Traci Thompson-McFeely, owner and creative designer at A Tender Moment Gift Boutique in Parksville, has unveiled the local debut of her spring seashell collection – a combination of custom jewelry and her unique “Beach in a Ball” that have already proven popular internationally.
“I’ve been making jewelry as a hobby for fifteen years or so,” said Thompson-McFeely. “I’ve always wanted to do it as a business but I had two kids that I was raising on my own. So I couldn’t do it full time.”
While moving all around B.C. and attending 13 different schools during adolescence, Thompson-McFeely knew that she wanted to settle somewhere that felt like home. And having the ocean within walking distance was a must.
“I moved to Victoria in 2001 from Salmon Arm,” said Thompson-McFeely. “I lived (in Victoria) for a year and then moved north to Qualicum.”
Now in Parksville, Thompson-McFeely’s hobby-turned-career resides in the form of a gift boutique and studio, where she is able to create on a wholesale basis.
“I’m really branching out into seashell jewelry,” she said. “Right now, I have some with mussel shells and clam shells.”
Though shells are an essential part of Thompson-McFeely’s designs, she incorporates beads of all kinds and natural stones, inviting custom projects to her design table. “Custom designs are no problem at all,” she said. “I love to sit down and create someone’s vision.”
In addition to women’s jewelry, Thompson-McFeely also designs pieces for men, though home décor is proving to be a popular centerpiece, too. “Everything is handcrafted locally in Parksville,” said Thompson-McFeely. “I just sent products to Seoul Korea, Cypress, Finland and England – people love having a piece of the West Coast.”
Quickly becoming one of Thompson-McFeely’s signature designs is her hanging Beach in a Ball, a clear ball with sand, shells, sand dollars and, usually, a little piece of driftwood inside.
“Respecting the earth is important to me; I’m always mindful of how much I borrow from nature,” Thompson-McFeely said, adding that she and her husband, Doug McFeely, collect sand and washed-up shells together from all around Vancouver Island. “All seashells that I use have already been vacated — no harm is done to any creatures in the collecting of my beach findings.” Each Beach in a Ball is custom created and numbered; that way, people can take a little piece of Vancouver Island home with them.”
As wedding season is just around the corner, Thompson-McFeely mentions that is something she would love to continue branching into, as well.
“I do candles for centerpieces or Beach in a Balls for giveaways,” said Thompson-McFeely. “Barefoot sandals are also something that I make.”
Visit A Tender Moment Gift Boutique in-store this spring, at 1390 Industrial Way in Parksville, or online at www.atendermomentgifts.com, where ordering internationally is made easy. Thompson-McFeely can be reached at 250-954-5225.