Photo: Remain Designs

Krystal O'Mara
31, founder, ReMain Eco Designs

Her Product: O'Mara's modern furniture and lighting fixtures, fashioned from recycled bike parts, include side tables made from rims and sconces built out of spokes and hubs.

Her Story: After quitting her hotel sales job in Amarillo, Texas, three years ago to spend more time with her son, O'Mara started her own interior design business. When she volunteered to donate a piece of furniture to a local bike race's charity auction, she made the piece herself using recycled bike parts. The small end table she created by bolting together old rims and spokes inspired her to gather more parts from local bike shops. Soon she'd taught herself to weld and added chandeliers and lamps to her repertoire. "I grew up on a farm where we reused everything," she says. "I love saving these old bike parts from the landfill." ( — Arianna Davis

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Kristy Lewis
32, cofounder, Quinn Popcorn

Her Product: Savory organic popcorn in flavors like Parmesan and rosemary, olive oil and herb, and hickory-smoked Cheddar, all packaged in paper-only bags.

Her Story: Two years ago, Lewis was torn between pregnancy cravings for microwave popcorn and her desire to avoid the unhealthy oils and chemicals often found inside the bags. After her son Quinn was born, she and her husband decided to reinvent her favorite snack, starting with the bag. "We wanted to take out everything bad," explains Lewis. They eventually found a European manufacturer that makes compostable, chemical-free paper. Quinn Popcorn, which comes in five inventive flavors and uses only organic ingredients, first became available in Boston, Lewis's hometown, and is now sold in stores nationwide. ( — Margaret Rhodes
pink purse

Photo: Heather Belle Co.

Heather Belle
47, designer and founder, Heather Belle Co.

Her Product: Sleek, bright vegan handbags with a texture mimicking that of exotic skins. "My line lets people appreciate the beauty of these creatures without harming them," says Belle.

Her Story: Belle's passion for design is in her genes—her mother was a sculptor and artist—and in 2010 she launched her own jewelry and leather handbag lines; she liked the look of exotic skins but knew that the practices behind them could be cruel and wasteful (the animals are often raised and killed solely for use in luxury goods). So she was excited to come across resin material that could be molded to uncannily resemble the skins of crocodiles, eels, pythons, and elephants. "Having the bags handcast and handpainted also allows me to evoke the imperfections in real animal skin," says Belle, who has plans to expand into belts, iPad cases, and even shoes. ( — Kate Sztabnik

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