St. Michael's Church hosted a Christmas boutique on Nov. 24, and as I scanned the display tables for Christmas gifts handmade by local artisans, I spotted a familiar face.

I wrote about Stephen Billowitch in April, and how, at age 13, he founded his own business making and selling trivets. Stephen creates trivets made from Livermore wine corks glued within a wood frame. A trivet is an object placed between a serving dish or bowl and a dining table to protect the table from heat or water damage.

At the time, he was learning the benefits of mass production, using a local snowboard manufacturer to help design and produce the frames in which the cords are fitted.

Now, seven months later, Stephen is still using Aloha Products as his manufacturing hub, and is having at least 120 more trivets manufactured after selling about 100.

"Things are going great," said Stephen at the St. Michael's boutique. "The business is growing nicely."

The annual Christmas boutique at the St. Michael's parish hall offers local artists and small business owners a chance to show off their paintings, decorations, and other items.

Stephen has been hand-making the trivets since the fourth grade. It began as an entrepreneurial project for Arroyo Seco Elementary School fourth graders, who had to develop a business idea. Now in eighth grade at East Avenue Middle School, Stephen hopes to put any revenue from the business into a college fund.


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He has been selling the trivets at wine events around Livermore, and some wine tasting rooms may begin to sell the trivets. His website will be up and running in a month, but for now interested customers can call 925-215-1801 or look for Stephen's table at local wine events such as this weekend's Hollidays in the Vineyards. Stephen will be at Concannon this Saturday from 12:00-4:30. The trivets cost $29.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@bayareanewsgroup.com.