Lampshades, night lights, faerie boxes the stuff of MaidenShade
Evelyn Longa theartfulshopper@ yahoo.com
Talking shop with Jennifer Hopkins of MaidenShade. Hopkins makes lampshades, night lights and faerie boxes in her Bonita Springs home.
MaidenShade products are for sale at maidenshade.com and at The Art League of Bonita Springs at 26100 Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs. Hopkins also sells at craft shows.
She will be at the Side Street Artists in Bonita Springs on Feb. 7; the Gateway Charter High School Arts & Crafts Fair in Fort Myers on March 7; and at the Naples Downtown Craft Festival on April 18 and 19. Call 239.980.0799.
How did you get started with lampshades?
I've always been very creative and I've been involved with home makeovers. Somebody suggested that I should do it. The seed was planted and here I am today.
What kinds of things do you sell?
I make beautiful, artistically handcrafted lampshades, night lights, faerie boxes and I do collage. Collage and faerie boxes consist of new and reclaimed materials, and are altered art/mixed media in composition.
If somebody has something in mind I work with them as a designer and it's a personalized item.
What is unique about your faerie boxes?
I take parts of me personally to put into it. I take a few lines of a fairy tale and create an entire story that I write. I use my imagination and it's like channeling. My "faerie boxes" open up like a cigar box. The story starts on the outside and wraps around to the inside and the back.
What trends do you see in lampshades?
My new line is about weddings. So, for example, they can bring the scraps from altering a wedding dress or veil to create a night light or a larger lampshade from it.
The other thing is I will take the program and photos or a receipt and I'll make a collage lampshade so that they have a completely unique keepsake. Sort of like a scrapbook.
What is your best seller?
So far it's been my kitty art gallery night light with Marilyn Meow. I've sold a ton of those. Also the juvenile theme night lights are very popular in Hannah Montana and classic Winnie the Pooh. The Empress Woo hard-backed shade is one of my best sellers.
The larger shades are generally word of mouth and they get in touch with me. Right now I'm working on a night light with a goat on it for a customer.
Who is your typical customer?
It could be somebody who has a new office or is trying to find colors to go with their living room. A lot of my sales have been for people who get group gifts and everybody gets the same thing. That's been the trend that I've noticed. As a business owner I'm hoping that the wedding products are big.
Has the downturn in the economy affected your store?
Yes it has, but what I've found is that, although people are in a recession mentally, the price range of my items is within their range. A gift that costs $23.50 is not over the top for people.
What is the No. 1 thing you have learned about business?
That people all want good customer service and a quality product. They're always surprised by how well the product is made and people are impressed with quality. They want something for their money. What I'm discovering is that they appreciate handmade.
MAIDENSHADE IN THE NEWS
New-Press Tropicalia Section 111608
By Joanna Hogan • Special to news-press.com November 16, 2008
GOOD NIGHT, POND
Jennifer Hopkins handcrafts lamp shades, night lights, fairy boxes and collage for her Web-based company, MaidenShade.com. Although much of Hopkins’ work is by custom order, you’ll find a rich selection instantly available at the Reflection Lakes Bazaar, including the 25-inch-tall “Echo” floral lamp ($125), in designer Amy Butler’s “Lotus Pond” fabric, set in stripes on a barrel shade trimmed in green bead drops ($25 for coordinated night light).
When it comes to frog-and-turtle-themed decor, never concern yourself about acting too “matchy-matchy.” So says MaidenShade’s Jennifer Hopkins. The Bonita Springs resident’s “Froggy Frog and Turtle” barrel lamp ($57) and night light ($25) are sweet enough for the nursery and comical enough for the den.