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Meet the Fort Worth-based creatives behind the fiber arts brand Apothicc

By Rebecca ChristophersonApril 17, 2024April 30th, 2024No Comments

Meet the Fort Worth-based creatives behind the fiber arts brand Apothicc

By Jenny B. Davis
Photography by Jill Johnson

There’s a charming bungalow in Fort Worth’s Arlington Heights that’s buzzing with creative energy, thanks to the artists who live there: Andrew Bayer and Renato Bodeman. They’re the duo behind Apothicc, an online design studio based in Fort Worth that specializes in felted and tufted fashion and home accessories.

Renato Bodeman and Andrew Bayer, with their dogs and brand muses Janice (left) and Judy

Bayer and Bodeman founded the company to serve as an artistic outlet separate from their primary positions in the creative industry. Bayer, who’s originally from Gainesville, is a sought-after fashion stylist who regularly travels around the country to work on editorial photo shoots and advertising campaigns (most recently, he was on the creative team behind New York magazine’s Erykah Badu cover). He provides the crafting talent behind everything offered by Apothicc. From sculptural felted side tables to the whimsical $495 tufted-front Westie totes popular among museum school moms and other artsy types, Bayer makes every piece by hand.

Bodeman handles the business side of Apothicc along with all of the design work like packaging and the company’s website. Born and raised in Brazil, he was a graphic designer for an agency in São Paulo, where he regularly worked with such clients as Kate Spade and Calvin Klein. Bodeman taught himself website design in high school by creating the country’s first Maroon 5 fan page. He still runs the site and is still a superfan — none other than Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine called Bodeman one of the band’s “top three biggest fans in the whole world.”

Bodeman’s Brazilian heritage serves as constant design inspiration for Bayer, who loves to lean into the country’s vibrant color palette and the cheerful floral-print chintz, called chita, that’s popular in Bodeman’s home state of Pernambuco. (Plan to see even more chita once Bodeman’s mother visits them in April and brings them a fresh supply.) It’s no surprise that music inspires Bodeman. In addition to Maroon 5, he enjoys listening to Brazilian funk. “There’s something that’s so unapologetic about it,” he says.

Serving as Apothicc’s brand muses are dogs Judy and Janice. The men adopted Judy, a mixed breed, through the Paws in Prison program in Lockhart; Janice, who may or may not be a Maltipoo, joined the family via Craigslist. According to the Apothicc website, Janice “basically runs the place” while Judy is in charge of buttons and trims and “very little else” because, well, “she’s not a multitasker.”

Bayer and Bodeman aren’t just partners in Apothicc, they’re also partners in life. They met online in 2016, but the connection fizzled shortly after Bayer realized Bodeman was based on another continent.

When Bodeman’s job at his advertising agency was cut, he decided the time was right to realize his long-held dream of moving to Los Angeles. So he did — and shortly after, he reached out to Bayer, and the two met.

The connection was instant. In 2017, they settled briefly in Dallas, got married, and returned to L.A. in 2019 to establish themselves in a city filled with opportunities from movies and events.

They had barely unpacked when COVID-19 shut the world down. Bayer’s father fell ill, and Bayer had to make multiple trips between L.A. and Dallas. When his father passed, Bayer and Bodeman realized they wanted to be closer to family, so they headed back to Texas. After a brief stint in Austin, a friend suggested they check out Fort Worth. Once again the connection was instant, and they became Fort Worth residents on July 4, 2023.

“The moment we moved to Fort Worth was the first time we’d ever felt like we were where we were supposed to be, that we were home,” Bayer says. “No one is pretentious, and everything seems sincere, plus the parking is way less annoying.”

Apothicc’s Westie bags, at $495, are popular among museum school moms and other artsy types.

Although Apothicc existed before Bayer and Bodeman moved to Fort Worth, the offerings weren’t nearly as aesthetically realized as they are now. Mostly, they sold affordable handmade items like candles and soaps along with small felted pieces like decorative pins. The move to Fort Worth, however, ignited their creative spirit and inspired them to stretch their artistic limits to build a business that was bigger, better and more substantial. That it would be based on needle felting and tufting was a given.

Bayer was always intrigued by needle felting, a method of creating two and three-dimensional artwork by pulling wool with a specialized needle-like tool. It’s a natural extension of the maker mentality that surrounded him and his three siblings growing up. His mother was an artist and his father was a carpenter. His sister is a successful fashion stylist in Dallas, and his two brothers own Bayer Brothers Sets, a custom-fabricated set and prop construction company for the entertainment and events industry.

In addition to styling, Bayer is an accomplished tailor and artist. During a trip to Joshua Tree when he and Renato lived in Los Angeles, Bayer decided to teach himself how to needle felt, and he’s been doing it ever since. “I feel like every single day of my life since then, I’ve needle-felted,” he says. Tufting, which entails looping yarn pieces onto a backing fabric, felt like a natural next step, he says, and he now does that every day, too.

So far, the public has been embracing their new approach. The just-launched Westie bags are selling briskly, as are the unique tufted vase covers. Bayer also has been hard at work on custom pieces like tufted benches and large-scale wall art, available through the Les Cinq Sens Galerie in Dallas. His work debuted there in early March and within days, it was sold and the gallery was negotiating new commissions. He’s currently developing a line of needle-felted art figurines he calls “Miss Ma’am Dolls,” which will be sold through Apothicc and the gallery.

“I feel like everything before has been like a life lesson that got us to where we are now,” Bayer says, “and I feel like what we’re doing is about to take off.”


Visit Apothicc at its website, apothicc.com.