Kelly Clow is always on the hunt for that unique piece of jewelry for her store. The owner of Lakeside Sundry in Walworth, Wisconsin on Geneva Lake, says, “I love small makers who own their own businesses and are passionate about them, and I love when someone comes into my shop and says, ‘I have never seen these before!’”
These are just a few qualities Clow seeks in jewelry lines for her store, which celebrates one year on Mother’s Day weekend and serves the Geneva Lake community known as “the Newport of the West.” Clow, a graphic designer, launched the Lakeside Sundry website in 2019 after creating a line of stationery. “I started curating products to go along with it that I felt complemented the lifestyle around here,” she says.
Luxury lake life is what draws people to the area — families with second homes seeking solstice from Chicago, which is about an hour and a half away. “Since the pandemic, a lot of people have come up here to use their lake homes as full-time residences,” Clow says. “And so we have had an influx of people in the community — and it’s all of our target customers who want to shop small and shop local.”
Clow’s opening last year was perfect timing. A former bank building on the corner of Walworth’s only intersection with a stop sign became available. “Everyone has to pass by me to get to the grocery store, the gas station, and people who are coming into town from Chicago have to go through this intersection to get to the lake.”
The first jewelry lines Clow introduced to Lakeside Sundry included Allison Cole nautical rope bracelets. “I love that I deal with the designer personally and her stuff is super unique,” she says, adding that the bracelets went “gangbusters.” The rope rings are wrapped with vibrantly colored threads — red, blue, fuchsia, teal, lime — with gold clamp rings that enhance the nautical theme.
“I was looking for jewelry that inspires the resort, lake and country club lifestyle that we have here,” Clow explains.
She also brought on Little Fish Boateak’s metal and textile earrings. “They are fresh, preppy designs — very classic styles,” Clow says. The owner Lissy Rawl’s father fabricates the metal rings that she combines with patterned fabrics.
"Give guests a way to customize jewelry pieces so they can make it their own" — Kelly Clow
Clow also likes to offer custom pieces. For example, the shop’s charm bar includes specially designed pieces like a Fontana Municipal Pier charm, Chuck’s Lakeshore Inn charm and a variety of charms resembling the lake as a cut-out or etching.
“I curate different bases — younger girls like the finer beaded necklaces all the way up on up to grandparents who prefer a chain,” she describes. “Customers can select their base and different charms. Everyone likes a token of the lake.”
Another mix-and-match jewelry option is stackable sterling silver rings by Qudo with interchangeable gemstones. “You buy the stones separate from the rings,” Clow says. The rings are priced from $30 to $40 and stones listed at $35 to $50.
“The stones screw in. I usually wear three. It’s a chunky stack but it’s fun and bold,” notes Clow.
A clean, crisp aesthetic
Clow completely renovated the storefront, capitalizing on the former bank’s drive-up window that ushers lots of natural sunlight into the space. Walls and shelves are crisp white, and an accent wall covered in faux greenery is fresh and fun. The checkout counter backdrop is white-washed shiplap.
Even the bathrooms carry out a nautical theme. “Hers” has a navy accent and an oversized poster of Clow’s daughter on their boat. “His” features a picture of her son on board.
“I have the display close to my counter so I can keep an eye on it because of so many little pieces — and it’s very hands-on,” Clow says. “I always tell the ladies, ‘Feel free to play with them. You can’t hurt anything.’ They might stand there for a half-hour to try out different combinations and styles.”
Jewelry suppliers that provide charming displays are appealing to Clow. “I love when they help you merchandise and it makes a huge difference because you know it’s displayed properly and to its greatest [selling] ability,” she says.
An eye for design
Clow’s graphic design expertise is an asset to Lakeside Sundry. She can create her own advertisements and printed materials. Plus, she brainstorms with suppliers that customize pieces so she can offer customers one-of-a-kind products.
Aside from the charm bar of Geneva Lake jewelry keepsakes, Clow collaborated with Smith & Quinn to create a Lilly Pulitzer-esque print fabric with local graphics: the pier sign, a statute in town and the resort.
Even the price tags on her items are “custom” in a sense. Forget tags with 00 or 99. Every price ends in 43 cents. “I take the 43 cents and donate it to a different local charity each month,” she says, explaining that she came up with the idea the night before her 43rd birthday.
Clow is anticipating the busy season at Lake Geneva — and as for supply, “My only complaint is how full my store is now,” she says with a laugh. Working with independent makers has benefitted her inventory situation.
Rewinding to more than a year ago when Lakeside Sundry was a website with pop-up shops around town, Clow is beyond pleased with last year and looking forward to the next. She says, “It was fantastic — better than I expected by far.”