A NEWS-PRESS SERIES: SMALL BUSINESS SANTA BARBARA: A HANDMADE AND FESTIVE NESTING
Festive Nesting may be a relatively new gift shop in Orcutt, but owners Ashlee Clark-McCaffrey and Donald McCaffrey have been in the gifting field for about three years.
The idea for the gift shop was born on their front lawn. The wife-husband duo moved from Santa Barbara (where they grew up) to Orcutt about half a decade ago. The two decided to provide a space for local artisans to showcase their works.
“I’ve always loved arts and crafts and appreciated them,” said Ms. Clark-McCaffrey, who holds several degrees from Santa Barbara City College for art, business and nursing assistant. For a decade, she worked at a Santa Barbara care home in the memory care unit, where she got to see in person the benefits of art.
Some people who normally wouldn’t socialize would interact during artistic activities, she said.
After moving to Orcutt, she and her husband decided to promote the growth of artistic activities. The front lawn concept was an avenue to do that, and it was such a hit that the two decided to look for a brick-and-mortar location. They found it at 4854 S. Bradley Road No. 10. The 1,500-square-foot venue opened in February with 30 local vendors and now boasts 50. The vendors hand make the items – lotions, sandals, aprons, soaps and more.
What Ms. Clark-McCaffrey and her husband operate may resemble a consignment store, but the fact that the vendors earn 100 percent of what they sell sets Festive Nesting apart from the rest. Instead of charging a commission fee, the two owners charge monthly rent, which ranges from $50 to $100 depending on the size of the space.
“We hope to be around for a really long time. I know unfortunately a lot of small shops are not making it,” said Ms. Clark-McCaffrey.
To help assure Festive Nesting’s success, the owners’ store hosts artisanal classes in which local artists teach crafts.
“This week, we have a jewelry wire-wrapped class,” Ms. Clark-McCaffrey said. The prices of the classes range from $35 to $50 per student, and again, the owners do not charge the teachers a percentage but instead a set fee of $5 per student.
Local and handmade gifts typically demand a higher price than their imported and mass-produced counterparts, but Ms. Clark-McCaffrey said that because Festive Nesting charges rent and not commission, “a lot of vendors keep their prices very low.”
She gave several reasons for what distinguishes Festive Nesting’s products from others.
“If you’re looking for a gift, it’s something you’re not going to find anywhere else. There’s definitely a value to holding the item and checking it out.”
Plus, “in Orcutt, the art is therapeutic,” said Ms. Clark-McCaffrey. The vendors “can tell you where they get their beads. A lot of vendors are not afraid to give away their secret.”
And, of course, there is a feel-good factor about supporting local talents and businesses.
“When you’re supporting local, you’re really supporting the community; putting it back into our community and allowing people to help with their bills or make enough to keep making their products,” Ms. Clark-McCaffrey said.
The wife-husband duo’s business is their full-time venture. They have four employees, including their 15-year-old son Vander. The next project for the store is to revamp the area that holds kitchen items.
Festive Nesting can be found on Facebook and Instagram under “Festive Nesting Homemade Gifts.” The website is www.festivenesting.com, and the phone number is 249-4084.