What kind of business owner pens a handwritten note to a customer? Kate Reisterer of katylees Etsy shop in Charlotte, NC. 

Opened in February of 2013, Kate works out of her home with a 3-year old photography assistant. This I’ve gathered from our “convos” online about my order, a custom stamped leather cuff. Because not all leather cuffs are the same, mind you. 

You see, I’m kind of a biker chick. I’m also kind of picky. I’d bought a leather cuff with snaps at a local boutique, but it kept popping off at inopportune moments. If something pops off at 60-ish miles per hour on a motorcycle… well, it’s gone. 

I decided to find another cuff without snaps for fasteners. Also, I’ve been have a spiritual revelation of sorts since Christmas and, well, I’ve realized four important phrases that I’ve come to know as pillars or touch points or grounding rods. Pick your metaphor; they’ve become important to me. So, personalization in the form of stamping rather than engraving (it’s deeper) was a must. 

Plus, (and this is surprising to me as of late) I wanted a handcrafted piece by a real person, not a machine. I wanted to know that someone, a real live person, took the time to make it by hand, with love and affection and a genuine love of the craft. 

And I didn’t want to pay out the nose. Know what I’m sayin’?
People, I only found one shop that fit all of my requirements. Here’s Kate’s story from her shop on Etsy. 

I used to play “store” with my sister when we were younger. We would turn each other’s bedrooms into little boutiques, complete with check-out counter, register and bags. We would put price tags on pretty much everything on our shelves and closets and then shop! It never got old for me! When I grew up, haha, I became a teacher and for 10 years I educated children with a blissful ignorance. It took me all that time to figure out that the creative part of teaching was what I really enjoyed – MAKING the stuff that the children would use during a lesson; re-arranging my classroom and DECORATING it… After my two boys were born, I decided it would be the perfect time to emerge as a maker. I love making jewelry the most, especially when I custom design a piece for someone special. Besides my children and my husband, nothing else puts such a big smile on my face as sitting down to fashion a one-of-a-kind creation. Every piece of jewelry I make is made with love, in every respect, and therefore completely unique.

I totally believe her. I’m so completely done in by her responsiveness and willingness to create exactly what I’m looking for that I ask if she’d mind if I blogged about my order. I asked if she wanted to take some pictures of it being made for me to include in the story. To my surprise, she agreed.

I figure if the most popular blog post ever was about Dan the Glass Blower, well this should be good publicity for Kate. Plus, I love sharing the stories of entrepreneurs. 

After some back and forth with my order, because of the picky thing mentioned earlier, we settled on a design that would accommodate my four “pillars.” These are based on a Bible verse that grounds me daily, Philippians 4:12-16, on which this blog is founded. You can read about it here

The cuff is brown leather with two buckles and stainless steel stamped plates and rivets. Notice I said buckles, not straps, my bike-friendly folks. 

 So, I get this cuff amazingly fast. Lightening fast. Speedy Gonzales fast. Sheldon Cooper as The Flash fast. In the pretty bag Kate includes care instructions, her card and the handwritten note above. I’m so completely done in by the note that I can’t wait to blog about Kate and her business. I received the pictures from Kate today and, guys, they are beautiful.  

Says Kate, “hahaha my 3-year old took the ones of me. My husband wasn’t due home until much later and I wanted to compete your order! It was hilarious.”

I love that you can see the scratches in her workbench, her finger tips that are rough from work and the shavings from the steel wool. I love the fact that you can see her working in a t-shirt with hair pulled back. Good job 3-year old photo genius!
So, I get these pictures from Kate and I’m moved to take a few snaps of myself wearing the cuff, manipulating my mouse as I read her email and view the pictures. 

I’m moved to tears at the true personalization of this memento. I see Kate crafting this in her shop and I feel her passion for her work. I don’t know this woman and she certainly didn’t pay me to write this story. But there’s just something about the connection between a craftswoman and this Craft woman that melts my heart.