A sister-in-law duo enjoys taking their love for the Lowcountry, their love for décor and their love for oysters and tying them together – often with a burlap bow.
Jennifer Smith and her sister-in-law, Season Smith, run a family-owned business called Charleston Oyster Wreaths.
Their families, Jennifer said, love to eat and pick oysters so they got crafty with the shells.
“It’s just kind of a time that we come together as a family,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer said this is their third year in the business, which started with Season making oyster wreaths and then getting requests to make more. Jennifer and Season joined forces and opted to take it a step forward to turn it into a business.
The families reside in Hanahan and have visited the Flowertown Festival in the past as visitors but this will be Charleston Oyster Wreaths’ first time in the festival as a vendor. Jennifer said they plan to bring “a little bit of everything” from their business for visitors to check out.
Jennifer did not want to give away too many secrets on their business but said the oyster wreath-making game is a fun one – and a dirty one. It’s not wonderful cleaning dirty oysters – particularly during a hot Charleston summer – but the process includes a lot of cleaning, bleaching and soaking to get the finished product.
“It’s a very tedious thing and each wreath is a puzzle,” Jennifer said.
The fun is in the creativity.
“My sister-in-law and I love to bounce ideas off of each other,” she said.
The family gets a lot of different shells from local restaurants, and they have gotten a lot of support from friends and family as well.
The shells provide for other projects as well: Charleston Oyster Wreaths makes jewelry out of the shells. They also make palmetto moon portraits on recycled pallet boards.
The wreaths come in a variety of looks: the local oyster shells have longer blades while the Chesapeake Bay oysters are rounder with darker centers. Jennifer said their most popular wreath is the local wreath and said she thinks it is because of the Lowcountry appeal to shoppers.
“They get to take a piece of Charleston home with them,” she said, adding, “I love natural art, I love natural things, and I think a lot of people in the Lowcountry love that.”
The wreaths can be hung up inside or outside – same with the pallet boards. The wreaths can’t go in direct rain. Many wreaths are adorned with a burlap bow but the bows are interchangeable.
Wreath prices average from $35 to $75 depending on size.
Oyster shell beaded necklaces will be $30; oyster bracelets will go for $10 and chain necklaces are going to be $20.
Residents can order through the business’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Charleston-Oyster-Wreaths-114427425735600/.
Charleston Oyster Wreaths will be at Booth VR11.