Spicy Success

A spicy story about One maker’s success as a member of The Maker City’s online directory

This is a story about serendipity, spice jars, and success for Bapo Design.  


Joshua Shorey and his wife Sammy own Bapo, which specializes in custom, high-end furniture, sculpture, and interiors. They left their full-time gigs about a year ago to make Bapo their priority. Joshua had finished grad school and was working as an adjunct professor for the UT School of Art; Sammy worked in marketing. 

Joshua says that they have a high standard of excellence for the business. They want to create pieces that are exquisite, beautiful, durable and meaningful.

But they were finding it challenging to locate the clientele who were willing to invest in that standard. 

Meanwhile, in Tampa, Florida, last winter, a successful professional couple were looking for someone to do bronze casting. The couple routinely give unique artisan-crafted gifts to their clients and friends at the holidays, and they were looking for someone who works with bronze for their 2019 distribution. 

Cue The Maker City’s online directory


In their online search for bronze casting, The Maker City’s directory serendipitously popped up. Once there, they located Bapo Design’s directory profile. They got in touch. 

Since then, Joshua has been collaborating in the design of this year’s gift, a set of 12 spice jars made from steel (rather than bronze) with laser-etched labels on leather. Each will contain a rare spice. They need a total of 140 sets to give as gifts. 

At this point, Joshua is in the final stages of confirming the prototype. Production will launch very soon. 

“It was kind of a wild encounter. It was a substantial order for our business in year one, and it would not have happened without The Maker City Directory.”

And, just as importantly, it confirmed for Joshua and Sammy that there are customers looking for what they do.  

“It’s been very fulfilling. And it’s really helpful for me to know those clients are out there.”


The Maker City Directory is an online tool for finding and promoting local makers. If you have a maker business, join the directory today! Whether you sell jewelry on Etsy or offer freelance creative services or provide high-end contract manufacturing and anything in between, if you’re actively seeking customers for your creative work, we want you! It’s totally free to apply, and like Bapo Design, it might just help you find your next customer.

Here are some tips for crafting your Maker Directory entry:

  • Show us what you got. Submit clear, high-resolution images. Include pictures of your final products so visitors can see what you do, but also consider including images of your process, studio, craft fair booth setup, etc.

  • Do tell. Be sure to include a descriptive bio that tells your story. How did you get started? What makes your process or products unique?

  • Link up. Include the links to your website and social media accounts. The directory is a platform to direct customers back to YOU.

  • Do your research. Look at other listings to make sure you’re selecting the right tags and categories.

Ready to apply?

Join more than 250 Knoxville creative businesses in The Maker City Directory!