HandHeld & Co.: Beautiful Art, Beautiful Heart

I moved to Dayton, Ohio eight years to be closer to my then-boyfriend/now-husband, and ended up falling in love with everything about the city. It was the city where I got married, where I became a mom to my step-son Alex, where we bought our first house, where my two babies August and Ana were born.

However, my family and I recently moved from Dayton to Columbus, Ohio. Even though Columbus is only about an hour and a half from Dayton, moving was H-A-R-D. Leaving all of those sweet memories behind, packing up our belongings, and saying goodbye to friends was, honestly, heartbreaking. As we pulled away from the house for the last time, I vowed I wouldn’t cry…but found myself blinking back tears anyway.

The first weekend we were in Columbus, I was lonely but determined to stay busy and not allow myself be miserable or sad. I saw on Instagram that an account I followed – HandHeld & Co. – was going to be part of a local street bazaar. I was thrilled that I might be able to make a connection in my new town, and messaged the owner that I would be stopping by.

The day of the bazaar, though in early September, was cold and rainy. All of my warm clothes were still packed away in boxes, as I thought I wouldn’t need them for a long time. However, I bundled up the best I could, threw on some rain boots, and headed to the bazaar.

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FREEZING, but thrilled to meet Isabella at the street bazaar!

It was there that I had my first interaction with Isabella Cartolano, owner and artist of HandHeld & Co. Not only did she have an awesome booth at the bazaar – which was evident in spite of the rain – but it was also immediately clear that this girl has a sweet spirit.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Isabella and learn more about her journey with HandHeld.

Isabella has been making cards since she was twelve; at that time, she made scrapbooking-style cards, which were carried at several local stores in Columbus.  “And I’ve been painting since…forever,” Isabella says with a smile during our time together.

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Image via HandHeld & Co.

However, “life” happened, and making each card individually became too cumbersome. After taking a break from card-making for several years and attending an 30-week class focused on entrepreneurial skills, the idea was sparked for Isabella to start her own business. As a result HandHeld & Co. was born at the beginning of 2017.

Isabella says she gains much of the inspiration for her cards from one of the local nurseries, where she works fulltime. “I love working there,” Isabella tells me. (And I have to admit…the nursery where she works is my absolute favorite in the area!)

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Image via HandHeld & Co.

Each card design is hand-painted by Isabella using a combination of watercolors and gouache (which is basically an opaque watercolor), then is reproduced and beautifully packaged before being sold. She also sells place cards, gift tags, clothing patches, and pins.

But Isabella isn’t just a talented artist; she also has an amazing heart. As she was kicking off HandHeld & Co, she decided that she wanted to donate a portion of each of her sales to a cause. Through some friends, she learned of an organization in Columbus called She Has a Name, which combats human trafficking right here in Columbus.

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Image via She Has a Name

According to their mission statement, She Has a Name is “committed to engaging the community, strengthening partner organizations, and equipping survivors through workforce development.” They do this in three ways: by educating communities about human trafficking, by serving as a resource and support for survivors, and by collaborating with practitioners in order to provide the best possible care to survivors. They strongly believe that “survivors of human trafficking have a name, a nobility, and a narrative.”

Ten percent of Isabella’s profits go to the organization to further the efforts of She Has a Name in our very own community!

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Image via HandHeld & Co.

Succulents and cacti are Isabella’s “thing,” which is evident when looking at her work. Many of her cards feature beautiful succulent and cacti subjects.  When asked what her favorite houseplant was, Isabella responds, “Probably silver Philodendron and most types of Euphorbia.”

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Image via HandHeld & Co.

You can find HandHeld & Co. products on their website and at various festivals, bazaars, and pop-ups. (Check out the HandHeld Instagram account for updated information on events!) You can also find her products in some boutiques and stores in both Columbus and Dayton.

As a seasonal side note, I also want to add that right now HandHeld & Co. is offering some gorgeous Christmas-themed cards, shown below. If you haven’t bought your seasonal cards yet, be sure to check out the website!

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Image via HandHeld & Co.

Not only is Isabella of HandHeld an amazing artist, but she also is a kind and wonderful person.  It is a pleasure to not only live in the same community as her, but to share her amazing work here on my blog!

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Check out HandHeld & Co. here:
Website: https://www.handheldandco.com
Instagram: @handheldandco

– the {house}plant momma

One Reply to “HandHeld & Co.: Beautiful Art, Beautiful Heart”

  1. I love your work Isabella! Thank you Allison for taking time to highlight an ethical artist. That Christmas cactus card is just gorgeous. I hope her business will continue to thrive.

    Xo,
    Joi

    Like

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