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Martha Stewart's American Made Awards honor Rhinebeck's Sawkille Co.
For a small business owner, getting recognition from lifestyle guru and famed entrepreneur Martha Stewart sounds like the ultimate seal of approval.
So it’s no wonder that Woodstock residents Tara De Lisio and Jonah Meyer are excited to be named “rising stars in a new generation of small-business owners” with a focus on the “handmade and homemade” by the first-ever American Made Awards, sponsored by Martha Stewart Living magazine.
Being named an American Made honoree was "really huge," said Meyer, who runs furniture business Sawkille Co. with several other artisans, including his wife, De Lisio. "We’ve been really tucked away without any recognition for a long time, so this was exciting.”
The couple and 10 other honorees were celebrated at a Tuesday night event in New York City. American Made, a two-day event featuring master classes, panels and demos, will take place Oct. 17 and 18 at Grand Central Terminal.
Sawkille Co. has a showroom in Rhinebeck and a workshop in Kingston. The company specializes in what Meyer called “farmhouse modern” furniture, and features handmade items constructed from locally milled and sustainably harvested wood.
Meyer and De Lisio, who have been in the furniture business for close to 15 years, rebranded their show location as Sawkille Co. two years ago. The name is taken from the creek near De Lisio’s childhood home in Woodstock, which was used for milling wood at the dawn of the 19th century.
The couple have been married nine years and have two small children. Meyer credits the company’s success to the collaborative partnership with his wife.
“I was a studio artist and furniture was paying the bills, and she cooked up an idea of having a showroom, which I thought was a terrible idea, but she hit it on the head," he said. "She’s the visionary marketer, and I’m the guy in the studio designing and producing a lot of stuff.”
Stools are Sawkille Co.’s signature item, and Meyer said his company probably makes at least one stool a day. Sawkille also makes bar stools, credenzas, bed frames, tables and custom pieces.
About meeting fellow Hudson Valley resident Martha Stewart at the awards, Meyer said the couple are huge fans and have Stewart's magazines and books at home.
“She’s a big deal and we’re very excited,” he said.