In her parents’ unfinished basement, Marissa Owens meticulously arranges hand-pressed flowers in a mold until they’re perfectly positioned. With a steady hand, she pours hot resin over her design, sealing it in gold leaf flakes to create yet another one-of-a-kind ashtray.
Owens has always been an artist at heart. From crafting bath bombs to painting frat paddles, she’s never been afraid of experimenting with different art forms. Barely a year ago, she got into resin crafting and hasn’t looked back since. Her small business, With Love From Mar, came to fruition six months later.
Owens’ most popular products are her resin earrings and ashtrays, but her shop’s website also includes a variety of handmade trinket trays, which can be used to display one’s jewelry. Her products contain everything from dried wildflowers handpicked from her mother’s garden and miniature mushrooms to cannabis-shaped glitter and cardboard cutout butterflies. While Owens boasts an abundance of products on her shop’s website, it’s her custom orders that seem to flourish.
“Lately I’ve been getting so many requests for custom ashtrays for birthdays, and it’s so fun because I get to hear from someone else what they know their friend will love,” Owens, a graduate student studying college student personnel, said. “I like doing those the most, and I’ve been getting a lot of them lately.”
No matter the commission, Owens needs ample time to create her products and make them just right. While the designing of an ashtray only takes her anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, the resin isn’t completely solid and done releasing toxic fumes for at least 72 hours. For earrings, some flowers need at least a week to dry. They’re then pressed in an old Peter Pan book. But Owens doesn’t mind the tedious work, especially when the finished products turn out the way they do.
“I’m constantly trimming, editing, adjusting — just trying to make every piece as perfect as it can be,” Owens said. “I'm the kind of person who loves having a physical result of the work I’ve done, so I love seeing the work that comes from my hand arranging these small, beautiful things.”
And her hard work has paid off. Not even out of her first year, Owens has had just under 50 orders, selling to many customers in Ohio, but also as far as Washington and Colorado. Through word-of-mouth and lots of perseverance, Owens has created a name for herself and what she hopes her business accomplishes.
“I have always been a pretty whimsical person at heart ... and I really have always loved that magical, forest fairy aesthetic,” Owens said. “I want people who wear my earrings to feel that little bit of magic in every piece.”
But Owens’ small business journey didn’t start as smoothly as it’s going now. She taught herself how to handle the careful craft of resin art with the help of YouTube and various resin art Facebook groups, where she would pose different questions to understand what worked and what didn’t.
Leah Allan, a senior at Ohio University studying international business, marketing and linguistics, has seen firsthand how Owens has grown in her resin crafting as one of her closest friends.
“I think she’s had to go through a learning curve, not only with the resin, but also with new designs,” Allan said. “So each new item is a little bit harder for her, but she gets the hang of it, and once she’s hit that learning curve, she’s cranking them out.”
Allan herself has purchased a pair of teardrop-shaped earrings with blue glitter and gold leaf from Owens and was gifted a custom pair of teardrop-shaped earrings with black tea leaves from her as well. As her friend, Allan is incredibly proud of how far Owens has come and can only imagine how far she’ll go.
“She’s gone into doing marketing research and figuring out how she can best organize her platform, what color schemes are best,” Allan said. “So she’s doing more than the average Etsy shopper. I think she’s really going in and looking at how she can make it the best small business she can.”
Owens’ intricate and well-thought out work is what prompts customers like Emma Rader to keep her push notifications on whenever Owens posts about new products. Rader, a third-year at the University of Cincinnati studying information technology, has a large collection of Owens’ jewelry, owning 20 or so pairs of her earrings.
“It’s just really nice to have local creators and support those small businesses, and with such beautiful art, I was so excited about it,” Rader said.
Owens is proud to be part of the small business and resin crafting scene, but she stresses the importance of taking proper safety precautions when handling resin.
“A lot of people on social media, you see them using it with their bare hands and no safety gear, and that can give you serious injuries,” Owens said. “So I just want to make sure people are staying safe while they’re creating.”
In the future, Owens dreams of making larger products out of resin that go beyond just jewelry, but for now, she’s content creating what she can with a whole lot of love.
“I just want my customers to know all my pieces are coming from me to you with love,” Owens said. “When you receive a package from my business, I want you to be smiling, and I want it to be something that makes your whole day.”