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Handcrafted Happiness
at Artsy Unique Boutique

by Cody Moore, Photography by Kayla Broadway

Artsy Unique Boutique, owned by mother-daughter duo Tracey Smith and Samantha Smith-Ramsdell, features an array of handcrafted and locally-made items such as door hangers, art pieces, interchangeable bases, wood creations and more.

Smith and Smith-Ramsdell, both natives of Dyess, moved to Jonesboro in 2006 when Smith was offered a teaching job within the Valley View School District and Smith-Ramsdell was to begin school at Arkansas State University with the anticipation of earning a degree in journalism.

“When I attended college, I took an art class as an elective taught by a wonderful man named Roger Carlisle,” said Smith-Ramsdell. “One day after class, he pulled me to the side and told me I needed to be an art major. I thought, ‘Man, if this teacher who possesses such talent thinks this is my path and cares enough to make sure I know it, then that’s what I need to do.’”

Carlisle, A-State emeritus professor of art, retired from the university in 2014 after 40 years of service. He passed away in 2017.

After obtaining an art education degree, Smith-Ramsdell went on to teach junior high art for both the Nettleton and Valley View school districts in Jonesboro. Smith, who taught for more than 25 years, recalls the creative passion that Smith-Ramsdell had at a very young age.

“As a teacher, I was always creating things for my classroom,” said Smith. “Even at a young age, I would bring Sam up to help decorate the bulletin boards. I tell people she gets her artsy-ness from me.”

Ten years ago, both Smith and Smith-Ramsdell began to create pieces of art that started to gain more and more attention online. The pair then decided to open an online shop, as well as rent out space in several local businesses to sell their handmade art creations.

“As our customer base increased, we outgrew the spaces we rented and realized that opening a storefront was the next step,” said Smith-Ramsdell.

The mother-daughter duo officially opened Artsy Unique Boutique in Jonesboro in April 2017, and the rest is history.

“Upon acquiring the storefront, we knew we wanted to create a space where we could feature other local artists and hand-crafters,” said Smith-Ramsdell. “When you visit us, you’ll have the opportunity to see our creations, as well as pieces created by multiple local artists and hand-crafters.”

When Artsy Unique Boutique opened its doors in 2017, the storefront was only open during the weekends since both Smith-Ramsdell and Smith were still teaching full-time. In 2018, Smith-Ramsdell resigned and Smith retired, allowing the two to focus solely on creating art and growing their newfound business.

“We now have the opportunity to work together and to create for Artsy Unique Boutique full time,” said Smith-Ramsdell. “I am so thankful that our customers have blessed us with this opportunity. It truly is living the dream.”

Whether they’re hand-painting new items or restocking product, Smith and Smith-Ramsdell, along with their dedicated staff members, work each and every day to make sure Artsy Unique Boutique has new and unique items to showcase to the public.

“It is really a sun-up to sun-down operation,” said Smith-Ramsdell. “We are constantly painting, creating, restocking, cleaning, ordering, posting and photographing; but we are doing what we love, and I wouldn’t change anything.”

Upon walking into Artsy Unique Boutique, customers will notice an array of colorful products that fill the space from floor to ceiling. Among those products are handmade door hangers, wood creations, jewelry, bath bombs, porch leaners, metal art, jewelry, canvas art and more. The art boutique is also divided into sections, including a sports section, a seasonal section and a religious section.

Retail brands such as Kalea’s Kloset and the popular local wreath brand Jenny’s Getting Crafty are also available in-store.

“We are your one-stop-shop for handcrafted happiness, and the storefront is a complete representation of our personalities,” said Smith-Ramsdell. “It’s bright, fun, funky and happy. … We are the perfect place to find a unique, personal gift for just about anyone.”

One of Artsy Unique Boutique’s most popular items is the interchangeable base, a solid base that allows the buyer to interchange the attachment in order to coordinate with the current season, holiday or occasion. The interchangeable bases are available in the form of a hanger, frame, vase or porch leaner, with more than 50 hand-painted attachment options available for purchase.

Artsy Unique Boutique has also been prepping for the upcoming fall season and already has a popular option as far as product design goes.

“Glittery leopard print has already been a hit with our fall items this year,” said Smith. “You can’t go wrong with a good leopard print. For the fall season, we have door hangers, interchangeable attachments, porch leaners, 3-D pumpkin porch sitters and more.”

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Artsy Unique Boutique, like many local businesses, had to introduce a way for customers to still remain engaged with the business while staying safe at home.

“We knew staying at home could be difficult for our customers, and as a result, we created Artsy Paint Kits,” said Smith. “We assembled kits that consisted of blank canvases or door hangers, all the paints you needed and paintbrushes. To make sure our customers had a truly Artsy experience, we added a link on our website that included tutorials and ideas for painting their own works of art.”

Customers can still purchase these blank canvases and blank door hangers at Artsy Unique Boutique, allowing them to unleash their inner artist in the comfort of their own homes.

Every Tuesday morning, the Artsy Unique Boutique fanbase can catch Smith and Smith-Ramsdell live on Facebook as they showcase their new creations and products for the week. While watching the video, it’s evident that the mother-daughter duo truly enjoys working alongside each other.

“Mom and I have a very unique relationship; we really are best friends,” said Smith-Ramsdell. “Of course, we drive each other crazy occasionally. Still, it is a blessing to be working with my best friend every day.”

“I love working with Sam. ... We are the perfect team,” said Smith. “We love bouncing ideas off each other and creating that perfect art piece for our customers.”

If there is one thing that both Smith and Smith-Ramsdell want for the future of Artsy Unique Boutique, it’s constant growth.
“We want to continue to grow and expand and reach more customers,” said Smith-Ramsdell. “We want to continue creating and providing our customers with products that make them smile and brighten their day.”

“We are overwhelmingly excited that we have been given the opportunity to expand and grow within the community,” added Smith. “We love driving down the street and seeing Artsy happies on the porches of our customers. We hope that we can continue to grow and provide Jonesboro and surrounding areas with affordable, unique happies for their homes.”

Artsy Unique Boutique, located at 2711 Paula Drive, is currently open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For all updates and announcements or for more information, find Artsy Unique Boutique on Facebook or call (870) 273-9302.