I recently purchased a coffee table from Charlotte-based artisan Janine Bithell of Rosewood Co and two original paintings by Leslie Poteet Busker, a Charlotte-based artist.

I initiated both of these transactions on Instagram separately, but I wound up picking up the two purchases on the same rainy Thursday morning.

There was something so refreshing about seeing these ladies in their workspaces.  Leslie’s studio is a room in her home with beautiful light. When I arrived, I was greeted by Leslie in her signature poppy-colored lipstick.  She had a fire lit and offered me coffee. While I wasn’t able to sit and visit (and boy did I want to), the experience warmed my heart.

To purchase artwork for my interior design projects, I’m usually running in and out of stores and boutiques in a way that is so much less personable. This ability to interact with the artist directly and support someone in my community, felt just like that – a warm cup of coffee on a cold rainy day.

Meeting Janine was equally as sweet. She told me her studio was her parents’ garage and welcomed me with a sincere smile and a warm hug.  We chatted for a moment and she helped me load my beautiful new herringbone table into the back of my LandRover. Our interaction was brief, but I love the story that now goes along with my table.  Meeting the woman behind the beautiful Instagram photos was an unexpected gift. Also, I learned, with every purchase made, the first 11 percent goes straight to a local charity to help those in need – another unexpected gift.

Meeting both of these sweet ladies affirmed my commitment to supporting local small business whenever I can.  And so I encourage you to consider: “Who are the local artisans in my neighborhood?” Perhaps a warm cup of coffee and an  unexpected gift lie in wait just around the corner.


Deena Knight is an Interior Designer based in Charlotte, NC who loves sharing design, style, and life on her Instagram. To view her portfolio, you can visit her website here.