Run through a quick mental list of all the “stuff” you own …

Now, which of the items you cataloged do you cherish?

You might name the quilt your grandmother stitched by hand,


The Old Quilt by Walter Langley via Wikimedia Commons

your lucky boot laces,

a seashell charm given to you by your toddler.

From chipped plates to wedding dresses, the one thing that most of our cherished possessions have in common is the fact that there are stories behind them.

In other words, it’s not so much the item that matters, but the history it holds.

This realization fueled the founding of Madesmith, a unique branding agency and distributor of gorgeous goods—jewelry, clothing, shoes, skin-care products, and home goods—handcrafted by artisans in the U.S. whose stories are an integral part of the entrepreneurial process.

Madesmith founders Sheila Iverson and Sumeera Rasul believe that stories are vital to crafting connections between consumers and the real people who make the things we buy, transforming shopping into a more mindful experience than we commonly get at the local discount store where cheap merchandise is often made thousands of miles away.

“When you shop at Madesmith, you’re not just buying a mug; you’re making a connection with the 28-year-old ceramic maker Clair Catillaz,” explains Patrick James of CoExist. “You’re not just buying a kitchen knife; you’re understanding the link between the hobby of a 29-year-old actress and the life’s work of her blacksmith father.”


Photo courtesy of

Every week, Madesmith shares stories of makers and designers who produce handmade objects sustainably. “We know that you appreciate old-fashioned craftsmanship just like we do, and through these stories we aim to bring you closer to the makers, their locally made products, and the process,” says Sheila Iverson. “Get to know who makes the thing you use, and how it’s made.”


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Mary Jane, this story is so perfect for all that we talked about at lunch in July! Don’t you think? It is about branding and reaching out with stories. Ralph Lauren, in his PBS commercials, talks about how he wants to touch people’s lives and dreams with his ideas and line each season. About taking the elements of each season and finding ways to inspire people and lift them up in something beautifully and carefully designed. Hand crafted works show depth and beauty because they reflect a real person who is speaking to us through whatever it is that they make. We first connect to the simple beauty we see, but I believe we buy when their story touches us in some way. We all want to feel connected and we all have hopes and dreams. Sometimes a simple purchase keeps those dreams alive when life and work threaten to bring us down. Madesmith helps by doing the difficult marketing piece which is what either makes or breaks these artists to be financially successful. Thanks for sharing this important story!

  2. Thank you for introducing me to Madesmith. It’s a pleasure to find business that supports the efforts of American (U.S.A.) artisans and producers. The stories are precious and important to us, and the work is valuable to the vitality of our nation and consequently, the world.
    My best wishes for their success.

  3. Joan Kosal says:

    Hi—I am new here and it will be nice to meet everyone with new ideas. Best Wishes and God Bless. Joan

  4. Kay (Old Cowgirl) Montoya says:

    I love buying from other crafter’s and artisans who put themselves in every creation they make. I would much rather buy from someone here in the U.S. or Canada. I feel to much of our beautiful workmanship is being done over seas by people who are paid little and who have to make things so fast that the craftsmanship is just not there. Thank you for introducing me to Madesmith.

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