Made in Kansas: Liv+Work

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On the east end of downtown Wichita, a block away from the Old Town district, you'll find a store called Liv+Work. It's the dream creation of 28-year-old Liv Grant. 

"I make all the clothing. I hand dye. I sew it. And it's all natural fiber."

Every day, Grant pulls materials off her shelf and goes to work at creating. She says she strictly uses materials like cotton or leather. No polyesters.

On this day, she combines alpaca fleece and leather, and, with lots of sewing, make a Southwest Bag.

"This is one of the most popular products that I have is the Southwest Bag," Grant said. "They come in all sorts of sizes, clutch-like bags, evening bags for going around town. And then there are ones that are twice this size that double over and you can really stuff them full." 

The vision of what she wants to create is laid out in her mind. With tools in hand, she meticulously works to turn her vision into a marketable product. 

"So it starts out as totally separate pieces and comes together to make something really unique." 

Making clothing and homewares wasn't a lifelong dream of Grant's. She thought she'd follow in her mother's footsteps as an interior designer. 

"That's what I went to KU for originally is interior design."  

But she says she wanted to do something more hands-on. Designing and making clothes and homewares filled those desires. 

"With textile design I can make a lot of things. I can make clothing. I can make pillows, bedding."

Liv started selling online, doing trunk shows, going to makers markets and selling from a booth. She's getting more business traction with products in more than 20 stores across the country and beyond.

"I even have my things in a store in Paris, which is kind of fun." 

She opened a store next to Eaton Place in April. It includes her products and products from other designers. 

"Almost all the featured artists that are in this store from Wichita."  

It seems to appeal to shoppers who want something unique.

"I really love supporting small businesses," said Emily Alexander, visiting from Ohio. "And when you have people who make it their whole entire life surrounded by creating and selling their products, you get a little piece of that artist with you to wear around, like this jewelry."  

For now, Liv does all the making for her products. But she can see that may need to change as her business grows. 

"There may need to be a different chapter where I hire some production help." 


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