By Gina Salvadori.
Once showcasing the work of just 9 artisans, the shop now offers products by more than 100.
A lot of us agree: Shopping small is smart. Eating local food is healthier. The garden is a sanctuary. A home filled with beautiful items makes us happy. The difference between Elizabeth Sellon and the rest of us is that Elizabeth combined these concepts into a thriving business enterprise. Elizabeth and Company Home Offerings, or ECHO for short, opened in 2018 in the space formerly occupied by the historic Old Company Store off Route 28 in Wareham. “I wanted to make it feel like you were going home,” said the elfin Elizabeth, perched on a comfortable couch in the shop’s front room, her long blonde hair tumbling over her slouchy tan sweater.
Crafts are arranged like decor, not displays, so you can easily imagine them in your own space. Once showcasing the work of just nine artisans, ECHO now offers products by more than 100. As the shop expanded into room after room of the Old Company Store, Elizabeth worked with a wide range of crafters to ensure that they would meet the shop’s high standards. “They all just found their ECHO,” Elizabeth said.
With growth has come a unique diversity in the art and the artists. Most are from the Southcoast region. But one is ultra-local—you can see her house from the ECHO window. And another, the maker of hand-painted silk scarves, lives 2,000 miles away in New Mexico. Artists range greatly in age too. Cailey Grace is just 16 and sews hair scrunchies, while Donna Fox Rubin is a retired insurance professional who crochets whimsical seasonal pins. These two artisans show that handcrafted works can be accessed without breaking the bank.
One of ECHO’s artisans, Lisa Guagnini Williamson, the genius behind the Wareham home decor business Mad Mockingbird, places her custom hand-painted vintage furniture in luxury homes throughout the East Coast…and you can buy her wares at ECHO. Tina Brittney somehow paints lifelike landscapes on the tiniest of canvases—tiny earrings, tiny pendants—while Mark Madden is “Obsessed with Owls” and carves full-sized sculptures from wood so carefully that they look like the real thing.
Elizabeth’s art is stained glass, but her passion is outside the studio. “Gardening is where my heart is,” she proclaimed. She speaks with fiery enthusiasm and strong technical expertise about a future phase of ECHO, where people can learn about using native plants in landscaping design and how to care for the plants around them.
Let’s not forget, Elizabeth exclaims, “The food!” She is actively recruiting “edible artists” in the coming months. Over the holidays, ECHO introduced Debbie Thelen and D and D’s Candies, offering chocolate and other treats, as well as Saturday morning (socially-distanced) workshops. Honey from multiple local beekeepers is available year-round— supporting all pollinators is an important goal for Elizabeth—and future offerings will include honey tastings paired with seasonal local fruits and cheeses.
Elizabeth, who did much of the shop’s renovations herself, is slowly converting the backroom overlooking Mill Pond into a classroom where artisans can share their knowledge as well as their crafts. “Once you can sew on a button, you can do anything,” she declared.
5 Elm Street
Wareham, MA 02571
Gina Salvadori is a pseudonym for a Southcoast region marketing and communications professional. She and her partner, The Big Dog, write Chow, a Southcoast/South Shore restaurant review blog, www.SouthCoastChow.com.