Retail 101: Celestial Arts & Antiques

Photography by Kelsey Matthias

After following Celestial Beadings for some time on Instagram, I was finally able to meet the face behind the impeccable jewelry brand in late summer of 2021 at a pop-up event. Elyza, a true star among us, charmed both a friend and I as we both noticed that she was the only vendor playing music. She was also the only vendor that openly engaged with us, making us feel right at home.

We were pleasantly surprised that there were more hidden treasures behind the name Celestial. Right by her side was her mother and trays of unique and captivating antiques and vintage home decor. All I could think in that moment was, “wow, what an unstoppable force.” 

The mother and daughter duo have planted seeds, right on the near east sides. Their storefront is home to not only jewelry and antiques, but it is also home to the work of local artists and has been used as a venue for hosting creative events. Celestial is no ordinary antique shop, the name says it itself. This is a community driven space with a unique history. You can read more about the unstoppable duo and Celestial by reading below!

Owner Name: Elyza Sarver and Rebecca Gaines
Store Name: Celestial Arts and Antiques 
Store Address: 8601 E. 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN, 46219
Store Instagram: @celestialartsandantiques
Store Opening: August 2021

What do you sell in your store?
We sell a variety of antiques and vintage items including home decor, kitchenware, depression glass, jewelry, books, artwork, and furniture. We also sell handmade jewelry that we make ourselves and we upcycle used and old furniture. We allow other local artists to sell and display their work in our shop as well.

What message is at the heart of your brand and how does it distinguish your business from others?
The message at the heart of our brand is Community, Creativity, & Environmental Consciousness. We are big on the desire to bring in the local community, specifically artists, makers, and vintage lovers to come explore, network and display their work. We love creating new works of art and coming up with different events such as open mics, art galleries, and more. We also really love the idea of upcycling and reusing old materials and items and making them into whole new, unique pieces of useful and decorative works.

What is the inspiration behind the name Celestial and how does that meaning reflect in how your business is run?
Originally when I was coming up with a name for my handmade jewelry business, the name Celestial Beadings came to my head and I instantly thought “this is the one”. It’s a play on the term Celestial Beings. I loved the name so much that I just decided to keep it when naming the art and antique shop. I like to think that celestial energy represents a good, positive spirit, and that’s what we stand for and hope to give to the people who interact with us on a daily basis.

What keeps you both motivated and inspired?
What keeps us inspired is our passion for creating and being innovative. We love getting our hands in many different things and experiencing new and challenging ventures, so that even if we lose inspiration, We can always find something new and fresh.

What do you look for when picking out antiques to sell and artists to sell their work in the shop?
We don’t necessarily look for anything in particular when it comes to antiques or artists; we have more of a “come as you are” mindset—where even if you’re a beginner at art, we’re more than happy to display your work here. We like having a wide variety of antiques so there can be a lot to choose from depending on your tastes and interests.

Tell us about your life before Celestial Arts & Antiques, any previous ventures?
I graduated with a BA in psychology from Earlham college and then worked as a barista for a while. My mom worked in a nursing home for several years. In the early part of the pandemic, we started a handmade jewelry business called Celestial Beadings.

Why did you decide to open your own storefront?
We decided to open a storefront because we wanted to create a space that’s aesthetically pleasing combining many styles. We also wanted to have our own space to host events and workshops and invite folks from the local community.

List five skills that you think are important to have before launching a storefront?
Determination, hard work, attention to detail, risk-taking, and integrity.

What’s the most effective marketing tool that you’ve been using recently?
The most effective marketing tool that I’ve been using recently is Canva to make flyers and posts for my social media pages whenever we have sales or events or just anything that we are trying to promote at the time.

What’s more important when opening a storefront: Location, having a nice cash cushion or having a lot of retail experience? Why?
I’d say having a nice cash cushion is most important when opening a storefront, because you have to pay rent and bills for the location, marketing fees, money for renovations and decorations and other costly things.

Do you work with vendors on a consignment basis?
Not currently, but we hope to eventually do this one day. We do allow other local artists and makers to sell their work in the shop, but we don’t take a percentage.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in running your business?
The biggest challenge we face is driving traffic to our shop. Antique stores usually aren’t booming with business on a daily basis, but I feel that our shop has a uniqueness to it that will eventually attract an audience, it’s just been a slow buildup.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of opening their own storefront?
Location is everything, research the area you’re interested in having a storefront, and make sure there is easy access to parking.

What advice would you give to an up-and-coming brand looking to build a strong relationship with a retailer?
Make yourself a familiar face at that retail location, support their business, and try to do a collaboration with them if possible.

Are there any online resources that you regularly visit to help you run your business better, or keep up with the latest industry trends?
Elyza is pretty social media savvy so she’s the one who runs the business pages and follows tons of other local business accounts to stay up to date with the latest industry trends and utilize different tips from other businesses.

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