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Ready for wedding season: Pop-up shop highlights work of local entrepreneur

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Jun 4, 2021

The Crafty Designs owner Hailey Muhammad stands by a table showcasing some of her personalized wedding reception wares in Evolve on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — For many brides, 2020 was a horrible year. Cancelling, rescheduling or severely altering wedding plans became a common occurrence in the average 2020 wedding experience.

But for some brides, get married during a challenging year for weddings unexpectedly led them down a road toward better things.

For Shepherd University business graduate Hailey Muhammad, that was exactly the case. Hailey married her husband, Shepherd University assistant basketball coach Naim Muhammad, in September. The work she did to personalize her wedding in the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic, creating her own sign boarding and wedding accessories, proved to be the inspiration she needed to start her own business, The Crafty Designs. Over the weekend, Hailey held a pop-up shop for her business, along with her husband’s photography business and a friend’s earring business, in Evolve.

“I started this business officially in December 2020,” Hailey said. “I fell in love with creating personalized products and I got a lot of compliments about the stuff I made for my wedding. I wanted to continue creating gifts for others!”

Self-described as a detail-oriented person, Hailey said she began her business selling personalized tumblers and cheese platters as Christmas gifts via her website, www.thecraftydesigns.com. Once the Christmas rush was over, she decided to begin focusing her personalization efforts on developing a range of wedding items, ranging from personalized bridal clothing to signage of all sorts.

A series of personalized wood signs stand on display in Evolve on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business, and I found I enjoyed creating products like this,” Hailey said, mentioning she loves working hard to create clients’ dream items. “I really do love what I do. I’ll give you 20 mockups to make sure we get your vision in. It’s truly important to me that my products make my brides happy!”

Hailey’s business model includes both selling customized pieces and renting out pre-made, slightly less personalized items for weddings. She also continues to offer some customizable non-wedding clothing, signs and other items on her website. Customers in northern Virginia and Jefferson County who would like to avoid the cost of shipping are encouraged to ask Hailey to drop their orders off at an agreed-upon time and location.

Although she currently works full-time as a talent acquisition manager for Sunrise Senior Living, Hailey said she hopes that, with hard work and connecting with other wedding retailers and locations, her business will eventually grow into a full-time job.

“I never thought I was creative, but I fell in love with trying and being willing to fail if it wasn’t pretty. You’re able to practice creativity — you don’t have to be born with it!” Hailey said. “This is what I love to do! I love to create. I just put my heart into it.”

Personalized cheese trays and earrings by Tennessee designer Lowgen Co. were on display in Evolve on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston

A personalized jean jacket hangs in a wardrobe at the pop-up shop in Evolve on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

A personalized wedding card box and gift box display features the work of The Crafty Designs in Evolve on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston