After seeing his daughter Jocelyn wearing a piece of seaglass jewelry around her neck and his mother-in-law searching for seaglass on the shore, Georgetown’s Peter Llewellyn thought he’d try making his own piece of jewelry.
He admits he’d never done it before.
Twelve years later, Llewellyn is an artisan and the owner of Shoreline Design P.E.I. and Llewellyn's by the Shore in Georgetown.
The business has done so well that it expanded to Summerside at Spinnakers' Landing in May, and he’s planning to open another location in Halifax in the fall.
“I say this tongue-in-cheek: We are the oddest little shop you’re going to find on P.E.I.,” says Llewellyn. “We add to that whole mystique of something different.”
The business also designed and created molds for the medals handed out at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada bowling championships on P.E.I. in May. Llewellyn’s shop made some of the 367 medals, but since they’re made from pewter, most were made by a company in Ontario more capable of handling the weight and amount of material.
Shoreline Design employs 11 people. Three more will be hired once the Halifax store opens.
Llewellyn says the business made 7,430 pieces of jewelry last year. He anticipates that number to rise to 10,000 this year.
“People get tired of seeing something that is assembled. There is a different feel in a shop when you come in and you see all of the steps that are being done.”
Llewellyn imports the silver and the stones, such as turquoise, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and jade. He also makes jewelry with locally found seaglass and petrified wood. Other items at the store include carvings and leather handbags.
“Truly hand-made,” he explains. “People get tired of seeing something that is assembled. There is a different feel in a shop when you come in and you see all of the steps that are being done.”
Llewellyn recalls sitting under a tree next to the business, which was his father Jim’s former boat building shop, when he decided to give jewelry making a try after seeing his daughter and mother-in-law.
Llewellyn had left his job managing some plants in the seafood industry and admits he wasn’t sure what he was going to do. So, he taught himself to make jewelry and now teaches his staff to do the same.
“I had done startups. I had done turnarounds, troubleshooting, travelled the world. But, I’ve never made anything,” he said.
“You know, you make something and someone gives you 10 bucks. It’s amazing when all the money you ever earned used to come in through back transfer. So, you had a connection to your effort and the appreciation.”
Llewellyn is also known to Islanders as the former mayor of Georgetown who resigned in 2009.
While the business is expanding to other locations, the original Georgetown shop is also expanding with a 3,000-square-foot, two-storey addition to the front. The business has online sales, but Llewellyn says that most are in-person.
Jocelyn currently manages the new Summerside location, and Llewellyn says the plan is for her to run the Halifax store when it opens.