Relish owners Jennifer and Terri, grew up in northwest Millcreek, in the Eaglehurst subdivision, just one block from the beaches of Lake Erie. As children, they collected everything, including beach glass, on daily walks on the beach with their mom at the foot of Shorehaven Dr.
Beach glass had always had a certain allure for the two. It was not only the beauty of the beach glass that attracted them. It was the story of each piece they discovered and the history and mystery of where it originated from.
Both women knew early on that they wanted careers that allowed them to be creative and artistic. When she was only a junior in high school, Jennifer knew she wanted to be a jewelry major. She earned a scholarship for Columbus College of Art and Design. She completed her BFA degree at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in metalsmithing.
Like Jennifer, Terri also knew in high school that she wanted to do something artistic, and was particularly drawn to jewelry-making, pottery and woodshop. Largely self-taught in the art of metalsmithing, she used real-life experiences to develop creative approaches to her jewelry-making.
So, this is how it happened...
Despite their artistic ability and inclination towards jewelry making, the idea to work specifically with beach glass didn't come until later on when Jennifer's then 6-year-old son, Spencer, asked her to make him a ring from a piece of beach glass he'd found.
It was a perfect fit with her passion for sterling silver, and from that moment on, she began making jewelry out of beach glass in her Erie home.
Once word spread about the jewelry Jennifer was creating, everyone seemed interested, and she began having difficulty keeping up with demand. She asked her sister, Terri, to help her - and to have faith in her idea and this new adventure.
Finally, after almost three years of working out of a 10 x 13 laundry room in Jennifer's home, the sisters decided it was time for an upgrade, and opened their first store, Relish, only a street away from their childhood home.
Those days, they hunted for all their own sea glass, and spent countless hours each day at the beach with their children in tow. They were selective, and searched for the best pieces to make jewelry with, filling garbage bags with trash along the way to give back to the beaches they were taking from.
In 2001, Relish’s rapid growth prompted another expansion, and the girls moved to a new, 3,000 square ft. storefront at 3835 W. 12th St. in Erie.
The heart of it all
It hadn't always been easy, but a combination of creative energy, natural drive and entrepreneurial spirit helped the sisters transition from 'artists' to owners of a successful art based business. They helped start the North American Sea Glass Association, the first professional non-profit formed to educate and inform people about genuine beach found beach / sea glass. The sea glass industry exploded and festivals and other beach glass artists were popping up everywhere. A combination of the recession and competition forced the sisters to reorganize. As the industry was changing and the economy was heading toward a recession, the small studio no longer supported two owners. In 2017 Terri made the difficult decision to leave the business and left Jennifer and Relish. Jennifer remains as the principal jeweler and business operator.
Along with the one of a kind beach glass jewelry, Relish is still proud to focus on handmade art and gifts from talented artists from across the country. The primary focus is women owned businesses. Relish continues to offer a full range of creative products in addition to the sought after jewelry made on site. In addition, you will find driftwood art, framed beach glass art, note cards, hand bags, ornaments, paintings, books, mirrors, ceramics and a full range of gift ideas. Everything you can find at Relish is high-quality, unique, artistic and uncommonly beautiful!