Amber Shelton of A+C Adornments had set up shop for her waist beads wares at a makers’ market after meeting up with a few fellow BIPOC business owners when they looked around and wondered, “Are we the only ones here?”
“Are other makers of color not aware that these markets are heavily trafficked?” Shelton recalled recently about that Saturday morning. “Do they not know about these markets or are they not getting in?
“We love selling to one another, which we do a lot of, but it’s so much better and a different experience when you see your product, your service and your brand reach a little further.”
From there, the idea for the Savannah BIPOC Makers Collective was born. Shelton dreamed of a space where makers could share resources, make connections and help each other grow. With its first Instagram post @savannah.bipoc.makers shared on Dec. 31, 2021 (#2022goals anyone?), the collective formally launched, and Shelton is just getting started: A quarterly makers’ market and brand-building workshops are in the works.
So far, she has called the response “heartwarming” as the hashtag #savbipocmakers has taken hold — her chance to create a “cultural oasis” where people can discover the wide range of Savannah creators (and perhaps add some new must-have products, artworks and services to cart).
Shelton, a veteran who relocated to Savannah from the D.C. area in 2012 to join family stationed here and to reset after returning from Afghanistan, founded A+C Adornments in March of 2021 with her sister, Courtney. While their initials form the business name, Shelton says they also stand for “analytical” and “creative” as each sister contributes her talents to the team.
The pair create waistbeads, an of-the-moment accessory with a centuries-long history across African cultures. While they sell online, the heart of their business is when they can connect with customers at makers’ markets and build their confidence in their bodies as they accessorize them with custom-fitted creations, Shelton said.
As she solicits interest in a future BIPOC-focused makers’ market and plans workshops to share resources for each stage of the entrepreneurship journey — one of her first goals is a brand photography workshop, valuable for any type of business — Shelton says she wants to send the message to the BIPOC creative community “that we all can win.”
“Let’s expand and grow and share and collaborate!” she said.
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