"I have always loved making things. When I was young, I would spend hours in my bedroom sewing fleece pants or making bead animals. Initially, I didn't show any real talent and had trouble following patterns - I once made my dad a flannel nightshirt that accidentally could fit our entire family of 6 in it! Regardless of how my projects turned out, making something with my hands made me so happy!”

“When a friend's mom taught me how to knit in middle school, I was hooked! We were knitting hats for a charity that donates them to cancer patients. From that point on, I was always working on a knitting project, whether it was a hat, pair of socks or a sweater.”

“Last year, I made a hat for my 4-month-old niece with an oversized faux fur pom-pom to keep her warm in the fall. After posting some photos on Instagram, I started selling a bunch of hats and could barely keep up with the demand!”

“I've worked for two eCommerce companies in buying, merchandising and marketing roles, gaining experience in how to market and run a business. This year, I decided to put my experience to use officially launching Smoke & Slate!”

“My goal with Smoke & Slate is to bring people unique, handmade products that are created with the greatest attention to detail using high quality, sustainably sourced materials made by small businesses, farmers and artisans across the world. My products are not fast fashion. They are well constructed, classic styles meant to last a lifetime, whether they're passed down from child to child or worn by the same person season after season.”

“Being a one-woman show definitely feels overwhelming at times and I've had to learn how to ask for help! While my strong suit is product development and creation, I struggled with branding, website experience and packaging. I have such a wonderful network of friends, family and old colleagues with careers in all different industries. I learned to lean on my network for advice and help as much as possible - two heads are certainly better than one!”

“Smoke & Slate's motto is "knitwear for fresh air". My products are meant to be enjoyed outdoors, so doing my part to conserve the earth is extremely important to the brand.”

“As I mentioned, my products are not fast fashion and are meant to be enjoyed over a lifetime. Instead of buying a new hat or scarf each year, my hope is that customers will cherish their Smoke & Slate products year after year. I also chose each element of our packaging with a focus on sustainability and avoiding the use of plastic. The hangtags are made of 100% recycled kraft paper, the linen drawstring bags can be kept and re-used, and the noissue mailers are 100% compostable!”

“Packaging is a customer's first impression of a brand. While we're all told not to judge a book by its cover, I feel strongly that packaging is half the battle in a customer's brand perception. When I receive a package, it feels like I'm receiving a present (even if I bought it for myself!) and I want my customers to feel the same way!”

“Every element of my packaging is intentional and helps me convey that my brand is handcrafted, sustainable and modern. I am so proud to use noissue mailers, which are the very first impression a customer has of Smoke & Slate. Not only do they convey modernity and simplicity through the bold design, but being able to deliver my items in packaging that is 100% compostable is such an easy way to give back to Mother Earth and remind my customers (and all the other people the package touches in the delivery process!) that the little things can make a difference.”