Michelle Bigelow, owner of Starlight Designs, stands by her store front at 111 West Third Street.
DELPHOS — Delphos welcomed Michelle Bigelow’s Starlight Designs, located at 111 West Third Street on Oct. 8. Those who recognize the address as Pohlman & Bigelow Tax Service can rest easy, Bigelow says the office is still open for business.
“The tax office is still open. We still have business clients but we aren’t as busy in the off-season,” she said. “Starlight Designs is something that’s been my hobby and my passion for a long time. I’ve got it all set up in the front of the office now but once tax season starts again I’ll break it down and make it an office again with maybe a few displays.”
Bigelow’s Starlight Designs encompasses a range of products including handcrafted jewelry, purses and candles.
“I also do winebottle art, taggies for infants and hairbands,” she said. “I also do memorial beads from roses but those are special order because the customer brings me the rose petals.”
The name Starlight Designs holds special meaning for Bigelow and commemorates how she got started with her products.
“I got started more than 10 years ago and it was just something I did for me,” she said. “I would always do it at night after I’d gotten my son to bed, when I had some time for myself. Whether it was a purse or a piece of jewelry I’d always joke to myself, ‘this is my starlight design for tonight.’ It started as a hobby and just kind of grew from there. People would see me wearing something I made and ask about it.”
Before she dedicated her storefront to Starlight Designs, Bigelow says she found other ways to get some exposure.
“I did a lot of booths at farmers markets, just as a way to help get people downtown and help support some local businesses,” she said. “My friends talked me into doing a craft show, too. I didn’t have enough stock made and ended up selling out of almost everything and that was really exciting for me.”
A few of the items Bigelow makes were added to her product list for practical reasons.
“I was sick of buying candles and then having them smell for two days and then only burn halfway down,” she said. “So I experimented with candle-making and through trial and error, I found a formula I liked that keeps the scent until the end and burns all the way down to the bottom.
“One thing I’ve been working with a lot lately is guitar strings and guitar pics,” Bigelow continued. “My fiance Mike is a musician, he’s a guitar player and vocalist with The Dogz, so there are guitar strings and pic all over the house. I got the idea to make some bracelets out of them and it just kinda grew from there. That’s my hot item right now. The guitar strings look a bit like the wire you see in some bracelets but it’s thicker and more durable.”
One service customers can expect at Starlight Designs is custom creations that can be tailored to individual styles or outfits.
“A lot of people will come in and tell me something like, ‘I have a tan jacket I wear a lot, with an olive green shirt and brown scarf’ and I’ll take that into consideration and make them something they can wear with that,” Bigelow said. “If they want a necklace that’s a little longer, or they like the beads from one necklace but the style of another, I can make something from that. Just come in and tell me exactly what you want. I’ve done jewelry for weddings and to match prom dresses as well.”
As a small local business, Bigelow says she makes an effort to help out other local businesses.
“I try to buy as many supplies locally as I can,” she said. “I have to get a lot of beads online, but if there’s a local place that sells beads I’ll go check them out first. I firmly believe in pushing your local businesses. I actually carry my friend Stephanie Clemons’ line, Maggie May Designs here in the store to help her get some exposure. She does custom hair designs, and she just started.”
Throughout the formation of Starlight Designs, Bigelow cites her son and fiance as having been her biggest supporters.
“My son is in college and he’ll be 20 this month. He’s always been pivotal in supporting me and giving me ideas,” she said. “I’ve got the girls’ side pretty much covered so he helps out with the guys side. Mike is very supportive as well. He also does some woodworking and in the future I’m thinking about asking him to make some pieces for me.”
Bigelow has other plans in store for the future of Starlight Designs, including offering classes.
“I was thinking of doing some candle-making or beading classes for kids or adults, maybe in the spring,” she said. “I have to start thinking about the logistics of it, like where I would hold the classes. A lot of people will say things like ‘I’m not very crafty,’ but you never know until you try. I’ve done a few small classes for girl scouts and I’m happy if one or two girls really gets into it and finds something they love to do.”
A former Delphos resident, Bigelow recently moved to Van Wert where she lives with her fiance Mike Sowers.