Stockist Spotlight: Christine Shirley Designs

In the world of candles, we are all too familiar with the struggle of committing to purchasing a candle online when you can't physically hold it in your hands and give it a few good sniffs.  When placing an order on our website, our loyal customers rely solely on our product descriptions, reviews from past customers, and trusting their instincts when it comes to picking out their favorite everyday candle.  Luckily for you, we don't make bad smelling candles!
However, thanks to the nearly 300 retailers throughout the United States that stock our candles, many of our customers are able to give those candles a test drive before taking one home! Without them, we are like a candle with no smell. And because we appreciate our retailers so very much, we wanted to create a segment focused on shining a light back on them!

Today, I'd like to introduce to you Christine Shirley Designs, an adorable boutique and sewing studio offering beautiful shoppable goods and classes to help individuals tap into their creative gifts with multiple locations in both PA and NJ.  Christine Shirley Designs is owned and operated by Paige Sullivan who loves to use her own creativity to bring people together. We are so very excited to get to know more about Paige, and the heart behind Christine Shirley Designs!
1. When did you open the doors of Christine Shirley Designs? 
Our sewing studio opened in 2015 and our wayne shop opened in 2018 - our stone harbor shop opened june 2021. My business partner, Dina and I share spaces in all locations. She is a counselor (Dina Previti & Co. || and has offices in each location. We each own our respective businesses and then have a business together, D + P.

2. When did you know you wanted to open a brick and mortar store? 
I've dreamed about my own sewing studio and shop since I was a kid. The concepts of our shops have changed and evolved a bit, but the dream was always there!

3. How many years has Christine Shirley Designs been in business? 
Technically 2012- we had been doing outdoor art shows for a few years which were really successful, but it really got serious in 2015 when we opened our sewing studio with a small shopping area included.

4. If you could describe Christine Shirley Designs in three words, what would they be? 
Creative, Peaceful, Inspiring 

5. What are your top three favorite items to sell in Christine Shirley Designs? 
Our hand dyed bamboo dresses, our handmade items of the month (have been fabric house plants, zipper hardback book bags, shibori neck wear), Anything handmade by our artist friends like you!

6. What is your best selling Candelles candle that you carry? 
Vanilla & Cedar

7. Do you have your own personal favorite Candelles scent? 
Freshly Brewed all the way!

8. What is the most fulfilling part of owning Christine Shirley Designs? 
Hiring and supporting other women living their creative dreams, getting to create my own schedule, trying new things without asking a "boss" - there are sooooo many parts.

9. You're always adding new and exciting things to Christine Shirley Designs, what are some of the things you look for in a brand when stocking a new line? 
I like cute + pretty + different. I also like to carry things other shops don't. I'm not interested in carrying big box items that can be found everywhere. Ie: Swell. 

10. Do you have any new projects in the works for the future of Christine Shirley Designs? 
Yes. Always :) Those are a secret for now. I get bored easily, love change and love new projects!

11. Have there been any unexpected lessons you've learned while running Christine Shirley Designs? 
Always lessons. I went from being an employee to an employer - with that, there are so many gifts, but it's a big adjustment to making all of the decisions and not running someone else's dreams. It's a different story when you're helping make someone else rich + executing a biz model you didn't design. Creating, executing, financing, marketing, working, owning your own is a different story!

12. What does an average day at Christine Shirley Designs consist of for you? 
Phew, no routine. We have so much happening from setting up our next monthly shopping events ( we are in our 5th month of completely flipping our store to fit different concepts. oct was a boho vibe, nov was a cozy cabin, dec was a winter wonderland, jan was retro throwback, feb is in the works to become a jungle! All merchandise changes as well as furniture, paint and fixtures! We flip our stores within 3 weeks of each other.) We also have a very active sewing studio where our sewing teachers Haley + Abby are teaching classes, we are currently planning our summer camps, applying for spring/summer art shows, conceptualizing the Devon Horse Show, hiring for the Summer in Stone Harbor and constantly trying to source and design fun products for the future. Days are very full!

13. Do you host any community events or workshops at Christine Shirley Designs? 
Right now we are mostly focusing on sewing workshops for small groups. COVID has restricted some of our other classes, but we have done a few zoom workshops for our local library and mini camps.

14. What has been the most challenging part of owning your own brick and mortar store? 
Cost. This is a very expensive endeavor, especially b/c we have adopted our new concept of event based shopping which means ever changing merch.
Also, hiring. I have a group of women working for me who are TOP NOTCH - but, it's not easy to find employees who have a sewing background,  teaching abilities, people skills, insanely high ethical standards, trustworthy, creative, communicative + FUN! It takes time to find those diamonds, even though our shop/studio is only 6 years old, we are still making a lot of first impressions!
We are so very grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Paige, and the drive behind Christine Shirley Designs!  Be sure to check them out online at and follow along with them on Instagram at @christineshirleydesigns.

Is there a boutique or craft shop near you that you'd love to see our candles in?  Comment below with the shop name, town they're located in, and their website/ social media handles!  We'd love to reach out and help to bring Candelles to more of the small shops that are near and dear to you!


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