When closed, the wings of a blue morpho butterfly appear to be dull and brown. Once fully opened, however, they reveal their true, radiant blue color. A similar metamorphosis takes place at the Blue Morpho, the new boutique on 417 S. Clinton St. in Armory Square.
Selling anything homemade, this down-to-earth shop offers quality repurposed items ranging from organic body products to handmade furniture. “I wanted to help everyone in the community, help the local artisans and have a store that gets out creativity,” said Blue Morpho owner Elizabeth Evans.
After facing unemployment in 2008 and selling her own handmade jewelry to consignment stores, Evans’ garage started to fill with collectible items from community artists. So she decided to start her own business, with the Blue Morpho opening its doors Nov. 27.
Evans’ motivation is to open the community’s eyes to local, one-of-a-kind craftsmanship. “There are so many talented people that can make things just as good of quality, if not better, as the people in China or Japan or whatever you find in Walmart,” Evans said. “You can find something locally made here that no one is going to get.”
With items ranging from $3 to $700, Blue Morpho features artisan items such as jewelry, furniture and candles crafted by Evans; body products formulated by Iris Laboy; paintings by Penny Santy; tutus sewn by Charraine Jones; pottery sculpted by Becky Baldwin-Bortel; and ornaments and jewelry by Gretchen LaPorte from Wonderfully Made.
“This shop is for people who don’t have a lot of money, but want something special and unique,” Evans said. “I want customers to know that they don’t have to buy something that has come overseas and pay taxes or upscale prices on it.”
According to Evans, most of the featured artists have reached out to her. Although 90 percent of the time she agrees to sell what they make, “I want to make sure it is not something like the doilies that your grandma used to make or your crochet tissue boxes. I want to make sure it is new, something that people will use.”
The Blue Morpho also aims to help rescued animals: A portion of its profits goes to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Evans’ 6-year-old rescue dog, Jazmine, is a frequent visitor to the boutique. According to Evans, Jazmine spent five years as a puppy mill dog locked in a cage.
Blue Morpho also offers organic dog treats and collars by local artists Katelyn Northup and Robert Hatch from Buttons, Bottles and Bowwow. Evans also hopes to open an organic juice bar within her shop.
And she’s always looking to showcase more local artists. “I want customers to feel welcome and just be surprised as to what is out there,” Evans said. “There are so many amazing artists out there that are right next door.”
The Blue Morpho is currently open Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.