What's popular: The Madison dress ($99) in orange and white (Tennessee's colors) and the Ava dress ($99) in garnet and gold (Florida State colors).
Other favorites: Scalloped seersucker skirts ($40).
What's new: Little white college branded tees ($38). Also Collegiate Holiday Boxes ($75), which include a square scarf, white T-shirt and jewelry.
Where to buy:
For years, Denise Zannu made soaps in her kitchen. For herself. Then she wrapped them up as holiday gifts. When friends and co-workers asked to buy her colorful, handcrafted soaps, Zannu decided to raise the bar. And start a business.
The company: Black Mermaid's Bath & Body, founded in 2012 in Snellville, offers four major product lines: Face, bath, body and a men's collection are for all skin types.
The founder: Originally from Cincinnati, Zannu earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in adult and continuing education from Central Michigan University. She worked as a teacher for 18 years in Virginia and in two Atlanta-area school systems. After researching and testing products, Zannu used a small tax refund to launch her company.
What's popular: Neem Oil Facial Bar Soap ($14.99). Popular with teens, it reduces oily skin and bumps caused by severe acne. Also the Shea-blended Body Whip (a 4-ounce jar is $25.99). The head-to-toe moisturizer is available in four popular scents: Vanilla Spice, Patchouli & Jasmine, Citrus, Lavender Rose.
Other favorites: Poseidon Men's Shaving Soap ($8.99), available in Clove, Lemongrass and Herbal Bay. It gives a smooth shave that reduces razor rash and razor bumps, and prevents ingrown hairs. Also the Luxury Soap ($ 7.99) in Gardenia, Honey Spice (using locally sourced honey and herbs) and Clove.
Fun request: Make bath bombs in shapes of lips, mustaches and high heels.
Big break: Winning the business plan pitch contest by the Gwinnett Chamber called "The Amazing Entrepreneur Contest" in 2014.
What's new: All-Natural Beard Balm in the Poseidon Men's Collection. Also a spa line of natural and organic liquid soap, hair conditioner, shampoo and lotion.
Where to buy:
www.blackmermaidsoaps.com. In the Atlanta area, at several locations, including: Sevananda Natural Foods Market, 467 Moreland Ave. N.E., Atlanta, and Amy's Natural Foods, 10591 Old Alabama Road Connector, Alpharetta.
A fish story
South Carolina’s Tom Mauldin is an artist and avid outdoorsman. His passion for fishing and the South’s coastal beauty inspired him to design a clever and functional piece of wearable art: a belt buckle that functions as a bottle opener.
The company: Based in Charleston, S.C., Hook N Hide started in 2008 on Sullivan's Island.
The artist/founder: Mauldin was born in New Orleans and grew up in South Carolina. He earned a degree in fine arts from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. After college, he moved to the Florida Keys, where he worked for nine years before moving back to the Charleston area.
The goods: Fish belt buckles/bottle openers ($90 to $105) and leather belt straps ($48). Made of a mixture of metals, each buckle is branded with the HNH signature and numbered.
What's popular: Redfish belt buckle/bottle opener ($100). The Redfish (also known as Red Drum or Spot Tail Bass) is the prize of "tailing tides."
Other favorites: Tarpon and Rainbow Trout ($105).
Big break: At the Southeastern Wildlife Expo two years ago, Perk Perkins, the CEO of Orvis, stopped by Hook N Hide's booth. Orvis now sells the Rainbow Trout buckle.
What's new and next: The Bonefish belt buckle. By spring, the collection will expand to include wildlife designs.
Where to buy:
www.hooknhide.com. In the Atlanta area, at Webb Limited, 4300 Paces Ferry Road, in the Vinings Jubilee (
), and the London Trading Company, 30 E. Andrews Drive N.W. (