April 1, 2014

Grady County family brings generations of experience to market

The Express-Star


A Pocasset woman, with her daughter and her granddaughter, come from a longstanding tradition of hard work and creativity.

Karen Riley and her daughter, Brandy Sullens of Chickasha, each had a booth at Zoe's Market this weekend.

Riley sold bedazzled bottles and lamps, including two made with soda bottles and one she'd re-upholstered with a brightly-colored paisley scarf, while her daughter sold jewelry with Steampunk-style metal fixtures.

Sullens' young daughter even greeted customers at her mother's booth and had beaded bracelets for sale.

Riley said she and Sullens taught themselves and each other how to craft.

"I started out making beaded jewelry, then I started making [jewelry] out of other things," Sullens said. "I pick up random things from the parking lot [to make into jewelry]"

Riley said Sullens goes shooting sometimes and makes the bullet casings into earrings or necklaces.

Riley said she started making jewelry one year ago and her daughter began making jewelry five years ago. 

"I paint [bottles] with Elmer's Glue and food coloring, buy watches and make jewelry," she said. "I used to sell [jewelry] at my daughter's shop."

Riley said Sullens opened a shop in Chickasha called Open Door Boutique in May 2012 and kept it in business for more than a year.

Riley said Sullens gave the shop up recently because of difficulty paying the rent for the building.

"I didn't have much time to create when I had the shop," Sullens said. "[Now, she'll be crafting and] the sun will come up and I'll be like, 'shoot, I'm in trouble again!"

Sullens said she was an accountant before she owned the shop and currently repairs and repurposes furniture.

"I was an accountant…I didn't think [of myself as] very crafty."

Riley said she and Sullens get their work ethic and creativity from their grandmother.

"My grandmother was very crafty, she could make something out of nothing," she said. "She's made millions of quilts for her children and grandchildren."

Riley said her grandmother made sock monkeys for 50 years, as well as Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, and sold them from her home.

She said she remembers her grandmother making an organic potato patch and she appreciates knowing where her food came from.

"She was a farm girl," she said. "I grew up on a farm and I wouldn't trade it for anything. She taught me how to [manage] a garden…she was pretty much my idol."

Sullens and Riley take orders from their Facebook account,