By Jenny Vickers Chyb
The Asbury Park Bazaar's "Meet the Maker AP" series highlights local and regional artists and makers that you can find at our upcoming Valentine's Market taking place Saturday & Sunday, Feb 11 & 12, from noon to 5 pm in the Grand Arcade of Convention Hall in beautiful Asbury Park!
Today's #MeetTheMakerAP is Charleen Artese of Lovely Little Plants. When I first met Charleen she was running "Charleen's Closet" on Etsy - her collection of amazing vintage clothing and finds. I've always been inspired by her creativity and unique style - so it makes total sense that Lovely Little Plants has taken off as much as it has! Char's love of reusing, recycling, and treasure hunting is now channeled into her amazing little plants and I can't wait to keep shopping and adding to my collection - they make the perfect gift! Be sure to stop by and shop her goods on Saturday, February 11th!
1) Tell us how your business got its start.
My business got started right here at the Asbury Park Bazaar! It was in the early day's when it was very grass roots and I was signed up to sell as a vintage store called Charleen's Closet. I hadn't been having much luck with it at markets, and I had recently made two adorable plants for my mom for Mothers Day. I decided to go full force and pulled together about 30 plants to sell and SOLD OUT! It was so well received, and I enjoyed it so much that it launched me into what is now Lovely Little Plants and we will be three years this Spring!
2) What motivates you as a maker and collector?
I have always had a love for reusing items from the past to keep them out of landfills and to give them a new life. It is what motivated me when I sold vintage and it is what motivates me now. There are so many adorable vessels at thrift stores and yard sales, and I often re-use things from my own refrigerator that would have ended up in the recycle bin. Instead they become a piece of home decor with the most adorable plants in all the world, succulents!
4) Where did you grow up and where do you live and work now? What is your favorite part about living there?
I grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to Ocean Grove in 2010 because Asbury Park pulled me in like quick sand. The music, the people, and the opportunity. I live in Ocean now and work full time in Asbury Park at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties. I still love this area for the same reasons that I moved here. I have made such amazing friends am in a band called Lyons with the best ladies, I met my husband here who is also in the music scene and it just makes me happy being so close to the ocean.
5) Walk us through a day in the life in your work space.
My work space life usually starts around 6 pm when I get home from my "day job". I always start by tidying up, because I can't focus if my workshop is a mess, then I get to work. I first pick out the vessel that draws my eye and then I pick out the perfect plant to accompany it. I also spend time watering my propagated plants and starting new ones. All of this is usually done to the sound track of my college iPod filled with music from the early 2000s.
6) What are you most looking forward to at the Asbury Park Bazaar this Valentine's Market?
As always, I am looking forward to meeting new people, seeing familiar faces and watching how excited people get when they see the tiny plants. There is a perfect one for everyone and watching them find it brings me such joy!
7) Why should people shop small / shop locally for Valentine's and year round for that matter?
Shopping small keeps your dollars in your community. When you spend your money with local artists you are supporting real people instead of large corporations. It sparks the economy that you live in instead of filling some strangers bank account.
8) What are you Valentine's weekend plans other than selling?
OOOooooo I haven't even thought about it! Definitely, hang out with my husband Nick Cucci since it's our first Valentine's Day as a married couple.
9) If your planning to join us at our Roller Boogie in Convention Hall, what would be your perfect roller skating outfit?
Short red terrycloth shorts and a soft cutoff heather gray sweatshirt, crew neck!
Be sure to stop by the Asbury Park Valentine's Market on Saturday, February 11that Convention Hall and pick up a lovely little plant for your sweetheart!