Reaching for the stars

Vanessa Torke of Nessa’s Naturals can now say that her products have been given to a celebrity.

Recently, Torke, of Hanley Falls, became a member of the Artisan Group. The Artisan Group, which is based in California, is an “exclusive art promotions group representing talented artisans at Hollywood’s best celebrity gift lounges,” according to its website.

The mission of The Artisan Group is to introduce Hollywood to the best of the handcrafted movement, said the website.

“I first found the group two years ago, I was too chicken to apply,” Torke said. She said she was afraid the group wouldn’t like her product and reject it.

Torke had befriended Judy Allen of Jackson, who makes jewelry under the name Wrapped Elegance. The two would do craft shows at Prairie’s Edge Casino in Granite Falls, and Allen was already a member of The Artisan Group.

“I told her I have dreams of applying,” Torke said.

Last June, Torke got a message from Allen saying that Torke was basically a shoo-in for The Artisan Group.

“(She said) ‘I showed Valerie (Guerrero) the founder your website (, and she was impressed,'” Torke said.

Even though she was “pre-accepted” in a way to The Artisan Group, Torke still had to apply. So she applied through The Artisan Group’s website. Torke said she was told it may take up to a week to learn if her application had been accepted.

“Well, I heard back within three hours,” Torke said, adding that Allen gave her “the kick in the pants she needed.”

The goal of The Artisan Group is to get handcrafted products into celebrities’ hands, Torke said.

“I will be gifting to the press of the Golden Globes,” Torke said. Torke will give samples of Merlot Mania lipstick and a smoky silver eyeshadow trio.

Torke got some encouragement from Guerrero on what products to choose. Everything has to be of a certain size and shipped within a certain time frame.

Torke also had gifted some of her Nessa’s Naturals products toward a confidential VIP bag in October. That bag was for Selena Gomez for a VIP party in Los Angeles.

“We didn’t find out until after it happened,” Torke said. “She got a full-sized lipstick and a trio.”

“It’s a pretty big deal,” she added.

Since becoming part of The Artisan Group, Torke said it’s been a boon for Nessa’s Naturals.

“I’ve gotten more exposure on social media,” Torke said.

Torke is doing continuing education in natural health to become a certified natural health professional next year.