It’s Tax Refund time! While you may have fun plans (take a trip), or smart plans (put it into savings) for your tax refund, we believe there is always room in your refund to help support a Montana Maker! We went to the Made in Montana show in March, and compiled a list of our Top 9 favorite Montana makers for you to check out! Why 9 you ask? Well, because it fits perfectly in an Instagram square grid. Fun tip!
This list is in no way sponsored. This is based on our personal preferences and needs, and all Montana Makers are awesome. We purchased some products from some of these vendors to try out and that product review will be listed underneath the business. Have a favorite of your own? Let us know in the comments below so we can check them out!
So here it goes, our Top 9 Favorite Made in Montana vendors!
9. Swans Silver
This lady stole our hearts at the show when we caught a glimpse of a rhodochrosite necklace sitting in her booth (picture bottom right)! You know me, I instantly thought of my Orphan Girl and was drawn to it! She then proceeded to show us some drop dead gorgeous covellite jewelry! Consider me hooked! For those of you that are into it, she also does a lot of work with elk ivory, which is what got her into silver smithing full time!
1. Shop Basics
I am located in Paradise Valley Montana, about 12 miles south of Livingston. I advertise on Facebook and have 4 pages; Swanz Silver, Custom Silver by Kyndall, Kyndall Swanz Swanz Silver, and Swanz Silver sales page (I didn’t know I started all these pages… lol.. that was before I understood Facebook). And they won’t let me merge the pages… Rats!!!… But I tell people to just go to Swanz silver.
2. What inspires you?
I am inspired by the outdoors including rocks… when I ride my horse, she always comes home packing a little more weight in the saddlebag… lol… we gotta have those pretty rocks
3. Where do you find such gorgeous rocks? (As a geologist, this question was VERY important to me!)
I buy a majority of my stones from Jerry Howard. He travels all over the country to very large rock shows, as this is what he does for a living. His eye for cabbing unique material is amazing. (Can you say dream job?!)
4. On a scale from 1-10, how patient do you consider yourself to be to do all that silver work?
The best part of my job is taking time to design around my pieces. Sometimes a piece will sit on my bench for weeks until I like the design.
8. Badass Babe
I LOVE this chick! She is hilarious, and her Instagram is awesome! Plus she makes some completely bada** jewelry, hence the name! We were fortunate to get in touch with her via email, and get a behind the scenes chat with her!
1. Badass Babe Shop Basics
- My actual shop is on our property – my husband built it for me and my friends and I have (mostly) finished it out on the inside. (Pics top right & bottom left)
- I am in about 75 stores nationwide (most in MT) and in a couple of online shops as well as my own website. There’s a page on the website that tells you where to find me locally (Find that right HERE, I bet she is in a town near you!)
- IG – @badassbabeusa, Facebook – Badass Babe @badassbabeusa
2. What is your personal favorite product from anywhere?
- All-time personal favorite? Quite possibly Jalapeno Cheetos. They’re like orange crack.
- My favorite BadassBabe? The Chunker Sterling Silver Ring
3. We gotta know, do you shoot all the rounds for your jewelry yourself?
- I used to, and I used to cut them all myself too with a cut-off grinder in the garage! Now I contract with a guy out of Idaho with ties to Snake River Shooting Products (they sell ammo, etc.) who has a machine shop and fairly unlimited access to brass. He sends them to me all pretty and ready to go. I am spoiled 🙂
4. Craziest thing you’ve ever made?
- Crazy cool! My 3 favorite custom orders were all memorials. For one, I sandblasted initials into 223 brass cases, loaded ashes (yes, real person cremated ashes) into the empty case, drilled a bullet and “reloaded” the case. A customer requested memorial necklaces with the ashes of an uncle that had served in Vietnam. It was a heavy project and I was honored to do it. (Picture middle right)
5. Favorite gun and gun accessory?
- Favorite gun to look at – my custom Glock42 380 cerakoted by Stealth Hydrographics
- Favorite gun to shoot – CZ Scorpion 9mm carbine
- Favorite gun accessory – the HABU charging handle for my AR15; that thing is revolutionary
What we bought: The Mini Copper Montana Necklace with the diamond(clear) crystal, because you know our obsession with copper!! PS- Her packaging is so awesome!! Almost as excited about getting gold in the mail as I was in the necklace!
Thanks Jenn from Badass Babe!
7. The Montana Scene
The Montana Scene is a mix of outdoorsy, simple, and wonderful products! I love their designs that will never go out of style! We got in touch with Kim via email, and got a behind the scenes look at one of the most popular clothing companies in Montana!
1. The Montana Scene Shop Basics
We currently have five stores across Western Montana.
219 S Main Street
Kalispell, MT 59901
Bigfork (The OG location)
You can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/themontanascene
– be sure to like our main page and if you live in an area where we have a location – you can like that specific location as well. When you like the specific location you’ll get store specific deals, products, promotions and event updates!
You can follow us on Instagram @themontanascene
be sure to use the hashtag #themontanascene
for a chance to be featured! We love seeing our fans in action with everything they love about Montana.
2. What is your favorite product and why?
My favorite product changes because we are always getting in new things I love! My favorite right now is our Life is Better in Glacier Hoodie
. It combines two of my favorite things. 1. Our hoodies – they are incredibly soft and I basically want to live in them all the time. 2. Our Life is Better series. I love that we have something for what ever you may love. Our Glacier design is one of our newest and I love how accurate the design represents so many parts of Glacier. It was the perfect addition to my closet before my hiking in Glacier season begins! Our ceramic mugs
are also one of my favorite things! They are the perfect size for the big cup of coffee or tea in the morning.
3. What inspires you?
I’m inspired by my environment and the people that surround me in my life. I grew up moving between Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, but my parents are from the Flathead Valley and instilled in me a love for Montana and all the adventure that it brings. To have a job where our mission is to inspire a love for Montana and the outdoors makes coming to work everyday very meaningful. I’m continually inspired by the story of The Montana Scene. Melissa and Sean started the company eight years ago and it has continued to grow and evolve with their new ideas and their family. I started out as their babysitter six years ago and after leaving the state for several years, I came back and now work as the Director of Sales and Marketing. As a bonus to the job, I still get to spend time with their kiddos! The family environment is an aspect of the company that is really inspiring. I love watching Melissa and Sean’s kids come up with ideas for their own businesses and I think that comes from seeing their parents work really hard at something they love to do. It’s inspiring to see people everyday love what they do and work really hard.
4. Favorite hashtag to use on social media?
There are so many! I love #montanalife
because you can see so many different parts of Montana that people love.
5. Favorite Montana town to visit?
My favorite Montana towns to visit are Libby and Troy! I’ve always had a fascination with the town of Libby and find that it is a hidden gem in our state. There are lots of locally owned restaurants and fun shops to explore – there is a shoe store that is so fun! I love the small town community pride you get when you go to both Libby and Troy. Both have tons of outdoor activities and places to explore. And one of my favorite places on the planet, Kootenai Falls, is right in between.
Whate we bought:
The Life is Better in Montana Flowy Tee
, you know how much we love our rivers & lakes at T&O! This shirt is so me! I also love the “Life is Better at the Lake”!
6. Morning Glory Coffee & Tea
It’s a crazy busy season for these guys, so they didn’t get a chance to answer our questions! We will update the post when they’re not gearing up for summer! BUT- you can check them out on Facebook any time of year!
What we bought: We originally fell in love with MGCT with their Orphan Girl (Bourbon Cream Liquor) flavored coffee. Again- I’m obsessed! I then tried their Huckleberry Coffee at the show, and it’s AMAZING! With a little tiny bit of sugar and cream the favor really pops!!
Another crazy busy small business! I just saw HattieRex for the first time at the MiMT show for the first time and fell in LOVE! She is seriously metal stamping *goals*! My favorite part of their collection (and what I’m planning on purchasing) are their pet tags! But they also have perfect wedding gifts, baby shower gifts, home decor, jewelry, and more!! We are planning on buying Jean the Call My People pet tag (I’ll let you guess which one of us chose this one), and Hazel the Beauty and the Bone pet tag! And if any of you really love me, I’ve been eyeing THIS! Someone please hint at Coby.
4. Lulu Pottery
Wow! Everything I have to say about this wonderful lady is in the “What we Bought” section at the bottom of the section. Seriously, she is amazing!
1. Shop Basics
3. Blue Dog Provisions
Jean and Hazel requested this one, and of course their input is super important! We just wanted to pick them up a little something since they were travelling with us all day, and the lady at the booth recommended Pig Lung! Seriously not sure how the bag made it as long as it did, Hazel drug an ENTIRE pig lung out of the bag before I could even grab it. They go nuts when we open the bag! They love that it’s delicious, and I love that its cut by a Montana butcher with no additives! Check them out on Facebook, and treat your dog to something a little better!
2. Tumblewood Teas
We LOVE tea. I’m sure you know that. We drink it, we’ve sold it, been to tea conferences, and are first level tea sommeliers. Of course we had to try some of the tea at the Made in Montana show! And let me tell you, we were NOT disappointed!
1. Shop Basics
We are located at 14 Anderson Street, Big Timber, Montana.
Our website is: www.tumblewoodteas.com
Our Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/TumblewoodTeas/
Our Instagram user name is: @TumblewoodTeas
2. What is your personal favorite product and why?
As true tea lovers, part of our makeup is to always be cupping ( another word for tasting) new and different offerings. On any given day, depending on our moods, the weather, the season or occasion the tea we choose to enjoy will be different. The one thing I will admit to is my complete appreciation of single origin teas. These being tea leaves with nothing else added to the cup. Laurie’s favorite type of tea is Oolong and mine is Pu’erh.
3. How do you drink YOUR tea? (I prefer a bit of sugar myself, we all know I have a major sweet tooth!)
Neither one of us adds anything to our cup. Just the tea and the correct temperature of water for that type. But we always tell our friends and customers “ it is YOUR cup of tea and you should do with it what makes you happy!”
4. What inspires you for your tea blends?
We are always thinking of and creating new blends. Our inspiration comes from many different influences. Some are suggestions or requests from our customers, our team or our own imaginations and experimentation. We just love to play with different ingredients and base teas.
5. What is your MUST HAVE tea accessory?
As for accessories, that too depends on where and when we are enjoying our infusion of choice. It is always fun to steep a whole pot for friends or serve everyone in their own individual infuser mug. If we are on the go, then our Travelin’ Tumbler is the absolutely best little vessel (Side Note- LOOK AT THESE LITTLE COZIES!). But the most important message we share with everyone is that everyone should be able to enjoy a seriously good cup of tea no matter where they are or the “equipment” they have on hand. So even if you are sitting around a campfire with nothing more than an enamel cup and your fave tea, just make some “cowboy” tea!
What we bought: The Muddy Creek Tea! Soooo good! We tried it at the show and we are hooked!
1. Girl Ran Away with the Spoon
Being totally honest- this one is a bit biased! I adore this shop! Mom and I went to a string art class at the coffee shop last summer and I have been literally obsessed ever since! Also when I ask my friends and Facebook followers their favorite Montana store this one is ALWAYS commented! Behind Eugene’s Pizza of course, because you can’t really compete with pizza (but this comes close). But seriously, check this lady out and you’ll be obsessed too. And if you get a chance to go to Miles City make sure to hit up both her stores! It’s basically paradise.
1. Shop Basics
Other Vendors we Loved:
Mud ‘n Suds– Gorgeous functional pottery, great smelling soap! Coby wanted the soup mug (or Monday Coffee they said), while I loved the pig things! Not sure what they were called but they cracked me up!
The Sweets Barn– We bought my mom some delicious huckleberry tea! But they seriously have anything you could want here! Tea, fudge, chocolates, and so much huckleberry stuff!!
Hometana– We love Hometana! We have been following them on Instagram for a while, and it’s so much fun to see what they will come up with next! Their designs are so fun, and their kids designs are my favorite!!
Live Life Clothing– So we were drawn to this booth by an image of a Jeep (of course!). We looked some more because of their fun designs! Their line is all about adventure, so we were super into it! They even have a whole line of Live Life Off-Road, which we loved!
Always There Designs– I have been super into metal stamping myself lately, and was so excited to see some at this show! I love the simplicity and perfect-ness of this jewelry!
Aspinwall– Love their clothing! Simple, classic and comfortable! Count me in!
The Jelt Belt– This is an interesting one! This belt is made from recycled water bottles, a belt buckle that lays flat, and is elastic to fit everyone! Plus- they donate some of the proceeds to veterans! Superb, spectacular, and wonderful!
Buckaroo Organics– This one was recommended to us by one of our Facebook followers! This is perfect for around the home, from balms and butters to laundry detergent and dryer balls! They even have a Baby Essentials Kit that would make a *perfect* baby shower gift!
Keep an eye out- soon we will be posting our T&O Top 9 Favorite Montana Stores!
Do you have a favorite Montana Maker? Montana Store? Favorite must see/do thing in Montana? Love these vendors too? We want to know!! Leave us a comment!