‘Grits & Greens: It’s All Made in the Magnolia, Y’all!’
By Sasha Steinberg
After a few years of co-owning Tupelo Trophy and Gifts with her husband Terry, Mantachie resident Carrie Buse decided she wanted to open a Southern soul-food restaurant in the All-American City of Tupelo.
“I bought all of the cooking equipment and designed the logo for Grits & Greens in 2013 using wood-cutting lasers at Tupelo Trophy and Gifts,” said Buse, who had worked most of her life in the restaurant business.
Well on the way to making her dream a reality, Buse ultimately found herself shelving the restaurant idea due to family circumstances. Her determination to bring the Grits & Greens concept to life, however, remained strong.
“We were already making wooden Christmas ornaments at Tupelo Trophy and Gifts, and we had so much good wood that we didn’t want to go to waste,” Buse recalled. “So, that’s when I started making jewelry.”
In 2015, Buse established her Grits & Greens jewelry and ornament line. In addition to wood and leather jewelry and ornaments of varying styles and colors, the Southern-inspired gift collection currently includes cutting boards, rolling pins, bottle opener magnets, fridge magnets, keychains, backpack tags, and cell phone wallets. Cowbell earrings is Grits & Greens best-seller, Buse said.
Within the Grits & Greens brand, Buse created Gypsissippi, a trendy, gypsy-inspired collection featuring a range of designs, from cow skulls to flowers to arrows.
“My parents were junky gypsies before it was cool to be that,” Buse laughed. “They had an antique store when I was young. I never imagined I would grow up and be a junk gypsie myself, but my wheels never stop turning. I try to put all of the creativity in my mind to good use.”
Grits & Greens and Gypsissippi products may be purchased from Tupelo Trophy and Gifts at its new location – 810 Robert E. Lee Drive Extended in Tupelo’s Midtown District. Buse said her designs also can be found at nearly 70 retail locations throughout the South, including Giggleswick – Purveyors of Fine Gifts on Highway 12 in Starkville.
“I have created stitched-heart-logo ornaments for the tree at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis,” Buse said. “I also have designed and made jewelry approved by Elvis Presley Enterprises for the Tupelo Elvis Presley Fan Club to sell at the Elvis Fest, which is pretty cool.”
Most of Buse’s jewelry items are made up of layered materials. She created one of her favorite designs at the request of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola.
“I made a cutout shape of Mississippi, put a cutout guitar on top of it and then put a little red heart in the center of the guitar. I had been doing the shape of Mississippi with a guitar layered on top of it for a couple of years for the B.B. King Museum, but when other boutiques buy that design, they prefer we add the red heart,” Buse explained.
“The little red heart has kind of become our signature thing. It gives the piece a little extra pop,” she said, adding with a laugh, “Sometimes, things just need a little heart.”
Whether looking for a ready-made piece or custom gift, patrons deserve quality products and customer service. Through her Grits & Greens brand, Buse is driven to provide that positive experience.
“Making jewelry is very time- and labor-intensive, but I enjoy it,” she said. “It makes me feel good when people call up and say they like my jewelry and think it’s cute and unique. I’m very blessed and grateful.”
Want to see more from Grits & Greens? Like and follow on Facebook @gritsandgreensms.
Have questions? Want to place an order or request a custom-designed piece? Call or text Carrie Buse at 662-397-8664 or email gritsandgreensMS@yahoo.com.