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A crafty choice

A crafty choice

By Sherri Coner

It’s not exactly a boutique. But it also isn’t exactly a studio.

“I call it a custom gift shop,” Sarah Nillson said of Bella Rose Design, which she and husband, Tommy launched a year ago this month.

“It’s also a labor of love,” Sarah said of the Center Grove business.

In an effort to find more flexibility as the mom of three busy children, Sarah chose three years ago to leave her career as a registered nurse.

In the family basement, she started a business called Women Supporting Women, which entailed selling themed gift boxes filled with handmade items by female business owners around the country.

“It did really well,” Sarah said.

Actually, the business did so well that it outgrew the basement.

That’s when Sarah and her husband decided to move her customized concept to a storefront, where there was also space to expand on the idea.

Laser engraving is one example of customer services in the shop.

Using customer choices of various materials, such as wood, glass, cork, leather or slate, Sarah engraves just about any custom design and printed messages for that one-of-a-kind surprise. Engraving is especially popular to celebrate milestone birthdays, weddings, promotions and retirement parties.

Custom printing on fabric is another service.

“Most of the time, a lot of the printing is for T-shirts,” Sarah said. “We do everything from a one-time special birthday shirt to 500 T-shirts for groups.”

Owners Tommy and Sarah Nillson of Center Grove, with two of their children, celebrate the one-year anniversary of Bella Rose Design in Center Grove. (Submitted photo)

Prior to officially opening the business doors, Sarah spent a lot of time organizing her exciting new venture.

She worked long hours to realize her own vision.

But at the same time, Sarah noticed that many other female business owners were struggling.

“I was seeing so many of my small-business friends having to close from Covid,” Sarah said.

With her basement beginnings of women supporting women, Sarah opened her doors to invite them in with their own wares to sell.

“The shop is now open to other local artists,” Sarah said. “We call it your local Etsy.”

Along with finding one-of-a-kind gifts or requesting engraving or fabric printing, Sarah is a big believer in sharing the magic of creativity.

“We have weekend classes, like candle pouring, goat milk soap, stained glass, calligraphy,” she said. “If someone wants to learn how to do something that none of us know how to do, I will go on the hunt and find someone.”

Along with enjoying her own creative freedom, Sarah said she has discovered another joy.

“I really love hosting people,” she said. “I love having people come in the shop, learn a new craft, relax and have a good time.”

For information on store hours and to view June class calendar information go to bellarosedesign.com or call (317) 358–0191.

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