By Cary Shuman
Emily Shannon will graduate next week from Winthrop High School, but she’s already on her way to building a name for herself as an entrepreneur.
Shannon has been attracting customers to the Stitches by the Sea Store at 66 Woodside Avenue – which is owned and operated by her mother, Loraine – for her self-designed jewelry and accessories.
The story begins in Emily’s freshman year at Winthrop High, where she took a class called the Viking Longship with George Skane. Emily created a chain mail Viking shirt and a steel helmet as part of a project for the class.
From there, Shannon moved forward to designing jewelry, producing a necklace based on the Viking shirt concept.
“I make necklaces, bracelets, eyeglasses chains, key chains, and earrings by using beads, metal, Swarovski crystals, and sterling silver,” said the blue-eyed, 18-year-old senior.
Shannon has showcased her work at various events in town, including the St. John’s Episcopal Church Fair and the Winthrop Art Association’s 40th anniversary Spring Art Festival at the Winthrop Senior Center. She also had a display of her work, a box dedicated to the career of Steven Spielberg, at an exhibit at Boston College.
Shannon received a first place ribbon for a necklace and earring set she designed, in addition to earning a special award for being the best newcomer, or the rookie of the year, so to speak.
“I was excited to be recognized for my jewelry at the art festival,” said Shannon, who sold $400 worth of jewelry at the two-day event. “It’s nice to see that people like my work.”
Shannon’s jewelry is gaining the attention of people of all ages. “From ages 10 to 90, people of all ages have been buying her designs at the store,” said her proud mother, Loraine. “And she’ll custom design stuff if people want a specific color or look.”
What’s the most popular item among Emily Shannon’s growing list of admirers?
“It’s the star necklace with Swarovski crystals and other beads,” said Emily, pointing to a display inside the store. “I also teach people how to make jewelry in classes at the store.”
Emily Shannon’s jewelry pieces can be purchased for as little as $5 for cupcake earrings to $100 for high-end items. Most items average between $15 and $25.
“Depending on the complexity of the design, I can make the jewelry within an hour or have it ready within two days,” she said.
Emily is also becoming adept at the craft of counted cross stitch knitting, an expertise that her mother was more than willing to share with her. Winthrop people know Loraine Shannon’s cross stitching capabilities well, and come regularly to her store to shop for all occasions and holidays, most notably for baby gifts.
Emily Shannon has always had a affinity for artwork, drawing the “artsy” label from her mother at an early age. “I’ve always liked art and done drawings and paintings,” said Emily. “I considered myself artistic. My friends really like my jewelry.”
Shannon is looking to her future in jewelry design with much optimism. “That’s the goal right now,” she said. “I feel as more people see my work, they’ll want to buy it.”
“I’m proud of Emily,” said her mother. “She’s so talented and has always been so creative.”