Ashland Artisan Emporium

Izzy Mae & Moon

This week I had a great conversation with one of our top-sellers. Izzy Bran is a vivacious mother of 15 children, by birth and adoption, and a grandma to nine with more energy than most teenagers! She shares multiple booths with Jesse Monn Longhurst, her daughter-in-law and best friend.

Michelle: Izzy, tell me about your journey as a vendor with us.

Izzy: I love being a vendor at AAE! Jesse and I hung up our Izzy Mae & Moon banner in our first booth in October 2012. Oh, we were nervous as we didn’t know what to expect. Both of us have long enjoyed thrifting and picking, though. I’ve thrifted since I was a young girl with my mother, who owned an antique shop, and was probably the only girl in my high school to wear vintage clothes and to decorate my bedroom with antiques. I’ve been a child advocate for 30 years, but always enjoyed taking time out to sell at Bay Area flea markets. However, as time went on, I realized that I had a massive amount of goodies that needed new homes. Jesse Moon is a professor, doctoral student and busy mom. Our thrifting trips are special times we share. We decided to offer a melange of vintage and contemporary clothing, ephemera and small collectibles.

Michelle:  Tell us about the inspiration for each booth.

Izzy: We have Quirky Booth…filled with a juicy jumble of Jesse Moon’s one-of-a-kind ephemera, vintage clothing for men and women and deliciously different small collectibles. Next is our Bella Booth, overflowing with our classiest and prettiest contemporary clothing, saucy lingerie, cool accessories and sassy shoes. There’s Terra Cotta Booth (the color of the walls) offering even more clothing, purses and shoes. Finally, we’ve been delighted to expand into a booth at the front of the store which we call our Bijou Booth. I also have a Yarn Booth with my dear friend, Kris Founds. I was a compulsive knitter for ten years and amassed a ridiculously huge collection of fibre goodness and related books. Kris has added her own special touches.

Michelle: You have said that you can change the whole vibe of a room with just adding some neat pieces. Tell us about some of your favorite pieces that you have found here.

Izzy: I recently moved and wanted to tinker with the “vibe” in my lovely Craftsman home. I chose a vintage Asian aesthetic and hit the aisles at the AAE. I’ve become one of the most dedicated AAE shoppers. Within a couple of months, I had ferreted out many unique pieces…..pillows, candles, framed art, a stunning Chinese antique armoire, a vintage Asian bar, side tables, chairs…..on and on. I had an incredible time feathering my new nest with the treasures. Everyone who visits my home asks where I shop. AAE, of course! It feels good to shop in Ashland–to support my fellow vendors and to upcycle these wonderful pieces. I am amazed at how easy and enjoyable it’s been to decorate my home on a budget. I have to tell you that it took both me and Jesse Moon ages to discover the Emporium. Once we did, however, we were hooked….and the rest is history. It’s really pleased me to find so many local, upcycled treasures and to support my neighbors through all my purchases. When I need something, I’m not kidding, I start at the Emporium first!

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Ashland Artisan Emporium

The Ashland Artisan Emporium is owned by Michelle Christian, wife and mother of 3 daughters. Her husband, Travis, is the business manager for Adroit Construction in Ashland, Oregon. The Emporium was the vision of Michael Rydbom, Michelle's father. In April of 2010, Michael asked his daughter if she would be willing to help transform the old DJ's Video space into a crafter's marketplace. Michelle had always admired her dad's entrepreneurial spirit and was eager to make him proud, so even though she already had two kids, a real estate career and one more daughter on the way, she said yes. On November 1, 2010, the store opened it's doors to a welcome reception from the community. They were voted Best New Business of 2010 only months later by the Ashland Sneak Preview. Within weeks of opening, the store was at capacity and had quickly become the "go-to" store for all things unique and affordable.

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