Sawyer Bannister wanted unique bookends to go in her new Preston Hollow bedroom. She scoured a resale store in California, and when that didn’t work out, she began brainstorming ideas with her mom as they walked along the beach.
A few months later, the mother-daughter team launched a business.
“Together we made a few sketches and some designs; and here we are now,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer and her mother, Kim Bannister, started the Sawyer Collection in August 2014. They create Lucite home accessories, designing color infusion pieces and embedding precious stones, fossils, and even a feather.
“Everything is hand-selected,” Kim said. “It’s made in the U.S. and it’s not mass-produced.”
The Bannisters work with stone specialists to select what minerals and stones they would like to embed.
Each Sawyer item takes 2-3 days to make. Mother and daughter design every item and then work with the plant to create them. They make bookends, coffee-table statements, tic-tac-toe boards, and more. The accessories come in different shapes, each hand-cut and unique.
Their designs are inspired from their travels to Jamaica and Malibu, Calif.
“I love going to the beach and watching the ocean’s movement — this is where I get my inspiration for specific details like the color infusion process,” said Sawyer, a freshman at Hockaday.
They struggled finding a name for the brand.
“I told [Sawyer] when we named [her] it was adventurous, spirited, anything could happen, like Tom Sawyer,” Kim said. “It’s totally fitting with what we’re doing.”
The name stuck and they reached out to a graphic design artist to create a logo and website.
Now their items can be found in 12 different stores in Dallas and California, including Madison in Highland Park Village, and the Nasher Sculpture Center gift shop.
“We’re taking baby steps,” said Kim, adding there’s some buzz on the East Coast for a store as well.
What started as a mother-daughter venture has become a family affair. Nevin Bannister, Kim’s husband, has helped the ladies learn the specifics of running a business. Ford Bannister, Sawyer’s younger brother, is in charge of philanthropy. He researches and selects charities for the Sawyer Collection to give to every quarter.
In addition to co-running the business with her mom, Sawyer is on the junior varsity volleyball team at Hockaday. For her, school, family and friends still come first.
“I am learning how to balance things,” she said.