Marty and Liz Connolly not only own their own business, selling an array of gift items, but they run the business on their own property. Cottage Creations, 10414 W. LaPorte Road, resides inside a cottage the couple built on their 2 acres of land specifically for the business.
Marty Connolly used to work in banking and Liz worked in real estate. After they moved to Mokena, they decided to start a business.
“I just thought it was time for something different,” Marty said.
The couple first opened a shop in downtown Frankfort in 2000, primarily selling Irish and German imports, which coincided with the couple’s own heritages. Not until they moved their shop to Mokena in 2007 did they expand their wares.
“Part of the reason we expanded was because of the Internet explosion, and also because it was a different group of customers in Mokena,” Connolly said.
Now the shop is mostly general gift items, specializing in three featured items. These include Nora Fleming “occasionals,” cutwork and embroidered tablecloths and handmade luminaries.
The luminaries are homemade by Marty and Liz themselves, and Connolly said Cottage Creations just recently exceeded 5,000 luminary productions.
“I can’t take credit for the idea,” he mused. He said the idea came from a company called StampinUp, and Liz is the senior associate for them. The couple began inking special paper with rubber stamps and then hand-cutting that paper into a shade. Then they put the shade around a tea light.
After doing it that way for years, Connolly said, they realized they could print images from the computer onto the paper, expanding to endless possibilities.
“We can virtually use any jpeg image and put it on a shade,” Connolly explained. This allows for mass production and custom designs for the customers.
The Nora Fleming collection is available at few locations in the south suburbs, according to Connolly. The miniature pieces can be displayed on dishware and just about anywhere you want to place them. Ever holiday theme, animal and food item you can imagine is available, from bunnies, eggs and shamrocks, to birds, cupcakes and dice.
Cottage Creations is also known for its cutwork and embroidered tablecloths, which are washer and dryer safe, with no ironing necessary. These too come in a whole slew of designs, including hearts, Easter eggs, bumble bees, shamrocks, paisley and more. Both the tablecloths and Nora Fleming collection are available for purchase on the Cottage Creations website.
Aside from these three featured items, the cottage also carries German, Austrian and Irish imported items, such as crystal, steins and purses, along with hand-painted furniture, jewelry, home décor and garden items.
The business doesn’t end there. Upstairs, above the shop, resides an art studio. Adults and children can come in and let their creative juices flow while trying to paint. The studio is open for use Monday through Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m., and anyone can use it by calling ahead. On Mondays, painting classes take place at 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Cottage Creations features every aspect that a family-owned home business should. A Mokena couple runs the shop, some of the items in the shop are handcrafted by the couple, and the shop is located on the couple’s own property, in a quaint cottage apart from their main home.
If you haven’t checked out Cottage Creations yet, what are you’re waiting for?
Visit the Cottage Creations listing in the Mokena Patch "Places" directory, soon to feature every business and institution in our town.