News about the vibrant business community of Boyne City MI.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Smitten Designs started small, grew fast
Reprinted from the MyNorth.com newsletter: The story of Smitten By The Mitten, a Boyne City business, starts six years ago with a Google search for “best places to retire.” Among the results were Traverse City and Petoskey, sparking an idea. Ivette Dixon, a Louisiana native, was moving to Michigan.
Despite never visiting the state before, she saved her money for a year, found a house on Craigslist and moved to Boyne City with her husband in 2010.
“I wanted to live someplace with camping, lakes, beaches—the outdoors,” Ivette says. “There’s fours seasons. I can go skiing or boating and it’s beautiful. You can’t find that everywhere.”
When Ivette moved to Michigan, she had no intention of starting a business. She worked at several local businesses including Cafe Santé and then Petoskey Brewing. Jewelry making was a hobby. But when she wore one of her lockets while bartending, coworkers and patrons kept asking where she got it. So she started selling them on the side. In 2013, Ivette did a giveaway on Facebook and the post went crazy. She got so many orders she quit her job, made a website and took out a $5,000 loan for equipment. Smitten By The Mitten State took off.
As Smitten By The Mitten continued to grow, Ivette moved locations several times for more space. Now she’s downtown (118 Water St.) across the street from Red Mesa Grill.
At the shop you’ll find a mix of region- and event-specific products such as the craft beer long-sleeve shirt, Detroit athletics hoodie and Yooper jewelry collection.
Including the U.P. in her designs and logo, is important to Ivette. “So often you just see the Lower Peninsula mitten in designs. The U.P. is gorgeous and a huge part of our state.”
Ivette designs and makes all the jewelry, apparel and displays for the store. She also does custom floral arrangements, wreaths and wood signs.
Exploring different regions of Michigan has inspired many of Ivette’s designs. A few of her favorite places to visit are Glen Arbor, Empire Bluff Trail, Marquette and Pictured Rocks. Ivette recently started a journal on her website to share her travel finds and recommendations.
“I wasn’t born here, but I love this state. I want my designs to be meaningful and to invoke feelings of home so people can wear them again and again.” Full story on MyNorth.com.