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The evolution of my past to the present

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

A little history about me, Jeri, and 4Creature Comforts...

Last newsletter I focused on my life as a young person growing up with my mom, Polly, and her partner, Mildred, and their import business, The Cockle Shell. They were still in business when I graduated from graduate school with a master's of education degree. From Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. Soon after I was hired to be a head teacher at a Pre-Vocational School with 4 class levels in Ludlow, Massachusetts working with special needs children aged 12-21. After the first year, I was promoted to assistant director of our special needs collaborative, The Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Here I worked for another 6

years closely with our director, Nancy Casey, developing over 22 special needs programs in 8 towns. I loved supervising our classrooms, a staff of over 100, and doing intake evaluations on children. However, this profession is stressful. I decided to move on before I burned out. At that time, I was married to David Scher. He ran a business in an old warehouse on a canal in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He made an obscure product called bone rap that did nothing for his artistic side. Because of that, he

hosted several art studios for local artists, including the now famous Yankee Candle business, in this picturesque old warehouse.

A good friend, Barry Seace, had also moved on from his position at Mt. Holyoke College teaching art & printmaking. We decided to start a new business, Seace Porcelain at my husband’s warehouse. We developed a line of porcelain tile products using Barry’s high-quality, hand-drawn imagery. We came up with a technique of converting his drawings into silkscreen prints which we could then transfer onto the tiles.

Once fired, we made a variety of products including trivets, trays, clocks & mugs. Barry lived in Sarasota, Florida & I managed the business & warehouse manufacturing facility in Massachusetts. We had several employees at that time. We wholesaled these products to art galleries & participated in art shows locally & along the East Coast.

We were featured in a book, The Goodfellow Catalog of Wonderful Things: Gifts Under $50, a mail-order treasury of America’s finest crafts published in 1984.

It wasn’t long before I decided to open an outlet store in David’s factory warehouse in 1983. Since Yankee Candle already had an outlet store at the warehouse, there was an already built-in audience. David & I spent a lot of time in Manhattan & loved SoHo. HoHo’s Store & Gallery became the name of this outlet, Holyoke’s answer to SoHo. The original concept was an outlet for our tile products but evolved quickly into a large retail gallery. Our dog Ansel, a bearded collie, was a store ambassador.

I added clothing and accessories to the store collections. I developed a knack for wardrobing women. A good friend Valerie Paul had a modeling school and agency in Springfield, Massachusetts. She hired me to teach wardrobing to her models. I would host fashion shows locally to show off new apparel arrivals.

I traveled to Paris and Rome with the models on assignment. On these trips, I began to seek out clothing, jewelry, and accessories from artists there to bring back for retail…utilizing the skills learned from my mom’s travels. Here ends the second chapter of the Path to 4Creature Comforts.

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