[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]
YOUNGSTOWN — Dash and Verve Design — which specializes in home decor, event rentals and custom orders — uses hand lettering and wood burning to add personal touches to ornaments, coasters, signs and more.
Megan Factor, who established Dash and Verve Design in 2018, said she initially made custom artwork for friends and family before selling her pieces on social media. Now, she’s a seasoned vendor at The Youngstown Flea and other local holiday flea markets.
Factor grew up in Canfield and has an undergraduate degree from Youngstown State University in advertising and public relations. She graduated from YSU in May with a master’s degree in business administration.
She said her background in business has helped her hone her skills and develop Dash and Verve Design into a sustainable business.
Most of Dash and Verve Design’s pieces are themed around holidays, Ohio and Youngstown pride. And Factor locally sources the wood slices used for her ornaments in the Mahoning Valley.
“It’s really nice to be able to tell people that some of the items that they're purchasing are physically grown in the area, and that's definitely been a selling point for some people who are sending like some Youngstown-themed ornaments out of the area, maybe to family who grew up here and then moved,” she said.
“It really is like a little piece of the Mahoning Valley that people are able to gift or send out,” she added.
In addition to locally sourced materials, Factor aims to make her products as sustainably sourced as possible. She does this by buying materials from resale and thrift stores and by making event-specific items, like wedding and engagement signs, with the notion they can also double as home decor.
“I just think that in many industries there's just a lot of unnecessary waste, and I'd really like to help cut down on that,” Factor said.
Factor told Mahoning Matters that her focus on sustainability is what led her to start event rentals. She hand letters on mirrors to make welcome signs, seating charts and other signs with the ability to reuse and rewrite on them.
“It really struck a chord with me that those items would have a life after one event so they'd be able to be used again and again,” she said. “It's good for the environment [and] good for, you know, typically the brides who are contacting me for these items [because] they don't have to worry about storing the items or figuring out what to do with them after the event.”
According to Factor, her favorite part of selling her designs is the connection she’s made with her clients.
“I absolutely love being able to be the conduit for their creativity and make something that's really special for them,” she said.
“[My clients and I] worked very closely together, and I think that's something that really sets local businesses apart, especially in the area, that you know exactly who you're ordering from. It makes it a much more personal experience and I think a better experience for customers because they see exactly where their money is going and they know that they are purchasing from somebody who lives here, who's been here their whole lives,” she added.