Boutique Week

011810FEATURE.jpg Boutique Week
Local flavor, fashion to savor

Have an itch for a niche? Look to this new business that spun an old factory into one fierce shop. From vintage hats to shoes made from scratch, local designers offer head-to-toe attire. So discover this hush-hush hotspot where you can furnish, fashion, alter and create — all in one place.

An 84-year-old man retired from the brush-making business and closed shop on the 100-year-old Cincinnati Brush Manufacturing Company. But as one man's career was crossing the finish line, one woman's career was revving up to get started. Brittany (Rosie) Kovacs, a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), bought the old brush factory at 2019 Central Avenue in Brighton, Ohio, and turned it into The Brush Factory.


Yes, you read that right. Kovacs embraced the building's history and incorporated the old business into the new with a brush-themed design in a fashion-forward boutique. "The old man that used to work here left lots and lots of things, so we've pretty much salvaged what we could to reuse it in a different way," Kovacs says. Brushes adorn a small wall by the window. Brush handles serve as running boards and linings, and spiraled brush 011810FEATURE2.jpgbristles hang as decor. The most obvious homage to the space's manufacturing days, however, is the boutique's sign out front that is one and the same as the sign for the Cincinnati Brush Manufacturing Company.


All bristles aside, The Brush Factory, which opened its doors Dec. 11, blends the lines of a studio and shop. Kovacs uses a back office as work space, and as the shop is a collaborative boutique, other designers can take advantage of Kovacs' work space to come to create. As the designers work their imaginative magic, shoppers can come to observe their progress in the back and buy the designers' merchandise in the main area.


The fundamental concept of the boutique is to provide customers with a variety of vintage and hand-made pieces. "For me, this is an opportunity to keep craftsmanship alive," Kovacs says. So those "pieces" can be anything from furniture to fashion.


Kovacs' boyfriend, Hayes Shanesy, and his father, Steve Shanesy, use the brush factory's old wood-working area above the boutique to craft wooden items, including home accessories and furniture, available on the sales floor or through custom orders. As a 011810FEATURE3.jpgmaster wood cabinet maker and head editor of Popular Woodworking magazine, Steve Shanesy ensures the quality of all of The Brush Factory's wooden merchandise.


The Brush Factory also offers a wide variety of pieces to help you furnish your wardrobe. Hanging clothes on the left- and right-hand sides of the store provide one-of-a-kind selections for men and women, with everything from hand-knit sweaters, re-designed shirts and vintage pants. Included in the merchandise are items from Kovacs' thesis as a fashion design student at DAAP.


In the back left of the store, Kovacs offers an area for tailoring and alterations. A cabinet of vintage material gives customers the chance to choose their fabric for tailored trousers (generally $96 to $120), and a charge list shows prices for simple alterations like pant hems ($10) and tapering ($13 to $20). Customers also can bring in items to have them redesigned. While redesign prices are determined on an individual basis, Kovacs bases these prices on the simple alterations charge list.


Across the shop from the tailoring and alterations station, a couple sets of shelves 0110Fence_INSTORY.gifshowcase some of the boutique's accessory offerings. The arguably most inventive of the accessories are hand-made shoes. With soles mixed and poured by the designer herself, these shoes really are made from scratch, and The Brush Factory soon will be featuring an exclusive line of the shoes.


Also included on the accessory shelves are vintage and vintage-inspired hats either found or made by Kovacs, and among the accessories and in a case at the front of the store are the creations of CoolSisters, a designer duo composed of Kovacs' boyfriend's mom and her sister. CoolSisters features jewelry and brooches inspired by the French Revolution, Kovacs says.


As if there couldn't be more ways creativity shows its colors, The Brush Factory also sells hand-dyed Suri alpaca yarn from Fiori del Campo Suri Alpacas. 011810FEATURE4.jpgThe yarn expands Kovacs' goal of encouraging hand-made work as customers can use the yarn to make their own creative works.


All of the current designers in the collaborative have local ties, but Kovacs is open to all designers devoted to hand-made, one-of-a-kind pieces. Designers interested in being a part of The Brush Factory can e-mail Kovacs at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


While The Brush Factory doesn't have a Web site yet, you can keep tabs on the happenings of the collaborative boutique with Kovacs' blog at or the boutique's Etsy shop. Also, feel free to call the store at (513) 381-5222 or check it out at 2019 Central Avenue.




Top Photo

Photographer: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Models: Rosie Kovacs and Hayes Shanesy
Location: The McAlpin


Second, Third and Fourth Photos

Photographer: Linda Palacios

Location: The Brush Factory

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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