Vermont Business Magazine Arabesque, the gift and stationery boutique that closed its doors in May after 18 years in Shelburne village, has re-emerged as two brand-new businesses in a location just a few miles up Shelburne Road.
Owner Tracy Stolese has announced that the new businesses – Shelburne Gift Company and the Vermont Wedding Studio – have completed their transition into the new space at 2538 Shelburne Road, located just across the street from the former Sirloin Saloon/Shelburne Steakhouse building.
“We’re so excited to start working with so many of our friends in Shelburne once again,” said Stolese. “It was a bittersweet decision to close the store, but I was really at a point in my life where I needed more flexibility in my schedule than the retail world was allowing.”
Stolese explained that her new business, Shelburne Gift Company, will offer many of the same services that her customers knew and loved at Arabesque, but in a studio setting as opposed to a retail store.
“Our services will be nearly identical to what we offered in the way of the stationery and invitations,” she explained. “We’ll continue to work with clients on wedding and party invitations and personal stationery by all of the same vendors like Crane, Vera Wang and William Arthur, as well as a few new additions. We’ll also continue to offer in-house printing to accommodate clients who need a quick turnaround or have a smaller budget.”
“For someone having a party or needing a personalized gift within a quick time frame, it’s a life saver,” she added.
They will also continue to offer many lines of personalized gifts including wedding pottery, engraved soaps, candles and cutting boards, and many others.
Stolese is particularly excited about an expansion into a new area. “We’re planning to have a big focus on curated gift boxes, wedding welcome bags and custom gift design for wedding and corporate clients,” she said. “Vermont has a developed an enormous wedding industry, and we’re hoping to fill a need that’s been expressed to us by many wedding planners for this type of specialized service.”
For example, many weddings in Vermont now involve large numbers of guests coming in from out of town, and couples may like to have welcome bags waiting in their hotel rooms. “We’ll work with the couple to figure out how we can create a welcome gift that’s really special, from choosing a selection of items that reflects the theme of their day all the way down to including personal notes or designs from the wedding,” Stolese explained. “We’ll also put together hospitality baskets for the powder rooms at the wedding reception, which is always a big hassle for the bride or the mom or the wedding planner to assemble.”
The biggest difference between Arabesque and Shelburne Gift Company is that the new location will not offer retail hours or keep inventory in stock. “We’re currently open by appointment and will be working with clients on a special-order basis, much like we always did with the stationery and personalized gifts,” Stolese noted.
“I’m generally there most weekdays and happy to schedule meetings with customers just about any time they’d like!”
Visitors to the new space will notice another difference upon entering the new space…and this is where the second new business comes in.
“I really loved the location but realized it had a bit more space than what I needed for the gift and stationery business,” Stolese explained. “While I was talking with wedding vendors about the new venture, I saw that there are so many of them working out of their homes and having meetings with brides at Starbuck’s. It got me thinking…why couldn’t we use this additional space to set up a co-working space for the wedding community?”
And thus, the Vermont Wedding Studio was born.
“We’ve set up the Vermont Wedding Studio as a beautiful open space with meeting areas, two desks and a kitchenette area with a fridge, microwave, coffee and water,” she said. “The goal is to make it a place where someone working as a ‘one-person show’ can get away from their home office for a fresh perspective, a client meeting or some collaboration time with other wedding entrepreneurs...without the huge expense of renting their own office.”
The space will also offer WiFi, printing, faxing and scanning. In addition, there is a photo styling area which can be used for Instagram photography.
“I knew how badly I struggled at Arabesque when trying to find the perfect spot to take a photo for Instagram,” she said with a laugh. “Since so much of the wedding industry’s marketing is based around Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, I thought this would be a valuable service that we could offer.”
A few operational details are still being finalized, but Stolese is eager to start hearing from wedding pros who may be interested in utilizing the space.
“We’ve spent the last couple of months moving and prepping and painting and assembling and getting everything ready,” she said. “Even though we’re still a bit of a ‘work in progress,’ I think it’s time to start letting people know that we’re back in a brand-new way!”
Shelburne Gift Company and the Vermont Wedding Studio are located at 2538 Shelburne Road, Suite 100, Shelburne. They may be reached at (802) 985-8732, on the web at www.shelburnegift.com and www.vtweddingstudio.com, and via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.