Northeast Times

Adorn offers unique jewelry and community support

Ad­orn, a jew­elry shop on Frank­ford Av­en­ue in Fishtown, sup­ports oth­er loc­al busi­nesses and rents space to com­munity groups and classes. Own­er Sarah Lewis also cre­ates one-of-a-kind jew­elry.

The walls of 1314 Frank­ford Ave. used to be the bar­ren skel­et­on of an over 30-year-old weld­ing shop — not ex­actly the most beau­ti­ful of spaces.

Today, thanks to Sarah Lewis, the space is bar­ren no more. The walls now sur­round her boutique, Ad­orn, where she sells a col­lec­tion of re­claimed metals and stones hand­craf­ted in­to beau­ti­ful works of wear­able art.

Lewis, a Sa­van­nah Col­lege of Art and Design gradu­ate, also sells her own cloth­ing designs, shoes and oth­er pieces. She opened the shop over a year and a half ago, and has been mak­ing Fishtown a little pret­ti­er ever since.

Up­stairs at Ad­orn, Lewis rents a stark white event room she simply calls “Space,” for $40 an hour to loc­al com­pan­ies and in­di­vidu­als. The space is used by yoga classes, artists, com­munity dir­ect­ors, book clubs and sup­port groups. Lewis gives non­profit groups a dis­count for the space.

“I’m ex­cited as the neigh­bor­hood picks up to fo­cus on the store and busi­ness here in Fishtown,” she said in an in­ter­view at Ad­orn Aug. 24.

Lewis came to Phil­adelphia to work as an in-house jew­elry de­sign­er for Free People, a loc­ally based cloth­ing com­pany, but after a year with the com­pany she was part of a lay­off that took down the in-house design team.

She said it was a bless­ing in dis­guise.

“After I left Free People I star­ted design­ing hand­bags and ap­par­el, but I have a habit of put­ting way too much on my plate, so I told my­self to fo­cus, and fo­cused on design­ing jew­elry,” she said. “Open­ing the store has been a great way to con­nect with my neigh­bor­hood and com­munity. I try to col­lab­or­ate with oth­er busi­nesses and pro­mote them, as well.”

Lewis cur­rently trades dis­count cards with the Lola Bean cof­fee shop across the street at 1325 Frank­ford Ave., and has jew­elry dis­plays set up in Par­lour Hair & Skin, at 1339 Frank­ford Ave., and Am­rita Yoga, at 1204 Frank­ford Ave.

While a lot of her busi­ness is through web sales and wholesal­ing — she still sells pieces to Free People and in­de­pend­ent shops like Fro­g­towne in Pott­stown, Pa — she said she’s cur­rently fo­cus­ing on the neigh­bor­hood store­front.

“Run­ning a small busi­ness, you end up wear­ing a lot of dif­fer­ent hats,” she said.  “You end up get­ting down and dirty and do­ing things your­self.”

Ad­orn’s store­front is made of re­claimed wood from an old ware­house in Phil­adelphia. Lewis also in­stalled a bike rack in front of the shop.

She said she re­ceived help from the New Kens­ing­ton Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion, the mem­bers of which reached out to her when she moved her boutique in­to Fishtown after a year­long stint in North­ern Liber­ties.

“The NK­CDC helped me through the pro­cess of get­ting a grant from the Store­front Im­prove­ment Pro­gram,” she said. “If you fix up a store­front in the city and give them an es­tim­ate and your re­ceipts, they’ll pay back half of what you spent.”

The pro­gram, along with sup­port from fel­low loc­al busi­ness own­ers and mem­bers of the NK­CDC, was in­valu­able to Lewis and her work.

Re­gard­ing her work, Lewis said she works mostly with pre­cious gems in simple set­tings when cre­at­ing her jew­elry.

Stacks of geodes, quartz and oth­er crys­tals are piled high in small dis­play boxes that sit on the cent­ral table of her shop.

They share space with long chains, bright chunks of tur­quoise, skel­et­on keys and mini pock­etknives. She gets most of her goods from a gem show that’s held every Feb­ru­ary in Ari­zona.

She said her design philo­sophy is simple.

“The stones will dic­tate my design. I keep my set­tings really simple to show­case the stone. I try not to over design,” she said. “In­stead, I let the stones shine, and let the set­ting be a ves­sel for which to wear the stone on the body.”

Vis­it Ad­orn on­line at ad­orn­bysarah­lewis.com.

Re­port­er Nikki Volpi­celli can be reached at nikkivolpi­celli@gmail.com.

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