Shelah McClymont seems to always have a new idea. A St. Louisan since childhood, McClymont has pursued entrepreneurial adventures across multiple facets of product and design while maintaining a fairly cohesive aesthetic – her projects read like a logical sequence, each showcasing that indescribable flair she brings along. And as of the end of June, there’s a new brand to add to that impressive list.
But to understand the full scope of McClymont’s impact on the local shopping scene, one has to go back. The Foundrie was arguably her largest business endeavor, and that carefully curated collection of handmade and independently produced goods has been part of St. Louis in one way or another since 2009. (Readers might remember its home, accessory and gift items from Chesterfield Mall and West County Mall). Her other projects have included screen-printing collection Destroyed by Design and a jewelry and leather line called August Abroad.
“After working seven days a week … and putting my own line of products on the back burner to focus on [the brick-and-mortar location of The Foundrie], I decided in 2016 to change direction and began developing my new product line, Faire Acres,” McClymont explains. “The new line takes the best elements from my past brands, including my leather work from August Abroad and my business knowledge from The Foundrie, to create a lifestyle brand I am excited to grow over the coming years.”
Perfect for summer, Faire Acres is created for the antithesis of the typical camper and is now available online. Running under the tagline “Quality Goods for Unhappy Campers,” the brand offers tote bags, coffee mugs, throw blankets and gift items featuring humorous, vintage-camp-themed original designs. Picture an enamel campfire mug, but make it ceramic (read: microwavable), with the inscription “The mountains are calling and I let it go straight to voicemail,” and a necklace stamped to say “the great indoors.”
“Faire Acres is inspired by a vintage-camp aesthetic and my general disdain for being outdoors,” McClymont says. “As an adult, I have found that I can handle one night of camping and even enjoy it somewhat, so long as there is plenty of beer and insect repellent. With Faire Acres, I wanted to create a brand with a sense of humor that appeals to those of us who appreciate the outdoorsy adventuring spirit from the comfort of our air-conditioned living room.”
Adding more to the balancing act, McClymont is not only an entrepreneur and maker, but also a wife and mother. She’s known her husband of nearly 12 years, Matt, since high school; the two have an 8-year-old daughter named Stella. “As a small-business owner and entrepreneur, it’s definitely hard to turn off the business and take time away,” says McClymont, noting that after missing too many moments with friends and family while running The Foundrie, she promised herself to not be in that overwhelming schedule again. “With Faire Acres, I am happy to be working from home and am able to carve out time to spend with my family while still growing the business.”
McClymont is not suddenly a one-project kind of gal, though; her previous work lives on in a different format.
“It is an exciting time to be involved in the community of makers and creatives with the ability to work together to create brands that can include a wider range of products highlighting different skill sets, and St. Louis has a wealth of talented folks who are excited to work together in so many different capacities,” says McClymont. “Small-business owners love to connect and create new opportunities within our communities, which is how The Foundrie is continuing on once again as a pop-up shop within an amazing business in Webster Groves, KIND Soap Co.”
McClymont adds that Jean Scholtes, owner of KIND Soap Co., reached out about curating a collection of local products to complement its line, and The Foundrie’s pop-up shop was born. “The Foundrie at KIND features work by over a dozen local makers including jewelry, prints, bags and other great gifts,” she says.
Outside of her own projects, McClymont explains she works as a freelance visual merchandiser for other local businesses “when time allows,” but one can hardly imagine when that would be. “I truly feel lucky to be able to use so many of my skills and passions to cobble together a career I love,” she says, “and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.”