Tucked away in a cozy cottage behind historic Sardis Church, Crystal Baker works magic with monograms. Her business, South of Hampton, has blossomed from a one-room studio where Crystal personalized what clients brought her to a gift shop brimming with unique, customizable items.
“We spend a lot of time seeking out things that no one else in Atlanta carries at prices people can afford,” says Crystal. Hand-etched glass jewelry boxes, needlepoint cuffs and sparkly beaded clutches are just a few recent acquisitions, along with a new line of college dorm bedding that boasts upholstered headboards, which Velcro to the wall. You’ll also find classics like colorful Jon Hart tote bags, White Wing canvas duffels and Turkish towels, all top sellers for special occasions like graduations, bridal showers and Mother’s Day.
Everything can be personalized, and Crystal’s focus on quality plus her extensive selection of creative designs continue to draw discerning locals, many of whom come by word-of-mouth. “These are not shopping mall fonts,” she claims. “And you won’t find them on Etsy.” Choose from close to 70 different monogram styles, from the tried-and-true traditional to thoroughly modern.
Crystal loves the way personalities are reflected in people’s choices, whether they’re labeling something from home or discovering a new treasure in her shop. “One client came in determined to pick out a different monogram and, after poring over the book, ended up with the exact same design without even realizing it,” she says with a smile.
This concept translates to buying for others, as well. You have to go the extra mile to monogram a gift, according to Crystal, from learning the recipient’s middle name to choosing a style and font to finding a present they’ll truly enjoy. But it pays off, she adds. “There’s something wonderful that happens when a person opens a gift and sees their initials. Personalization preserves memories.”
South of Hampton is located at 3725 Powers Ferry Road, Bldg. A in Atlanta. Call (678) 974-2332 or visit www.southofhampton.com to learn more.
Photos: Christy Fassnacht