This season, after having a very successful surgery and getting my energy back, I am happy to say I’m looking forward to opening the shop. One of my favorite things to do is shop for the store. This year we are bringing back some of our favorites and we have also found some new, fresh items. Here is a sneak preview of a few of our finds.
Every year in the Sping the 14 Bemus Specialty shops love to invite our friends to see what is new. All of the shop owners spend almost the entire winter traveling to shows to shop for our stores. Then we can’t wait to share our finds. Don’ t miss our annual Spring event.
Thank you for a wonderful Season, we will see you again in the spring. I usually keep the shop open until New Years’ Eve but this year I have to have surgery ( the prognosis is very good) so I closed the shop early. Meantime, we are trying to list some things on our site through the “shop” button which will take you to our new Etsy shop. We are learning how to sell some of our great items from the store and I am sure we are on a steep learning curve. Please be patient because I’m determined to figure it out.
Meantime, we hope to stay in touch online, If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter and would like be on our email list, you can do that on our website or our Facebook page. We promise only to send you something every 5 weeks. Hope you are having a fun fall season. Myriam
Yancey and I just recently returned from Philadelphia where we shopped at the Buyers Market of American Crafts. We met with artists like Barb Levy http://www.barbielevyjewelry.com/ and Jill O’Reilley http://jilloreilly.com/artist.html whose jewelry has been featured at our shop. We bought great new pieces from them and other jewelry artists whose jewelry we love to carry. And we found some artists that will be completely new for this coming season like Starbird http://starbirdjewelry.com/index.html They are a mother/daughter jewelry- making team from Texas. Their work is so unusual because of its textures. We drooled over the work of Megan Auman http://www.etsy.com/shop/meganauman who designs in clean lines with steel and sterling and Kevin O’Grady who makes bracelets of glass. We put them on our wish list for the near future. In all we visited over 250 jewelry booths. There were so many choices, it took several days of contemplating. We got so excited that we decided to re-do our jewelry displays and are currently working on them. One of the artists that we have been wanting to carry for several years is Michael Michaud who designs for Four Season’s Design Group. He is a nature jeweler. His pallette is the garden, or the woods, anywhere nature is displaying its beauty. His designs are actually cast from real flowers and leaves and they are stunning.http://www.fourseasonsdesigngroup.com/silver-about-us We found necklaces made to look like pussy willows and pink miniature pearls that circle your wrist like lilac stems. We can’t wait untill we open the boxes and show them to you! By April 4th. we hope to have them start streaming in for you to see and enjoy. In next week’s post, we’ll tell you about what we bought besides jewelry. Can’t wait to share our shopping experience with you.
We are pretty excited, because on Friday, Yancey and I are headed for Philadelphia and the Buyers Market of American Crafts show. This is a wholesale-only event that features the work of hundreds of extraordinary artist from the U.S. and Canada. It is held at the Philadelphia Convention Center. We’ll get an early start because we want to arrive by 4p.m. That is when they will open about 1/3 of the floor, the jewelry exhibitors area. Usually, they greet you with Mimosas. Lovely, you can sip and browse. Everything is artisan- crafted and it makes you proud to see how ingenious our American artist are. It can be overwhelming, though, Last year there were about 250 jewelers represented. It takes hours to view. The work ranges from diamonds in minimal classic settings to very artsy or whimsical designs. Nothing looks like the jewelry in stores at the mall. These designers are award- winning. And we get to meet them and talk about their work. We are looking for new trends from artists we already carry and hope to add some new ones to our collections. After hours of browsing and taking notes, we head out to find dinner. We usually end up at one of the Thai or Asian Fusion places just down the block. But we know that before we leave Philly, we’ll make our way over to the Italian restaurant that everybody from the show loves. After dinner, we comb through the catalogues that we have gathered on the show floor and mark booth numbers that we will re- visit. Then we crash. In the a.m. I’m up and out by 7:30 in order to grab a cup of coffee and attend the seminars offered by national experts on all kinds of topics. Last year I was really inspired by the editor of Gift Ware Magazine who did a slide presentation about store windows. As soon as I got home, I asked Vern Johnson make a platform and had lighting installed in our windows. All year, we had so much fun designing displays, using information that I learned from the speaker.
So then for the next two days, its hour and hours on the floor, checking more than 500 additional booths in aisles divided by categories such as “Glass” “Ceramics” “Apparel” “Mixed Media”etc. Its a little crazy- making because there is so much to see, so many decisions to make. We get sore from walking. Aspirin. We have to take short breaks. Creme Bruelee. We have to keep checking our budgets. Coffee. We have to try not to fall in love with too much. Wine. Every night we go over our work sheets. Tums
So we’ll let you know how our trip went this year. Here’s the most important part, we will be thinking of you when we shop, because that is what it is all about. We want you to come to the store with the same excitement as we feel at the show. We want to find the most wonderfu, fun, interesting, treasures in the country for you. Cheers!
Original Arts Boutique
Shop for elegant antiques, jewelry or distinctive artisan crafted gifts made in Chautauqua County as well as the US and Canada. Gifts include wood, pottery, glass and more. We sell supplies and offer classes… Create something memorable in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
Selected by Great Lakes Life Magazine
“Must See Boutiques”
People who shop in Bemus Point, NY often come into the village only in the summer. However, the “locals” sometimes avoid some of their favorite spots in Bemus during “the season” because they are so popular. The restaurants are packed, the parking is premium, the shops are full of customers. There is a lot of fun stuff going on all summer long. Live music on the lake, the idol competition, the smell of great food wafts through the town, the people-watchers are toasting on the porches of the down town establishments meeting friends and making new ones.
Adding to the fun are the specialty shops. When our family decided to open a “store” in the village, we wanted it to be compatible with the other specialty shops, not competitive with them. In fact, many customers might be surprised to learn that the shop owners meet as a group on a regular basis, that we all like each other and that we help one another. Why? because we like what we do, we love Bemus and we really like each other. Take for example a young artist who visited me last spring. She makes beautiful children’s accessories. She came to Imagine! because we specialize in hand-made things and she was hoping to sell some of her original designs in our store. We really were attracted to her work, but we immediately “hooked her up” with Kim Walters who owns the Children’s Shoppe and where her pieces are now featured. As soon as we saw them, we knew that is where they belong. This attitude of sharing helps each store keep its unique place in the landscape of the Bemus experience. While there are some items that more than one store carries, each shop has a distinctive signature.
At some of the regular meetings of the specialty shops, we often need to work around the schedule of the various shop owners and it is always exciting for me to hear what they are doing. For example, this month Carol Skillman attended a buyers show in Las Vegas, Kim Walters is headed to Atlanta for an apparel show. Last February I was walking down the isle of the Philadelphia Buyers Market of Fine Crafts and someone came up behind me and put their hands over my eyes…I thought, “Who could this be? I don’t know anyone in Philadelphia” and there was Carol’s smiling face. It was such a happy surprise for me. She was full of suggestions for our store having already viewed the more than 1,000 booths at the show.
What does all this travel and specialty shopping mean for our customers? There are more than 11 stores in our village and each one is searching the country and sometimes the world for beautiful, interesting things to bring back right here in Bemus. Each store is sending a buyer (almost always the owner) to buy something wonderful, or fun or clever, hot off the artist’s brush or just brought over from Italy or handmade in America buy craftsmen to share with our customers. So come discover with us.!