Business

Owner of CIELO creates products for comfort, 'minimalist beauty'

Monica Berry discusses products while working with model Tambari Gbara of Iowa City (left) and photographer Icy Towler (
Monica Berry discusses products while working with model Tambari Gbara of Iowa City (left) and photographer Icy Towler (not pictured) during a monthly photo shoot for her company, Cielo Goods, at Basic Goods in Iowa City on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. Berry shifted her focus to her online shop and growing her wholesale business while adding new products as her usual 25-30 markets and fairs were canceled in 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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Five years ago, when Monica Berry decided it was time to stop drinking alcohol and start adding more self-care to her life, she also decided to reconnect with her lifelong artistic interests and help others focus on self-care as well.

“I always loved art as a child,” she said. “Then I went on a school trip to New York City in high school and decided to move there after college.

“When I arrived in 2001, I was so inspired by the creative energy that I taught myself to sew.”

Remembering that interest to create, Berry got back to sewing and started her business, CIELO, offering a line of self-care goods.

Today, CIELO — “heaven” in Spanish — offers cozy apparel, hot-and-cold therapy packs called Moon Warmers, dry brushes, eye masks and face masks.

“I design every detail of the products with comfort, sustainability and minimalist beauty in mind,” Berry said.

“Sensory sensitivities affect everything I do. I gravitate toward muted colors, soft fabrics, natural materials and minimal, simple designs.

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“I love the imagination and design process of creating products and sourcing the most beautiful materials and fabrics.”

Berry is proud of the fact that, while she is the only employee, she works with local women working on contract and paid a living wage to create some of the products.

“Elevating other women is important to me and has always been the mission of this business, along with providing relief from sensory issues, stress and pain.”

She also weaves in her Guatemalan heritage.

“I am proud to represent my community as a Latina business owner,” she said.

CIELO is sold at local markets, shops and on her website. Berry handles several social media accounts — Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok — for her company as well.

The last year was a challenge, Berry admitted, as she didn’t have the opportunity to sell CIELO products at markets in the region.

“Instead of selling at about 25 yearly markets, I pivoted my handmade business to one of a mixture of private label and handmade products to survive the pandemic without farmers markets and barn sales,” she said.

Berry sold and donated thousands of handmade face masks when the pandemic started.

Since starting her business, Berry said she has relished the community of other creatives.

“I so enjoy ... assisting other business owners who are starting out,” she said.

She sees it as paying it forward.

“In running my business, I have learned that the universe provides the people you need and the help you need when you are open to all possibilities, have a heart full of love and service and actively work toward your dream,” she said.

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Do you know of a Corridor business that just might make for an interesting “My Biz” feature? Send an email to michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

At a glance

• Owner and designer: Monica Berry

• Business: CIELO

• Address: Tiffin

• Website: CieloGoods.com

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