Radio-controlled cars speed along the dirt path of twin, 20,000-square-foot off-road racetracks at RC Hobby Shop, spurred on by shouts of encouragement and furiously twisting thumbs. Too colossal to fit inside the building, the tracks embody RC Hobby Shop’s serious approach to having fun. Inside the 9,400-square-foot retail space, stacks of toys line the aisles and beckon kids and hobbyists with battery-operated modern gadgets and timeless classics such as yo-yos and board games. Model makers of every age can stoke their creative sparks with detailed modeling kits that reconstruct classic cars, elaborate train sets, and Lilliputian crime scenes.
With its circle of cushy chairs and iron-wrought footstools, the sewing area at Sugar Land Yarn Company bears a striking resemblance to a pastoral living room, where yarns of all colors fill a bowl resting on the coffee table and cubbyholes lined along the walls. Shawls and scarves hang in display to inspire future knitting projects, and a library of patterns and manuals demonstrates various techniques, such as stringing together a baby sweater without bursting into tears of joy. The shop’s wool-wizards lead classes in a wide variety of topics, allowing beginners and experienced knitters to socialize as they create wearable and decorative soft goods.
Beau Kisses kindly greets customers with a selection of sundry jewelry and home décor items. Visitors to the boutique can revel in novel prettifying devices, such as the Lady Primrose body brush with dusting silk ($30), a downy-soft delivery mechanism for a tincture of crushed marigold flowers, silk, and chamomile that leaves skin ready to steep in a cup of bedtime tea. For an olfactory flourish in the home and vehicle, the Tyler Candle Co. Glam Suite gift set ($22) completes romantic dinner-table preparations with a 3.4-ounce fragrant candle, which collaborates with a room spray, 4-ounce detergent, and Autoglam car freshener to please all manner of nostril. Force sullen earlobes to sparkle with a pair of 14-karat gold-plated pink agate earrings ($60) by Austin-based designer Kendra Scott, or step into an elegant pair of Yellowbox Pansy bronze sandals ($72) for a trot along the beach or stroll atop Martian sand dunes.
Quilt ‘N Sew Studio’s bolts of vibrant fabrics and rows of quilting accouterments beg artisans and neophytes for a shot at playing a starring role in their homespun wares. Blanket builders can follow the Berry Picking Party quilting pattern ($25.95) to soft-cobble a plush strawberry-themed quilt for a guest room or daiquiri den, or celebrate pilfered holidays with a Merry Grinchmas full quilt kit ($80.50), which includes the pattern, fabric, and binding. Needle bearers in need of textiles can stock their supply closet with fabrics from brands such as Full Circle ($6.33–$9.50/yd.) or Flannel Elements ($11/yd.), whose plaid patterns and soft, woven cotton make for cozy sheets and winter-weather tuxedos.
For Meredith McCord, looking at a piece of pottery brings back decades worth of memories. McCord started The Mad Potter in 1998, and since those early days, she's used her kiln to immortalize countless special moments. She traveled to hospitals to capture the footprints of newborns, helped a young man create a dessert plate with the words "Will you marry me?" emblazoned across it, and auctioned off items for charity. Yet some of her fondest memories center on the day-to-day interactions with customers, specifically when they return to pick up their fired pieces and utter three words of amazement: "I did that?"
The Mad Potter has since expanded into three Houston-area locations, where children and adults come to paint their own works of art or create replicas of their ancient ancestors' garden gnomes. More than 500 bisqueware items line the shelves of each studio, including coffee mugs, plates, and figurines. Staffers then help visitors select from more than 54 available colors of paint and supply them with everything else they might need, including brushes and stencils. The staff can even take things over and create more intricate designs—while still consulting closely with the customer. Whatever route a person chooses, there's always time for a sip of wine or beer; the River Oaks location sells wine and beer while Bellaire and Woodway maintain a BYOB policy.
Owner Connie Broome envisions Vino Artino as a place "all about art, friends, and fun," a concept she solidifies through relaxing, hands-on classes. Sessions are led by artists with degrees from art and design schools across the South. As they swill any libations they wish to bring, pupils sit at tabletop easels and follow step-by-step instructions to re-create scenes appropriate for a girls' night out, a Mother's Day outing, or a hide-the-hole-in-the-living-room-wall party. Though each class is grounded in a particular painting, the studio urges artists to put their own stamp on the finished product by using different colors, adding fun flourishes, and choosing their own canvas size.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Groupon is celebrating an inspiring group of women: business leaders whose companies and brands enrich their communities. Thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of these leaders, local communities across the country are stronger and more diverse.
Shop the Women in Business collection.