For every issue of Utah Valley Magazine, we recognize five Utah Valley grown products. Grab your wallet — these creative businesses are something you’re going to want.
Erin Balogh’s pedestal sink created an awkward balancing act while she tried to keep her bebopping 2 year old away from the curling iron. To solve her problem, she created a “frankenstein version” of what is now Holster Brands. “If you can put silicone in an oven, why can’t you put something hot in silicone?” Erin wondered. She sewed a silicone oven mitt to two hot pads, offset it with some weight and stuck it to her sink. Voila, a pocket for a curling iron! After years of product development, a few product shows in Chicago and a patent, she had an “MBA through experience.” Erin and her husband now run Holster Brands out of Lehi and sell silicone holsters to hold curling irons, flat irons, dish brushes, soups, sponges, hot glue guns and anything that needs its own little cubby.
Walk this way
Eight years ago, Preston Willy‘s son was learning to walk. On a trip to China, Preston brought a pair of Japanese shoes for his son. Everyone asked where they could find a pair, but Preston discovered no one in the U.S. sold a similar shoe. Preston’s technology background helped him design a shoe specifically for a child’s developing foot. At first, this Orem dad made the shoes for his own children, but he soon started selling his creations. Now ikiki shoes have cute animal faces, a patent-pending sole squeaker that helps children learn to walk and the perfect combo of comfort and support.
Writing on the wallet
Brian Nielsen’s wife, Pamela, realized he used a hair elastic as a wallet (not wife-approved). Brian started designing a slim wallet with an outdoorsy feel, and Roam was born. Pamela creates most of the designs on the wallets, but they also feature local artist Andy Earl. Roam also sells silicone rings designed for people with an active lifestyle. They can function as a simple fashion choice or an alternative to a metal wedding band. Brian and Pamela run Roam from their home in Alpine. Roam wallets are available on their website and at Called to Surf, at Shops at Riverwoods in Provo.
As good as gold
Lehi’s Bonnie Blackburn Larsen and her husband, Greg, had a baby and a mortgage. Translation: Not an ideal time to start a business. But Greg became miserable as a high school teacher so the family clasped onto a new venture — Hey June, a jewelry shop named after their daughter. “You can wear this jewelry while chasing down a toddler or nursing your baby,” Bonnie says. The birthstones are meant to celebrate important months and not just birthdays. Bonnie designs and markets the jewelry, while Greg makes and distributes the bling.
Provo’s FlyLeaf Bookbinding creates anything with pages and a cover: books, wedding albums, guestbooks and traveler’s journals (a new favorite). Founders Amy Christensen and Brianna Moffett know a thing or two about being bound together: They’re a mother-daughter team! Amy went back to school at BYU when her daughter Brianna attended as well. They registered for the same bookbinding class without telling the other. When the semester ended, their bookbinding had just begun. They use unique materials: European leather, marbled paper, recycled books, old board game covers, and vinyl. Amy took a special trip to Florence, Italy, to collect authentic leather and learn the art of marbled paper from a master. Amy brings the business brains and Brianna brings the art expertise. They sell their books both online and at Here in Provo. This dynamic duo also teaches bookbinding classes at Here and private locations.