Displaying family pride with everyday heirlooms

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Kelly Douglas, left, and Laura Madden make “everyday heirlooms” for Past unique, their business that uses its client’s genealogical history to make home décor and more. (Submitted photo)

Kelly Douglas, left, and Laura Madden make “everyday heirlooms” for Past unique, their business that uses its client’s genealogical history to make home décor and more. (Submitted photo)

By Michelle Williams

Two Hamilton County women have started a business that integrates family histories with home décor and personal accessorizing products.

Genealogist Laura Madden of Noblesville and product designer Kelly Douglas of Carmel create “everyday heirlooms,” for the business, Past Unique.

After three years of providing genealogical services for families, Madden decided the time was right to move on to a new type of business that would leave clients with a tangible piece of genealogy.

“I kept thinking that there was more I could do for these families — some way to display their family pride,” Madden said.

With the help of Douglas’ 15 years of product design experience, the business now offers a full line of items such as wooden display boards, pillows and necklaces. The items may be adorned with a piece of family handwriting or an image, such as an old recipe card, resulting in a uniquely customized product.

“We’re tapping into people’s heartstrings, and we’re making very meaningful products. We call them ‘everyday heirlooms’ because we fully expect for these to be handed down to the next generation,” Douglas said.

Past Unique was conceptualized in August 2014, and the duo unveiled www.PastUnique.com earlier this year. Customers can browse items, upload images or handwriting samples and order products directly through the website.

Although the majority of the business is Indiana-based through word-of-mouth referrals, Madden and Douglas are prepared to fulfill and ship orders across the country as business grows.

Their next step in growing is through the “Create and Take Party” model. An individual may host six or more people, and guests create their own phrase boards using supplies provided by the Past Unique party consultant.

“Our main motivator is that we are actually creating the conversation of family by doing this,” Douglas said.

The women often make deliveries to customers’ homes, where they are able to share emotionally in the experience.

“Doing this work, everything that we make is meaningful and loved and treasured,” Madden said.

For more, visit pastunique.com.


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