It started in my late teens, when I saw someone else wearing a necklace I had on, purchased at a department store. The next time I was in that store, I studied the jewelry and thought I could do better, and it would be one of a kind. I taught myself how to bead and design. That is how fernkeeley jewelry designs started a few years later, and I did a pretty decent business making custom pieces for friends and family, and soon after to people I met who loved what I was wearing.
~This is where my need for having one of a kind things came from.
I haven’t ever really wanted what others had, the trends, at least not since junior high. I admit that I was a big shopper throughout my twenties, loving the mall and racking up my credit cards. I lived and worked in Los Gatos, where shopping was a way of life. After a few visits to see a good friend in Los Angeles and checking out the stores there, they began to blur together, they all sold the same things, felt the same, something clicked off inside me and I started to hate shopping. I was over it, and really over trends. If a bunch of people like something, a style, a brand, a fabric pattern, I’m over it.
~This is why I hate to sell things that you might see somewhere else.
When I moved to Santa Cruz things really began to change. I know normal people like to shop, because they buy from me and other stores in town, thank goodness. After nine years, I really, really hate to shop. If I had time to be pioneer woman and never set foot in a store again I probably would. I support my fellow shop owners, when I do shop it’s definitely local. I’m doing a pretty good job of avoiding big cities and anywhere there might be parking issues. Some people thrive on the energy of a city, for me they suck at my life and soul. My culture is eating blackberries off a bush, talking with you, good music, hanging out with family and friends, and reading loads of books on any subject that interests me. Oh, and I can see real culture (arts and such) on the internet
~This I can’t explain, other than hey, I’m just a country girl.
Mind you, I LOVE to shop for my store, and I LOVE my store. I am happy to run up to the San Francisco Design Center, get what I need and drive straight home. I am thrilled to be able to shop for antiques in the pastures of Texas. I also LOVE you all that love my store. Making my customers and interior design clients happy is what I live for, it keeps me going.
~This is why my shop is like a home, and you feel so welcome and inspired there. (I hope)
I do have a point here. I have always and always will sell what I love, and nothing I don’t. I promise you, I know what sells. I read the blogs, I see people going gaga over things that yes, if I did not know they were mass produced in China and India I would think were fabulous as well. But I do, and I can’t get past that. I like to know the artist. It’s getting worse and worse, my snobbery, I can’t help it! There are companies I could order from and have my shop looking beautiful at all times and I would probably make loads of money. Actually, I have ordered things from these places because I know that my customers would like them and could be perfectly happy using them in their homes, but if you know me you know what happens with that stuff. It goes straight into the half off section. Boxes from China do not have good juju for me. I feel like that idiot/brilliant garage band that refuses to sell out therefore nobody ever gets to hear them except their friends, but times are different now. The garage band can make a youtube video and go viral. I can continue here on my blog, on facebook, and in person to gather a great following of people who like to have things nobody else has, love my taste and appreciate knowing where their useful or beautiful home wares, lotions, etc., come from. Please understand that I am NOT judging you for buying or anyone who sells what I can’t. Everyone needs to make a living and you do what you have to do, some of you reading this might only have a Walmart to shop at, you might have more important things to think about. Believe me, I am not judging. Please continue to shop in my store even if you don’t care about these things, I’ll still love you! I know I have issues, in twenty years it’s certainly possible I may be a hermit, living off grid with only an internet connection and a herd of cats NOT judging you guys either!
Just like I want to know where my food comes from, I want to know who poured my candles, cast my rings, made my dress or handbag, and I want to know the artist who made my dishes. If I can’t have that, because our planet is not that small yet, at least I can know who works directly with the people who make the dishes, who picked this antique chest of drawers from a barn in Nebraska.
Here is a list of artisans that I have personally met or spoken to, many are good friends, and I am proud to carry their products:
Tricia Rose – Rough Linen in San Rafael
Laura Zindel ceramics in Vermont
James and Jacque of old soul studios in Northern Ca
Maurice Connolly Northern Ca
Cheryl Schulke from Houston Texas
Maggie McKay of tomgirl west Santa Cruz
bora rings Brooklyn, NY
Dea Keeton Santa Cruz
Naomi Campos, yedomi jewelry, Portland
Katie McCann, beetle blossom in Berkeley
Kim at Austin Press
by nieves, Berkeley
Julie Munnerlyn Santa Cruz
Josh at Best Slipcover company
Mabel Chong, San Francisco
Cordelia at Sweet Petula, Seattle
Corinda LeClair, Seattle
Michael of Mill Valley candles
Gina of Flock Home
George San Francisco
Delta Farrington, I buy all of my original antique engravings from her
And of course my local antique dealers and workrooms!
I know the reps for these companies, I know who the owners are and trust that the manufacturing is fair trade, the ingredients are natural and that they make as small a footprint as possible:
olivina napa valley
maura peters candles
dash and albert
As I write this I’m making a vow to you, I will continue to only buy what I love, and to never ever buy anything that I have my doubts about its provenance. It needs to be special, well made, and beautiful or useful, as William Morris said. When I buy, especially antiques but also when I am looking at a product and talking about it with its producer or representative of, I get a feeling, good or bad. This is why I have a guaranteed good juju sign. Y’all might think I’m crazy but I can’t help myself. It’s the way I feel, and the only way I can run my business.