Not everyone is cut out for a desk job–the 9 to 5, the hour lunch, the Microsoft Outlook and endless meetings. More and more, we hear stories of small town people with really big dreams, who just can’t feel the breeze of success sitting under neon lights. Alana Little, a Central Valley native and now Fresno-dweller is one of those people.
Alana grew up in the Central Cali town of Visalia, California, graduated from Fresno State in 2004 with a degree in accounting, and eventually received a fashion design degree from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. But when Little just couldn’t handle the corporate circus any longer, she broke the accounting grad mold and started Make Pie Not War, in 2007. With her background in finance and the added bonus of fashion industry skills, this self-made entrepreneur knew she could do something she truly loved–and do it well.
Make Pie Not War may sound like a baking biz to most, but this handmade, custom jewelry shop most recently earned its chops as a finalist for the envied Martha Stewart American Made award.
The shop name itself started as a joke with Little’s husband, owner of the locally-grown, national clothing label, Ephraim Clothing. Now the name “Make Pie Not War” embodies the vibe inside Alana Little’s garage workshop in Northwest Fresno, “not taking life too seriously and remembering the beauty and humor that it has to offer!”
Most of Little’s designs come from a desire to be the “cool” mom – the one who stays on top of style, and keeps things pretty, quirky, and fresh. This style shines through in each of Little’s thoughtfully made necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets – which can be personalized with initials, coordinates or quotes for an extra sweet touch. From delicate to chunky, brass to silver – Make Pie Not War has a signature design that has fans coming back for more – especially during the gift-giving season. The mini constellation necklaces are a big time seller – a dime-sized pendant with a zodiac meaning.
“Some of my really successful pieces have been designs that started with a customer’s custom design, and eventually became popular on social media,” said Little.
When Alana is not creating jewelry perfection, she is tending to her flock of one husband, one crazy tot, two gigantic Chihuahuas, and her beloved vegetable garden.
When asked what her spirit animal is, Little replied, “a mustang. I am a wild woman who needs a lot of freedom!” Do you have a girl crush on this one yet, or what?! No wonder the corporate world did not suit her! “I hope to someday to be a mix of Martha Stewart, Bob Vila, and my grandmother,” Little said.
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