Owner: Chelsea Jepson
Why Bellingham? “Bellingham is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The accessibility to recreation is phenomenal. There’s an open-minded community, which I really appreciate. And of course, it’s on the water and I love the water.”
Favorite shop downtown? “Hardware Sales, Inc. The people there are so helpful and they give you the confidence to tackle things you’ve never done before.”
On State Street, towards where downtown turns into Fairhaven, you’ll find a cute shop called Tide Lines. Inside, owner Chelsea Jepson has beautifully arranged local, handmade products for customers to browse and buy. All of the items in her shop are made by artists in Bellingham, use natural materials and fibers, are useful, and have a clean, simple aesthetic. Chelsea’s love of the ocean is apparent in the name of her shop, the shop’s design and in her own artwork.
The origin of Tide Lines began with Chelsea selling jewelry in Seattle. She had always dreamed of opening her own shop, and saw Bellingham as a much more feasible place to start a business. “There is more space for unique ideas here,” she said. Chelsea started out in an art studio in the Hardware building, but later moved to a larger studio on Maple Street. Although it was more expensive, she decided to go for it, and sold her jewelry and paintings out of the studio on the weekends. Chelsea has been making jewelry since she was a child, refining her style over time. She now uses beach stones to create beautiful pieces of jewelry. She also uses watercolors to paint scenes of the ocean, the islands and other water-related subject matter. The paintings are simple and calming, which fits perfectly with the shop.
Her business only grew from her studio, and she opened her current location in June 2015. The name of the shop came from her love of the symmetrical lines that tides leave, and because of the close proximity to Bellingham’s tidelands. Her main goal is to help support local artists and give them a place to show off and sell their work. Most items in the shop are on consignment and Chelsea gives artists 60 percent of the sales. Typically, consignment is 50-50, but choosing 60-40 means more benefit going back to the artists. When Chelsea was selling jewelry in Seattle, she always appreciated the shops that did 60-40 in favor of the artist.
Now that her shop has been open for almost a year, she finds it really satisfying to have brought all the pieces together to create something larger from things all made by people in Bellingham. She loves it when customers come in and want to take a piece of the shop home with them. Multiple people have told Chelsea they really enjoy her shop and want to stay and hang out. When her friends were looking for a place to open a tea bar, she decided to share the space with them. In April, a tea bar called SAKU opened, which now provides a place to stay for a bit and enjoy a tasty drink.
Although Tide Lines is located towards the edge of downtown, Chelsea sees a surprising amount of foot traffic. She finds her shop in the path of the South Hill residents’ way to downtown, and she thinks being near the South Bay Trail helps. She also loves being in the Alley District, surrounded by talented people. She’s looking forward to the future of downtown, and is glad to be a part of it. “I love the direction downtown has been taking,” Chelsea said. “There’s a new creative energy currently happening and I’m excited to see it grow.”
Visit Tide Lines at 833 N State St. to find beautifully crafted, local products.
Today's post was written by Kristin Foster, Media Intern.