Lily and Val

American Made Since 2012

Valerie McKeehan

East Berlin , Pennsylvania
Lily & Val offers hand painted chalkboards, prints, cards, and other paper goods featuring my hand lettered and illustrated chalk art.

Tell us about your business.

After my husband and I got married, I turned an old picture frame into a chalkboard to decorate our new kitchen. I drew a “McKeehan’s Café” theme and my love for chalk art was instantly born. I heard such a great response and thought it might be fun to sell my chalkboard art as a hobby. Since chalk can easily ruin, I devised a method to preserve the designs by painting them with an acrylic paint. In June of 2012 I opened an Etsy store and began selling my quirky hand painted signs. Since then, Lily & Val has developed into a full-time job offering chalk prints, note cards, and paper goods in addition to the hand painted signage I create for weddings & events. Each design is completely hand lettered and illustrated by me. My prints and cards are created by taking a photo of the chalk art. This provides a truly realistic chalk appearance - minus the dust! I look forward to evolving my business into new, expanded product offerings and developing a wholesale wing.

What makes your business stand out?

My products are unique because they capture and preserve chalk art - an art form that is considered temporary. It is rewarding to create pretty designs that are in actuality nothing more than dust on a surface. I think that's very special. Since the artwork is produced using a photograph as opposed to digital methods, each piece feels extremely authentic and realistic.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Do not let fear of criticism or rejection stop you from pursuing your dreams. When you are true to who you are as an artist others will see that passion. Although you can’t please everyone, taking that risk is always worth it.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 8, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.