Sara Alread (BFA '09) of Saint Simons Island, Georgia successfully launched her business, Little River Designs, in April 2013. The web-based business features rustic hand-crafted, wooden designs for the Southern home. Litter River Designs is a family business in every sense of the word. Sara's father is a carpenter, while her mother and sister serve as constant inspirations for new designs. The idea to create Little River Designs came in the form of a new family member.
Sara shares how Litter River Designs got its name, "On November 30, 2011, my nephew, River, was born. He became our inspiration and official mascot. We were already making signs, planning weddings and building furniture for ourselves when friends became interested in what we were creating. Soon after River was born, Little River Designs began."
Little River Designs centers around a timeless family tradition: tracking grandchildrens' growth-spurts on the wall at grandma's house. Little River Designs' most popular item is the wooden Grow Chart Rulers.
Grow Chart Rulers by Litter River Designs
Today, Little River Designs continues to develop its online business and clientele. A recent expansion includes a line of wedding signs and the personalization of all Litter River Design products. As Sara and her team grow the Little River Designs line, they have gained the attention of a few big crafting and design websites. The business has been featured on SwissMiss, Sweet Peach, 100 Layer Cake, Rustic Wedding Chic, Golden Isles Magazine, and in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Sisters Ashley Steele (ABJ ’06), of Charlottesville, Virginia., and Cali Brutz (AB ’08), of Athens, Georgia., own and operate two businesses that are modernizing the wedding industry. Steele and Brutz began working together in 2008 at the ages of 24 and 22, respectively. At the time, Steele was planning her own wedding and Brutz was a photographer. During the wedding planning process, the pair identified a number of issues that arise for the soon-to-be brides. Looking to solve those issues sparked several entrepreneurial projects.
The duo's latest venture, Borrowing Magnolia, uses a concept similar to that of Rent the Runway and Warby Parker in that brides will be able to rent wedding dresses for their big day directly from Borrowing Magnolia. The dresses available for rental will be provided by former brides who are interested in earning extra cash by lending their gown to another individual. Borrowing Magnolia ensures that the dresses are in good quality by limiting each dress to three rentals annually and five total. Sizes range from 0 to 24 and alterations are available as long as the changes are reversible
Borrowing Magnolia lives to serve the bride. The sisters ensure the brides-to-be that, "Borrowing Magnolia is committed to helping you find your dream gown, the way the modern bride does the dress. We make it easy for you to buy or borrow a designer gorgeous gown at a fraction of the retail cost, while still having a white-glove personalized boutique experience from start-to-finish. Look fabulous in your dream dress, save some cash, go green, and focus on what really matters on your wedding day. That’s what we’re all about."
The sisters have obviously been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and show no signs of stopping. This year, Borrowing Magnolia is expected to have over 800 dresses in their collection by the end of the year; the business was featured in the New York Times’ Style Section; and reality show producers are in talks of covering their business endeavors.
Congratulation to Ashley and Cali on their stellar sucess and best wishes as they continue to help women live their dream weddings.
From the moment she stepped foot on the campus, Sarah Huber could tell that UGA was the perfect place for her. Nearly four years later, the future dentist calls the journey an “extraordinary experience.”
Throughout my four years at UGA, I have experienced significant development in my character and drastic change in my approach to life. I entered college with an outlook that was enthusiastic, yet full of uncertainty in my surroundings and in my hopes for the future. Today, my recent acceptance to dental school and each of the incredible relationships I have formed at UGA serve as reminders of the extraordinary experience that this university has provided me over these past four years.
Griffin-Spalding County is the University of Georgia's newest Archway Partnership community, bringing to 12 the number of counties across Georgia to participate in the unique community development initiative.
"Griffin-Spalding County has progressive visionary leadership, a key ingredient to a successful Archway program," said Mel Garber, director of Archway, a unit of the Office of Public Service and Outreach. "I commend community leaders for their unified effort."
Founded in 2005, the Archway Partnership builds on UGA's land-grant mission by taking a grassroots approach to address community and economic development needs, as identified by that community. Community leaders in Griffin-Spalding County have demonstrated a commitment to working together on community needs and the partnership with UGA will enhance those efforts, said Garber.
"The Archway Partnership represents the culmination of a community initiative undertaken as far back as 2008, to identify an efficient means of bringing our elected officials and their constituency groups together for the purpose of collaborative strategic planning, and the development of solutions to community challenges," said Chuck Copeland (AB '83), a Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce volunteer.
Representatives from Griffin-Spalding County take place in the Archway Partnership MOU signing. From left to right, front row, James Westbury (BBA '64), Rita Johnson, Doug Hollberg; back row, Chuck Copeland (AB '83), Regent Tommy Hopkins (M '79), Stephanie Windham and Angel Jackson
.In the Archway Partnership, the community drives the priority-need process through an executive committee made up of local citizens and community leaders. An Archway professional, based in that community, identifies resources at UGA, as well as other institutions, that can be tapped to address those needs. Since the program began in 2005, more than 850 UGA students and 158 UGA faculty members, and 25 non-UGA faculty members have engaged in an Archway Partnership project.
As the Griffin-Spalding County Archway Partnership becomes established, residents will have opportunities to participate in listening sessions and town hall meetings during which the community's most critical needs will be identified.
"I am pleased that Griffin-Spalding County will be the next Archway Partnership community," said Jennifer Frum (PHD '09), vice president for public service and outreach. "We are excited about strengthening the ties between UGA and Griffin-Spalding and partnering with the community to help it grow and prosper."
For additional information about the Archway Partnership, see www.archwaypartnership.uga.edu.
Athens native and UGA alumnus Tituss Burgess (AB ’01) has found his way to the Netflix stage.
As a student at Athens' Cedar Shoals High School, Burgess aggresively pursued his passion for theater. After graduating from UGA with a Bachelor of Arts in music, Burgess headed to New York City where Broadway welcomed him with open arms. He made his Broadway debut in the musical Good Vibrations as Eddie in 2005, and appeared in Jersey Boys in 2005 as Hal Miller. He originated the role of "Sebastian the Crab" in the musical The Little Mermaid in 2007 and went on to play Nicely-Nicely Johnson in the revival of Guys and Dolls in 2009.
Burgess soon found his niche in television acting, as well. Since 2009, he has guest starred in several TV series, including The Battery’s Down, A Gifted Man, Blue Bloods, 30 Rock and Royal Pains.
While these minor roles made a major impact on Burgess’ career, Netflix has the potential to now launch him into super stardom. Over the last several years, Netflix has caught the attention of millennials and serial TV watchers with its popular web-released TV series, such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Netflix's success is sure to continue with Burgess’ newest project, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, starring The Office's Ellie Kemper.
The series is the work of comedienne and writer Tina Fey. Tituss Burgess will play Titus, Kimmy's roommate, a talented singer who works as a robot in Times Square.
Scene from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is coming to Netflix next month. Watch the trailer now.
The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to seeing this talented alumnus on television screens this spring.