Michigan Artist Spotlight: Rose Kren of .sprouts. | .roots.

Wading In Big Shoes-Michigan Artist Spotlight: Rose Kren of .sprouts. | .roots.
A couple of months ago, I put together a list of some favorite Michigan-made and Michigan-themed gift ideas (see it here!). Among several awesome products and local brands, one particular Grand Haven-based Etsy shop caught my attention. Carrying a beautiful line of Michigan-made jewelry, men's accessories, and stationery, sprouts. | .roots. captures the spirit of lake life with pieces that are not only great for gift-giving, but also for special keepsakes you'll want to treat yourself to. Intrigued by this Michigan shop, I chatted with artist and shop owner, Rose Kren, about her artistic background, creative process, business story, and favorite things to do around Michigan.

Wading In Big Shoes-Michigan Artist Spotlight: Rose Kren of .sprouts. | .roots.

About Rose: In Her Own Words
"Well, I'm a woman newly 30, and kind of loving it . . . My husband and I were head over heels for each other when we were 18 and 22 and tied the knot, happy ever since. We have two dogs that are really our kids, we're those people. We live in Grand Haven, Michigan in a beach town. A real tourist trap in the summer, but we love it."

Wading In Big Shoes-Michigan Artist Spotlight: Rose Kren of .sprouts. | .roots.

The Beginning Of ".sprouts. | .roots."
“The name '.sprouts.' came to me when I first started the company in 2009 . . . I wanted something fresh, something with a new beginning sound."

"Once we started incorporating mens' accessories . . . my husband suggested '.roots.' I really liked the manly sound of it . . . the earthy quality it contained, and so it was.


Falling In Love With Bead Making And Metalsmithing
"One day, walking downtown with my husband, I walked into a bead store. The walls were filled with colors of beads from stones to glass. It was breath taking as a color savant! They offered to help me create something and I talked with the [employees] for a long while. . . I was hired the day after my interview with no knowledge of beading, but a sincere background in art and design. They taught me the basics of what I know and have built off of now. I learned lamp working there (glass bead making) and began instructing a class on it after a couple of years. The same is true of metalsmithing."

Wading In Big Shoes-Michigan Artist Spotlight: Rose Kren of .sprouts. | .roots.

Pursuing Dreams
“My husband [Thom] and I run this little shop all on our own. It was a big deal to quit my day job, but .sprouts. was taking over my life and I was working 24/7. I had to either take a leap of faith and become self employed or quit .sprouts. all together . . . So, I quit the bead store in May of 2013.

Working Alongside Her Husband
“I began instructing him, much like I had my students at the bead shop. He was one of the quickest learners I've ever had, and very proficient. I couldn't have been more lucky! After that winter he dabbled the next year in part time work and working with me. Once fall of 2014 came around, we were full time .sprouts. | .roots. employees.”

The Creation Process
"Thom's the carver, I'm the solderer and the sander. We both work on final touches and shipping. It's kind of our own mini assembly line."

Wading In Big Shoes-Michigan Artist Spotlight: Rose Kren of .sprouts. | .roots.

On Success And Work/Life Balance
"The hardest part about being a successful shop on a market place as large as Etsy is you never know how busy you're going to be. There was a weekend where we were featured on the front page of Etsy and in their weekend email. I woke up to over 200 emails and sales by the minute were flooding in. Keep in mind, everything here is custom made and made to order for the most part. We made over $5,000 in two days and had no lives for one month. But we also bought a Subaru, cash. You just never know what you're going to get."

Favorite Products
"Our best selling products of last year [were from] our Michigan line of jewelry. This year our Textured Wave necklaces and rings and our dog tags are beating those stats! We're pretty excited about that because it's reaching out to totally different audiences."

My personal favorite items . . . are our Reticulated Mountain jewelry. I've never seen anything like it anywhere and I love the mountains. [I have family] in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. I've only the best memories of mountain biking and hiking out there."

Wading In Big Shoes-Michigan Artist Spotlight: Rose Kren of .sprouts. | .roots.

Where You Can Find Her Work (Outside Of Etsy)
"We have numerous wholesalers in the U.S.: Oregon, Martha's Vineyard, the UP, and 10 others scattered across Michigan. We do make sure none of our stores are within a 45 minute drive of one another so [they're] exclusive. One of our biggest Michigan wholesalers is Frederik Meijer Gardens."

Future Plans
"I'd like to see us grow in our brick and mortar shops and taking on a few other artists to sell their designs under our shop as well. To really collaborate with other artists and see their artwork flourish. I'd love to have a storefront at some point. I've done customer service my whole life, and really miss the literal face to face interaction with customers."

Enjoying Grand Haven
"OH my! Grand Haven is GORGEOUS! . . .  If there's a week to visit, it's Coast Guard Week. Over 300,000 extra people visit the town for fireworks, parades, and a carnival! We're normally a small town. The city is quaint, and kind. We have brick sidewalks downtown and small shops where the owners know you. The beach is our life, we're all beach people. Lake Michigan is just gorgeous year-round. We also have the largest musical fountain in the world right on the water. I think it's a must see."

Other Favorite Places + Her Michigan Bucket List
"I love Traverse City . . . it's just gorgeous. The water is a whole different shade of blue. I also love kayaking down the Manistee River. It moves slowly at some places, more rapid in others. My husband and I just renovated an old pop up and are planning on taking a tour of Michigan this summer with our kayaks. I want to see Pictured Rocks so badly!"

Wading In Big Shoes-Michigan Artist Spotlight: Rose Kren of .sprouts. | .roots.

Thanks so much to Rose for sharing a sneak peek behind the scenes of .sprouts. | .roots.! Which pieces do you love? Check out Rose and Thom's shop here and comment below with your favorites!

*All photos in this post courtesy of Rose Kren and .sprouts. | .roots.