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FROM THE BRIDGE TO THE BEACH

I am just wrapping up a crazy busy weekend that began with a very fun work event at Campbell’s Field where I watched the Camden Riversharks, a local minor leaguer baseball team. One of my favorite things about the ballpark is its stunning views of the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia skyline. Very early the next morning, I had to head east about 60 miles for a beach craft show in my former hometown of Ventnor.

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JUST A LAID BACK BEACH TOWN

Ventnor is simply a laid back little town that lies between Atlantic City and Margate on Absecon Island. It has a boardwalk, which, unlike its northern neighbor, has no casinos or other businesses, making it ideal for walking, running, or cycling. All of the pizza places deliver right to the beach. And, unlike the resort towns of Ocean City and Wildwood, there are no weekly renters. Just the beach and the community…very quiet and so lovely! For close to eight years, I called Ventnor home, and I miss it quite terribly in the summertime. I was very pleased when the opportunity arose to participate as a vendor in the towns’s annual Ocean Breeze Arts and Craft Show.

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BOHO ECO CHIC

This show was my second official craft show. (I participated in one last month that was a great learning experience, but rather slow with the foot traffic.) It was also the second opportunity I had to work with my friend, Alison, who owns Back Alley Chic, and creates amazing tote bags, aprons, and pillows from recycled coffee sacks. My rustic leather and recycled glass jewelry is a perfect complement to her earthy and eco friendly bags. While I am by no means an expert on craft shows, one piece of advice I feel confident in giving is to find a buddy and rent a double space like we did. We had a large area to create an inviting space where customers could feel comfortable browsing. By co-mingling our items, we also kept our displays very interesting.

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WORKING OUT THE DETAILS

For my displays, I chose natural wood finishes to complement, rather than complete with my jewelry. Since I use glass beads that have a matte seaglass quality, I was afraid stark black or white displays would not have as positive an effect as it does on more traditionally styled jewelry. I used my extensive seashell collection to accent the display. I also decided to display prints that tell the story of both types of recycled glass beads I use. I got many questions and comments on the recycled glass from Indonesia and Africa, enough that it was a definite selling point. Many customers also took photos of the prints or asked if I had copies for them so they could share the stories of the glass bracelets they purchased. Something to consider for the next show…

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INDONESIAN RECYCLED GLASS BEADS

Recycled glass beads from Bali, Indonesia are made from molten fritters of colored glass, creating a soft beach glass effect. I source my beads from a small Indonesian-owned company that believes in sustaining green principles and supports the ecosystem by using discarded items such as bottles, jars, and windows as crude materials. Each bead is individually handmade using centuries old techniques passed down generation by generation. This crude process does not use chemicals —a green process of bead production. It also helps to keep the beaches of one of my favorite places in the world clean!

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AFRICAN RECYCLED GLASS BEADS

These amazing beads are made by the Krobo People of Ghana, Africa. They are made by pressing glass into a fine powder and heating it until the particles fuse together. The glass is then poured in clay molds and the stem of a cassava leaf is used to make the bead hole. The beads are then baked in an oven, causing the glass to melt together and the stem to burn. This technique has been used in Africa for centuries. These beads are also Fair Trade Certified. The end result is an amazing piece of eco-chic jewelry!

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All in all the show was a successful outing. The day was perfect: not too hot with a glorious breeze coming off the ocean! The crowd was great, I far exceeded my sales expectations and I handed out many, many business cards. It is definitely a show I plan to line up for next summer. It also gave me a chance to meet up with two of my dearest friends, Sue and Ingrid, who were so gracious and modeled some of Alison’s amazing creations.

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Ingrid shopping for some unique burlap throw pillows.

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Sue modeling the adorable burlap bag she purchased for her daughter.

Please check out Alison’s Etsy shop for more of her fabulous one-of-kind items:

Back Alley Chic

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time…peace, love and flip flops!
~Erin

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