Category Archives: J Banks Retail

Q & A with Author Connie Sewell

Summer Saltz Book

We are so excited to host author Connie Sewell for a book signing and fashion show in the J Banks courtyard this week! We had the opportunity to interview Connie about what inspired her to write Summer Saltz. 

JB: Briefly explain your book and the storyline.

Connie: Summer Saltz is a fun-loving spunky girl always into something exciting.  When she gets a new pair of ever-so-sassy white sunglasses, she takes on a personality all her own.  But when she shows up for the party with her “I’m so Hollywood” attitude, she finds out showing off doesn’t pay off.  She learns some valuable lessons in the story about friendship, kindness, and what it really means to be “HOLLYWOOD.”

JB: Is this your first book? What inspired you to take the plunge and move forward with publication? 

Connie: This is my first book.  Once I had the general character and first draft, I met with my attorneys in New York and they convinced me I had something with this character and that I should move forward.  After the long editing process with a professional editor and the unexpectedly difficult process of selecting an illustrator the book began to take shape and I realized it was definitely worthy of publication.  I wanted to create a character that would stand the test of time and have a similar personality to many little girls I have had the opportunity to get to know.

JB: What is the biggest challenge you faced in the creation and publication of this book?

Connie: The biggest challenge I faced in the creation and publication of Summer Saltz was unfamiliarity with the publishing process.  There is a lot of information out there for publishing, but not a lot for publishing a children’s picture book.  Most of that information is closely held by the gatekeepers at the major publishing houses because they like to control the process and maintain merchandising rights.  I think it is tough to tackle a project like this even if you know the process.  I had no idea what was involved.  I just took each step and did the best I could with it.  Every step is probably as difficult as the next, especially if you are a perfectionist, and I hesitate to say it, but I really am.

Summer

 JB: The book was largely inspired by your own daughter, Summer, what was her reaction to the book? 

Connie: Summer really enjoys reading the book.  She really gets a kick out of the part where Summer Saltz tries to put her dog, Penelope, in her purse, she thinks that is hilarious.  However, she dislikes the dialogue where the dad says the dog is like a bull in a china shop, funny.  She loves to wear the tattoos of Summer Saltz on her hands.  I think she really enjoys the concept that there is a book and all sorts of other products that are all about her.

JB: What is the message that you hope children receive after reading this book?

Connie: I hope children learn how to be kind to one another, the value of a good friendship and that showing off doesn’t pay off. There are many opportunities for parents to teach their children lessons throughout the book, such as importance of diet, figures of speech, and one of my favorites, the environmental comment on the back cover.  The comment is quite humorous, but it is an opportunity to explain to your kids how to love and care for the environment, and what ‘hugging a tree’ really means.

JB: Books are a big part of your life.  Why do you think it is important to read with and to your children?  

Connie: Oh, reading is the key to everything!  You have to teach your children at an early age to read and comprehend, as it is in everything we do.  The joy of reading and learning is one of life’s biggest gifts.  I particularly love to sit in my children’s beds at night and read with and to them, it is our bonding time.  To enjoy the emotions and adventures in children’s books, or any book, and to watch your children absorb the context, well, it’s just priceless.

 JB: Can we expect more adventures with Summer Saltz in the future? 

Connie: Absolutely!  Summer Saltz is going to be a series.  I am currently working on the second book draft.  It is going to be a lot of fun.  She will have the same humor and personality, but obviously the story line will be much different.  What I can tell you about the next book is that Summer will find out which sports she is good at and which sports she enjoys most.  This doesn’t come easy for her, and her situations and trials will have you laughing your way through the events in the story.  It will be a fun adventure.

Sunglasses and Summer Saltz blog

If you would like to pre-order a book, you may call J Banks Retail 843-682-1745 for more information. This event is suitable for children ages 4-8. To learn more about Connie, you may visit her website at http://www.summersaltz.com.

xo,

JB

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Q & A with Artist Anne Neilson

Angels in our Midst Book Cover

We are excited to host famous artist and author and philanthropist, Anne Neilson, for a book signing at the J Banks Retail Store next week!  We got the opportunity to interview Anne about her beautiful book and what makes it so special!

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J Banks Retail – Fabulously Fresh!

Our J Banks Retail team never slows down in their ongoing quest to create displays that are visual delights! Our merchandising genius, Sharon Cleland, allowed us to tag along as she put together a “fresh” display!

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Sharon loves grouping like items for visual impact and balance.  In this case, the vivid green glass is the constant, and the added interest lies within the varying shapes and heights of the containers.

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Next Step:  Add fresh greens!  Sharon loves taking advantage of the beautiful foliage right outside our own doors.  

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DIY:  Gather palms, flowers and grasses from your own yard to add instant life to your entry console, cocktail table, kitchen island, etc….all you need are pruning scissors and a great vase!  

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This lady moves fast!

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The height of the branches adds dramatic impact (we call this the “wow” factor)!

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This is starting to look amazing!

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Add additional texture and color for interest.  Our ‘almost real’ hydrangea stems and greenery sprigs are the perfect finishing touch (both available through J Banks Retail).

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The arrangements are finished!

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The display is complete!  

Voila!   We have a gorgeous new entrance display!  And…….who knew a patterned rug could be such a fab table cover?  Great eye Sharon!

xo,

JB

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Perfect Presents: Shop our A to Z Holiday Gift Guide!

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Holiday Decor: Inspiration to Creation

The task of decorating for the holidays can be daunting.  There are endless options and themes and it can be hard to decide where to begin!

We have been gearing up for this holiday season transforming our retail store into a winter wonderland. Beginning as early as September, our buyers and merchandisers gathered to pull inspiration photos, and to compare pictures of what was scheduled to arrive and what was currently on hand that could be used for this year’s displays.

One of our favorite approaches is repurposing existing items as well as buying the latest and greatest during the Fall Markets!  Mixing the old with the new creates interest, and better yet – allows you to save your dollars for gift giving!

Here is an example of one of the inspiration photos we used for our holiday vision – we love the simplistic, yet shimmering glamour of the tree!

Using this as our inspiration, we took our bare tree, metallic spray paint, and items already found in our store to make our perfect store entrance vignette.

Mercury bottle votives became cool over-scaled ornaments, and burlap ribbon became glitzy dressing by simply spray-painting it silver. The metallic theme was also applied to an older red wreath and voila – we had a new tree topper complete with ‘JB’ letters as the finishing touch!  Combining existing goods with our fabulous new mercury balls, sparkling vine orbs, and festive ornaments makes a grand statement.

Interested in repurposing your existing Christmas holiday décor into new ideas and displays?  We can help!  Our designers are available for hourly consultation to help you create displays that will dazzle.

And if all you need is a little inspiration, then please plan to join us for our Holiday Open House on Thursday, November 8th from 3-7pm.  All of our displays will be ready for gazing AND shopping!

We can assure you, J Banks Retail has the holidays covered with gift ideas for everyone on your list!

See you soon during all our holiday events!

JB

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The Shrimp, Collards & Grits Art Exhibit debuts at J Banks Retail starting today!

Internationally renowned artists from historic Charleston’s most prestigious galleries have created new works of art for Pat Branning’s art collection. The J Banks Retail Store has been separated into individual vignettes that showcase an individual artist and J Banks interior designer. This unique exhibit showcases the amazing interaction between Lowcountry art and design.

The event features the following artists:

  • From the Horton Hayes Gallery: Mark Kelvin Horton, Christopher Groves, Shannon Runquist and Nancy Hoerter
  • From Smith Killian Fine Arts: Betty Anglin Smith, Jennifer Smith Rogers, and Shannon Smith
  • Linda Hartough, internationally recognized as one of golf’s leading artists
  • Michael Karas
  • Ray Ellis and Peggy Ellis of Savannah and Charleston
  • John Carroll Doyle of the John Carroll Doyle Gallery in Charleston

The Shrimp, Collards & Grits Art Collection is on display and available for purchase at the J Banks Design Retail Store now through November 14.

Here is a small sampling of the art and design vignettes currently on display at J Banks.

Artist: Shannon Runquist | Designer: Sharon Cleland

Artist: Nancy Hoerter | Designer: Cindy Munn

Artist: Mark Horton | Designer: Shelley Wilkins

Artist: Chris Groves | Designer: Adrienne Warner

Artist: Betty Anglin Smith | Designer: Deborah Van Plew

Artist: Shannon Smith | Designer: Lisa Whitley

Artist: Jennifer Smith Rogers | Designer: Hannah Fulton

Artist: Kathy Crowther | Designer: Janet Perry

Artist: Linda Hartough | Designer: Patche Pratt

Artist & Designer: Sarah Vanderslice

Also featuring select artwork by Peggy Ellis,

Ray Ellis,

Michael Karas

and John Carroll Doyle

A  “Time with the Artist” series is also planned for the fall and will include four separate events.

  • September 26 | Lunch with the Artists of Charleston’s Horton Hayes Gallery
  • October 10 | Lunch with the Artists of Charleston’s Smith Killian Fine Arts
  • November 1 | Lunch with Peggy Ellis and Kathy Crowther
  • November 8 | J Banks Design’s Holiday Open House and visit from the world’s most famous painter of golf, Linda Hartough

For more information or to purchase tickets and make reservations for one of the luncheons please call 843-682-1745. Samples of the artwork may also be previewed at the online gallery, www.shrimpcollardsgrits.com .

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It’s a Ruff Life at J Banks

When we received shipments of adorable new pet items for our retail store, we felt that the best way to share them would be to mix in a few (okay, more than a few) pictures of our favorite four-legged friends.

Dog food containers need not be bulky or unsightly. We love these large canisters by Harry Barker.

Beaufort (Laura Page)

P-Nut ‘PVP’ (Deb Van Plew)

Adorable doggy raincoats that zip up and store in the pouch built into the back.

Dixie (Cathy Duane)

Dixie (Check out the champagne bottle and high heel toys from J Banks Retail)

These ‘good dog’ buckets come with tennis balls!

Daisy and June Pug (Joni Vanderslice)

Daisy relaxing on a sectional sofa from the J Banks Collection.

June Pug  in the Van Plew chair from the J Banks Collection.

Fun new argyle collars….

…and dog toys!

Finlay and Bree (Jenny Ladutko)

Sparta (Doris Gilch)

We have new dog bowls in fresh fun designs.

Sassy Pants (Janet Perry)

Jake (Shelley Wilkins)

Nautical collars are perfect for any beach or boat loving dog.

Penny (Jennifer Stewart)

Waldo and Norman (Kristin Magowitz)

Wally (the woven dog) is now standing guard by the door (and he may even be modeling one of our new raincoats).

Avenger (Lisa Whitley)

Miller (Heather Lemieux)

Reese and Woodford (Tia Kilduff)

Sailor (Marianna Barbrey)

We have lots of collars and leashes in different sizes and colors.

Sailor fast asleep in her new Harry Barker collar.

Stella and Bruce (Adrienne Warner)

McDuff ‘Duffy’ (Catherine Builder)

Jennifer Farese doesn’t have a dog but she wanted to share this adorable pic of her “pet” chickens too!

If you are interested in purchasing any of these items (dogs not included) please contact our retail store at 843-682-1745.

JB

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