What: One-of-a-kind vegan bags and wristlets handmade from recycled billboard vinyl, nylon webbing, solid brass hardware, faux suede and velvet.
Who: Jennifer Parham Gilomen was born and raised in Kingsport, Tenn., but has been in Charlotte since 1990. Her parents instilled in her a deep respect for nature, she says, which influenced her work. In 2016, Gilomen was part of an ArtPop Street Gallery Project that involved billboards. When the project was over, she brought the 14- x 48-foot vinyl from the billboard to her studio in Lake Wylie and started cutting it. “I wanted to create works of art that are functional, three-dimensional, and one-of-a-kind,” Gilomen said.
On starting a business: “Think big, but start small. Setting up a site on Etsy is very easy. Social media is your friend – you can promote yourself to a wide audience very easily and with little to no cost. I would advise anyone to get involved in the Etsy community. They provide a ton of helpful information.”
On motivation: Gilomen is inspired by vinyl’s endless possibilities. “I am motivated by how reducing and reusing can help our planet. When a billboard comes down, it goes into a landfill. What if all billboard vinyl could be recycled/repurposed into vegan bags, wallets, and purses? Parkas and overcoats could be next!”
Giving back: Ten percent of all proceeds go to local and global missions through River Hills Community Church in Lake Wylie, she says.
Find more CLT Made goods by searching the Observer website for that title, or on the “CLT Made” Pinterest page.