After being open for four years, Julie Ter Borg’s Main Street Bel Air business, Julie Ellyn Designs, had become a destination for jewelry enthusiasts and fans of Maryland-made arts and merchandise.
And with a number of her jewelry pieces worn by actors on prominent television shows, she also was making her mark on a national level.
But in October, the self-taught jewelry maker decided to close her brick-and-mortar store to focus her attention on her online store.
“People were shocked and saddened,” she recalls. “It was a tough decision for me, but I knew it was the right decision for me and my family. I was very surprised and touched by the outreach from the community. Over the holiday seasons, I had a pop-up shop in the town. The outpouring from the town was immense. I was moved to tears. I feel extremely fortunate.”
The news was even more of a shock considering that in May she transformed her 2,500-square-foot store to have a 1,200-square-foot space dedicated for workshops and events, while dedicating another 800 square feet to merchandise made by Marylanders. At the time, she said she wanted to give the public more options. The dedicated events and workspace allowed Ter Borg to host a variety of events including a coding workshop, and a children’s art show.
But Ter Borg’s online business got to a point of success where she could dedicate more time to that and close her physical store.
“Everything was going fine,” she says. “I just wanted to spend more time with family.”
The closing of the store has allowed Ter Borg to home in on her jewelry-making.
“I was just talking to a costume designer and I’m shipping some stuff out to another one,” she says. “I have lots of things in the works. I know people were sad that I closed the shop, but it has given me a lot of time to devote to my designs and my jewelry.”
It has also allowed her to focus on getting her jewelry placed on television shows such as ”This Is Us” and “Riverdale.”
“There are a lot of shows that I have submitted to,” she explains, adding that her jewelry will be featured on a coming episode of “Marvel’s Agents of Shield.” “I am excited for some of the new shows. March could be a big month for me.”
Surprisingly, Ter Borg rarely gets to see her jewelry on some of the shows.
“I don’t watch ‘This Is Us’ because I don’t like to cry. And ‘Riverdale’ got really dark,” she says. “I’m trying to get my jewelry on the shows that my daughters watch. I’m going for some Hallmark shows.”
And just because Ter Borg’s store is closed, that doesn’t mean that she can’t see her customers face to face. She makes a goal to be out and about in Bel Air with her beloved dog Charlie, a 7-year-old black Lab mix that she got as a rescue dog three years ago.
“I miss seeing all of my friends and [having] people stop by and [talking] to them daily. And people stopping by to say hi to Charlie. Charlie and I try to get out and into the community at least once a month,” she says.
In fact, the two were slated to appear at Caprichos Books at the Armory Marketplace for “Chapters with Charlie,” a kids’ event in February where Ter Borg and young visitors get to interact with her dog.
“Charlie is a hit with the kids,” she says. “The kids pet him. It’s a cute time.”
As for her adult fans, Ter Borg is only a mouse-click away.