Tabula Rasa Blanks boutique opens in Tryon across from post office

Published 8:11 pm Monday, October 17, 2016

Leah Pyhala, pictured with her son Asher, began Tabula Rasa Blanks in 2013 after a sewing project to make a nursing cover took off. The business is located at 90 Pacolet St. across from the Tryon post office.

Leah Pyhala, pictured with her son Asher, began Tabula Rasa Blanks in 2013 after a sewing project to make a nursing cover took off. The business is located at 90 Pacolet St. across from the Tryon post office.

TRYON – Three years ago, what started as a single sewing project for Leah Pyhala has now become a boutique in Tryon known as Tabula Rasa Blanks.

Pyhala, from Lyman, S.C., said the business began when she was trying to find a nursing cover for her son Asher at Babies ‘R’ Us. What she found was too expensive for her. So, she sewed one herself using a pattern she found on Pinterest, and posted a photo of the creation on Facebook.

“I went home from Babies R’ Us and said I would make a cover myself. I posted a picture of it on my personal Facebook page kind of like a bragging ‘look what I did,’” she said.

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Her mother and friends who had babies about the same age of Asher, who was three months old at the time, saw the photo and started asking Pyhala to make them covers.

“I made two or three, posted them on Facebook and someone mentioned that I should try to sell those,” Pyhala explained. “I posted them on the yard sale sites, and I ended up getting about six orders that week. One of the women that I made the covers for asked if I had a business card and a Facebook business page.”

Under a different name originally, Just Sew Southern, Pyhala operated her business out of her home in Lyman up until just recently when she found the vacant space across from the Tryon post office at 90 Pacolet St. When she moved the store to Tryon, Pyhala said her husband came up with the name “Tabula Rasa,” which in Latin means “blank slate.”

“We ended up going to monogramming because everybody wanted that. So my husband went to get me monogramming machines for my birthday and Christmas,” Pyhala said. “While he (Asher) was itty bitty little, he would sit in his swing and I would sit there sewing away monogramming. It got to the point where we had to hire a seamstress, and then outsource a seamstress, and then that Easter we ended up monogramming over 70 Easter baskets and this was March of 2014. This all started in August 2013.”

Pyhala said she had to hire a monogrammer, Julie Jeffcoat, to keep up as orders began to come in and the business grew. After the Easter holiday, Pyhala said she still had 70 to 80 orders left to fulfill and Jeffcoat can “do in a day what would take me a week to do.”

“I cannot run this business without her,” Pyhala said, “and she has two huge, industrial sized monogramming machines and does all of our monogramming. She is only located just four minutes from where we were at in Lyman.”

The Tryon store offers items ranging from children’s clothing to purses, backpacks and special Halloween items that can all be monogrammed for an additional charge. The store also sells in bulk on the wholesale side to other boutique owners and people who do not possess a business license, according to Pyhala, for the hobbyists who want to do a boutique on the side for some extra income.

“What I found was that I could not find blank items that were easily accessible, and at the time, I didn’t have a business license since I was doing this strictly on Facebook and Etsy,” Pyhala said. “Everywhere that I was looking wanted a business license. That’s why we transitioned over to the blanks, and that’s where Tabula Rasa Blanks came in because we wanted something different and wanted something that would stand out.”

Pyhala said when she was running her business out of her Lyman residence orders began to cover shelves in two of her bedrooms and walk-in closets. Expanding her business by finding a storefront became something she needed to do.

“We weren’t to the point where we needed a huge, 3,000-square-foot warehouse, but we did know that we needed to find something moving forward because we knew were growing so fast,” Pyhala said. “We were coming back from Murphy, N.C. to visit my parents and decided to come through Tryon. We had never been to downtown Tryon except for Steeplechase and Side Street. I was talking to Michaila at Huckleberry’s and her mom, Christine, toured me around the town and I fell in love with this little town.”

Tabula Rasa Blanks had a soft opening on Wednesday, Oct. 5 and Pyhala said she would hold a grand opening on Nov. 4. The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Store hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The shop can also be found on Facebook by searching Tabula Rasa Blanks, by visiting their website at or by calling 864-908-2841. Individuals who sign up for the Tabula Rasa newsletter can get $10 off their next order.