By Erica Palmer
The talent and creativity of Utah County residents is limitless. Here are five locally founded and created businesses that brighten Utah Valley.
Every hiker faces the dilemma of being prepared vs. packing light, and outdoor enthusiasts Tyler Nielsen, Blake McDowell and Brady Miller took a smart step in the light direction. They created Wasatch Outdoors’ Survival Laces, which are shoelaces with a built-in survival kit. Manufactured in American Fork, the laces are made of military grade 550 paracord and include fishing line, tinder, and a one-inch ferro rod for flint, giving adventurers the ability to start fires, build shelters, repair gear, catch game, bandage wounds and more — all at the tug of the shoelace.
Provo native Kortni Niccoli designed and created her first swimsuit after taking a sewing class in high school. Friends and family began making requests, and soon she had strangers showing up at her door asking for custom suits. She has since opened a mix-n-match-style online boutique where men, women and young swimmers can choose from dozens of designs and fabric combinations.
After being exposed as an LDS missionary to the unique style of Wylde Green, England, Benjamin Steele decided to bring the classiness back to the states. Though he had no sewing experience, Benjamin taught himself to sew the perfect necktie in his BYU dorm room and created Sir Wylde ties, a brand he says was inspired by England but embodies the American dream. “We will never release a design unless we feel it is unforgettable,” Benjamin says. All of Sir Wylde’s ties are handmade in America with high-quality fabric, mostly in New York City, and the company donates a portion of proceeds to help U.S. veterans.
Cousins Tava Macdonald and Korinn Boarden are “less-is-more” girls, and they couldn’t find simple, high-quality necklaces that were also “less” when it came to price. So the two Lehi moms grabbed a hammer, a stamp and a piece of metal. After long hours and ruined pieces, the two perfected their hand-stamping method and Truly Kustom Jewelry was born. Their gold-filled and sterling silver bars and plates can be stamped with dates, names, letters or symbols, creating dainty and personal pieces of jewelry that are minimalist in both price and design.
Neighbors Camille Lewis and Becky Young both graduated from BYU and began careers in finance, but then they put their business skills to use with a more creative, girly twist. The two Lehi moms founded Modern Piggy, an online shop of felt, fabric and leather clip-ins and headbands. Camille says as their few-month-old business continues to grow, they are passionate about maintaining high-quality products and free shipping on every order.