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Crafted in the Lowcountry Awards – Meet the Judges

$10,000 prize value for the winning artisan or business.

The Grand Prize Includes: Being featured on the cover of an issue of LOCAL Life as well as a feature story, $5,000 cash from Hargray, an advertising and PR campaign in local media, professional photography and videography, potential additional distribution and more.

LOCAL Life, in partnership with Hargray, is recognizing and rewarding local businesses that handcraft goods that reflect the Lowcountry tastes and lifestyle. Businesses in Hilton Head, Bluffton, Beaufort and Okatie can enter, as long as items are made in the area and are already sold here.

There are six categories (Crafts, Style, Drink, Home, Art, Food) and winners will be selected by local experts in those fields. After the category winners are determined, a grand prize winner will be selected by judges and LOCAL Life team members.

To Enter: Sign up at The contest closes July 31. Winners will be announced in September at an awards show and gala. You must submit both an entry form and entry fee for your product to be reviewed by the judges.

Find the complete list of entries online at

Meet the Judges

Kay Stanley
Founder of Spartina 449
Stanley was immediately inspired by the surrounding Lowcountry landscape, and not long after her move to Daufuskie Island, plans for a luxury handbag company were put into place. Spartina 449 launched in 2009. The Spartina 449 product line is carried in 13 of its own brand stores as well as in more than 1,500 retail stores across the United States and overseas.

Joni Vanderslice
Founder of J. Banks Design Group
Vanderslice founded her multidiscipline interior design firm over 33 years ago. Since then, she has nurtured the Hilton Head Island-based operation into an internationally recognized force in residential and resort design. With over 50 associates and a credo of luxury without pretense, J. Banks Design takes on a global portfolio of interior design projects.

Tony “Cheetah” Chism
Managing partner at WiseGuys
Chism has grown the WiseGuys beverage program to be the best on the island with a wine program that includes 50 wines by the glass and an extensive bottle list, yielding a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since its inception. The program also boasts an impressive 100 bottle bourbon and scotch list, and an extensive bar, including numerous house-infused liquors and craft beers.

Carolyn Males
Arts and culture writer
Over the years, Carolyn Males has written on a variety of subjects for national and regional publications. Since moving to Hilton Head Island, she has focused on arts and culture. When it comes to the visual arts, she believes in hands-on research, her excuse for being an art course junkie since she’s been old enough to wield a crayon. As a result, some of her favorite places are artist studios where she can hang out with masters of different mediums and techniques.

Meredith Taylor
Owner of Gifted Hilton Head
Taylor has been in the retail industry since 1980. She became owner of Gifted, a well-known and respected specialty store in Pittsburgh in 1997 and fulfilled her dream of opening a store on Hilton Head in 2011. Gifted Hilton Head has enjoyed great success and has been voted Favorite Gift Shop on Hilton Head every year.

Trey Place
Chef at Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana
Place grew up on Hilton Head and began working in local restaurants at the age of 14. Throughout his storied career, he has worked in high-end restaurants and clubs in Upstate New York, Manhattan, New Orleans, Atlanta and South Florida. He had the honor of cooking at the prestigious James Beard House on two occasions.