Voloshin Woman: Chelsea Pearce

Geographically, Philadelphia is a pretty small city, but those of us that live in the 'North' Fishtown area rarely cross over Market Street, the dividing road that runs through our city. About four years ago when we were styling our first collection for Voloshin, my friend Christie (who was styling the shoot) said I just had to come with her to the Queen Village boutique, Moon + Arrow. I was blown away with the beauty and care with which the store was arranged and curated. Chelsea, the owner, is a total muse, earth mama, quirky, intelligent lady—and I'm so thrilled to have had the chance to catch up with her for a blog feature. Read on to hear all about her journey. -Amy Voloshin

Chelsea wears the Aurora Weekend Dress in Black

You have a gorgeous store, what led you to opening a shop?
Thank you, that means a great deal coming from you guys! A whim, an instinct, a small loan, feeling unsatisfied by life and wanting to work for myself. That's all it takes folks! Oh, and sooooo much work. I'd been selling my jewelry and slinging vintage at markets and festivals and selling wholesale for years as a side gig. It just felt like the stars aligned. As I've since learned: opening a shop is the "easy" part. Staying open for almost a decade and hopefully beyond may be one of the most challenging things I'll ever do in my life.

How do you decide what kind of items to bring into your store?
It's all intuitive. I see (and feel and smell) almost everything in person before I place an order. Also, I really, really like/love all the humans behind the work that we carry. So many beautiful friendships develop in these mutually beneficial arrangements. That feeling of everything on the shelves having a human association really is what makes it all vibrate. (Just compare it to dead feeling department store shelves.) It shifts the energy and really makes our little shop feel so alive and comforting.

How has retail changed in the eight years you’ve been running your shop? 
When we opened, we were really the only thing quite like it in Philadelphia. For years, there was very little overlap of any of the brands we carried in any other store here. It was part of our objective and a source of pride.That has changed dramatically! It has been really challenging, but I love our community of small businesses and the alternative is terrifying. So, we just keep striving to refine and level up and grow and expand creatively and stay true to what we believe in.

Chelsea wears the Harper Blouse in Cream

And at what point did you start your line of jewelry?
That's how it all began. I've always made things. Since I was a wee one. There were never seasonal lines, but I would discover a material and explore, naturally shed antler for example, until something else came along. We had a wonderful in-house jeweler straight out of art school for like six years. She started by helping me with small scale production of my designs and eventually, took over the studio when I was pregnant with Lucy and had to step away. She has recently moved on to new adventures and although I miss her, I am really enjoying settling back into and rediscovering myself as a designer and maker.

How do you approach developing a new jewelry style?
It's very organic. There will be a shape that I love and then I try to explore all kinds of possibilities with that shape, or things I really want to wear on my body that I haven't come across, so I make one... and then variations come. Or stones. Stones speak to you and tell you what kind of setting they need or if they want to be with other stones. I have fun.

Being a busy working mom, how do you stay focused and organized?
Well, I'm working on that! Something that helps me is making it a priority to carve out enough time with my daughter that I can enjoy my time at work on my own. I just miss her and am totally distracted if the balance is off! Also, I'm a list maker and have amazing support from my family helping with Lucy and my employees that really make the whole thing possible!

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned in your years of being in business?
It just never stops. You just gotta ride the wave!

Chelsea wears the Willow Silk Peasant Dress in Ebony Stripe

What is your definition of success?
Freedom. A sense of it anyway and enjoying life day to day. It really can't be only about money or always being happy. It's striving for that sense of balance. It's elusive, and you have to steal those moments sometimes. I love to work hard on things I love, but I also love to be completely removed from my work. To travel near and far, to live in my daughter's world, to shift my perspective and be able to come back and enjoy my work.

Do you have a favorite article of clothing?
Birthday suite! Or all the cozy sweaters and socks.

Favorite type of shoe?
Boots and clogs forever.

You carry a lot of interesting scents and beauty products in your store—which ones are your favorites?
Juniperus from Fiele, and Magga from Noet.

What do you do for exercise?
In the warm months: swimming, walking, hiking, running, stretching. In the cold: dance, yoga, pilates, and I recently introduced some weights into my life for that bone density.

What do you do to relax and recharge?
Nature. Pretty much any way I can access it. I spend as much time by the ocean and lake as I can in the warmer months. But it's a real challenge living in a city. Somedays that just means watching a tree sway in the wind or tending to my plant babies. I also love tea.

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