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Local artisans find success both online and in store fronts
artisans pic
Jennifer Roots-Sousa poses with daughter Brooklyne Sousa and son Colson Sousa in front of one of Rustic Roots' most recent items. Pieces sold at Rustic Roots are often the result of local collaborations, such as this table anchored by two Gallo wine barrels from the 1960s which Jennifer Roots-Sousa conceived of and local Esther Tucker built.

When Turlocker Laurie Salinas began selling her handcrafted jewelry online at the urging of her friends and family, she didn’t anticipate that the founder and CEO of The Craftstar would purchase of piece of her jewelry.

“Bethan bought a piece of my jewelry and invited me to become a part of her site,” recalled Salinas.

The Craftstar is an ecommerce website for handmade and vintage items that offers artists from various locations one unique spot at which to sell their goods. For the past five years Salinas has sold her eclectic jewelry pieces online, from beaded jewelry to hand-stamped pieces and precious metal clay items.   

“I looked around in stores and I wasn’t buying what I couldn’t afford so I decided to make it myself,” said Salinas.

Salinas’ decision to sell online served not only as an addition to The Craftstar but also proved economically savvy. Compared to purchasing a space in a boutique that would require her to hand off a portion of her profits, Salinas found that opening an online shop allowed her to get her name out there at a fraction of the price.

“You don’t have to worry about rent or unreasonable consignment costs,” said Salinas.

However, Salinas’ venture online is not the only avenue in which local artists are finding success. Just ask Jennifer Roots-Sousa.

While working at Bistro 234 for several years in downtown Turlock, Roots-Sousa found herself cultivating contacts with locals interested in custom furniture and cabinet jobs. Eventually Roots-Sousa developed a name for herself and with the support of then boss Ken Bethel of Bistro 234 Roots-Sousa opened up her own store just across the street: Rustic Roots.

“My hobby was no longer a hobby,” laughed Roots-Sousa. “I’ve always had a passion for creating things.”

Located on Center Street in downtown Turlock, Rustic Roots offers locals a diverse range of repurposed and eclectic furniture pieces. With the decision to open a store front, Roots-Sousa has been able to develop relationships with her customers, many of whom date back to her Bistro 234 days.

“We have some wonderful repeat customers and they really enjoy being able to come in and feel the item and see its quality in person,” said Roots-Sousa.

However, Roots-Sousa doesn’t entirely abstain from the online scene as her marketing use of Facebook and Instagram accounts has furthered her success.

“It’s definitely a different interaction online, but it’s effective,” said Roots-Sousa.

Those interested in perusing items at Rustic Roots can find the store at 116 N. Center Street.

Salinas’ creations can also be found online at Interested shoppers can earn a 10 percent discount with the coupon code “TCS10.”