This is the story of how Little Crystal Bijoux came to be.
I have always had a fondness of jewelry and accessories. That perfect pair of earrings to really set off a new hairstyle. That little pop of color in a necklace to bring life to a neutral top, or add personal style to a work suit or uniform. Stacks of bracelets and rings…what a great way to compliment a perfect manicure! That sexy little anklet to welcome summer’s warmth. A piece of jewelry can be sentimental. It can be a pick-me-up. It can make you smile. For some, jewelry is fun to collect. For others, a few carefully curated pieces will satisfy. And sometimes, for me it was often, you just can’t find what you’ve been dreaming of. And then one day, I spotted a couple of necklaces at an antique shop…not quite the style for which I was looking, but the stones were *perfect* for a pair of earrings for which I had searched for so long. As I was buying these necklaces, I was wondering how difficult could it be to make earrings? So with my new treasures in hand, I went home and searched the internet for just that: how to make earrings. And that is where the story of Little Crystal Bijoux began.
After making several pieces of jewelry for myself, and countless gifts for friends and family, friends began to ask if I could make something that they described. Most often, I was able to do this. After presenting a friend with a new collection of beach-inspired jewelry, she suggested that when I make something for friends, I should make one or two more, and look for a venue like an art show at which to sell them. My husband, Cary, and my dad, Dean, were excited at the thought, and encouraged me to channel my love of for art and design into what just might become a career. So, a website was developed. And that is when Little Crystal Bijoux became a business.
I admit, I was (and still am) very choosy about which shows I would buy a table. Flea markets are great…but they’re more for people looking to make treasures out of someone else’s once-loved things. They are not the best of places to launch a new jewelry collection! So, I focused on events that featured my fellow artists and makers; that is to say, I love an event where most of the vendors make their inventory themselves. And, my neighborhood in Southeast Baltimore County, Dundalk, has LOTS of parks, and the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, our local Community Development Corporation, organized the local events at which I was most successful. It was at their end-of-the-year holiday celebration, Holiday Hoopla, where DRC’s Community Engagement Coordinator asked me if I would like to work with her to launch a Pop-Up Shop the following year in the Historic Dundalk Village Shopping Center; likely around the holiday season. With enthusiasm, I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with DRC, and October 2013 is when Little Crystal Bijoux became a brick-and-mortar business.
Season one of the Pop-up Shop was wildly successful. Along with fellow makers sharing the space, Little Crystal Bijoux delighted local shoppers with hand-crafted, often custom-made jewelry for themselves and to give as gifts to friends and loved ones. I loved the warm reception I received from the community, and decided that when my Pop-up Shop closed for the season, I would look for a small space to lease in the Historic Dundalk Village Shopping Center. 1-A Center Place, a petite and narrow 212 square foot former ground-floor office was not only available, but also most importantly, affordable! To me this space was the perfect little jewel box to design, make, showcase, and sell my work. In February of 2014, I signed a lease. And that is when Little Crystal Bijoux became a permanent brick-and-mortar shop.