Why Small Businesses Matter
Shop small, do big things for your community
Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!
You're IT Upcycled Suzi!
Four questions with Suzi Ronan, founder of Upcycled Suzi.
Why did you start your business?
I've always been an artist and crafter so when I retired from being a preschool teacher in 2018 I had plenty of time to create. At first, I made upcycled glass garden art for gifts but my family and friends told me that my creations are so unique and beautiful that I should sell them. I enjoy the hunt for vintage and thrift glass as I visit antique stores, thrift stores, and estate sales.
I rescue it, recycle it, reimagine it, and turn the unwanted glass into beautiful re-creations.
What is your best-selling product/service?
Customers seem to love everything I create but go nuts for my Solar Lantern Vintage Glass Birdfeeders. Everything is one-of-a-kind. I make bird baths, bird feeders, garden flowers, solar lanterns, and whimsical garden art. My favorite things to create are custom memorial projects using "grandma's old glass" that are sitting unused.
I enjoy designing new pieces with my customers before I finalize them. I give old glass a New Life.
How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?
I use about 10 local businesses to support my business. Most of my glass materials are second-hand from several Goodwills, Savers, and small thrift stores that give back to the community, ie: Thrift Mart of New Milford which gives proceeds to the VNA. Concrete works of Danbury cuts and supplies me with all the rebar I need for my garden plate flower stems.
Danbury Lowe's and Home Depot are always a go-to as is Michael's in Brookfield. I'm a vendor at New Milford's Elephant's Trunk and Stormville Airport Antique and Flea Market, too.
Have you reimagined your small business?
Absolutely! At first, I was selling at flea markets but found that the marketplace is a great place to reach local customers online. I began to offer to ship and have sent upcycled creations all over the United States. I have added smaller glass decorative pieces for customers that come from the city to the flea market that don't have large yards but do have small container gardens that some of my pieces find new homes in.
By the end of this year, Upcycled Suzi will probably be at over 1000 pieces sold in four years. During the winter when the flea markets have all shut down I will be working on selling on Etsy.
Visit Upcycled Suzi online on their Facebook page here!
HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!