A Fine Mess

The hobo-chic jewelry line The Lovely Wrecks helps women accessorize easily.

Life is a little hectic for Brandi McElhatten and Holly Herman. The two young moms balance parenting toddlers, juggling jobs and building a craft brand of whimsical accessories.

They've learned that motherhood is sometimes messy. But the two friends still think mothers have to walk into the world with a little sass in their step and something stylish to wear. So they created The Lovely Wrecks, a line of hobo-chic accessories made from vintage finds (buttons), upcycled materials (gift cards punched into guitar pick shapes for charms) and oddities (owl pellets).

"The Lovely Wrecks is about the woman who has mastered the art of getting ready in 20 minutes while wrangling a toddler," says McElhatten.

The inspiration for the company's name came when Herman told a friend: "I usually feel like a mess." The response: "At least you're a cute mess; you make
it work."

"We are all lovely and wrecks. We all have good and bad, pretty and ugly, beauty and collapse," Herman says.

The two play off that yin and yang in their work by combining uncommon materials. Take McElhatten's owl pellet charms. (Those are regurgitated bones that owls can't digest after eating their prey.) The pellets are sweetly packaged in glass vials and strung onto a chain with a silver pendant.

"I have received crazy reception to these necklaces so far," McElhatten says. Mostly, buyers love owls and are just as intrigued with the pellets as she is. Last Halloween, she introduced the oddity to The Lovely Wrecks' trove of vintage and upcycled materials, from scraps of wallpaper to antique keys.

The duo's latest focus has been on using McElhatten's musician-husband's guitar pick punch to create charms made from recycled gift cards. "I want people to feel like they are wearing something special that not everyone else has,"she says.

McElhatten is looking forward to casting her own pieces soon. She's currently working on a communications major with a studio art minor at Baldwin-Wallace College. Herman, who is in social services at Beech Brook, is playing with felt, buttons and ribbon.

"We both like vintage things, and we like color," McElhatten says. "We get inspiration from our children. I think when you have kids, a lot of times, it makes you see things with different eyes."

Odd Couples

Vintage wallpaper pendant $20

Recycled guitar pick earrings $8

Vintage spool necklace $15

Owl pellet necklace $25

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