Shop owners Erin and Ben Napier encourage small-town living
JANUARY 21, 2016 | BY CHRISTINA STEUBE
Two artistic University of Mississippi alumni will host the pilot episode of “Home Town,” airing Sunday (Jan. 24) on HGTV.
Erin and Ben Napier, residents of Laurel, have made their living by creating historical-inspired designs for furniture, home goods and wedding stationery. They’ve used their talents to help revitalize downtown Laurel, and HGTV took notice.
During the show, the couple will help new residents find and renovate a home in Laurel while also showing them the benefits of living in a small, Southern town. In the pilot episode, a family is searching for and finds an old, historic home. The Napiers, along with local architects and craftsmen, restore the old house.
“We’re just two people who want others to see the magic of small-town living and everything it has to offer,” Erin Napier said.
If the pilot is successful, then the show could become a series on HGTV.
Ben Napier hopes the show will encourage other young families to make their homes in small towns across the country.
“When you live in a small town, you can make a difference,” he said. “It’s affordable. You can travel if you want to see the world, but the small towns are important. That’s where most people’s lives begin.”
Erin Napier honed her skills during her undergraduate career at UM, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in print design. She owns an international wedding stationery shop called Lucky Luxe Heirloom Design and her home goods line, Lucky Luxe Dry Goods.
Ben Napier graduated from UM with a bachelor’s degree in history and went into a career in student ministry. After he and Erin married, he began learning about woodworking as a means to fill their new home with furniture.
It was at first a hobby, but his handcrafted pieces have become the heart of his business, Scotsman Co., a wood shop also featuring apparel and vintage items with Southern, masculine style.
Virginia Chavis, chair of the Department of Art and Art History, said Erin Napier was an unforgettable student who frequents her classes each spring as a guest speaker.
“She is self-motivated, creative and ahead of the curve in her ideas,” Chavis said. “While she does talk about her successes, more importantly, she describes the path she took to get her where she is today. She explains to students the difficult decision she had to make in the beginning of her career to let go of her reliable paycheck in order to pursue her creative ambitions.”
Chavis recalls one faculty member saying, “Erin will be famous one day.”
“I’m so proud of Erin and her accomplishments,” she said. “Not only is she a great designer and entrepreneur, she is a good person and has remained the genuine and caring person I knew as a student.
“She’s still passionate, probably even more now than ever, about what she does. In order to be successful in the creative world, one must be willing to put in long, hard hours. Erin is not afraid of getting her hands dirty or staying up late to get the job done.”
The Napiers’ designs can be found at ErinAndBen.co. Be sure to check out the pilot episode of “Home Town,” airing on HGTV at 11 a.m. Sunday.