OCEAN GROVE – Expanding up in Knoxville, Tennessee, Ellie Mathias was a cost-free-spirited romantic who beloved jewelry and add-ons.
And she productively channeled her innovative strength and talent in jewellery style and design into her 2017 launch of The Mermaid Haberdashery, an Ocean Grove-centered boutique providing classic reproduction jewelry that assists transport its wearers to a less complicated, far more sophisticated time.
“I loved art, textiles and fashions from a extremely young age,” recalled Mathias (aka “Miss Ellie”), 49, a Very long Branch resident who labored in clothes and jewellery stores all by way of her large school yrs. At 18, Mathias still left her hometown and the constraints of her self-explained “puritanical upbringing” for art faculty at Washington College in St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated with significant dreams.
“I’ve usually been rebellious and a chance-taker, so just after art university, I moved to New York Metropolis to make my mark on the jewelry and extras earth,” mentioned Mathias, who labored as everything from a “gal Friday” at an athletic clothing agency to an assistant designer for a handbag corporation.
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“In 1998, I commenced my have business with other partners generating non-public-label jewellery and hair ornaments for Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, David’s Bridal and other prime brand names,” Mathias claimed. But although the working experience enabled her to build her community of field contacts, hone her structure skills and journey, “the business strain to satisfy sure price tag points finished up stripping away the creative element for me and bought me even more and more away from why I desired to be a jewellery designer in the initially area.
“I always want to make factors that anyone can pay for simply because I’m just a normal gal as well, but the industry emphasis on tendencies and base strains whittled absent all of the creativeness,” she mentioned of the issue that led her to dissolve the partnership practically a 10 years afterwards.
After relocating to New Jersey with her husband in 2007 and acquiring daughter Charlotte in 2009, Mathias ongoing doing work with her business contacts, touring to trade exhibits nationwide, and furnishing her specialty antique reproduction jewellery to boutiques and retail retailers this sort of as Anthropologie and Victorian Buying and selling Organization. But she longed for a far more settled life-style and alternatives past the mass sector.
“I’d acquired all about large business and substantial creation more than the yrs and realized that I could have a excellent little business enterprise without having all of the headaches,” Mathias claimed. “I wanted to lay roots in New Jersey, provide shoppers and appreciate a lot more individual interactions with the individuals who truly acquire and wear my pieces.”
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Mathias proceeded to open up The Mermaid Haberdashery on the Asbury Park boardwalk in 2017, moving to a much larger house “located off the overwhelmed route — just how I like it” in Ocean Grove a year afterwards.
“I’ve often been driving the scenes generating jewellery with an individual else’s identify on it and I really like a concealed treasure,” she said of her quaint store. “It’s like locating a pearl in the ocean or stumbling on one thing that’s solution and unspoiled.”
‘Romantic with a capital R’
These days, in Mathias’ 400-sq.-foot retailer showcasing superior tin ceilings, sumptuous gold and ivory décor, and a identify that celebrates her adore of mermaids — “they’re entertaining, wild, captivating and fantastical, like my jewelry,” she reported — Victorian-era trinkets abound.
“Ocean Grove is a magical, historic village the place you phase back in time, and my shop embodies that,” she claimed. “We have antique counter fixtures, Victorian mercantile conditions and no digital money registers. I give individuals a lot more than ‘stuff,’ mainly because stuff isn’t what will make people today feel very good — activities are. I want them to phase back to a slower, more peaceful and more passionate time time period.”
“I style all of the jewellery I supply and it is all soldered, casted and electroplated in New York City’s garment district,” Mathias claimed of her one of a kind rings priced from $20 to $60, earrings priced from $28 to $200, and broad wide variety of necklaces, bracelets, hair ornaments and headbands.
The seem and come to feel of Victorian-era jewellery tends to be weighty, intricate and ornate and often requires faces, cameos and Gibson Female portraits or other damsel-like figures, Mathias claimed.
But “not everybody needs a assertion necklace, so we have rings and things that are lesser variations of more substantial items,” she stated. “I also use vintage gemstones, beads, baroque pearls and century-outdated Czech glass in some parts and love being in a position to make constrained creation runs that integrate these 1-of-a-form treasures.” which she also sells to other boutiques, museum exhibits and gift outlets nationwide.
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Along with her jewellery, “our store offers some apparel and supports a quantity of other New Jersey-centered artisans, including Kathy Jeanne Millinery, which helps make top quality hats the outdated-fashioned way out of their store in Fairfield,” Mathias claimed.
“Ultimately, our goods are romantic with a funds R for the reason that we all want the dream and far more romance,” she said. “We present substantial-quality but very well-priced items and I love that our keep can take individuals back in time to a stunning, intimate period.”
Her prospects consist of a significant regional pursuing, but additional that “people simply call me from Manhattan to make matters for them and have occur from Philadelphia to have me make their grandmother’s brooch into a necklace or numerous solitary earrings into a allure bracelet.”
According to Mathias, that ability in transforming aged factors into new parts has gotten her by means of the difficulties of the previous three several years.
“I’m ready to make small loads of items, which saved me for the duration of the pandemic,” she said. “It’s difficult to obtain persons who do what I do. I trim hats and make personalized jewelry for weddings and brides in clip-on formats, which really several companies do anymore. At the exact same time, antique jewellery has develop into more challenging and more challenging to find and can be very highly-priced amongst those who market it, so being able to replicate it in a quality way here in the U.S. is exceptional and some thing I’m incredibly happy of.”
‘A concealed jewel’
Supported by various comprehensive and component-time staff members (as nicely as her beloved partner John, whose primary paintings are out there for sale in her shop), Mathias explained that on line competition can be tricky, but she’s happy staying in her lane.
“I really do not sense the need to be on all those platforms — I prefer staying a concealed jewel that you are going to stumble on and come again to due to the fact you just cannot get it out of your head,” she said. “My organization product permits me to be absolutely free and creative, to serve each individual particular person separately, and to offer you folks an knowledge they can not get anywhere else.”
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Based on her accomplishment, Mathias opened a next, 200-square-foot shop in Pink Lender this past December (a grand opening event with are living music is scheduled for March 25) and is energized to carry on increasing accessibility to her merchandise, idea and signature model of buyer services.
“After my experience with the mass current market, I hope to keep on earning lesser quantities of superior high-quality but affordable items and serving clients in the ideal way feasible in a position that is not like any other,” she stated. “I’d appreciate to be the most ‘unprofessional’ achievement in Monmouth County and to continue to keep staying the area’s best-held solution.”
As for her most loved element of the occupation, “I like supplying individuals an escape and a refuge wherever they can step back in time and anything is right in the planet,” she stated of The Mermaid Haberdashery. “We offer homegrown antique flavor that harks back to a gentler era and leaves people today with unique memories.”
The Mermaid Haberdashery
Locations: 45 Pilgrim Pathway, Ocean Grove, and 30 Monmouth Str., Crimson Lender
Cellular phone: 848-246-8000
Owner: Ellie Mathias
Internet site: mermaidhaberdashery.com