Valentine's shoppers visit Sweetheart Craft event

Feb. 02, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

About 20 local businesswomen welcomed Valentine's Day shoppers Saturday, with booths set up selling everything from jewelry to makeup, purses, gourmet baked goods, weight loss products and even vacuum cleaners.

The Sweetheart Craft and Vendor Event invited people to the Lee County Arts and Community Center's second floor, where local Mary Kay vendors have a studio and were out in force Saturday along with other local business owners and vendors. There were opportunities to buy a wide range of mass-produced goods as well as homemade ones.

Shannon Torres, for example, was selling the jewelry she makes by hand here in Sanford under the company name Shantor, while Teshia Sloan was there promoting the national line of Origami Owl jewelry, a side project to supplement her job teaching at Lee Christian School.

Next to her were some other educators, Melanie Schmitz and Ashlee Beal from East Lee Middle School, where Schmitz is a guidance counselor and Beal is a math teacher and cheerleading coach. They were also joined by Schmitz's seventh grade daughter Madison, who helps make jewelry for their business re-purposing everything from bottle caps to shipping pallets into something artsy.

"We've only been doing it since November," Schmitz said. "But it's been a pretty good business so far."

Mary Kay had several representatives on site, including Nanzetta Trotter and Jennifer Bentley, who both said that sales had been pretty good Saturday, even only about an hour after the event began.

"We do a lot of events here, so I think people know about us," Trotter said.

Indeed, Mary Kay reps offer complimentary facials at the studio every Monday night, said local Mary Kay sales director Kathie Delp, adding that more is in the works.

"We're also going to start offering some professional women's pampering events," she said. "Like networking events for local businesswomen."

The event wasn't all jewelry and Mary Kay, however. Sanford's Jenny Albright — who goes by The Cake Lady NC — was showing off some delectable-looking cakes and cupcakes, saying she will be taking orders up until Feb. 7 for Valentine's Day.

"I don't have a store; I just bake them at home," she said. "But I've got a Facebook page for orders, all custom-made. I took a cake decorating class at Central Carolina Community College, and it was just so much fun, I thought I'd make a business out of it."

And for people who think they have had a little too much cake, Robin Emanuel was there with her daughter Andreaya, selling various weight-loss products like wraps and drinks. Like many of the women at the event, Emanuel said this wasn't her main source of income but was just something she was passionate about, having used the products herself before starting to sell them.

"I'm one of those ADHD business people," she said. "I've got a few different businesses like this, and if I'm not repping one, I'm repping another."