A Q&A with Amaryllis (612 S. Exeter St., 410-576-7622) owners Ann Marie Fiume and Allison Wolf.
How long has the story been open?
Allie: Amaryllis opened originally at Owings Mills Mall in 1986 by my mom, Saralee. She moved to The Gallery in 1987 when it opened. Ann Marie was her manager and I worked for her part time. We purchased the store from her in the summer of 2000. After 22 years in The Gallery, our lease was up and we moved to Harbor East in February of this year.
What is your trick to being so successful?
Ann Marie: Amaryllis is a household name from locals to tourists. I think if we were just high end or just low end, I don’t know if we would have the mix of people and the mix of customer base. Also, from doing this 13-plus years, you get to know who you are buying for, even though it changes.
Allie: Also, our merchandising, the way people can look. I think our sales approach, which is fun, friendly, warm, and relatively low key.
Who is your typical customer?
Allie: Our average customer is a 35 to 70 year old professional woman who is buying something for herself to wear to work or to wear for fun or maybe both. We certainly have a lot of male shoppers who tell us, “I can always find something that she is going to love.”
What are your most popular lines or looks?
Ann Marie: Bracelets. Leather bracelets to wrap bracelets.
Allie: We do a lot of colorful stones. We sell pearls, which we get from a variety of people—funky and classic.
Ann Marie: Now we have people going for lighter layering pieces.
Allie: And less formal. If somebody gets a necklace they probably want to be able to wear it on the weekend, wear it out to dinner, wear it out to work. And so we try to, find more lines that are like that. And meaningful lines. We
carry Satya, which is Buddha inspired, so they do the tree of life, and lotus and symbolic pieces.
What is the hot trend you can’t live without?
Ann Marie: Selling wise would be Pandora—usually not a day goes by that we don’t sell Pandora. [The bracelets are designed to let you create your own personal and unique style. Using a patented threaded system, you can screw individual beads onto the bracelet segments, in any order you want.] Personally, black diamonds and leather.
Allie: What is really a great look now is blackened silver and gold. Pieces that are non-traditional, a Tahitian pearl on a leather strand.
Why is your store unique?
Allie: I think our longevity—that we’ve been in Baltimore for such a long time. I think we’re unique also because we only have one store in a world in chain stores. That we are a single destination spot. That we carry the amount of artists and the variety of artists that we do. And I think we present it in a way that is interesting and not a mish-mosh. We try to present it in a tasteful way. It’s vertical merchandising which is different from typical jewelry stores, where you look down in a case.
Ann Marie: A partnership really helps. It’s one thing to do it on your own, but it’s so nice when there’s your mirror right next to you.