We had the good fortune of connecting with Jess & Erik Nicoles & Holmberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jess & Erik, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The initial thought behind J. Stark was simply that we wanted to design a particular product that WE wanted to use. Something well-thought-out and functional. But then the whole thing blossomed into a deeper desire to create manufacturing jobs for like-minded people, while still chasing after that initial dream of making useful products.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
At the heart of it, we’re bag and leather goods makers. We believe what sets us apart is the type of materials we select. We pick things not only for their beauty, but also for their strength and function. When you pick up a J. Stark bag, we want it to last you a lifetime. And even more than that, we want it to stay just as beautiful with age, as it was the day you bought it. Add to that the fact that the bag was made by a joyful group of people fulfilling their own individual goals and visions, and you’ve got a really wonderful thing on your hands.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’d start the day with a coffee from Sightsee Shop and a walk around Hampton Park (the goslings just hatch, so duh!). Then we’d pop over to Daps for a big plate of Fruity Pebbles pancakes and a sausage, egg, and cheese. Before we left Daps, we’d grab a four-pack of canned mimosas to-go and head for Aquarium Wharf to catch the water taxi. A $12 ticket gets you unlimited rides around the harbor for the day, and you can BYOB so it’s a really reasonably priced way to see Charleston from the water. When we’ve had enough of the water and sunshine, we’ll head over to Babas for a ham baguette and the very best chocolate chip cookie in town. At this point, we’d probably need a little nap but after the Siesta, we’ll head to Bar George for cheap tiki happy hour and a whole Peruvian rotisserie chicken. Plus oysters. There’s always door for oysters.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We definitely wouldn’t be who we are without the support of the community around us. We’re particularly enamored with how other local businesses here really step up and show love to brands and shops starting out. Our friends at Sightsee Shop, for example, have been supporters since the very beginning, and now we get to give that support back to them. And our photographer, Lizzy Ervin, started as a customer and became a part of the family. We’re lucky to have a very bolstering crew of folx around us!
Jared Bramblett Elizabeth Ervin