Crafts and leather: A perfect pairing
BANNOCK-“We really do have something for everyone,” Ashley Williams says, laughing. “I mean, we sell tutus, and we sell biker leathers.” Both Williams and her father and business partner, John Myers, have turned favorite hobbies into their business, Country Craft Bowtique and Dark Side Leather.
Williams began making tutus and hair bows for her daughter two years ago, then began selling them at craft shows under the name Olivia’s Bowtique. When her husband was laid off at the coal mine, Williams’ crafts became a source of income for the family. As her sales increased, she decided to set up a shop people could visit between shows.
Williams purchased a small wooden building and placed it on the lot next to her family’s home on State Route 331 in Bannock. A physical shop will allow her to cut back on the labor intensive shows now that her husband has returned to work and allow her to widen her inventory. She will still have a booth at the Winterfest at the WesBanco arena Nov. 18-20, though. “My dad is a really big help to me,” she adds.
Myers, too, drew from his interests when considering a new career. Years ago he sold insurance, then had a construction company (“Big John’s a Deck a Day”) and most recently retired as a guard from the Belmont Correctional Institute. Looking for additional income, he thought about his brother Roger, who passed away two years ago, and their shared passion for motorcycles. Myers chuckles when he recalls his brother saying,” John’s had a saw in his hand since he was six.”
When his daughter installed the small building next door, Myers got to work in his wood shop on displays and clothes hangers for the new store. He realized that he could expand the building and sell biker accessories and apparel-things for which many of his friends were looking.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Myers says. He built an addition and ordered inventory, and Dark Side Leather was born.
Williams is thrilled that it’s truly a family business. She carries her own line of tutus, hair bows and head pieces next to birdhouses and decorative items that Myers has crafted from wood. She also has some nature photo prints by her photographer cousin in Columbus. Myers’ son’s Harley Davidson is on display, as well as the fender from his brother motorcycle. Williams’ daughter, Olivia, is often there “working” at her own child-sized cash register.
The eclectic, cozy inventory includes candles by Arnold’s Good Scents from Woodsfield and Gourmet Goodies by Alicia, two more local items. There are also greeting cards, purses, home decor and primitives. She and Myers are also licensed distributors for a bee pollen product, UnBEElieveable ZXT, which is a popular seller. The pair has lost over 80 pounds between them using the product and say it has additional health benefits in regards to arthritis and allergies among other ailments.
On “the Dark side,” shoppers will find t-shirts, leather jackets and vests in child and adult sizes, biker baby onesies, bandanas, Hillbilly Proud apparel and decals, gloves and helmets (including DOT approved models.)
They are quick to point out that chaps are available for $49 and leather jackets for under $100. Myers says he can also order items if there is something specific a customer wants. “Most of the time I can get it from a catalog in five to seven days,” he notes.
Because many of his rider friends are veterans, Myers is having a special Veterans Day helmet giveaway. Any veteran or member of a VFW or American Legion who signs up is eligible to win a special edition motorcycle helmet with a veteran theme. It’s on display at the shop, and the drawing will be held Sunday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m.
Williams and Myers are also holding a holiday promotion for the Food Pantry, offering 10 percent off of each purchase to customers who bring in non-perishable goods and canned food items. This promotion ends on Dec. 9.
Country Crafts and Dark Side Leather is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday-seven days a week.
For more information, call the store at (740)968-4377, Ashley Williams at (740) 312-0090 or John Myers at (740) 312-5696, or visit Olivia’s Bowtique on Facebook and www.etsy.com.