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This program is helping diverse creators chase their dreams in St. Louis

From soaps to clothes to scarves, Nest's Makers United program is helping more than 100 people in St. Louis pursue their creative dreams

ST. LOUIS — When it comes to what makes a place special, the people go a long way. When they pursue their passions, it usually makes all the difference.

Sarita Moody's journey started 15 years ago.

"I'd always wanted to learn how to knit. I started my freshman year of college."

That was when she met her roommate.

"She said she knew how to knit, and I said, ‘Say no more, you have to teach me tonight,’” she said. “That was my first and only lesson."

Everything else, all the projects she's produced, came through her journey of learning lessons and falling in love with the process along the way.

"That inspires connection when you can say, ‘Oh, I really like what you're wearing. That's beautiful. Tell me more about that,’" she said.

Moody is the creative mastermind behind Feeling Moody. She's one of the nearly 130 St. Louis makers connected with Nest's Makers United program.

It got here in September. Lindsey Struck says the goal is simple.

"To elevate the voices of makers in a community and get them connected to resources and do it in a way that is designed to be inclusive," Struck said.

Struck said St. Louis’ willingness to support new things is what makes it the perfect place for a company like this.

The company has a local team working to connect with makers virtually, for now, and figure out what their needs are.

"Nest is then going to figure out can we partner locally? Can we partner nationally? to bring content to address those particular problems."

From mentorship to space to figuring out how to make this whole online thing work, the program is there to help.

"I need people to say hey I've tried this before, this is what this could look like," Moody said.

She calls it a support system.

"I think St. Louis really champions talent that comes out of the city."

And Struck says there's a lot of it.

"That could be anything from soaps to handwoven textiles."

She said those 130 makers Nest connected with likely don't scratch the surface of what's here.

"Some folks are full-time educators and on the side, they're also a creative and a maker."

Their goal is to help them shine and get folks to support them.

"You're getting to support a maker. You're getting to support someone in your local economy."

This is important, because when it comes to what makes St. Louis special, the people made here and what they make paint a pretty clear picture.

Nest launched its Maker's United program in 2019 in Birmingham, Alabama and has expanded to several cities.

Nest's founder, Rebecca Van Bergen, is from St. Louis, so this new venture is extra special.

For more information about Nest, click here