The cards next to the Angels tell you their story: “I am a Calming Angel, hand carved from Soapstone by artisans in Kenya and I help reduce stress when I am held in the palm of your hand.”
In fact, every product at Totally Awesome Goods comes with a story card. “It’s a way of helping create a connection between the item and the person who will receive it as a gift,” says Jay. “We specifically look for products that are unique and tell a story through where and how it’s made, what it’s made from or any other attribute that makes the item special.”
As I sat chatting with Jay, a flurry of people had come into the store. In one corner, a couple starts laughing out loud. “That’s what we want here.” Jay exclaims. The couple was eyeing tumbled marble coasters and kept laughing to each other as they read the humorous sayings printed on each one. One in particular read: “true friends don’t judge each other, they judge other people…together.” “Laughter is another way items can create a connection,” states Jay. “Anything that is truly funny has an element of truth to it and often reminds us of the people we are closest with.”
There is an incredible amount to see in the 700 square foot of space that is located in the heart of downtown Madison in the Key Bank Courtyard. Christmas ornaments hand blown in Germany, votive holders adorned with a film cell from movies like The Wizard of Oz and It’s A Wonderful Life, and wood signs with inspirational sayings crafted from 100 year old wood in Wisconsin, are just a few of the amazing collections you will find.
I was particularly drawn to a soft-comfy sweatshirt with an elephant design on the front. It was from an apparel line by 24 Peace that is created right here in Connecticut, by a mother and daughter team. All the apparel in this collection is made from organic, recycled or reusable materials and feature designs from local artists that get hand printed on to the clothing.
In another section of the store you will find beautiful handcrafted jewelry. On one shelf, were bracelets known as Dare 2 B U. As I read the story, Jay told me that he and Gayle developed this collection and the idea for them came from raising two daughters and always encouraging them to be themselves. These bracelets feature Swarovski pearls, perfect in shape and color, yet indistinguishable from the next and natural gemstones, just as beautiful but each one unique, just like each of us. According to Jay, these bracelets have already proven to be a very popular gift for girls of all ages, not just for teenagers.
The Alperts are proud to be part of the Connecticut shoreline community and love the fact that they are surrounded by a variety of owner-run boutiques that populate the quaint town of Madison. Their original store was located in Branford, but they ended up moving to Madison when they outgrew the space they were in. “This will be our second Christmas season here in Madison, and we are excited about the new assortment of awesome products we have to offer, each one unique and tells a story,” boasted Jay. No matter how many people are on your list, between what is offered at Totally Awesome Goods or one of the other dozen or so specialty boutiques found in Madison, people will be able to find something meaningful for everyone.