Featuring products made and sold in Coastal Virginia
By Beth Hester
Mantra Inspired Furniture
When Susan Pilato and business partner Donna Counts created Mantra Inspired Furniture in 2018, they were agents of change, as the design and manufacture of furniture for business and commercial environments are realms where few of the companies are women-owned and operated. Designed in-house at their Norfolk headquarters and made-to-order from sustainably sourced solid hardwood by multi-generational Mennonite artisans, Mantra Inspired Furniture is decidedly investment grade, and it’s generating a buzz. Exceptional in fit and finish, the pieces are a welcome rejoinder to the ubiquitous MDF and veneer “fast furniture” products that don’t age well, and which ultimately find their way to a landfill near you. Non-toxic varnishes and soy-based adhesives are used to keep things environmentally friendly both indoors and out. Interiors that integrate natural elements elevate mood, and solid wood furniture gains in value and personality year after year. Whether it’s a desk, table, credenza or shelf, each Mantra Inspired piece is timeless and distinctive. It’s furniture by designers, for designers.
Olde Towne Flower Company
Corrie Hood is a floriculturist and founder of Olde Towne Flower Company, a boutique field-to-vase business focused on growing and selling seasonally appropriate cut flowers for bouquets and bouquet subscriptions, arrangements and specialty designs for select weddings and special events. Earlier, during a period of self-reflection, Hood began her gardening journey by planting a manageably sized vegetable garden. She found outdoor work and the nurturing of seedlings immensely satisfying. That experience led Hood to build an environmentally friendly, sustainable floral business through the creation of small-space, high-intensity gardens augmented by family-tended beehives, all nestled within Portsmouth’s historic Olde Towne district. Besides being the platform for her business, Hood’s gardens encourage the forging of connections among community members, and they support personal well-being through the cultivation of beauty. You can view Corrie Hood’s gardens during the annual Olde Towne Garden Tour, and visit her stand at the Olde Towne Farmer’s Market.