Owners Jodi Bowlin and Joshua Eades, Knoxville Soap Candle and Gifts, 714 South Gay Street Suite 100, Knoxville, September 2018
When I interviewed Jodi Bowlin in August, she seemed to set an ambitious target for her opening date. She’s nailed it through long days (and nights) of work, and will open Knoxville Soap Candle and Gifts this Monday, October 1, just as planned. You may have noticed what must be the first downtown Christmas decorations of the season slipping out onto the sidewalk on the 700 block (near Dazzos and Frussies).
The new space is considerably larger than the other space and holds only what she’d ordered for her previous location. It’s hard to imagine how it might have fit in the much smaller place. The flow in the new store feels more open and comfortable and she’s taken great pains to organize it in a logical manner and to give it an outdoor, earthy feel, from the natural earth-tone colors found throughout to the mural of mountains and forests she painted on the wall.
Once inside, the early Christmas celebrants among us will not be disappointed, she has a section filled with Christmas items, most of which are not-to-be found anywhere else locally. Whether it’s her exclusive relationships with local artists or the decor derived from market, she tries to not replicate what others are doing. If you like seasonal decor, but are bummed we’ve moved straight to Christmas, don’t fret: She has lots of fall and Thanksgiving appropriate wares, as well.
While seasonal items are front-and-center, look in any direction and you’ll find sections including a wide variety of mostly locally produced items from Knoxville-area artists and crafts people. To the left as you enter, on top of the cool piano, is a selection of hats and you’ll find more clothes, scarves and handbags in their own section to the rear of the store in one of the small rooms tucked away, so be sure to explore.
Jewelry is a big part of what is offered and you’ll find it to your left, as you enter. Be sure to look low and high; it’s in the case, on the case and on the wall. To the right as you enter, you’ll find two different artists’ pottery. Explore further and you’ll find lots of art by various local artists, as well as books from the Author’s Guild of Tennessee and a large selection of cards.
Other sections include shelves of bath and body oils and items. The skin products are “vegan, peraben-free skin products out of Cookeville.” She has a line of locally-made essential oils which she describes as, “therapeutic grade and 100% pure.” Oh, and did we mention soaps and candles?
She describes her store’s aesthetic as “handmade, affordable items, truly locally crafted.” You’ll feel that throughout the store and if early indications hold true, a lot of you will find this store. She’s had a hard time keeping potential customers at bay while she’s gotten the store ready. Several people wandered in while we talked.
She’s also hitting the ground running with events. For First Friday she’ll have drumming by the Center for Peace and the following day, which is the official Grand Opening, she’ll feature feature chanting (and enchanting) artists Kirtan with Flávia and Gershone. She’s got more planned down the line, so watch the Facebook Page for updates regarding events.
Check it all out starting Monday, October 1. Hours, starting that day, are 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday. She will remain open later for First Friday and other occasions as warranted. Be sure to welcome downtown Knoxville’s newest business.