How My Grandmother Became the Inspiration for My Business
One of the questions I get a lot during shows is people asking me if I am Ellery.
I am not Ellery but I was inspired by one.
Ellery is my Grandmothers name and she is the inspiration for this shop.
My grandmother grew up with 12 brothers and sisters, in Kansas in the 1930s. She grew up in the country, learning to be resourceful, and making her clothes by hand.
When I was little my sister and I would going over to her house as a kid we would read books that were hers or that she kept from my Dad’s childhood. Reading the books that he read was fun and special tradition. The books seemed extra special because of the extra story behind them.
At Thanksgiving, we help my Grandmother dry the dishes with dish rags that she made out of old blankets and embroidered them to make them look pretty. She tells us about the dishes that we are washing and drying, yes the dishes do have a story. They are from her wedding and are 67 years old. The way that these dishes were cherished and the story was shared each year was really special to be a part of.
Old earrings that break she keeps and turns them into pendants for a necklace. Clothing gets patched instead of thrown away. In these moments I learned about re-purposing. That just because something broke does not mean that As I sat down to write this I am realizing just how much she has influenced Ellery. Not only is she the inspiration but she has also directed our guiding principles.
Ellery values Community, reuse and repurpose/ restyle, cherishing the things we have, and learning and sharing the story behind the products.
Growing up in such a large family you learn to rely on one another and realize that if you all help out you can achieve so much more. Ellery’s tag line is “we are more than consumers, we are a community.” The more we all work together we create reciprocity. Creating a community is my favorite thing about small business.
Re-working and repurposing is something my Grandmother has done her whole life and that is something that I would love to see for our consumer culture. Re-wear what you own, fix what is broken. A fun or beautiful card that a friend sent you can be framed and turned into a print that you add to your gallery wall.
I went over to my Grandparents house before the pandemic started and my Granddad was telling me that my Grandmother always gets compliments when she is out at the grocery because she likes to accessorize with her jewlery.
“ Well, I have it all upstairs, I’m not just going to let it sit there!”
Wearing the things that bring you joy makes the days and moments feel more special. Cherishing the pieces of jewelry that you have is a great way to make the days feel a little more special.
When I look at my jewelry, my clothes, and my apartment, the things that I love most have a story behind them. A story makes the purchase more special. We love supporting other women-owned businesses because we all become a part of each other’s story and create a connection.