Makers ~ Rachel Lessne ~ Newport

Artist’s name: Rachel Lessne
Shop name: Green Envy
Twitter: @greenenvy
Pinterest: @GreenEnvyGirl
Instagram: @greenenvyshop

1. Tell us about your work
I make jewelry and skin care products from natural and recycled materials. I also source locally made and Fair Trade items to sell at and at fairs and festivals. The products range from baby clothing to home decor, skin care to accessories. Each product benefits an environmental cause and/or a disadvantaged artisan.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
It was actually my mother who thought of the name... because mothers are always right, aren't they?! Green Envy can mean a variety of things. There's no right or wrong answer. You can purchase items that benefit the environment and are "green" and be the envy of all your friends because going "green" can be beautiful. When I first opened, most eco-fashion and accessories were plain and drab and done before. With Green Envy we have expanded customer's idea of what eco-friendly fashion can look like in personal wear and in the home.

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I have always loved making items. I have called myself more of a crafter than an artist in the past. Over the years however, I have delved into design. I originally sold solely items made by other artisans, but they ended up inspiring me to start selling my own designs. When a customer buys something of mine I still get a little happy pang! It's wonderful making items that people wear every day. It's mostly my Newport Bridge Token Necklaces that people wear every single day, men and women.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from nature as well as discarded items. I love making jewelry from antique keys. They have a history and a story. When it comes to skin care products natural ingredients and their medicinal uses inspire what I create. I make a Mermaid Seaweed Soak with real seaweed that I collect on RI beaches. It's rare that you see a skin care product with seaweed, but it will condition your skin and soothe any dryness. And it smells great because I use geranium and neroli essential oils.

5. What’s your favorite item to create?
The Wish Necklaces are my favorite item to create. I think about the wishes people will make on the necklace as I'm putting the dandelion seed into the tiny glass container. I've had people tell me that the wishes they made came true. It's just a warm and happy experience making them.

6. What’s your best seller?
Of the items that other artisans make it's the Flip Flop Bracelets. Of the items I make it's the Wish Necklaces.

7. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I was born here. I went to The University of Rhode Island. I have traveled, but nothing in like Rhode Island.

8. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
I love the ocean, the woods, the people, the small town vibe where I live in Wakefield. All these things about Rhode Island make it an amazing place to live.

9. Favorite place to take out-of-towners?
My favorite places are outdoors. A couple of the those places are Trustom Pond in South Kingstown and the Cliff Walk in Newport.

10. Any advice for new/wannabe makers?
Value yourself! Many new makers undervalue what they create and think "nobody would buy that". Have confidence in what you make, even if it's something new for you. In my experience, taking that leap can turn into selling an item that becomes a best seller.

11. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
I had a retail shop in Newport for 8 years and am currently moving it to the internet. I'll be able to reach a larger customer base this way, and most importantly be able to travel to my Fair Trade Artisans, meet them, see their working conditions, and buy directly from them. The retail shop at 8 Franklin Street in Newport is open daily 11am to 6pm, except closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The full transition to will take place at the end of April. Until then all items in the retail space are 50% off. Store fixtures and displays are for sale too.


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