Bravo Tv Star And Designer Craig Conover Finds Inspiration In His Delmarva Roots
It’s been five years since Sussex County native
Craig Conover found fame on Bravo’s popular series Southern Charm, and the reality star is now stitching up a new career in design. Sewing Down South, Conover’s sewing lifestyle brand, recently launched a line of pillows that takes its cues from the Delmarva coast.
At the brand’s launch in Selbyville, more than 200 people lined up at Casual Designs Furniture for the chance to meet Conover and purchase one of his coastal-inspired pillows. The event was the latest stop on Sewing Down South’s “Pillow Party” tour as Conover visits a dozen retailers in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
“To come home and have the support of local merchants is really special,” Conover said. “To be able to sell my designs where I grew up is what means the most.”
Design wasn’t always in the cards for Conover. The Indian River High School graduate headed south in 2006, to the College of Charleston, to study finance and later law at the College of Charleston School of Law. After graduating, Conover was approached by a friend in 2013 about starring on a reality TV show that offered an insider’s view of the Charleston lifestyle. That show, Southern Charm, was an immediate hit, and Conover quickly gained fame not only for his good looks but also as the lone Yankee on the show.
“I originally went to law school to help people, then, Southern Charm happened, and life took a detour,” he said.
Fame took a toll on Conover, so he turned to sewing as an outlet for stress relief. “Until four years ago, I hadn’t done any sewing since the eighth grade, when I took home-ec with Mrs. Hurley,” Conover said, recalling his former teacher at Selbyville Middle School.
His newfound hobby became a central plotline of the show, inspiring a cult of supporters on social media who championed his passion.
“I [had gotten] a lot of grief, but it’s silly to let stereotypes control your life. If you want to sew, then sew,” said Conover, who draws his own design inspiration directly from his affinity for the water.
“I spent my life growing up at the beach; being near the water has always provided clarity somehow,” he said.
After a hiatus from the show, Conover returned to Charleston in 2018 and launched Sewing Down South. The first pillow, featuring a blue crab design, sold out within hours. It remains the brand’s number-one seller.
“The crab pillow was my first design because I wanted to pay tribute to my roots,” he said.
Most of the pillow patterns reflect the brand’s beachy aesthetic and are offered in both indoor and outdoor versions, the latter made from durable Sunbrella fabrics. Coming next is a line of pastel-hued nursery pillows, with plans to expand into kitchen decor in the near future.
For Conover, it was a circuitous route to design, but he knows that no matter where this new path may take him, all roads will lead back home. “I will always be drawn to my hometown and the coast. It’s my comfort zone, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Story by Katie Riley
Photos by Ryan DeNeff