Moon & Arrow Boldly Bridges Art, Style and Commerce

By Nicole Finkbiner
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 4 | Posted Dec. 12, 2012

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Girl in the window: Chelsea Pearce hangs some of her unique handcrafted necklaces in the window display at Moon & Arrow.

Photo by Nicole Finkbiner

Part trendy urban boutique, part vintage emporium, Fabric Row’s newest shop, Moon & Arrow, possesses a certain artistic je ne sais quoi that most local boutiques do not. Luring you in off the sidewalk is a festive window installation with crystal necklaces draped across logs and wool plaid blankets stacked on a vintage pull sleigh. Inside, your senses are lulled with soft music, aromatherapy candles and more natural adornments—hanging air plant sculptures, mini succulent gardens and shelves sprinkled with chunks of quartz. 

“Creating this space is way, way more important to me than how the business actually works,” says Moon & Arrow creator and owner Chelsea Pearce. “I just try to find things that really inspire me and that create an environment that’s authentic.” 

The store’s cohesive ambiance is a rather impressive fete given its eclectic array of one-of-a-kind merchandise. A Royal typewriter from the 1940s like the one Ernest Hemingway use to use? Check. Eco-friendly slip-on shoes with soles made of recycled tires? Check. Handmade lip balm with garden herbs? Check. 

This is all in addition to Moon & Arrow’s line of handcrafted jewelry and handpicked selection of vintage treasures, most of which are actually souvenirs from Pearce’s many travels. Explaining the store’s large selection of cowboy boots and embossed leather handbags, she just happens to have a lot family in the South. 

“You’re talking about paying $40 here for something you’d find on eBay for $400,” Pearce notes. “But I trolled a thrift store in Arkansas for it and flew it back and loved doing it.”

The Philly native doesn’t have a business degree, nor does she have an art degree, for that matter. Rather, Moon & Arrow is the product of Pearce’s sheer creative ingenuity. 

Having been raised by two photographers, the 32-year-old has never really been one to follow a traditional path. Instead of finishing her senior year at Temple’s Tyler School of Art, she moved to Italy, where she studied under master metalsmiths and jewelers. Much of this had to do with Pearce’s distaste for technology. “I barely check my e-mail, so sitting in front of a screen for any extended period of time is utter torture for me,” she jokes. “I can, however, file a piece of metal for 20 hours. Go figure.”

Although metal may be her primary medium, Pearce really dabbles in a little bit of everything—from painting and installation to interior and fashion design. Meanwhile, Pearce’s jewelry incorporates a variety of materials, including rough-cut stones, naturally shed antler and found objects. 

Technically, Moon & Arrow first opened its doors last fall in a popup storefront about a block away from its current home at Fourth and Fitzwater streets. Calling her first retail venture a “temporary experiment,” Pearce has a much clearer vision for her brand these days: “I’ve always dreamed that Moon & Arrow could grow to incorporate a workspace for artists and makers, to have workshops and events as well as the retail. Music and art breathes life back into a tired store.” 

As part of Paradigm Gallery’s Resident Art Program, a project funded by UArt’s Corzo Center to bridge the gap between the gallery/fine art and retail worlds, the shop is currently showcasing the mixed-media works of local artists Caitlin McCormack and Jason Chen. “A lot of people would never walk into a gallery, but they will come into a store and spend the same kind of money that they would on art,” says Pearce. 

She’s also committed to offering exposure to emerging designers and artisans. Besides having partnered with the Philly-based rediscovered furnishings and vintage home accents company Territory Home Goods, which now co-inhabits the space, Moon & Arrow carries several local brands, including the candles of Skeem Designs and wool scarves from Haight-Ashbury. 

As for the business end of things, Pearce’s vision doesn’t include meeting any certain quotas. “I don’t just want to sell stuff to people,” she says. “I want to sell things that they have a real connection with and they’re really excited to bring home.”

Wed.-Sat., noon-7pm. Sun., noon-5pm. Moon & Arrow, 754 S. Fourth St. 215.469.1448.

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