By Emily G. Peters
Pay one visit to Homage in Old Town Pasadena and you’ll wonder why you’ve been wasting your time looking for gift inspiration elsewhere. Owned by designer Jill Pearson and her husband Bill, the selections here prove Pearson has taste to spare.
“I worked for a retail entrepreneur that was a mentor to me for over 7 years—I learned a lot from him,” said Pearson, whose experience took root in 1992 when she began to design and manufacture semi-precious jewelry. “All that time I dreamed of having a retail store—and then this darling space on Holly Street opened up. One of my best friends was relocating her store (Elisa B) to the street too, so it felt like it was meant to be.”
Pearson chose the name Homage to pay tribute to her mom, a fellow artist, and other artisans that populate Pasadena and environs.
“The artists and business owners are the most inspiring part of the gifts/jewelry business,” she said. “There is a camaraderie; a level of respect and sharing in the creative community now that was not evident when my business was young and growing.”
The inspiration that fuels Pearson’s curatorial skill is evident, too. At Homage, the books are intriguing, the jewelry delicate, the aesthetic refined but welcoming. In short, there’s nothing tacky about the place.
“I spend a lot of time selecting the merchandise to make sure it’s a unique mix that’s both new and exciting, but also has a sense of familiarity,” she said. She and her staff also make a point of providing customers with plenty of information on the artists and items before suggesting a purchase.
“My staff makes a sincere effort to welcome everyone as a person, and not just a customer,” Pearson said. “We realize that some people just want to browse and look at nice things, and we want to make sure that they know they can feel comfortable doing that!”
With items that range from a few dollars to higher-end and a clientele that’s just as broad, Homage enjoys the happy situation of having mass appeal. It’s something special for an independent boutique.
“My husband and I have been strong proponents of independent retailing for as many years as we have been in the business. We understand the strength of internet sales, however, we also believe there will always be a need for brick and mortar that is done right,” she said. As for being based in Old Town Pasadena? Pearson is a loyal fan.
“We are lucky to be on Holly Street, where the retail shops are all independents and nearly all female-owned, and the Old Pasadena Management District does an excellent job in supporting the independent businesses in the area,” she said. “What’s not to like?”
Homage is located at 2 East Holly Street in Old Town Pasadena. Contact the team at www.homagepasadena.com| 626.440-7244 | firstname.lastname@example.org and follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @homagepasadena. Don’t forget to stop by before Mother’s Day to pick out a special gift!