Biddle Me This
Growing up, I played countless games of Chinese Checkers with my grandma. In the 19 years I had with her, I think I won less than ten times. She was not the kind of grandma that let you off easy. For my eighth birthday my grandpa gave me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and the inside sleeve read, “To Alex, my no’ 1 Little Buddy. Grandpa B.” I would read out loud to him for hours, both of us laughing because I could never quite pronounce “McGonagall.”
On a snowy day when I was 17, I drove to visit my grandparents. When I arrived, they were at the kitchen table along with my aunt, who was sifting though buttons. I was intrigued and started doing the same. And then I fell in love. My grandma told stories of buttons that were Great-Grandma Amy’s and others that had been used on some of my dad’s childhood clothes. I asked her if I could keep some and she agreed. From the end of the table my grandpa chimed in, “Skeeter, if I were you I’d throw them all away. What are you going to do with all that junk?”
Challenge accepted. Less than a year later I invested in some elastic and began crafting bracelets with my grandmother’s vintage buttons. I made a bracelet for myself and countless others for friends and family. To me, my bracelet means carrying my grandparents’ stories with me every day. They constantly challenged me to be better, even if was just a game or a higher level of reading. They taught me about integrity, shared humor, and gave love. They taught me that life isn’t fair, and no one is perfect, but both are still remarkably beautiful.
For the past five years, I have been crafting bracelets that tell stories. This fall, I began to pursue my dreams of launching my own business, Biddle Me This, where I joyfully create personalized bracelets for each customer. I connect with each buyer, gaining insight about their style, personality, passions, and unique interests in order to design a piece of jewelry that reflects their individuality.
It is because of the unwavering support and encouragement from my small town of Alliance, Ohio, the Ohio State community, and my friends and family in between and across the world that my dreams are becoming a reality. Every day I hear stories of amazing individuals in buckeye nation and beyond. People tell me why they love the special somebodies they are buying for and why they love themselves. To me, hearing these qualities is the most special gift I could ask for. It is my hope that each bracelet inspires individuals to always be their most authentic self. A daily glance at your wrist could be your reminder that you are beautiful to your core and you should love just who you are. Be you (tiful) today and everyday.
TJ Klopstein with his bracelet:
“My bracelet means a lot to me. Alex asked me to pick out some buttons and I knew from the beginning I wanted a bracelet that would show off my pride. I am proud to be a gay man and I am proud to show off this wonderful, meaningful piece of jewelry. I wear it not only to express myself but to hopefully allow others to express themselves as well. I worked with Orientation at Ohio State this summer and experienced something remarkable. After not speaking much the whole program, a student came up to me at the end of our last day. He told me that he had seen me wearing my bracelet and didn’t know if I was gay or not but wanted to ask me a few questions. He then expressed all of his concerns about being gay on campus and I was able to help him out. He thanked me and left with a huge grin on his face. That is what Biddle Me This is all about. Helping people be themselves, be confident in who they are, and just beYOUtiful.”
Christy Wildermuth with her bracelet:
“I received my button bracelet at the beginning of a transformational time in my life. I sat with Alex as she made it, and there was one button in particular that caught my attention. It sparkled all over. I needed that button on my bracelet because I hadn’t let myself shine like that in a long time. My button bracelet is my most treasured piece of jewelry because it represents the spirit I have inside and reminds me to share it with the world.”
All photography done by Lexi Fannin.