Peace, love and happiness
A sense of calm comes over customers who enter the doors of Shoppe 561. Euphoric smells, uplifting music and attractive lighting create a sense of peace. Then, things get a little funky. Erin Ryan, one of the store’s 60-plus artisans, fashions Fender guitar picks into flashy earrings. Ashley Broniszewski turns old coins into bangle bracelets. Denise Savela strings sea glass onto sterling-silver chains. Those, and other one-of-a-kind products, fill the 1,500-square-foot West Palm Beach boutique – all of them crafted by local vendors. Shoppe 561 embraces the upcycle trend, meaning that artisans recycle items that others might trash to create home décor, jewelry and more.
A crucial cause
Shoppe 561 donates 10 percent of its proceeds to organizations that support the movement to end human trafficking. “We are helping to shine a light on modern-day slavery,” owner Janelle Lang says, whose travels to Rwanda exposed her to the epidemic. She learned more about human trafficking and found that it hit critically close to home. Hope House Florida, an organization that offers therapeutic care for victims of the illegal trade, identified Florida as third in the nation for reported cases of the type of abuse that primarily affects girls and young women. “Most people have no idea,” Lang says. “It happens here.” Hope House Florida receives proceeds from Shoppe 561’s sales, as does Hope for Freedom, a non-profit that works to restore the lives of the enslaved.
A sense of community
Lang ended her 25-year career at Gap when she stepped down as director of third-party logistics for North America. Her master’s degree in pastoral counseling beckoned, and the 49-year-old former corporate-retail director opened Shoppe 561 a little more than a year ago. “That’s why I use the old-fashioned name ‘shoppe,’ because I wanted ‘hope’ to always be in our name,” she says. The 561 refers to Palm Beach County’s area code. “It is a place that you come in and feel welcome and inspired,” Lang says of her shabby-chic showroom. “People are constantly saying, ‘We need more shops like this.’”
Shoppe 561 sells everything from children’s clothing and pet accessories to bath products and greeting cards, as well as jewelry. The store also offers classes in chocolate tasting and soap making, and instruction on crocheting and knitting. The boutique also offers milk-and-cookie opening receptions for student artists. “We’re staying true to our vision,” Lang says.