Meet Stephanie Trompen - a maker & shop owner in Grand Rapids. Pure joy to be around, she is such a welcome and smiling presence. Not only does she make beautiful jewelry, she started a brick & mortar shop to showcase other artists and makers—and it is absolutely brimming with beauty! Her artist studio is also in the space, and we just loved spending some time with her. She sent over a bio about herself, so take a few minutes and get to know her, and better yet, support her as a maker, too.
To see more of Steph’s jewelry, visit Sugarvibe on IG or her website.
To visit Nestology, you can shop online or in person!
Photos by Leigh Ann Cobb.
I’m originally from Grand Rapids! I graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in 2007, with a BFA in Art Education and studio focus in Metals/Jewelry Design. I’ve lived in Chicago and Portland, OR... teaching art in various roles alongside selling my jewelry. Sugar Vibe began in 2007 during my senior year, and I chose the name which was inspired by the vibrant and whimsical designs. Also “sugar” itself stems from some of my earliest work, which was strongly consistent of enamel pieces and enamel is fired from crushed glass similar to the look of sugar. Additional to enameling, my collections consist of brass and copper works combined with natural stones, wood, and fiber tassel attachments. As of more recently, I have been making wall hangings using the same elements as my jewelry, as well as driftwood and ceramic components.
Upon coming back to Grand Rapids 6 years ago, I wanted to be apart of the art community more than I ever had, and the idea of opening a store where artists could sell their work began to blossom. I knew I was done having children (I have two boys!) and thought it was a good time to begin looking for a space.
Nestology opened in 2018. The space doubles as my studio, where I make Sugar Vibe pieces day in and day out. Now, the shop hosts for over 100 artists local and non local to Grand Rapids. The space also still hosts a collection of eco apparel for Clothing Matters, the original retail space occupying the 141 Diamond location. Handmade items, sustainable fashion, and next to the fair trade goods of Global Infusion... it felt like I was right where I needed to be.
I am generally at the shop every day, and you’ll find me bouncing around between my studio space, putting new items out, and chatting with artists. Once in awhile my oldest son is even there with me!
I love that both Sugar Vibe and Nestology have become an extension of my creative being, that you can find traces of my #1 inspiration—nature—in my jewelry designs AND all throughout the shop. Throughout my journey as an artist, and really my whole life, I’ve been fascinated with nature’s colors, textures, vibrancy... the way a flower opens and reaches for life, the way a tree can sway in the wind and feel like a comfort hug.
The last year has been a struggle as a solo business owner and full of lots of uncertainties if I can keep thriving through the pandemic... but the support of the community is what keeps me going. The love, the encouragement, and to see so many artists successfully selling their art here and knowing it means so much to them, I am determined to try everything I can to keep it going. Often this year, I have thought, now more than ever, it is important to come together, to be intentional about where our time is invested, and how we can truly support each other. I love to collaborate with other local indie business owners and, of course, support handmade wherever however I can!
Other fun facts_
My fave CC item is my greenhouse apron! Originally I got it as my artist smock to wear in my studio and hold all my tools, but then I just ended up loving it so much I wear it all the time! In summer constantly over a crop top and with leggings, and even in other seasons with a long sleeve shirt underneath.
My fave go to bands are_ Sylvan Esso, Beach House, Grizzly Bear, Wild Nothing, Washed Out, Damien Jurado, Y La Bamba, TV on the Radio, Tame Impala, Phosphorescent, and The National.