On the upper end of Hertel Ave, you’ll find one of Buffalo’s newest boutiques, Elle James Decor (1856 Hertel Ave). Owner Courtney has filled this sweet space with a curated collection of artisanal incense, handcrafted sage sticks, bohemian home decor and all-around good vibes.
Check out our interview with Courtney to learn more :
Can you tell us more about yourself and the shop?
I’m really all about positive energy, uplifting others and helping people find peace and joy in their lives. I believe some of this stems from my background in psychology (Howard University ~ BA 05’) and counselor education (Canisius College ~ MS 12’) and always wanting to help people, giving guidance and support in any way I can. It also stems from my love of home decor, fashion and simply wanting to feel comfy and cozy in my own home, surrounded by things that make me happy and help me and my family to feel relaxed in our space. That’s really how saging and creating or curating beautiful home decor became such a big part of my business. It’s something I do in my own home to maintain the good vibes and I simply wanted to share it with others.
Where did the name Elle James come from?
Elle is a nickname that comes from my middle name Ellsworth, which is a family name passed down from my maternal grandmother. I decided to put Elle together with James, my now 11 year old son’s name and that’s where the name Elle James comes from.
What inspired you to open your business & what was that like during a pandemic?
My son James is my ultimate inspiration, I love that he’s watched his mom build a business and I hope I’ve shown him to always pursue true happiness and how to build wealth on his own terms.
As far as opening during a pandemic… I took a huge leap of faith and I bet on myself, my passion and my belief that I can do this, my products are needed and nothing can stop me but me and my own fears. I try to maintain a positive outlook on life always and although this pandemic has hit us all like a ton of bricks, I know we’ll get through it and I won’t let it stop my goals and dreams. Adapting to change and making plans that fit the world today is a major part of running a business these days.
What brought you to Hertel Ave?
My family and I live in the neighborhood and I’ve always loved the vibe of Hertel Avenue. It’s a wonderful place to shop, grab a cocktail with friends and enjoy a lovely dinner. Elle James brings a new, fresh take on home decor and unique gifts to the avenue and the shop has received the warmest welcome from local residents and shoppers.
Any advice for business owners just getting started, especially women?
My advice is to embrace collaborations and build relationships with both your customers and other local businesses. As females a lot of us are balancing multiple roles, and when we’re able to bond and keep each other going, we all reach for greater heights on our business journeys.
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Elle James Decor, 1856 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo
ellejamesdecor.com | Facebook | Instagram
All photos by Erica Eichelkraut Zilbauer