“I woke up one night in April with one thing on my mind — customized jewelry. I thought: ‘This is crazy,’ but the feeling was so strong.”
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2021
Former ESPN producer enters fashionable new world
Lexy Carlson, owner of Opal x June jewelry boutique, enjoys a photo shoot at the Santa Fe Depot downtown Temple. Wild + Untamed Photography
‘Nudges’ lead to business success
By DAVID STONE, Our Town exclusive
COVID-19 permanently bolted the doors of many Central Texas businesses, but it also has opened new windows of opportunity. For Lexy Carlson, the pandemic has done both.
Lexy, a Temple native and University of Texas graduate, owns and operates Opal x June, a jewelry boutique that features handmade and personalized beaded bracelets. Business is good — very good — and it has only been in existence since April.
After graduating high school in 2010, Lexy headed to Austin to study print journalism at UT. Digital media was booming at the time, but she had an interest in journalism’s print side and began writing for The Daily Texan.
“I covered track and field,” she said. “I was at Texas during a time of change. When I was a sophomore, the school — through ESPN — launched the Longhorn Network. I applied for an internship but wasn’t accepted because of my focus on print journalism. They were looking for people who were focusing on the digital and broadcast side.”
Learning from that experience, Lexy accepted an internship with KXXV in Waco and started covering high school sports. She also took digital journalism classes.
“The next year I applied again, and this time I was accepted,” she said. “It was a big deal — I had my foot in the door at ESPN.”
Acting while the proverbial iron was hot, Lexy put her education on a fast track and interned at the Longhorn Network during football season.
“I graduated in two-and-a-half years instead of four, and I got some valuable work experience,” she said.
Her next stop — Bristol, Connecticut, home of ESPN. Lexy was one of 20,000 applicants wanting internships at the hugely popular sports network. After a year of interning, she was hired full time.
“It was a dream job,” she said. “Life is all about connections, and I learned how to connect with others while at ESPN. I was part of an amazing team.”
Lexy began her network career as a production assistant, but advanced to become an associate producer for ESPN’s College GameDay. Her team won two Emmy Awards for the show, and she later held a similar position with the popular Mike & Mike sports talk program.
While in Connecticut, Lexy met Frankie, a fitness instructor at a nearby gym. In 2018, she left ESPN for a new dream, and the two managed a group fitness center. Soon, they got married and moved to Cedar Park.
“I’ve always followed God’s little nudges in life,” she said. “We were and still are fitness freaks, so when we got to Cedar Park we opened our own fitness studio.”
The timing couldn’t have been worse. Soon after the gym opened it was shut down by the state because of the pandemic.
“It was a small gym, and the mandate wasn’t lifted until June,” she said. “Even then, we could only operate at 25 percent of capacity. For a small gym like ours, that meant two or three people, and that didn’t pay the bills.”
The family — a son was born in March 2020 — moved to Temple, and once again, Lexy followed one of those “nudges.”
“I’ve never been a crafty person but I had a calling to do something creative,” she said. “Faith is important to me, so when God nudges me, I follow. There’s no reward in life without a little risk.”
The “calling” came to Lexy in a dream.
“I woke up one night in April with one thing on my mind — customized jewelry,” she said. “I thought: ‘This is crazy,’ but the feeling was so strong.”
After deciding on made-to-order beaded bracelets, she launched online stores on Instagram and Facebook. The orders came pouring in.
“I literally went from an idea to having tons of orders overnight, but I wanted something else. I wanted to attach my brand with other small businesses.”
With a little research, she met her first partner in Mary Senese and Dough Re Mi.
“Mary’s business was also new, and she was so inspiring,” Lexy said. “I reached out and introduced myself, and I customized some bracelets to have in her cookie dough store. I made beaded bracelets that said things like “Sweets, Plz” and “I Love Dough.”
Lexy’s great idea got a great reception. Today she has about 15 collaborations with other Central Texas businesses, most of them owned by women.
They have formed a group of new friends — they call themselves The Boss Babes — and they meet to relax and bounce fresh ideas off each other.
“This was my calling, connecting with other women and small business owners,” she said. “It’s amazing to see what connecting with other businesses can do. We have big dreams and even bigger plans.”
Opal x June features custom designs completely unique to each customer. Each piece is hand-crafted and thoroughly inspected, she said.
“Everything is handmade to order. Each piece is the result of a one-on-one conversation with the client.”
So, how did Lexy select Opal x June as the name of her business?
“Opal is my husband’s birthstone,” she said. “And June is a month that defines our relationship — it’s the month we got married.”
Lexy’s creations can be found on Instagram (@opalxjune_originals) and Facebook (Opal x June). She plans to take part in local markets at West Temple Oktoberfest on Oct. 16; 3 Texans Winery & Vineyard’s Fall Market in the Vines on Nov. 13; and the Salado Christmas Stroll on Dec. 3-5 and 10-12.
Lexy Carlson designs custom bracelets to fit a client’s personality, needs and desires.
Opal x June collaborates with other local businesses to create custom beaded bracelets. The above photo shows bracelets Lexy Carlson created for Dough Re Mi, an area business that specializes in cookie dough.
A group of local business women who call themselves The Boss Babes meet regularly to collaborate on their ideas and dreams. There are several local women in the group, including Lauren Proctor of Proctor Victory Garden, Lexy Carlson of Opal x June, Olivia Badgett of Liv Simply and Leia Alexander of Hey Sister Bow Co.
A bit of local history
Thanks to Jeff Swindoll of the R.D. Haines Medical Library at Baylor Scott & White in Temple for submitting the following Temple Chamber of Commerce literature. The four-page pamphlet is likely from the late 1930s or 1940s. Look at the photo of Temple High School on Page 3. There appears to be a traffic circle in front of the school. My, how things come full circle! The type is small, so viewing on a tablet or desktop may be the best viewing option. I’d love to know what road is on Page 4.
September 15, Wednesday - Tiny Thinkers, Kids 5 years old and younger are invited to the museum to experience the State Fair! Bell County Museum. 10 a.m.
September 15, Wednesday - Open Mic Comedy, Corky’s. 8 p.m.
September 16, Thursday - Live Comedy Night hosted by Steven Farmer. Soon Wine Bar & Small Plates, 7373 Honeysuckle, Temple. 7 p.m.
September 17, Friday - Matt Cearley & The Rowdy Few live at O’Briens Irish Pub, 9 p.m.
September 17, Friday - Wade Ralston live at Fire Base Brewing Company, 6:30 p.m.
September 17, Friday - Neal McCoy, Cotton Country Club, Granger. 9:30 p.m.
September 18, Saturday - Dale Watson, Texas Music Series, Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
September 18, Saturday - Live Comedy Showcase. Corky’s. 8 p.m.
September 18, Saturday - The Chancers, O’Briens Irish Pub, 9 p.m.
September 18, Saturday - Night Bright Bike Ride, Pepper Creek Train off North Kegley. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to local food pantries. Trail parking is available at the Scott & White West Campus next to the hospital's parking lot. Look for green trail signs along FM 2305 and Kegley Road to direct you to the parking area. 6:30-9 p.m.
September 18, Saturday - Harvest Celebration. Bring your family and friends to enjoy grape stomping, food trucks, music, and wine. This is a ticketed event. 3 Texans Winery. 6 p.m.
September 18, Saturday - Detox/Retox Yoga, Fire Base Brewing Company, 11 a.m.
September 18, Saturday - Quest for the Best Hog Show & Sale, Bell County Expo. 4 p.m. Preview, 6 p.m. Sale.
September 18, Saturday - Sip and Spin Pottery Night. Instructors guide you in making pots and bowls on the wheel. Tap Tap Art School, Harker Heights. 6 p.m.
September 18, Saturday - Original Debonaires Reunion Dance, Cotton Country Club, Granger. 8:30 p.m.
September 21, Tuesday - Body of Christ Community Clinic’s Together We Heal Banquet, UMHB, Jimmy Dorrell, keynote speaker. 5:30 p.m.
September 24, Friday - Maxx Carter live at Fire Base Brewing Company, 6:30 p.m.
September 24, Friday - Belton Bacon, Blues & Brews Festival, noon to 9 p.m.
September 24, Friday - Aaron Watson, Cotton Country Club, Granger. 9:30 p.m.
September 25, Saturday - Littlest Wildcat Cheer Camp, Temple High School. 9 a.m.
September 25, Saturday - Name That Tune Bingo: Belt it Out Edition. Fire Base Brewing Company, 7:30 p.m.
September 25, Saturday - Belton Bacon, Blues & Brews Festival, noon to 9 p.m.
September 25, Saturday - Baxley & Acadian with special guests Ghost Republic at O’Briens Irish Pub. 9 p.m.
September 25, Saturday - Fun at the Fair! Join us at the museum to for fun at the fair! View the newest exhibit and take part in fun activities - explore symmetry by decorating a popcorn bucket, build your own mini rollercoaster, race your family in duck races, and visit our petting zoo! Bell County Museum. 11 a.m.
September 30, Thursday - TLC’s Celebration of Crazy, Sexy Cool with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Bell County Expo Center. 7:30 p.m.
September 30, Thursday - Funniest Comic in Texas semi-finals. Corky’s.
October 1, Friday - Randy Rogers Band, Johnny Steaks and Bar-Be-Que, Salado. 6 p.m.
October 3, Sunday - Temple Civic Theater’s annual Bazaar Thrift Sale & Blood Drive. Rummage through racks of clothes and tables packed with fun finds. TCT facemarks, wristbands, mugs and memberships also will be on sale. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
October 5, Tuesday - Temple’s National Night Out. 6:30 p.m.
October 7, Thursday - The Spazmatics, Schoepf’s BBQ, Belton. 6 p.m.
October 8, Friday - Painting with a Twist, 3 Texans Winery. 6:30 p.m.
October 9, Saturday - Shinyribs, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
October 9, Saturday - Oktoberfest 2021, Barrow Brewing Company, Salado, noon to 10:30 p.m.
October 11-17 - Hocus Pocus, The Beltonian Theatre, Belton. Noon.
October 16, Saturday - West Temple Oktoberfest. 3 West Alehouse & Grill. 11 a.m.
October 16, Saturday - Oktoberfest 2021, Barrow Brewing Company, Salado, noon to 10:30 p.m.
October 16, Saturday - Michael Salgado at Schoepf’s BBQ in Belton, 6 p.m.
October 18-23 - The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Beltonian, Belton. 6-8 p.m.
October 23, Saturday - Don Gregory Memorial Lions Club Golf Tournament. Sammons Golf Course. Contact Jeffrey Thigpen Thigpen.firstname.lastname@example.org to register or for sponsorship opportunities. 4-person scramble begins at 8:30 a.m.
October 23, Saturday - Free Movie Night. Harker Heights Community Park. 5 p.m.
October 23, Saturday - Oktoberfest 2021, Barrow Brewing Company, Salado, noon to 10:30 p.m.
October 29, Friday - Uncasing of the Colors for the 607-member 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the 3rd Squadron, 36th Infantry Division, now headquartered at the Texas Army National Guard on Airport Road in Temple. Santa Fe Plaza, 10 a.m.
October 29, Friday - Season closing event, Domestics vs Imports, Little River Dragway, 7 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Barktoberfest, Dog costume contest at 5:30; adoptable dogs on site. Barrow Brewing Co., Salado. 1-7 p.m.
October 30, Saturday - Bulls & BBQ, Live bull riding followed by concert with Jake Worthington and Keith Braxton. Schoepf’s BBQ, Belton, Noon.
November 4, Thursday - Spur Classic Sporting Clay Shoot, Weber Shooting Range. 8 a.m.
November 6, Saturday - Chris Hillman, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - Market in the Vines. Take a walk through the vines and shop with over 50 vendors! Free to the public. 3 Texans Winery. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November 18, Thursday - Taste of the Holidays 2021: A Candy Cane Christmas. Mayborn Convention Center. 10:30 a.m.
December 4, Saturday - Barrow Brewing Christmas Market, Salado. Noon.
Have an event you would like to promote? Email info to OurTownTemple@gmail.com with “What’s Happening” in the subject line. Keep it short and sweet — what, when and where. You may include a short description. You must include a phone number for verification purposes. The phone number will not be published unless requested by submitter.