Back in 1994 New Ravenna was a fledgling business trying to gain a foothold in the tile market by creating artfully crafted, high-end products produced with an artist’s eye for detail, and a work ethic that comes from a lifetime of living on a working farm on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Of the many forces that combined to bring our company to where it is today, one significant milestone was the award Sara Baldwin and New Ravenna won that year from New Woman Magazine.
The recognition and exposure that came with being named the Nation’s Most Creative New Business was wonderful… and the $25,000 prize that accompanied the award allowed New Ravenna to make huge leaps forward in marketing and to invest in operations infrastructure that paved the way for future success.
Around this same time, Meredith Lusk was a middle school student at Broadwater Academy just around the corner from our factory in Exmore. Her English teacher asked her to interview a community leader who inspired her. Young Meredith called Sara to talk to her about how she was able to turn her artistic talents in to a career.
Fast Forward 18 years and Meredith is now an artist and entrepreneur herself. Her company, Moonrise Jewelry, creates necklaces, earrings, and bracelets inspired by the Eastern Shore, including innovative fish leather pieces that evoke thoughts of the creek that has greeted Meredith every day since childhood as she walks out her front door.
As Moonrise Jewelry grew Meredith (now Restein) continually kept her eyes open for new opportunities. Through her perseverance the business continued to thrive. Most of business was still on the Eastern Shore, but Meredith was making a name for herself. And then someone suggested she enter a contest being put together by Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx and the youngest self-made woman on Forbes Magazine’s Billionaires List.
Meredith poured her heart and soul into her application. Her combination of home-grown, small town artistic inspiration and international scale, metropolitan ambition obviously struck just the right tone. Sara Blakely has just announced that she has chosen Meredith Restein and Moonrise Jewelry as the latest winner in her “Leg Up” competition to help up-and-coming businesswomen get the big break they need to reach a global market.
The Shore is a small community, and when the news of Meredith’s achievement hit the New Ravenna offices it spread like wildfire. Several of the girls on our design team are close with Meredith, and Sara has always appreciated the dedication and strength it has taken to keep Moonrise growing through the challenges that we have all faced over the past few years. “I am just so proud of Meredith and all that she has done.” says Sara. “When something like this happens, it’s like watching a family member win an Olympic Gold Medal.”
Judging from the smile on Meredith’s face these days, it must feel the same to her. As congratulations (and orders) come rolling in, Meredith is keeping an eye on the future – investing in marketing, expanding her production capacity, and starting to think about all those aspects of running a larger business that Sara and the New Ravenna team were staring down years ago.
Everyone here at New Ravenna is extremely proud of Meredith and Moonrise Jewelry. Sara Blakely has proven herself to be a brilliant businesswoman, and is an inspiration to many of us. By choosing one of our favorite Eastern Shore business to give a “Leg Up” we believe she has made yet another excellent decision.