Making blessings out of the lemons of life: Lauren Penley names her cottage business ‘Lemons and Blessings’
By Susan Shinn Turner for the Salisbury Post
College football season is cranking up. You’ve got your tailgate menu and you’ve got your cute outfit. You only need one more thing — earrings in your favorite team colors.
Lauren Penley has you covered. The owner of Lemons and Blessings, Lauren, 36, makes earrings limited only by her or her customers’ imaginations.
Earlier this summer, the newly single mom of three was praying for something else to do to bring in extra income. The Salisbury native teaches in the toddler group at Williamson Chapel Preschool.
She’d made some earrings for her middle daughter, Sutton, 6, because they couldn’t find exactly what Sutton wanted.
“So I made them,” Lauren says.
As she lay in bed that summer night, she heard a clear instruction: Do your earrings.
“The next day, I posted my tacos,” she says.
That would be an adorable pair of taco earrings with tassels attached.
After that, she says, “It just all of a sudden took off.”
The earrings are available at Sweetgrass in Mooresville, and Lauren hopes to have them available soon in Downtown Salisbury.
The more fun the style, she says, the better. “I kinda like to do the quirkier ones because they’re fun.”
Those include margarita classes, flamingos, and the aforementioned tacos. Lauren can make pom-pom earrings in any color combination, style, and length you choose to wear on game day. Panthers colors, she says, are especially popular.
Lauren uses a combination of polymer clay and embroidery yarn to fashion her earrings.
“I’ve always tinkered with crafting,” says Lauren, also mom to Cameron, 9, and Brynn, 4.
She usually works on her kitchen island while the girls play around her. While Lauren wraps and snips yarn, the girls snack on popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, bananas, strawberries, and grapes. When she is on the go, she loads her supplies into the car so she can make earrings during soccer practice or while waiting in the car circle.
The first pairs of earrings she made were out of yellow and green clay to make lemon earrings to match outfits the girls had. Since she wanted to make blessings out of the lemons life had dealt her, why not name her business Lemons and Blessings, she reasoned.
Before long, the girls’ friends — and then their moms — started asking for earrings.
Crafting runs in the family.
“I paint,” Cameron volunteers.
All three girls love to play with slime. Their reward for being good during a reporter’s visit is a slime kit for each.
Lauren works during whatever brief snatches of time she can during the day, but also gets a lot done after the girls are in bed.
“It’s therapy for me,” she says. “I love working with my hands. Art is my thing.”
While Cameron says her mom makes “probably like a thousand” pairs of earrings a week, her mom says that it closer to 10 pairs a week. Her prices range from $8 a pair for studs to $20 a pair for earrings with tassels.
She’s been adjusting to keeping up with demand as her girls have started school. Cameron is a fourth-grader at Langtree Charter Academy while Sutton is a first-grader there. Brynn is with her mom at the preschool in the 4-K class.
Lauren will soon be taking orders for Christmas.
“This year has been a learning year but a good year,” she says. “I’ve grown a lot.”
You can find Lauren’s earrings on her personal Facebook page, and on Instagram at Lemons and Blessings.