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Local designers (and dairy lovers) gearing up for Culture By Design

Lizz and Mike Stachura, the creative minds behind Butter Makes Me Happy.
Jen Ellis
Lizz and Mike Stachura, the creative minds behind Butter Makes Me Happy.

Butter Makes Me Happy.

A true statement for many of us. But it’s also the name of a Milwaukee-based business specializing in hand-painted custom shoes — one of many creative enterprises set to shine as vendors at Culture By Design, a sneaker and streetwear summit going down at the Baird Center next Saturday, Oct. 7.

Part of Milwaukee Film’s Cultures & Community Festival, the summit is an effort to gather sneakerheads and streetwear aficionados in one location. From local craftspeople to prominent national designers, the event will feature pop-up exhibition spaces, immersive activations and mixed-media displays.

Lizz and Mike Stachura, the creative minds behind Butter Makes Me Happy, won’t need to go far for the event. Their studio at 115 W. Walker St. is a little more than a mile from the proceedings. My curiosity was piqued by their dairy-themed name, so I set off on a quest to uncover the story behind it and see what they have in store for Culture By Design.

"Truth be told, I was buttering my waffles while setting up my shop, and this whimsical name spontaneously popped into my mind," Lizz shared with a grin.

Call it a delightful accident, born out of everyday simplicity. At first glance, it may not immediately convey their line of business, but it beautifully encapsulates their primary objective: to evoke the same joy in their customers that butter brings to Lizz herself. Unconventional and catchy, it serves as an intriguing conversation starter, sparking curiosity and conversations wherever it's mentioned.

Jen Ellis

At Culture By Design, Butter Makes Me Happy will take its creativity a step further by offering an interactive DIY hat-painting station. Visitors will have the opportunity to select from an assortment of bucket and trucker hats — each one a blank canvas awaiting a personal touch. The Stachuras will provide all the necessary art supplies, from paints and iron-on patches to stencils. It's an invitation to let your artistic spirit run wild and create a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted hat that bears your unique imprint.

What makes this experience even more exceptional is the chance to witness Butter Makes Me Happy's customized, hand-painted creations on display. This rare glimpse into their portfolio allows attendees to appreciate the artistry up close, with the option to purchase a select range of items right at the event.

Obviously, there will be plenty of vendors on hand next Saturday. When I asked the duo about their favorite streetwear brands, Mike's eyes lit up as he talked about Unfinished Legacy, known for its unique designs and top-notch craftsmanship. For Lizz, NTVS holds a special place in her heart due to its fusion of Indigenous culture with a fun and artistic twist.

Beyond the aesthetics, what truly excites Mike about streetwear is the opportunity it provides to support emerging artists and creators. Whether he's at a vendor fair or an art show, the thrill of discovering individuals expressing their artistic identities through clothing never ceases to amaze him. Lizz takes a slightly different approach, finding joy in unearthing hidden gems at thrift stores or flea events that tell a unique story.

I walked out of Butter Makes Me Happy knowing that it’s more than just a name; it's a testament to the Stachuras' commitment to infuse happiness into every piece they create and share with the world. You can see it on display — and so much more from designers across the country — at Culture By Design. For tickets, visit the event page on Milwaukee Film’s website.

Creative Marketing Manager | Radio Milwaukee