I love walking in the Elmwood Village for exercise and visual stimulation. Now that the gardens are no longer attracting attention, the storefront windows definitely are. What could be more fun than window shopping while making a list of holiday gifts to buy? There is also the benefit of socializing when I dip inside a store or run into someone on the street. Did you ever think of the small business owner who took a risk and works diligently to provide us with those opportunities?
A huge fan of small businesses, I frequent local shops not only on Small Business Saturday, but year round. The benefits of shopping locally are great. We boost our local economy, stay connected socially with our community and if we’re on foot or bicycle, we get exercise in the process. There are many ways to vote for what we want; one way is with our purse.
According to entrepreneur and jewelry designer, Stephanie Robb, “You enrich your surroundings by giving support to those around you.” Stephanie is a partner in Wild Things and is the owner of Turnstyle; both stores are on Lexington Avenue west of Elmwood. Stephanie has been a small business owner for almost thirty years. She met a group of jewelry designers in a class at Buffalo State College and with a shared vision of cooperation and creativity, they opened Wild Things. The circle of women has evolved but the jewelry store full of unique, handcrafted local designs lives on.
About four years ago, Stephanie fulfilled a longheld dream to sell clothing; she launched Turnstyle which is at the corner of Ashland, only a few storefronts down from Wild Things. The concept grew organically from a small store with a few racks to a full-service women’s clothing store. You can purchase casual and dress clothing as well as coats and accessories (including lingerie, hosiery and eyeglasses). Frann LaRocca’s Sentir aromatherapy products are also available. A women could pop into Turnstyle and outfit herself for any occasion including a signature scent.
When walking past Wild Things or Turnstyle enjoying the eye-catching window displays of jewelry and clothing, consider that a lot goes on behind the scenes. Jewelry is produced on site one bead or one gem stone at a time. Stephanie travels to gem shows to purchase stones and beads, finding inspiration from colors, cultures and clients. A passionate and experienced designer, Stephanie has been sketching and creating jewelry for as long as she can remember. At both Wild Things and Turnstyle, they not only create jewelry but also teach classes so others can learn how to create their own one-of- a- kind pieces.
The next jewelry-making class at is Tuesday, December 13th from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Turnstyle. Call 716-844-9116 or email email@example.com to sign up or get more information. In addition to classes on site, if you put together a group, they will come to you to teach jewelry making. It’s a chance to combine learning a new skill, having fun with friends and making jewelry.
Back to holiday shopping. Imagine taking a walk down the street to purchase a gift or personal clothing item. While in the store, you try something on and ask for opinions from an employee or other customers. You feel a part of the community and you are! I used to think that Stephanie put things intentionally in her windows to draw me in when I walked by, now I know that many people feel that way. Stephanie is connected to the local culture, individual women and to her vision of community-building and we all benefit from it.