"When unique voices are united in a common cause, they make history."
For the products made by women-owned businesses that we sell at Batch, these unique voices come through their products and the way they make our customers feel. Whether it's sweets that remind us of childhood, savory flavors that take us to new places, or candles that make us feel like we're home, the credit goes to these makers and their inspiring stories. These women-owned businesses make loving small business easy.
Thistle Farms, Becca Stevens
[photo by Collin Nixon]
At Thistle Farms, they don't ask "what did you do?", they ask "what happened to you?"
For more than 25 years, Thistle Farms has been offering healing and recovery on the simple guiding principle that love can heal all wounds. Becca Stevens planted its roots when she opened her first sanctuary house for women survivors on Vanderbilt's campus in 1997. Finding that employment barriers and financial independence were the greatest obstacles to recovery, she began selling handmade candles in a church basement with a community network of women survivors and volunteers. Today, they are a globally recognized brand, a residential housing program, and a network for survivors of prostitution, trafficking, and addiction.
Besides making incredible self-care products (which once made for a slam dunk Christmas gift for my friend, John), Thistle Farms hosts events at their Cafe next to their production facility on Charlotte Avenue in Nashville. Make a reservation for "The Way of Tea", an afternoon tea party from 1-3pm every Monday through Saturday. This service has been on my Nashville bucket-list since I started working at Batch. It also has a spot in my "date ideas" mental folder.
Kernels Popcorn, Jennifer Knight, Amber Greer and Erica Greer
Kernels Popcorn—family-business, check; women-owned, check; Black-owned, check; born and raised in Nashville, check. This is exactly the kind of company that fuels our inspirational fire and we love to support. After scattering across the country pursuing their various careers, the Greer Sisters came back together to create an homage to the popcorn tins they loved as children. The original popcorn company that supplied these cherished memories had closed, so the Greer Sisters got to work on their own recipe, and developed Kernels Popcorn right out of East Nashville. Their "Music City Mix" is equal parts sweet and salty, and 100% in my backpack if one ever expires. They've gone from being one of several popcorn companies we have at Batch, to being one of the featured products in our curated gifts.
Chapel Hill Toffee, Karen Graves
Chapel Hill Toffee has the kind of story that would seem saccharine if it wasn't so sweet. Here's the recipe: a mother's hobby making delicious homemade treats plus a son's passion for sharing these treats with people equals the two teaming up to bring the magic of one North Carolinian kitchen to the world. This family businesses is making toffee that is worth buying by the armful. RJ (Chapel Hill native and Batch WH superstar) began talking it up just before the holidays, and let me just say, believe the hype.
EV Originals, Chef Eleni Vavouris
Reading the bio for Chef Eleni Vavouris, it was clear that this chef is a force to be reckoned with. After studying Human Environmental Sciences and working on a Psychology Masters degree, Chef Eleni swerved to pursue the culinary arts, achieving a degree from Sullivan University in Louisville, and earning a coveted culinary apprenticeship at Nashville's renowned Opryland Resort. These experiences led her to start her own catering company, STF Events and Catering (formerly Savor the Flavor Catering), which delivers bold, inventive, and fresh flavors. As customers began asking how to recreate these taste sensations, Chef Eleni realized there was a market for home-ready versions of her talents, and the EV Original salsa was born. Everything about this company is bold, fresh, and inventive--and most importantly, unapologetically original.
Bang Candy Company, Sarah Souther
Upon trying one of Bang Candy Company's Rose Cardamom Marshmallows, one of founder Sarah Souther's friends described it as like "swallowing God in velvet pants." This quote captures the spirit of Bang Candy perfectly.
Bang Candy Company was founded in 2012 in Marathon Village, a repurposed old motor factory-turned market that boasts breweries, gift shops, and my favorite, Lightning 100, Nashville's best independent radio station. Though Sarah is originally from Ireland, she's found a home here in Nashville, and has been putting a dazzling spin on Nashville's candy scene for over a decade. Gourmet marshmallows, spiced syrups, and CBD infused chocolates are just a few of her wickedly sweet creations. She concocts unique confections for the "adventurous palate"—like someone crossed Willy Wonka with Kissin' Kate Barlow.
Gold + Ivy, Alexis Smith
[Photo credit: Alexis's good, trusty tripod]
Alexis Smith is a self-proclaimed candle addict, hailing from South Jersey. After graduating college with a graphic design degree, Alexis combined her eye for high quality design with her love for coziness, and created gold + ivy candles. Most mainstream candles emit a chemical called paraffin when burned, and once Alexis learned this was a known carcinogen, she set out to create an all-natural candle that she would feel safe burning in her own home. The design, the packaging, the fragrances—it's all done from Alexis's home studio. I think subconsciously, customers can get a sense of her quality of care from the quality of the product. At only 24-years-old, she also (probably) wins the award for Batch's youngest purveyor.
Wandering Wine Glass Wine Jelly, Porsha Roy
As a travel enthusiast, Porsha Roy navigated more than her fair share of airports before finally landing in Tennessee. The highlight, and most influential of her trips, was to France, where she was inspired by the food and wine of Lyon and the Beaujolais region. The result, Wandering Wine Jelly, a homemade mixture of grape wine, maple syrup, and natural sugar that is designed to delight adventurous foodies. As extravagant as the product itself may sound, it's quite versatile; Porsha loves wine jelly on good old-fashioned grilled cheese, barbecue, french toast, sweet potatoes, salmon and pound cake.
Molly and Me, Kay Holseberg
And here's the answer to the Batch trivia that highlighted our warehouse meeting this morning: Molly, from the famous Molly & Me Pecans, is not a human at all, but rather one of our sweet four-legged friends. And while Molly is in dog heaven, she "helped" Kay Holseberg craft mouth-watering small-batch pecan recipes from their South Carolinian farm, and their work lives on to this day. Kay still loves roasting Bourbon, Praline, and Sneaky Hot pecans; she considers the cookhouse on her family's farm her "happy place". Her pecans continue to evoke the idyllic South—they are elegant, flavorful, and rich with warmth. I've eaten entire packs of them on lunch breaks and found myself happily languid for the afternoon.
We have a growing collection of outstanding women-owned products to shop here at Batch. We are so thankful and inspired to have them as makers, neighbors, and honestly, role models.