Why I Shop Locally

By Robbie Johnson Weinberg, Owner

I love shopping locally. Getting to know the various shopkeepers at some of my favorite stores is a worthy pursuit. I truly enjoy understanding their buying inspirations and what’s important to them.

At Eclectic Eye, our purpose is simple. We strive to strengthen our community by passionately building our team and our business. I think shopping locally deepens our purpose by consciously choosing to invest our dollars in businesses also committed to a similar vision.

Today, I am blissfully wearing all sorts of local finds. My sugar skull necklace is handcrafted right here in Midtown Memphis by Lauren at Question the Answer. I also have a wooden sugar skull pendant from Question the Answer, crafted several years ago, that my cute husband gave me for a birthday present. I’ve loved it so much that when Lauren announced she was creating a new sugar skull pendant out of gold, I knew I must pre-order, which I promptly did! She had a super fun pick-up party last Friday night at her studio, which is shared with one of my favorite ceramic artists, Brit McDaniel of Paper and Clay. Lauren had all of the new sugar skulls laid out, along with a beautiful card with each customer’s name in calligraphy on it. Additionally, she had a hand-crafted corpse cocktail to celebrate the occasion. I truly felt like I had received a special creation from a local artisan investing in her craft and city in the same way I do.

In the photo above, I am also wearing around my neck a cool, liquid metallic piece that I picked up at one of my absolute favorite gift spots in Memphis, Diane’s Art, Gift and Home. This piece is rubbery feeling, and it reverses to a fun purple. I adore it. Diane’s is on Overton Park street, between Crosstown and the actual Overton Park. Her ability to bring in the most unique assortment of jewelry, art, purses, baby gifts and home goods is legendary. She has plenty of local artisans represented, but also has a lovely regional assortment as well.

Right now, I am totally obsessed with this Cult Gaia rattan purse shown in the photo above. I just picked it up from Cheryl Pesce’s lifestyle store in the west atrium of Crosstown Concourse. Cheryl is all over Memphis right now trying to use her talents to bring great things to our city, which I totally dig. Her store is a fabulous representation of all the things Cheryl loves and creates including jewelry, clothing, furniture, art, and beauty. All this is packed into 600 square feet at Memphis’s hottest address. It’s a joyous experience just to walk through the barn doors! Follow Cheryl on Instagram, because her positivity is sure to make you excited and inspired about the people in Memphis doing great stuff.

I’m loving a stacked bracelet look right now. Several of the buckle ones I’m wearing came from Merchants on Broad, which might just have some of the most affordable gifts in town. The owner has reclaimed painted wooden signs with all kinds of awesome Memphis messages. The owner can also customize furniture pieces and signage for you. Plus, his old dog is always hanging out, and you know I’m a sucker for a shop dog! Shopping on Broad is one of my favorite local past times. I’ll talk about Bingham and Broad, Falling into Place, Tom Clifton, City and State and the Cove another day but all those stores and spots make me just plain happy to be a Memphian.

So you know, I do occasionally leave Midtown and travel east. My Ronaldo bracelet from Bella Vita in Collierville has been a wardrobe staple of mine for the past few years. I absolutely adore Bella Vita and will travel way outside of my traditional path to shop their Good Earth Pottery, amazing art, linens and an assortment of gifts. They are a husband and wife duo, trying to make their world a better place every day through the beauty of their business and family. It absolutely shows in their attention to detail, they give to their thoughtfully curated items and lovely team. If you don’t feel like making the drive, they will happily ship, and you can order almost anything they have on their robust website. They even have a relatively new furniture store called The Back Room, which will take all my money when I decide to redecorate. The furniture is beautiful and luxurious.

Finally, I’m sporting my beautiful, vintage-inspired Andy Wolf cat-eye sunnies. I mean they are just pure sass, with prescription progressive brown polarized lenses and a light flash mirror. I love the ethereal crystal, mint color. They are totally to die for and of course available locally at Eclectic Eye, so come get some!

Shopping locally is a conscious effort on my part. It is always in the forefront of my mind that local, loyal shoppers are what continue to make our job have purpose and meaning. Loyal locals understand that they are buying more than a product from us at a cost. They are providing a good living to a diverse and caring team and their families, in an environment which shows their dollars are worth significantly more than just the face value of the bill. I enjoying knowing the impact my money actually makes to a business in my community and certainly appreciate others always investing in us.