Columbus, Ohio USA
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Peace, Love, Bling brings beauty, awareness
By Margaret Marten
May/June 2016 Issue
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The East Lincoln storefront vacated by Paul Palnik at the end of 2015 did not remain empty for long. LeAnne Johnson Absalom wasn’t exactly looking for a retail space but heard about it from a friend in December who advised her to call the Wood Companies “right this second” and go for it. Not a bad suggestion. It wasn’t a “shoo-in” to acquire the space, said Absalom, because there was a waiting list, but she jumped in, applied, met with the landlord Mark Wood, and explained the long-term sustainability of her jewelery business well enough to get accepted into the 14 East Lincoln St. space.
The shop, Peace + Love + Bling, opened in March selling ethically handcrafted artisan jewelry. Absalom, 48, was a wholesaler of the jewelry for over six years prior to the opening, and continues to supply bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings to hundreds of outlets across the country – Fair Trade stores, boutiques, and bridal salons. Before that, she led a high-powered career in the corporate world as vice president and director at JP Morgan in Manhattan. She even owned a technology consulting firm at one time and lived in China for four years where she met some of the artisans contributing to her collection.
Absalom’s marriage and subsequent move to Columbus in 2009 provided her with ample reason to quit the corporate life in order to spend more time with her family. Entering the jewelry line was a fun decision. She had spent time as a consultant in establishing a jewelry business for a friend a dozen years earlier and had sourced jewelry in Bejing. She loved everything about it. Initially, she worked from her home in Olde Towne East before moving into the Ethical Arts Collective in Franklinton that she co-founded with Connie DeJong (former director of Global Gallery). Absalom believes that her recent move into the retail storefront on Lincoln Street was a positive, though unexpected, development.
Purpose. Absalom emphasizes the importance of doing good and helping others. Twenty percent of the proceeds from Peace + Love + Bling goes to local non-profits with a focus on empowering women. One of them, Amethyst, is an organization that helps women break away from human trafficking, homelessness and addiction. Absalom says she has always been particularly concerned with women and domestic violence issues. “I grew up with those issues myself,” she said. “I’ve wanted to do everything to be able to help protect other women from being trapped in those types of situations.”
Her shop will provide employment and some added income to non-profits as well as a place to socialize and hold workshops. The Girl Cave, as she calls it, is decorated to be “comfy and luxurious” and welcoming. “My intention was that people would want to come and stay and hang out,” she explained, “and feel indulged, and it would be a little haven.” The stylish furnishing provides a comfortable spot to rest and chat and absorb the sparkling surroundings.
The beautiful handcrafted jewelry is selected with care. She creates the collections by working with women from around the world, directing and collaborating with them on the designs. The rings are popular. “We have a couple of artisans who do some really beautiful rings in natural stones and natural pearls,” she said. “A lot of the rings we carry right now are statement rings. All of our rings are adjustable so they fit everyone.” The name of the business, Peace, Love, Bling, came to her in a quiet moment: “I made the decision to go down this road, and it was just sort of there waiting.”
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