Local makers named as finalists for Martha Stewart American Made awards


At least three small businesses in Northwest Arkansas were selected as national finalists in Martha Stewart’s American Made awards program which spotlight entrepreneurs and artisans in the fields of crafts, design, food, and style.

Each year Stewart and the editors at Martha Stewart Living recognize American makers that demonstrate a dedication to creativity, workmanship, visual appeal, and their use of local components.

Fayetteville seamstress Darcy Ames Harris, who owns Darwin and Delilah, was named as a finalist in the style category for her vintage-inspired clothing and stuffed toys for children.

Two Rogers-based companies were also selected, including Ozark Beer Co. and Valere Rene Handbags and Totes.

Andy Coates, owner and head brewer at Ozark Beer Co., said a new generation of entrepreneurs and consumers who support quality products are helping contribute to a growing maker movement across the country.

“Main street shifted to giant retailers and distribution,” said Coates. “This national initiative highlights the shift back to the makers. People are finding that spending their dollars more deliberately has an effect on people, feeling good about their purchases and having pride in their local businesses.”

Ozark co-owner and business manager Lacie Bray said a quality-over-quantity approach to production and distribution is what helped Ozark stand out amongst the crowd to become the only brewery on the list of nearly 500 national finalists.

“Selling most all our beer in just two counties and self-distributing our products allows us to ensure that each beer lives up to our high standards,” Bray said. “As we see it, we aren’t just releasing this beer to the masses, but to our community of neighbors, families and friends.”

As finalists, each company is eligible to compete in an audience choice award contest in which one winner will receive a trip to New York City, plus $10,000 cash and a chance to be featured on marthastewart.com.

Online voting runs through Oct. 19. For a list of finalists, and to vote, visit marthastewart.com/americanmade/nominees.