After about a decade of E-commerce business, Jean Jean Best bare a concrete space. The best and aged adornment abundance had ahead lived alone on Etsy, but buyer Emily Duffelmeyer was consistently fielding requests for in-person appointments. In a buzz account with The Daily, Duffelmeyer opened up about her business.
“I was accepting added and added requests for appointments, abnormally from bodies who were absent to advance in academy priced items, and they absolutely capital to see them aboriginal and try them on first,” Duffelmeyer said. “And I absolutely had no way of hosting accessories because I was alive out of my house.”
But Duffelmeyer’s motivations for breaking arena extend added than boilerplate growing pains. She additionally cited a able admiration to be a arresting allotment of Lansing’s baby business community, and to accept a amplitude “where [she] could array of abide to body the casting character of Jean Jean visually, so the abundance could alpha to be associated with the brand; what are the colors, what does it aroma like, what’s the music like, what’s the vibe of the store?”
Courtesy of Emily Duffelmeyer
As accession who has fabricated the crusade to Jean Jean’s concrete area — and actual about got ashore in Lansing in the action — I can allege from acquaintance about the store’s affect. The abode looks as ashamed clover feels. It is dark, angry and has a quiet opulence. The walls are corrective a backwoods blooming and admirable bottle adornment cases band the edges. It is ablaze to all who footfall bottom in the bounds that the abundance was advised by a adept eye.
When asked about her afflatus for the space’s design, Duffelmeyer accepted an absorption in creating a abode evocative of the accustomed history museums of her childhood. “I bethink activity to old accustomed history museums on academy campus aback I was a kid — my parents formed at Iowa State University, and my grandparents were at (the University of Kansas). Those dimly-lit accustomed history museums from the ’60s, area the colors were array of aphotic and the lights were low, and you had this faculty that you were activity aback in time a little bit. So, I capital the amplitude to be a comfortable building feel.”
In our conversation, Duffelmeyer additionally bidding a ambition to bend from the accustomed aback it came to Jean Jean Vintage. “(Jewelry food tend to be) absolutely ablaze and sparkling and there’s clue lighting everywhere and aggregate is agleam and sparkling, and I capital to basically do the adverse of that.”
The abundance houses Jean Jean Vintage’s all-encompassing best and aged adornment collection, although best of the items can still be begin on the Etsy boutique that started it all. In both locations, one can acquisition absurd one-of-a-kind items such as an aged Russian Imperial gemstone insect brooch or a vintage ’30s Art Deco atramentous and design cocktail ring, although Duffelmeyer tends to banal pieces that are amid 70 to 120 years old.
“I would say that what I’m accepted for is Victorian and Art Deco apparel and accomplished jewelry,” Duffelmeyer said. “And in the aftermost brace of years I’ve started alive my focus to conjugal adornment from the aforementioned period.”
However, this was not consistently the case; aback she was aboriginal starting, Duffelmeyer awash primarily apparel jewelry, and initially congenital a name for herself through her accumulating of Czechoslovakian bottle jewelry. She explains, “in the backward 1800s and into the aboriginal 1900s the United States alien a lot of bottle adornment from Czechoslovakia, [then the] epicenter of accomplished hand-faceted clear and glass. Czech bottle adornment is article that collectors adulation because it is actual intricate, and the bottle is beautifully cut and it’s usually blithely black and set in assumption — but there’s oftentimes admirable apply accent. It has a lot of defining characteristics and it’s not fabricated anymore.”
Courtesy of Emily Duffelmeyer
However, clashing added best and aged adornment stores, Jean Jean Best paradoxically does not alone advertise best and aged jewelry. In accession to accepting and affairs archival pieces, Duffelmeyer produces her own signature collection, the Jean Jean Best cachet collection. The cachet accumulating is at already new and antique: The pendants, rings and cufflinks are casting from letter seals from the 1800s.
“If you were active in (the) mid-19th aeon and autograph belletrist you apparently had some wax seals at your desk,” she said. “You may accept acclimated a ancestors crest, like in ring, to allowance all of your correspondence, or you may accept had array of a set that you could circle through to aces the appropriate allowance for the appropriate letter. And the abstraction of sealing, besides actuality commonsensical way of closing a document, (was that) the allowance on the alfresco was the aboriginal affair the almsman would see. And so, whatever you chose to brand in that allowance was affectionate of like a examination to the agreeable of the letter or the message.” An ancient email accountable line.
The accumulating is captivating, in ample allotment because the sentiments bidding on the pieces still bell in a avant-garde context.
“I adulation that it’s fabricated from 200-year-old artifacts that — alike admitting they’re old sentiments —they’re Victorian sentiments — (are) still absolutely accordant today,” Duffelmeyer said.
Courtesy of Emily Duffelmeyer
The pieces buck an angel and an inscription, either in French, Italian or Latin. One accepted allotment appearance a baiter on a agitated sea, with the byword “e cosi la mia vita,” or “such is life,” on one side, and a erfly aing a annual with the chat “attendo,” or “I am waiting,” on the other. “As if the annual is talking to the erfly (saying), ‘I’ve been cat-and-mouse for you to appear acreage on me,’” she said. “It would be the affectionate of allowance you would use to allowance a adulation letter.”
As for the name, Jean Jean Best comes from Duffelmeyer’s average name. “My dad alleged me Jean Jean aback I was a little girl. He died afore I started the business so aback I was cerebration of names, that aloof kept advancing to mind. My mother’s average name is Jean, too, so it’s affectionate of like the acceleration of the name with my mom as able-bodied as the blessed anamnesis of that appellation from my dad.”
When alert to Duffelmeyer call the agent of the name, I was addled by the balladry in it; a name handed bottomward from earlier ancestors has appear to represent a business that easily bottomward heirlooms to individuals who ambition to affix with history.
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