The origin story for the new St. Louis-based e-commerce site Elysia Home was born out of the universal pandemic-era reflection on the meaning of home.
“We spent over a year reflecting on what excites us about crafting a home, during a time when the importance of ‘home’ took on a whole new meaning,” the company’s website states.
Laura Schaubert, president of Elysia Home’s parent company, Williamson Home, used the period during which the home décor design-and-manufacturing firm closed down due to COVID-19 to reevaluate her passions and priorities. She approached her daughter, Mary Hayes, who was working in product development at Williamson at the time, to pitch her plan to pivot Hayes into a broader, more creative role: senior brand manager for Elysia Home, the new company and brand Schaubert was developing.
“This is a passion project of hers, in that her personal style doesn’t necessarily align with Williamson’s normal ware, with its neutral and farmhouse aesthetic,” Hayes says. “She wanted a more edgy, creative, rainbow-of-colors design, which wasn’t really for big box stores.
“I didn’t know anything about marketing; I’d never worked with a web-development company before; I’ve never done wholesale buying before,” continues Hayes, who was on maternity leave at the time. “It’s very rare in a job where someone tells you, ‘Here’s my creative vision; I’d like you to also have input and make it happen.’”
Launched in May, the e-commerce site’s wares reflect both the mother’s and the daughter’s individual styles and fall into the categories of entertainment (tinted glassware and retro centerpieces), rest (embroidered statement pillows, candles and sleep masks), work (desk accessories and tools for all of life’s to-dos), decorate (in-house designed wall art, vases and mirrors) and wear (“pins, rings and all the shiny things”).
Hayes’ aesthetic is more bohemian and includes calming neutrals redolent of parent company Williamson, whereas Schaubert prefers all things bold, bright and fun. “Elysia Home is for people who are loud and colorful and like to entertain – and aren’t afraid to make that part of their home and personal style,” Hayes says.
Hayes sources wholesale items from a few dozen primarily (but not exclusively) female-led companies and seeks to find edgier, one-of-a-kind products for creative-minded women of all ages. She maintains a twin focus on selecting St. Louis-based makers who fit the company’s mission; Elysia Home currently features items from St. Louis’ Daily Disco, Golden Gems, Collections by Joya and Sutton Lasater Jewelry. A friend of Hayes owns the last-named and created a special evil-eye pendant necklace ($48) exclusively for Elysia Home.
Hayes calls out a pair of blue-and-white marble-and-pearl hoop earrings as a personal favorite, as well as a four-piece set of hand-blown dotted cocktail glasses for a home’s bar cart and summer soirées.
In the near future, Hayes is planning a few harvest and holiday edits, a holiday gift guide and rotating, and seasonal Zodiac edits. Looking further out, however, the goal is for Elysia Home to make some of its own products to sell on the site.
“We don’t have potters or jewelers or glass blowers on staff, but we have a whole team of people who are trained and talented with designing and manufacturing their own home décor – wall art, mirrors, larger-scale home items,” Hayes says. “I think it would set us apart even more to have an assortment of things that were exclusive to us, designed by our team just for us.”
In the meantime, Elysia Home will offer all the creature comforts needed to feel right at home, no matter what the rest of this year might hold.
Elysia Home, 618-316-4908, elysiahome.com