APSE Lets Shoppers Send a Message
Jarod and Hayley Faw are making and selling jewelry with a message.
From their shop on Cornwall Avenue in downtown Bellingham and online, the married couple offers jewelry of all kinds for men and women. The store is called APSE, an acronym for All People’s Shackles Exchanged. And a share of the store’s profits is donated to three different organizations that fight sexual exploitation.
To the Faws, the shackles are a symbol of lies people see and hear in the media that create fear, like issues surrounding body image, though each piece addresses a different lie. When people buy a product from APSE, the owners describe it as taking away a customer’s anxieties in exchange for adornment and truth. “We wanted to create a brand that instilled human value in people that was already intrinsic,” Jarod said. “A lot of the time people will purchase things and think, ‘This thing will make me more valuable.’ But you’re already valuable, so you’re worthy of being adorned.”
The beginning of APSE was anything but practical for the Faws. On Nov. 27, 2015, they launched APSE online not knowing that just months later, they would quit both of their jobs to pursue their brand. When the idea of starting APSE began, Hayley and Jarod wanted to create a relationship with the public that could cause social change. They decided to start communicating their goals through jewelry, with pieces available for men and women.
“The concept of what APSE is birthed out of a desire to see creativity as a tool that creates change,” Hayley explained. After two years of running APSE online, Hayley and Jarod prepared to open a store on Cornwall Avenue, completing all store renovations on their own. Last October, they officially opened their storefront filled with products for their lifestyle brand. Each piece is handcrafted in their shop’s open studio and all their materials are sourced in the U.S.
With each new piece, Hayley and Jarod create a written token to explain what the piece symbolizes. They write the messages during the design process and many of the messages address issues surrounding fear.
For each piece sold, whether in store or online, APSE lets the customer choose which organization they would like 10 percent of the profits to go towards: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County (DVSAS), Fight the New Drug, or the A21 Campaign. Each organization deals with some level of sexual exploitation or abuse and the three organizations together cover local, national and international change. Hayley and Jarod felt that the donations they could make are a tangible way to help create a culture through APSE. Since the brand launched online in 2015, APSE has donated around $8,500 to their chosen organizations.
“So much of the business is just an extension of us,” Hayley said. “The whole intention with opening the storefront was to open ourselves up to new relationships, to new people, to share our mission with people and provide awareness and education about what the brand is about. You can come sit on our couch and we’ll hang out with you. We’ll make you a cup of coffee.”
Check out Hayley and Jarod’s art online or, the next time you’re shopping on Cornwall Avenue, be sure to stop by their inviting storefront illuminated by natural light and handcrafted treasures.
1307 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham
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