that she is a total badass who participates in Spartan races.  The spartan style race has obstacles, mud, and javelin throwing.  How cool is that?


Proof of Abbey’s badass-ness

But when she’s not accomplishing herculean feats, she is making candles, soaps and skin/shaving products that are all-natural and all-fabulous.  I have been burning the Pomander candle in the store for so many hours, I’ve lost count.  So many hours that I’ve sold out of that scent twice, the candles are that great!  She is an animal lover, thus not using palm oil wax, the production of which threatens natural wildlife and orangutan habitats.  The candles are soy, and all of the scents are created using pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils and natural botanical ingredients.

Photo Sep 08, 4 56 16 PM

The Pomander candle, still burning!

I’m so excited every day to be working with these, and all the wonderful artists here. Stop in to see their work in person, or check them out online!

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Scott James & Milwaukee Apothecary products online


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Melissa Muller designs, with Janelle Gramling & Ryan Ostler


One Comment

Posted by Nancy Martin

hello Scott James Designs! I love you guys and need to get some of those beautiful pillows. I will be in touch! Sis Nan


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